It’s time! The hard work has paid off and all those hours you spent studying, refining your skills as a UX designer and putting the finishing touches to your resume have landed you your first UX designer interview. Well done! With your up-to-date and impressive portfolio, experience-heavy resume, and cover letter at the ready, what else do you need to secure the job? The secret to that lies in how you answer those rather daunting interview questions, and the key to getting that right is always, always preparation.
To help you along with the next step of your career journey, we’ve put together seven questions you’re sure to be asked during your first UX design interview, and given you tips and tricks on how to answer them.
1. Why should I hire you?
Research the company before going to your interview and demonstrate your passion for what they’re doing. Look through the company’s website, blogs, and social profiles so you know what their products and services are. Even better, find out what the company’s mission and vision are. Memorize them. Describe how your career goals are not only aligned with the position you are applying for but with the direction of the company itself and its values. Be enthusiastic! You have taken a huge step to enter a new career, let them see how passionate you are about bringing your skills and experience not just to the position but to the company itself. Your ethos is their ethos.
2. How will you communicate your design decisions to developers, stakeholders, and project managers?
Your interviewer wants to get a good sense of how you work and engage with others. As a UX designer, it’s crucial you know how to effectively communicate design decisions with the team from the beginning of the project right through to implementation.
Remember, each team member will come at a project from a different angle and different experience level. You’ll be dealing with multiple interpretations of instructions, varied problem-solving approaches and understandings of the goals of the project. You should be able to communicate with each of them and quickly spot any gaps in knowledge or misunderstandings.
When responding to this question, ask your interviewer to describe the current team structure and any issues they are facing. After listening closely, explain how you can help. As you establish rapport with your interviewer, you will likely begin to stand out from the other applicants.
3. How would you explain the UX design process?
Use this as an opportunity to share your personal definition of UX Design. When you are explaining the UX design process, describe how you would approach a typical project, or explain how you’ve done it in the past when working on other projects. You’ll probably want to touch on each of the following elements:
- User Research
- User Testing
- Information Architecture
- Interaction Design
- User Interface Design
Depending on the size of the company, and the nature of the role you’re interviewing for, you might be responsible for overseeing all parts of the UX design process (that are then executed by other teams), you might be responsible for executing just one part, or you might be personally executing every part of this process (if it’s a very small company, for example). Establish first what would be expected of you in this role, as this will help you answer the question more effectively in regard to how you would operate within this particular company.
4. How do you stay informed of changing UX design trends?
This is a great opportunity for you to talk about your passion for UX design and what inspires you in your work. Talk about UX blogs, newsletters, industry leaders, or conferences that you attend or follow. Perhaps you’ve been to a hackathon or a meetup that motivated you, or perhaps you read a great article on medium that changed the way you practice UX design.
Some of my own favorite UX blogs are:
Some influential leaders in the field who you should check out are:
More great resources:
5. How do you prioritize which product features to keep or discard?
Before any product features can be decided, you will need to develop a clear picture of what the business goals and user needs for the product are. Explain to the interviewer how a MVP (minimum viable product) could be developed. You can quickly test your hypothesis through user research which will answer these questions:
- Who is the user?
- Why does the user care if the product exists?
- What are the user’s goals?
Explain how user research helps to avoid the common pitfall of designing for personal preferences. It is most often the case that the user is not you. Once enough data has been collected from the experiments and the user’s goals have been validated, then you can begin to determine how they can be aligned with the goals of the business and therefore how the product features will be prioritized.
6. The client is upset with an element of your design. They believe that you have not created what they asked for. How would you handle this?
Since this is your first interview, you may need to use an example of how you dealt with conflict that draws from experience that is not UX design-related. That doesn’t matter. Describe how you were able to settle the conflict and what the outcome was. Diplomacy and the ability to communicate with people of all levels are both crucial skills to success in this field so the interviewer wants to understand how you would deal with client misunderstandings. Demonstrate your listening skills throughout the interview by paying careful attention to the interviewer and thinking a moment or two before answering questions.
This is also a great time to show how you could use user research to validate your design decisions and exactly why this is so important.
7. Can you take me through how you used the UX design process in a project?
Walk your interviewer through your project by using stories. Take him or her on a journey as you talk about steps that you took from the conception to completion of the project. Explain the problems you were trying solve, show how you solved them, and what the outcome was.
Use the documentation that was created while working on your project to help guide your story.
Here are examples of how to use your documentation:
User Research: What methods did you use? Why did you use this method?
- User Personas & Scenarios: Who is the user and how they will be using the website or application?
- Customer Journeys, Task Analysis, and User Flows: What is the journey and interactions the user will take while using the website or app?
- Prototypes & Wireframes: Describe how you progressed from paper prototypes to hi-fidelity wireframes. What iterations were made based on user testing and why did you do it this way?
- Metrics: Explain through tracking analytics how sign ups, sales or other conversions may have increased as a result of your research and/or design decisions.
Hopefully these seven questions will help you prepare for your job interview and give you additional confidence as you get ready for this next step in your UX journey. For further advice, check out the video below and this post on how to prepare for your next UX design interview.
What You Should Do Now
- If you’d like a step-by-step intro to find out if UX design is right for you - sign up here for our free 7-day UX short course.
- If you are interested in becoming a UX Designer check out our UX design course (you'll learn the essential skills employers need).
- If you’d like to speak to an expert Career Advisor for free about how you can really get a new job in tech - connect with us here.
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