An interview is a daunting experience for any applicant. If it’s for the position of a UX designer, it’s even more so. You have no idea of the kind of questions the interviewer will ask nor can you judge their temperament when you sit across them during the interview. Whether it is your first, fourth, or fiftieth interview, you never know how it will swing. You may be highly qualified, adept at your craft, possess all the essential skills, and boast an enviable portfolio, but there will always be a nagging doubt as to whether you will actually nail the interview.
There is no way you can predict what you’ll be asked at a UX designer interview. You can, however, prepare yourself with the most frequently asked questions.
Interviewers usually ask three types of questions – Behavioural, Skill-Based, and Situational – to candidates. This helps them pick the right candidate from a potentially long list of hopefuls.
Behavioural questions are used to evaluate your attitude and approach to a problem or task. They measure soft-skills such as your work ethic, trustworthiness, management style, motivation, etc. As a designer, you will be faced with multiple conflicts and situations that require staying focused. Such questions will help showcase yourself at your best.
These questions are related to your experience and knowledge of the subject. They are specific to the role you’ve applied for. For instance, the interviewer may ask questions about your knowledge of different design tools and/or software. The goal of asking these questions is to differentiate your theoretical knowledge from your practical knowledge.
Situational questions test how you handle certain situations in the workplace. They are usually posed to assess your instincts, decision-making abilities, and how well you handle conflicts. These questions may not be based on your actual experience or any particular real-world situation. They are merely hypothetical situations to analyse how you work.
UX designer interview questions are a mix of these three categories. You should prepare yourself well and answer these questions as efficiently as you can.
Now, there are some questions that you will hear time and time again at interviews. You will get them at your UX designer interview as well. The questions listed below will give you a clear idea of what interviewers look for in a potential UX designer.
Before you proceed, understand that neither are these the only questions that you’ll be asked nor will answering them guarantee you the job. They will merely help you face the interview with confidence. Some of these questions have no right or wrong answers; they are employed to get a clear idea of who you are and how you work.
1. Tell us about yourself
Intention: To get a general idea of who you are, your work experience, and interests.
This is the most standard question you’ll hear in any job interview. It’s usually the first one that comes up. It may seem like a broad question, but its focus is to understand your UX journey – how you got into the field, and what makes you a good fit for the role. Provide a bit of your educational background and then get into relevant details about your journey as a UX designer. Keep personal details to a minimum.
2. Questions on design theory, colour theory, typography, storyboarding, etc.
Intention: To test your knowledge of UX tools, technologies, and concepts used in interaction design.
Since you are at a UX designer job interview, a majority of the questions will obviously centre around the subject. You should be able to answer these questions to the best of your knowledge. This is also where your portfolio will be scrutinized. The interviewer will ask you about the tools you’ve used, why you used a particular tool instead of another, why you used a particular colour or font, what is the function of a specific tool, etc. It basically deals with your knowledge of the tools of your craft.
3. What does the term ‘design thinking’ mean to you?
Intention: To know if you are aware of the foundation of design.
Design thinking is the soul of interaction design, or for that matter any design. It is a human-centric approach to design that integrates people, technology, and business. Design thinking enforces upon you the ability to empathize with users and develop solutions effectively. Your answer should more or less follow this definition. You can also provide examples from your portfolio where you applied the concept of design thinking.
4. Is UX design same as UI design? What’s the difference?
Intention: To understand if you can differentiate between your role and that of a UI designer.
These days, there is a fine line between UI and UX design. In many organizations, both functions are carried out by the same person. However, you need to understand the difference between them. Broadly speaking, UI deals with the look and feel of an interface whereas UX design focuses on user experience.
5. Describe your design process.
Intention: To see how you work and on what basis you make design decisions.
All good UX designers have a certain way of doing things. You too should have one. Explain how you approach a problem, what goes through your mind when a problem presents itself, how you analyse the solution, how you decide the best tools to use, and how you go about solving it. Most organizations look for UX designers who have a user-centric approach to design. Ensure your answers centre around this concept and showcase it through your portfolio.
6. Describe a project you found particularly challenging and how you approached it.
Intention: To find out how you tackle challenging tasks and how you manage to overcome the challenges.
UX designers are enthusiastic about solving problems. They evaluate their work objectively and fix what needs to be fixed. When faced with difficult issues, a good UX designer will adopt a clear strategy to overcome them – whether it is analysing why a product is not working, testing the design multiple times, or simply taking a survey from users. You should be able to clearly state why a particular project was tough and how you overcame the challenge and delivered it. Choose the project that best showcases your problem-solving abilities. Strengthen your answers via numbers. Show how a website’s traffic improved or how its bounce rate dropped or how its page load time reduced because of the changes you implemented.
7. Tell us about the current trends in the UX design industry.
Intention: To see if you are up-to-date about the industry you’ll be working in.
For any industry to grow, it has to follow what the market is saying. The design industry is no different. Even if you want to become a world-class UX designer, you have to know what people are talking about, what’s clicking, and what the competition is doing. Read up about trends that are currently sweeping the UX market. Show them a design you created based on a new trend. Talk enthusiastically about what excites you currently and why.
8. What will you do if a client says, “I don’t like your design”?
Intention: To know how you handle criticism of your work.
The harsh truth about UX design is that not everyone will like what you create. While some will gently break the news to you and ask for changes, others will be blunt and reject your designs outright. You should be able to take feedback constructively. In cases where a client is unhappy with a design, smart UX designers enquire why their design or a certain aspect of it was unsatisfactory. They ask questions to understand where the underlying issue is and make changes or defend their decisions accordingly.
9. What’s your process of working with different teams?
Intention: To see if you fit well into the company’s culture.
As a UX designer, you will be working with various teams – from the management to the content team. Even at college, you would have worked on different projects with different teams. Your internships may have put you in an environment that required you to collaborate with different departments. Being an effective team player is one of the primary qualities that companies look for in a UX designer.
10. Who is your inspiration from the industry?
Intention: To find out what kind of work motivates you to do your best.
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. You may derive inspiration from anyone in the industry and gain expertise from a number of different sources. Talk about your mentors, industry leaders who you look up to, the blogs and books you read, and the conferences you attend. Companies want to know that your interests stretch beyond the boundaries of UI and UX design. It helps them understand that your work is inspired by diverse influences.
11. Do you have any questions for us?
Intention: To assess your interest in the position and the company.
Post the interview, do ask about the company, your role, and any other relevant questions that will give you a clear idea of the career path you’ll be taking. Besides, it creates a rapport between you and the interviewer, with whom you’ll probably end up working.
Along with these questions, interviewers may also set one or more practical assignments to see how you think and implement the brief.
While these are the most commonly asked UX designer interview questions, make a list of others as well. Always remember, the key to nailing a job interview is to be prepared. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to answer any question thrown at you with ease.
Ensure all your answers are backed by your portfolio. Theory will only get you to the interview. At the end of the day, your projects and designs are what will really clinch the job for you.
At Strate, along with regular classes, students learn communication and interpersonal skills. Through the “Professionalism” module, students have specific portfolio and interview sessions. Since Strate has a strong connect with the industry, students also interact with various professionals throughout their training. The internships and live projects further ease them into facing real-world scenarios.
Students thus transform themselves into professionals right at school; the kind of professionals the industry is looking for. Upon graduation, they are able to attend interviews and secure lucrative jobs not only on their academic acumen but also on the basis of their personality training. Strate offers a complete and comprehensive Interaction Design program that’ll take you from academia straight to the industry.