How to Hire a UX/UI Designer in 2024 (FULL GUIDE)

How to Hire a UX/UI Designer in 2024 (FULL GUIDE) Cieden


After eight years of the designer recruiting experience and providing UX/UI design services, Cieden’s team mastered all its kinks. This guide is a structured and polished outcome of our trials and errors along the way. You'll find answers to the most practical questions about hiring a proper designer here.

We’ll cover all the information you need to know:

  • overview of each type of designers business may need;
  • the difference between freelancer, in-house and outsourced designers;
  • ways to find the right designer for your project;
  • guide to analysis of designer skills based on their portfolio;
  • tips and tricks for designer evaluation during an interview and test assignment.

Let us walk you through all the stages of designer resourcing to make the best choices for your business.


Designer’s Work
What does a designer do?
In-house VS Freelance
In-house VS Freelance
Where to hire a designer?
Where to hire a designer?
Design Portfolio Review
Design Portfolio Review
Design Interview
Design Interview
Part 1
Part 1

Let's cut to the chase: 99,9% of products need a designer. But which one? With so many different types of designers out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. That's where we come in. We've examined the differences between the main types of designers — UI, UX, product, graphic designers, and even designer-developers so that you can find the right professional for your project.

Don't waste time and money on the wrong designer. Let us help you optimize costs, streamline development, and create intuitive and reliable software that appeals to your target audience.

Why hire a UI/UX designer?

Creating software that users will love requires more than just good code. You need a UI/UX designer who can bring a fresh perspective to your product and help you make it stand out from the competition.

A skilled designer will ensure that your product looks great, meets industry standards, and is easy to use. They'll work with you to understand your users' needs and create a design that addresses those needs in a way that makes sense.

In fact, good design can be the difference between a successful product and one that fails. Without it, users can become frustrated and abandon your software altogether, no matter how good the underlying code may be. That's why it's essential to invest in a UI/UX designer who can help you create a product that not only meets your users' needs but also delights them.

Now that "why should we hire a UX designer" is no longer a question, let's explore "who to hire” and then go to "how to hire ux designers”.

UX Designer 

A User Experience (UX) designer is responsible for how users interact with software, whether a website, app or desktop program. In other words, a UX designer determines users' actions to achieve their intended results and how to make these actions intuitive.

For instance, have you ever experienced a frustratingly long sign-up process that required too much information or had inconvenient drop-down menus? Let us introduce — bad user experience design.

On the other hand, have you ever come across a website that is incredibly easy to use, with no intrusive pop-ups, where you could find everything you needed quickly, almost as if guided by an invisible hand? Not magic, just an example of good UX design.
Things a UX Designer is good at and bad at

When do you need a UX designer?

A UX designer can be your secret weapon in creating easy-to-use software that keeps your customers coming back for more. From laying the foundation in the early stages of product development to delivering quality-of-life improvements down the line, a skilled UX designer can analyze user flow and identify weak spots that could be harming your business.

For instance, did you know that 30% of commercial customers abandon their shopping carts due to a convoluted checkout process? Don't let your business suffer — get a UX designer.

UI Designer 

A User Interface (UI) designer transforms the results of a UX designer's work into aesthetically pleasing interfaces. They pick enchanting colors, play with fonts, and juggle visuals to make your software look modern, sleek, and oh-so-appealing.

UI design breathes life into a project. Without it most apps and websites would look like soulless pieces of software in fifty shades of grey.

Things a UI Designer is good at and bad at

When do you need a UI designer? 

In the business world, looks matter. That's why you need a UI designer who can make your website or app visually appealing and downright irresistible. And when it's time to freshen things up, they're the ones to call. Don't settle for a dull and forgettable design – hire a UI designer.

UI and UX are the yin and yang of software design. Though you rarely find a pure UI designer or UX designer. Often, the skills are combined in the face of a UX/UI designer.

UX/UI Designer 

As the name suggests, some designers combine both UI and UX skills, which makes them a jack of all trades in software design.

Many modern designers learn both disciplines to be more efficient and in demand. Understanding UI design helps establish a solid foundation for visually appealing products at the early stages of UX design. With this knowledge, they can handle UI design with a deeper understanding of the underlying functionality without consulting other designers.

Things a UX/UI Designer is good at and bad at

When do you need a UX/UI designer?

When do you need a UX/UI designer?

A UX/UI designer is your go-to person if you require both UI and UX expertise.

Hiring a UX/UI designer has two significant advantages:

  • A single person is cheaper than hiring two separate professionals;
  • There are no difficulties or extra time spent communicating visions and ideas between UI and UX employees.

However, if your budget allows it, hiring two UX/UI designers, one who excels at UI and another at UX, is often better. They'll make an absolute software design powerhouse capable of handling a significant workload.

Product Designer

Product designers are the unsung heroes of software development. They're the ones who solve product-related problems to help your business thrive.

Need to sell more goods on your website? A product designer will dive deep into the issue, analyze the market and target audience, and develop a concept, structure, and functionality to help you succeed.

While UX designers focus on making the page intuitive, product designers focus on making it more valuable for your business. Together, they're a powerhouse duo that can take your product to the next level.

Things a Product Designer is good at and bad at

When do you need a product designer? 

A product designer is a go-to person for directing the strategic growth of your product through well-planned updates and changes.

Graphic designer

A graphic designer, sometimes known as a brand designer, is the magic maker that will help you communicate your company's ideas and messages while also crafting a stunning visual identity for your brand and online presence. From creating eye-catching social media banners and infographics to designing captivating posters, flyers, and corporate presentations, they are the creative force you need to stand out from the crowd.

Things a Graphic Designer is good at and bad at

When do you need a graphic designer? 

Hiring a graphic design specialist is essential if your company wants to expand its online presence and improve its branding. Additionally, a specialist may be necessary to create graphic designs for the company's internal needs.


We may surprise you, but there is such kind of designers — often freelancers — who state that they can design and develop your project. Should you hire them? Better not.

Developer-designers are as rare as unicorns and as treacherous as mountain passes. Modern development and design require a broad set of skills. Without devoting significant time to learning, trying, and failing, a designer-developer won't be able to deliver decent design and code. At best, you're risking mediocrity; at worst, you may end up with clunky, slow, and unusable software.

While there may be exceptions, they are few and far between. It's safer to hire developers and designers separately to ensure the quality of your project.

What designer level do I need? 

If the previous section wasn't confusing enough, designers are also classified according to their experience and skill level. Generally, there are three levels: junior, middle, and senior. Let's examine the differences between them. Note that there are intermediary levels, such as "strong junior" or "strong middle," but we won't focus on them here.

Designer levels: junior, middle, and senior.

Summing Up

Design can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Here's a simple breakdown:

  • Software development needs UX/UI designers;
  • Brand development needs visual designers and graphic design professionals;
  • Product and business growth requires product designers.

Not sure where to start? Contact us for an expert consultation or to relieve the burden of choosing the right designer from your shoulders — outsourcing is a great way to do just that.

Part 2
Part 2

Now that you know which designers you need, you may wonder, what is the best way to hire a designer? You've come to the right place.

In this section, you will get practical advice based on Cieden's experience, and we'll explore all the options available and cover

  • The details of each type of collaboration;
  • The critical differences between emerging and established businesses, freelancers, and agencies;
  • Methods for collaborating with an agency or dedicated designers.

Hiring an in-house design team

A company without a designer is like a phone without a camera — it still functions, but you miss out on the benefits.

Hiring an in-house design team seems like a straightforward, convenient, and lasting solution. Well, I find it logical — you get a specialist who will permanently work only for you and know your product like the palm of a hand. Seems like the perfect scenario?

Let's break it down to see all the pros and cons.

Pros of in-house design team:

  • Independence from third parties. Your in-house designers know the company's needs and processes, work more efficiently, and don't juggle tasks from ten other clients.
  • Full control over the management processes. You get to decide how to manage the team and which approach is the best within the company’s framework.
  • Brand consistency. The idea is obvious — your in-house designers are the most familiar people with the company's vision and brand identity, especially if they are the ones who created this identity.
  • A long-term benefit. If your designers stay, they will become well aware of your company processes, product peculiarities, and the “internal kitchen.”

If you spend a decent amount of time picking up the right designers, constantly take care of their development and growth, and get them the best equipment — an in-house team will prosper your company. The fact is that not all companies have the resources for such a long process. This brings us to the drawbacks of having an in-house team.

Cons of in-house design team:

  • Price. Businesses must pay salaries, office rent, additional taxes, and employee benefits. Don't forget about modern equipment and software for designers — an in-house team may cost a pretty penny.
  • Time. Finding a single designer can take a few months considering the preparation, search, and interviewing process. And even after all the recruitment challenges, you can’t be sure that the person you’ve found is a proper match. If you need several designers, multiply the effort by their number.
  • Unpredictability. If your employees get sick or go on vacation, the work stops or slows down.
  • Liability. After you’ve hired in-house designers, you have to keep them busy. With no workload, you're forced to cover unjustifiable expenses, and your employees can become frustrated.

When to hire an in-house design team?

An in-house design team can greatly help companies with substantial budgets and a stable design workload. Consider that each month of downtime will cost money.

An in-house design team is overkill if you only require a limited scope of tasks, such as with minor updates here and there. In this case, you'll likely spend more time hiring than working on the design.

Addressing the main risk of hiring an in-house design team

 If you see that the in-house model is suitable for you, spend money and time — your most valuable resource — searching and interviewing. Then, finally, you find the one and sign an offer. But what if the candidate only seemed a good choice?

Hiring the wrong people is the most significant risk of an in-house design team. You must validate their portfolios and skills to ensure you have relevant professionals. How to do it? Well, it’s a complex topic that deserves its own guide. You can read more about it down below.

Hiring freelance designers

Hiring a freelance designer can be a great way to get professional services without the overhead of a full-time design team. The attitude towards work from home changes; people prefer flexibility and freedom, so the freelance niche is booming.

Pros of hiring freelance designers:

  • Price. Hiring a freelance designer is less expensive than hiring an in-house designer or partnering with a design company. There are no overhead costs, and you usually pay an hourly rate.
  • Time. If you needed the work done yesterday, freelancers are the best choice, as they often work on short notice. Also, they’re used to quickly switching between various small projects.
  • A huge pool of pros to choose from. There are hundreds of thousands of freelance designers, and most are ready to go to great lengths to get a gig.

Cons of hiring freelance designers:

  • Reliability. The saturation of the market also means there are a lot of beginners. Finding an experienced freelance designer with a free slot soon enough may prove difficult.
  • No supervision. Not all people can organize and plan work equally well. While agencies and in-house teams have dedicated professionals, freelancers have no choice but to do it themselves.
  • Less focus on design. Freelancer designers are also their own managers, supervisors, and salespeople. It means they have less time and energy for design.
  • Design-development conflict. Freelancers are so used to working independently that they may lose sight of one crucial point: they need to create projects that can be transferred to the development stage. This is a big one — what is the point of a beautiful draft if devs cannot make it a working website?
  • Bad for big and complex projects. Complex projects usually require a whole design team. Hiring a team of freelancers is difficult, but making them work together efficiently is a true challenge.

When to hire freelance designers?

As we see, freelancers are great for minor tasks. For example, if you need a single-screen design, a simple landing page UI, or basic marketing materials.

When the scope of work is not so large to pay a full-time specialist, and there is just a need to fulfill your design needs once — start browsing the freelance marketplace.

If the task is hefty or requires a wide range of design skills — UI, UX, product, and brand design — you're better off with an in-house team or design agency.

Addressing the main risk of hiring freelance designers

Finding freelance designers that’ll deliver on time or deliver at all is the greatest challenge of this approach. To minimize the risk, there are two main tips:

  1. Pick freelancers with proven track records and either sign a contract or work through specific platforms that offer some guarantee. The lowest rate is not the reason to set fifteen milestones at once and hope for a marvelous result.
  2. Find an in-house manager for a freelancer. It is tricky to normalize work with freelancers because they are simultaneously accountants, PMs, designers, and testers. Take the load off the freelancer's shoulders and leave him only those tasks he needs to do.

Keep in mind that 99.9% of freelancers are solo businesses that are not trying to build a "name." Therefore, no company brand will be responsible for the quality of their work. That is what brings us to the last point.

Hiring design agencies

Design agencies combine the best of both worlds. On one hand, you don’t have to spend time and money hiring and supporting the in-house workforce. On the other hand, you have the access to a well-put-together design-focused team under professional supervision. In short, the best way to get things done without breaking the bank.

Pros of design agencies:

  • A battle-ready team. You get a team fully equipped with all the professionals you need for the project, including a project manager and HR to keep them happy and productive. Whether you need animations, illustrations, graphic design, or branding materials, there will be the right person for the job.
  • Best designers. Agencies invest a lot in professional growth: courses, libraries, certifications, time for self-development, and challenging tasks. It means you get skilled, experienced designers. Besides, the best agencies need to have robust recruitment departments. It helps to hire and grow strong teams — a crucial competitive advantage.
  • Time to market. A design agency will deliver if you need a quality product on the market ASAP. Besides, you don’t have to spend time hiring freelancers or assembling an in-house team.
  • Reliability. You don’t get to worry about designers getting sick, leaving their jobs, or underperforming. It’s an agency’s responsibility to make any bumps unnoticeable to you.

Cons of design agencies

  • Price. Partnering with a design agency will be more expensive than hiring freelancers (but less expensive than hiring an in-house team if it’s an offshore design agency).
  • Lack of total control. You’ll have some control over your team, but the agency will handle the management/supervision. Also, like in-house teams, design agencies rarely work on weekends or during late hours.

When to partner with a design agency? 

Design agencies are great for complex design tasks, including UI/UX design, product development,  business analysis, high-level consultancy, customer relationships management, or design audit. If the job is too big for a freelancer, and you don’t want the hassle of an in-house team — partner with a design agency.

Sometimes, it’s beneficial to mix hiring approaches. For example:

  • A design agency can bootstrap a product and create the initial style;
  • In-house designers can be hired later to manage A/B and usability testing, long-term support, and optimization.

Addressing the main risk of hiring a design agency

When looking for a design agency to handle all your needs, it is common to consider hiring an onshore team. However, this solution has a few drawbacks.

First, onshore teams are usually more expensive than offshore ones. The difference in economic conditions between countries allows offshore agencies to keep costs low and margins thin.

Second, onshore teams don't necessarily mean better quality. Offshore agencies often compete with onshore companies and other offshore agencies globally, forcing them to maintain high-quality standards.

To select an offshore design agency that meets your needs:

  • Check their reviews on websites like Clutch;
  • Carefully examine their portfolio on Bribbble or Behance;
  • Inquire about the team's level of English proficiency;
  • Schedule a call with them to discuss their approach and vision;
  • Request information on working hours and the team members who will be working on your project

With many excellent design agencies worldwide, finding the perfect match is possible. Don't settle for less than the best — partner with a design agency to complete your project.

Part 3
Part 3

Whether you need an in-house team, a freelance designer, or a design agency, the first step is knowing where to look. We've got you covered with the most popular hunting grounds for designers and agencies. But before you start your search, you need a killer job description. Let's make sure you're attracting the right candidates from the get-go.

How to write a perfect job description

Writing a proper job description is half the battle in finding a high-end professional designer. Although it may seem straightforward, many people still get it wrong by either trying too hard or not at all.

Our advice is to avoid reinventing the wheel. Be straight to the point and include all essential information with minimum to no vague statements and cliches. You can read a perfect job description diagonally and still get all the info you need.

Perfect job description example

You don’t necessarily need a job description. Suppose you want to partner with a design agency. Give an agency enough information about your project, and they will provide you with the project estimate and optimal team composition.

Where to search for designers and design agencies? 

So you have your killer job description, but where do you find the right candidates? Different platforms will help with the task depending on which approach you prefer. Let’s check them out. 

Places to search for designers

Job Listings: for in-house designers

Job listing resources such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, Work in Startups, AngelList, and LinkedIn are the most reliable way to find in-house employees. To get started, create a company profile, submit your job offering with an attractive job description, and wait for people to apply.

One of the reasons job listings are so effective is that people who need a job approach you rather than the other way around. If you open a "remote design position" on a job listing resource, you may receive requests from design agencies. If you’re 100% sure you don’t want to work with the agency, mention it in the description. It’ll save you time.

Sometimes though, job listings aren’t enough. So, improving your chances of success with social media ads is a good idea.

Active recruiting: in-house designers 

Don't wait for the perfect candidate, go find them! Active recruiting is a proactive approach to hiring that broadens your reach and increases your chances of success. With experienced designer recruiters leading the way, you can seek out and approach excellent candidates, initiate and lead the conversation, and bring top talent to your team.

LinkedIn is a great platform for active recruiting. Don't have the resources for active recruiting? No problem, consider hiring a recruiting agency.

Portfolio websites: freelancers, agencies, in-house

Behance, Dribble, and other portfolio websites exist to allow designers and design agencies to showcase their design and idea communication skills. Users present their visual case studies with insights into the product development process. These websites are great for finding experienced designers whose styles match your taste.

However, if you are searching for designers or design agencies on Behance or Dribble, it is essential to know how to analyze a design portfolio. To learn more about researching a design portfolio, read on below.

Social media ads: in-house designers 

With people spending an ungodly number of hours online, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be surprisingly effective in finding the perfect candidate. So why not put them to work for you?

Word of Mouth: in-house designers, agencies, freelancers 

When it comes to finding a design agency, nothing beats a recommendation from a trusted source. Tap into your industry network, ask for advice, and see if they can connect you with a great agency. But be careful not to fall for a recommendation just because of a referral bonus. Always check the experience and ensure that the agency is a good fit for your needs.

You can also try contacting your preferred agency, even if they seem too expensive or busy. They might just have the perfect alternative in mind. After all, they're experts in the field and know the best partners to work with. Don't let a minor setback leave you hanging!

Clutch: design agencies 

Clutch is a B2B market research platform that gathers and verifies client reviews on service companies. The platform then organizes the data into an elegant rating system that contains all the essential information on the companies’ service quality and work ethics.

Due to its approach and convenience, Clutch has become one of the primary places to discover top B2B service providers. Using Clutch, you no longer have to worry about the lack of social proof regarding your potential design partner.

Upwork: design agencies, freelance designers

Upwork is a marketplace for freelance talent and design agencies.

The process is straightforward: create a job posting, wait for proposals, shortlist candidates, and check their profiles and portfolios to find the best fit. Alternatively, you can search for talent by categories and keywords. If you need two sources, there is also Toptal, a more expensive alternative to Upwork that does not include design agencies.

Also — sorry for the shameless self-plug — Cieden is a top-rated agency on Upwork.

Local design courses: in-house designers

If your budget is low. local courses are amazing for finding trainee/junior designers. Research the local courses and ask the mentors or tutors to recommend you the students. They would be happy to help their best students get the job, and the students would be happy to work for you. That’s how plenty of successful and lasting partnerships began. 

How to hire the best designer for your needs

If you're looking to hire a UX designer, there are a few things you should keep in mind. We don’t want to be downers, but there's no one perfect way to hire a designer.

Different tasks require different design tools, so the best one for you depends on your specific circumstances and design requirements. One of the preferred tools among professionals is Adobe Photoshop. If you’re unsure, there’s no beating the experience. Sometimes, you just need to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. We hope our little article will help you aim your throws better.

That said, we do have a few tips to offer when choosing the best designer:

Know what type of designer you need

The first step in hiring a designer is to know what kind of designer you need. Are you looking for someone with experience in web design, graphic design, product design, or something else? Being clear on the type of designer you need will help you find the right person for the job.

Experience matters, but education is secondary

When hiring a designer, don't get too hung up on their education. Sure, a degree in design can be helpful, but it doesn't necessarily mean they're a great designer. Instead, focus on their portfolio and previous work to determine if they have the skills and experience you need. Don't be fooled by diplomas and awards for school projects — it's their real-world experience that counts.

Review previous work and discuss your brand

To find the perfect designer for your needs, look for examples of their work that match the project you have in mind. Discuss your brand with them to ensure they understand your values and aesthetics and can create designs that resonate with your audience.

Have a diverse hiring team

If you want to hire the perfect designer for your needs, don't underestimate the power of diversity. Even though it’s great to understand exactly what you need from a candidate — check out UX/UI design matrix if you need —  a team with different backgrounds and perspectives can provide valuable feedback. Mainly such a team can ensure that your new designer fits your company culture well. Plus, a diverse team can help you avoid unconscious bias and consider a broader range of candidates.


Part 4
Part 4

So far, you've learned how to find design experts and agencies that match your requirements. Now, it's time to evaluate their portfolios to determine their skills and find the best candidate.

However, analyzing design portfolios can be tricky. You shouldn't be fooled by flashy visuals alone! Designers know how to make things look beautiful, even if there isn't much substance underneath. It's only by looking past these tricks and evaluating the work itself that you can determine the most suitable candidate.

In this document, we'll show you how to analyze UI/UX portfolios to determine whether a designer has the necessary skills.

How to analyze a UX designer’s skills through portfolio 

Analyzing a UX designer's skills through their portfolio is an important step in the actual hiring process. Here are some key things to look for:

Analysis of UX designer’s skills through portfolio

How to analyze a UI Designer’s skills through portfolio

A good portfolio is a selection of works that demonstrate a designer’s ability to create interfaces for different software products in different styles. Also, such a portfolio should demonstrate the general flow of the products and consistency of style and not present the best screens from different apps.  

To analyze a UI designer’s skills check their portfolio for:

Analysis of UI designer’s skills through portfolio

While you can analyze aspects such as those mentioned above without much experience, other factors require extensive UI training, such as contrast ratios, grids, adherence to platform guidelines, and data alignment in forms and tables. However, the analytical basis we provided is enough to identify inexperienced designers.

Additionally, you can test your ability to detect UI imperfections with this fun test. It also explains correct answers, allowing you to learn in the process.

How to analyze UI/UX designers portfolio

A portfolio for a UI/UX designer should showcase their user experience and user interface design skills. Such portfolios often combine both UI and UX cases, providing not only the visuals of the software but also the analysis and thinking behind the solutions. To analyze a UI/UX designer's portfolio, refer to the recommendations provided in the previous two chapters. But remember:

Some designers have stronger UI skills, while others are stronger in UX. When looking for a UI/UX designer, pay more attention to whichever skill your company needs. Sometimes, finding a unicorn is easier than finding someone with equally powerful UI and UX expertise.

General designer interview questions to find the best design portfolios

Here are a few questions you can ask about UI/UX portfolios to find the best candidate.

Do you see a story?

In a portfolio, each case should weave together into a captivating story. The viewer should be left with a crystal-clear understanding of the designer's contributions. Without this essential skill, a designer may struggle to communicate their ideas and construct a flowing narrative.

Is their role in those cases transparent? 

In many cases, an entire design department works on a product. If a designer presents such a case in their portfolio, it should be clear what their specific contribution was. For example, the designer may have created wireframes, designed UI based on wireframes created by other designers, or conducted customer research. 

Are there any cases in your industry or domain?

We can’t stress this enough: if you want the best match, find designers who have experience in your domain or industry. 

So, pay twice as much attention to portfolios with cases similar to your product. The more similarities, the better: market niche, platform, target audience, etc.

Are there any views and comments from other people?

Social proof can be tricky, especially if you don't know anything about the credentials of those providing it. However, if the portfolio is publicly accessible, check the comments section. Medium, Behance, and Dribble are particularly useful in this regard. 

Besides, you can always do some quick Googling to check whether the commenters have the experience to back up their claims.

Do you personally like their cases?

To achieve productive "creative chemistry" between you and a designer, it's important to find someone whose taste matches yours. This will result in a better and more beautiful product with each iteration, inspiring you even more.

Therefore, choose designers with portfolios that you find attractive or, if that's not an option, ensure their work doesn't cause aesthetic discomfort.

Do you like their way of thinking and solving problems?

Designing a product involves continuous problem-solving. How can user flow be made more intuitive? How can the conversion rate be increased? How can design freshness and appeal be maintained? How can usability be improved?

If you appreciate a designer's problem-solving approach in their specialized field, you will likely have a long-lasting professional partnership.

Does it address business goals? 

Designers, particularly those in middle and senior positions, should contribute to the company's goals through their work. Portfolios that state the product's mission objective and demonstrate how designers helped to achieve it will earn bonus points.

Summing Up

Our recommendations will help you identify inexperienced or under-skilled designers, but let's face it: there's no substitute for a true design expert. Game recognizes game, and only an experienced designer will spot all the nuances and red flags of a design portfolio. So, if you need help finding the perfect designer for your team, don't hesitate to contact us. We'll make sure you get the best of the best.


Part 5
Part 5

After checking dozens of resumes and portfolios, it's time to ace the interviews! In this section, we'll share our expert tips on how to get the most out of your interviews, including:

In this section, you will learn about the following:

  • Three types of designer thinkers;
  • Questions to ask during the interview;
  • Test assignments to evaluate UI/UX skills;
  • Is there a perfect interview?

3 Types of Thinkers in Design

Types of Thinkers in Design

Whether you need a burst of creativity or a data-backed strong design strategy, there's a designer for that. Just make sure you're putting each team member's strengths to work. In our experience, design thinkers can be roughly divided into three categories:

Creative (divergent) thinking

"Open minds for open designs" — studies have shown that creativity is associated with openness and extraversion. Designers with creative thinking make a source of incredible opportunities for projects that require originality and imagination.

Convergent (analytical) thinking

Convergent thinking is the superpower that enables you to see patterns, find structure and make data-driven design decisions. It's perfect for data-driven design and excels in projects built on research and constant validation.

Lateral thinking

Rare lateral thinkers can think in both modes simultaneously. Their brain can create original ideas based on structured information and logic or momentarily select the best, viable ideas from hundreds of creative ideas that come to their minds.

Whether you need originality and creativity or data-driven decisions and research-based insights, there's a way to make the most of your team's talents. So don't ask a creative person to spend a month analyzing data or an analytical person to come up with multiple original designs. Give them tasks and projects that match their strengths, and watch them shine.

9 questions you can ask during interview process

Here are some universal questions that can help you gauge their experience and expertise, regardless of the context. From their professional background to their motivations, these questions will give you the insights you need to make the right hiring decision. So, let's dive in and find the perfect designer for your team!

How to Hire a UX/UI Designer in 2024 (FULL GUIDE) Cieden

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;
  • — 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.

Test Assignment 

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.

Screen with a usability flaws

A UX designer could notice the following flaws:

  • There are three scroll blocks on this page. It's better to have one scroll if possible so users will not make mistakes, and it will take less time to navigate the page.
  • The active menu item is named differently than the page header.
  • The implementation of the master-detail view can be improved to make it less disconnected. It may take some users time to understand how the navigation works.


Here are a few new features that can improve the design:

  • To improve the user experience of this CRM, we can provide aggregated information about customer searches on the first screen. This will save users from having to click through multiple pages to access customer information.
  • We can add a sidebar with the ability to save contextual notes before the call. Or canvas similar to the notion app so users can easily link properties, contacts, documents, or specific info about those properties.
  • If agents work on multiple contracts simultaneously, maybe we should consider opening contracts in new tabs or even internal ones inside the app.

In general, we have defined 250 topics of design theory that we expect a mid-level designer to understand. Additionally, 50 design skills are validated through portfolios, test assignments, and project performance.

While we can't cover everything here, check out our UX/UI design matrix to see the exact requirements for each level and skill.

A Customized Interview Process

There is no one-size-fits-all interview process. Your approach should be adjusted based on your requirements, budget, time constraints, and available resources. However, the key to a successful interview remains the same: clearly define what you are looking for, prepare thoroughly, ask relevant questions, and analyze the results.

It's also important to note that even the most well-executed interview process cannot guarantee a 100% success rate. As a top design agency in Ukraine, we have a multi-stage interview process with sophisticated test tasks that evaluate Product, UX, and UI. Yet, around 20% of our hires are not successful.

Summing up

Design is blind to gender, race, age, and cultural background. What truly matters are experience, skill, and emotional intelligence. Embrace diversity and find the perfect match for your company.

We all are in the people business, even more so than the technology business. So, the ability to select and grow the best teams is the number one competitive advantage. Feel free to contact us if you share our vision and want to build great things with Cieden.


Why hire a UI/UX designer?

A UX designer can transform your product into a visually stunning, user-friendly experience. With their expertise, they can conduct user research, create prototypes, and design the overall user interface to elevate your brand. UX designers can help improve employee satisfaction and retention by designing interfaces that make it easy to access and understand employment benefits. By hiring a UX designer, you can provide an exceptional user experience that builds customer loyalty and retention.

Where to hire a UX designer?

You can find and hire top talent from online job boards, design agencies, and freelance platforms. Check out popular job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn. Or, connect with agency designers or freelance platform to access a network of talented specialists.

How much does it cost to hire a UX/UI designer?

The average salary of UI/UX experts range from $25 to $100+ per hour, depending on the project scope and the level of experience. Note that UX designer salaries vary greatly depending on factors such as location, experience, and industry. Whether you need junior designers or seasoned pros, there is a UI/UX expert out there who can take your project to the next level.

How to hire a UX designer?

First, determine your needs and budget. Then, scour job boards, professional networks, and design communities. But don't stop there! Conduct thorough interviews and review portfolios to ensure the designer has the skills and experience to meet your requirements. 

What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a way to solve problems that focuses on understanding the needs of users, coming up with ideas, testing solutions, and making improvements until a good solution is found. It is important for businesses to have deep understanding of design thinking so they can create new and better solutions that meet the needs of their users in a competitive market.

Why consider Cieden design agency?

Cieden is not your average design agency. Our experienced designers are passionate about creating innovative and user-centered designs that stand out from the competition. We have a proven track record of delivering successful projects for clients across various industries, and our collaborative design process ensures that we provide designs that meet your specific needs. 

With Cieden, you can expect high-quality designs that are both functional and visually stunning. Don't settle for the ordinary — choose Cieden.

start your project with us.

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