Tell us about yourself, what is your background?
When interviewing a candidate, creating a relaxed and sincere atmosphere is important. To achieve this, start with a casual question.
For instance, you can ask:
- "Why did you leave your previous company?"
- "What did you enjoy most about your previous position?"
However, it is essential to direct the conversation to avoid sidetracking and to keep it focused on the crucial information. You can ask additional questions to gather the required information.
Don't be afraid to interrupt gently to steer the conversation in the direction you need.
What is your professional experience?
You may be thinking, "But I already know everything from a resume, don't I?" The answer is both yes and no.
Reading a carefully planned, almost sterile description is one thing. Hearing the person describe their experience on the fly is entirely different. This can help you understand their career status, professional focus, how they frame their responsibilities, and whether they have a superficial view of the job.
When hiring a UX or UX/UI designer, pay particular attention to how empathetic they are towards users' needs and how well they can map the customer experience. If they ignore or gloss over this issue, it may signal a lack of expertise or understanding of the role.
Who was your manager and how would they evaluate your job?
This is a great question to reveal a lot about a candidate's work history. People tend to answer honestly because you may contact their former boss. It's a clever way to gauge the candidate's experience and expertise.
What was your best role on the project?
Asking range of designers about their design process can provide valuable insight into their creativity, problem-solving abilities, and attention to detail. By understanding their strengths and weaknesses, we can better evaluate their potential fit for our team and identify how they can contribute to our company's success. So, what's their secret sauce? How do they approach projects and achieve their goals?
How do you stay up to date with the design industry?
A designer must stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques. So, where do they get their information from? Here are some top resources to consider:
- Baymardinstitute — a top provider of UX research data for e-commerce projects;
- Nilsennorman group — a #1 destination for interaction design findings;
- NFX.com — probably the best source of knowledge for people that create marketplaces and work with the network effect.
Of course, there are more relevant resources, books, and style guides. If the designer names a few you don't know, feel free to check them out later. And don't forget, reading design books is just as important as keeping up with the latest trends. It shows that a designer is dedicated to learning and improving their craft.
What was the last design problem you solved and how did you approach it?
Want to know if a designer is a right fit for your team? Ask them how they approach design problems. Do they have a visual eye for UI or an analytical mind for UX?
And most importantly, do they base their solutions on facts and analysis or subjective feelings and tastes? Most of the time, you want the first kind of person.
How would you do user research for our future market?
To evaluate the research skills of a UX designer, you could ask questions such as:
- For which product should we conduct research?
- What is the goal of our research?
- Who is our target market?
- What is user journey and how to work with it?
When designing for user experience, it is important to consider various aspects of market research such as user demographics, preferences, and behavior patterns. In terms of research approaches, there are two main types:
- Qualitative research, which includes interviews, usability tests, and cultural background studies. When designing a user experience, it's important to consider external factors such as the user's environment, technological limitations, and cultural differences. This type of research helps to understand what and why the user wants something.
- Quantitative research, which includes analytics and surveys, is used to test whether implemented solutions work well.
What is your greatest professional success/failure?
A tricky yet insightful question.
The first variation helps to discover what the person considers "success" and "best." Is it about the awards their projects have won or about increasing customer engagement by 25%?
The "greatest failure" question reveals the person's humility and ability to own up to their mistakes, especially in the era of "failing fast." Additionally, ask about the cause to see if the person tries to shift the blame on anyone or anything but themselves.
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but they will help you understand where the person stands.
What are your motivations?
Soft skills and emotional intelligence are crucial for productive collaboration and a healthy, spirited atmosphere in the workplace. It's no wonder some employers prefer less experienced candidates with better soft skills over highly skilled but "abrasive" professionals.
Emotionally intelligent individuals not only make for more pleasant colleagues, but they also minimize conflicts and potential burnout.
To assess a candidate's emotional intelligence, motivations, and personality, you can ask some of the following questions:
- What motivates you in your work?
- What types of things tend to make you feel irritated?
- If you were unable to pursue design, what would you do instead?
- Are there any projects that you would decline regardless of the circumstances?
Mistakes to avoid when hiring a designer
Looking for a designer can be a daunting task, but with these tips, you'll be able to avoid costly mistakes and find the perfect candidate.
Avoid merging several roles
Don't settle for someone who can do multiple things but may not excel in any one area. Find a designer with expertise in the specific area you need.
Don't prioritize specific skills
Don't limit your options by prioritizing a particular skill over others. Consider a candidate's overall experience and potential fit for the role.
Don't overestimate a UX portfolio
A portfolio can showcase a designer's abilities, but it doesn't always tell the full story. Ask questions and get a sense of the designer's process and problem-solving skills.
Don't expect a quick turnaround time
Give the designer enough time to do quality work without rushing the process. Discuss realistic timelines and expectations upfront.
Don't post a boring job ad
Make your job ad interesting and appealing by highlighting the unique aspects of the job and company culture.
Don't ignore the fiercely competitive UX market
Offer competitive compensation and benefits, as well as opportunities for growth and development to attract and retain qualified designers in this fiercely competitive market.
Typically, when evaluating a junior or mid-level candidate for a design position, you'll assign them a substantial design task to complete in their spare time. This task should mimic their expected work and test their fundamental design skills, including research, analysis, and actual design.
For a senior designer, providing a longer paid task or a few paid days of work with your team is better.
During the job interview, there are also tasks you can give potential candidates to quickly assess their skills and ability to work under time constraints. For example, you can prepare a few screens with usability flaws to show your candidates and ask them for improvement ideas. This will help you better understand their design mindset and make an informed decision on whether or not they are a good fit for your team.
What should be the answers?
- Newbie designers: In the worst case, you may receive vague, subjective feedback such as "It's bad," "I would completely redesign it," "I don't like the colors/icons," or "The screen is too dense." These are indicators of an inexperienced designer.
- UI-focused designers: If the designer tells you how to fix colors, icons, fonts, layout, and screen density, their main focus is visuals. It is perfectly fine, especially if you need strong UI expertise.
- UX-focused designers: These designers have ideas for new features that can improve the user experience (UX). They can also suggest ways to reduce the number of clicks or scrolls required, how to provide better element naming, and how to improve data visualization.
- Designers with a business-oriented mindset: Some designers will start by asking more questions about design goals and main usage scenarios. If you’re unsure how relevant their questions are, ask how they will use this information to change the design.
For example, here’s the screen with a few usability flaws we use.