|Question Type||Questions||What interviewers are looking for||UX Topic||Difficulty (1-5, 5 is hardest)||Additional Comments|
|Behavioral||If a client looks at your mockup and says "you did X, but we asked for Y," how would you respond?||Is it in the statement of work? This question tends to be tied to companies that work with clients (i.e. ad agency), where project briefs / statement of works are required to prevent scope creep. |
If a client asks this, you can ask if it's in the statement of work. If they have an issue with it, you can 1) offer to do a workshop with them or 2) identify this as a question to direct towards a project manager / senior lead on the project.
|Behavioral||No single report, write-up, or chart can usually tell the whole story of a test or a design. Tell me about some situations where you’ve had to use different kinds of communications to fully tell the story. How do you decide where to start? |
Describe your method of investigation if you are faced with a completely unfamiliar topic or subject.
|The question is looking for some type of communication strategy. See if you recognize that presenting to business stakeholders might require a different approach than showing a fellow designer your prototype. |
Some different types of communications:
- clickable prototype
- annotated wireframes
- powerpoint/keynote deck
- prototype video (shows you clicking through)
- storyboards, moodboards, comic strips, sketches
|Collaboration||5||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Behavioral||Describe an instance when you had to create a document describing a complex process for someone.||They want you to know how you deal with organizing complexity|
List the steps that you took to create the document or explain something to someone. This could involve starting off with annotated wireframes then walking your team through your design in person.
|Collaboration||5||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Behavioral||Can you tell us about a time you had to defend a design or your design was not accepted?||Gauge how you handle feedback and your collaboration skills. |
Answer in a way that shows that you can explain your ideas and concepts clearly
|Behavioral||How do you work with engineering/product/marketing/[other group] ?||Have a general knowledge of what comprises a product team. Interviewers want to know if you can talk to (and leverage) other people to figure out a problem||Collaboration||4|
|Behavioral||How do you choose which features to include/exclude from a product?||So many potential good answers to this, but I would mention:|
- doing some sort of user research (e.g. interviews) to validate features
- understanding business goals & objectives
- prioritizing features by importance to user, development effort, time
|UX Process||4||There are actually spreadsheets named "Feature Value Matrix" to help business people and designers prioritize features.|
|Behavioral||Have you ever had to push back against Product management? Please give an example? Also, what if Product just told you what to do / said it wasn't in the budget, how would you address this?||1. Give an example obviously, and be specific (i.e. we argued about whether we should have a [continue] or [OK] button on this screen that would do this)|
2. Talk about the process specifically, they want to see how you approached the problem
3. Talk about results -- what happened?
|Behavioral||Do you prefer working in a waterfall or agile development process? Why?||I would outright advise everyone to not just say "waterfall," because that is a red flag to most employers that you're old school. |
There's a time and place for any type of product development process, so you could answer with "it depends" on the request, context, and of course constraints of the project
|UX Process||4||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Behavioral||If your co-workers were to describe you, what would they say?||Looking for an honest, self-aware answer. If you were to provide three adjectives, make one of them unique (not just "hardworking" or "passionate").||4||Typically catches candidates off guard, now they have to externalize what they think others think of them in a working context|
|Behavioral||Describe a time when you had to admit you were out of your depth and needed help.||How did you approach the discussion? What would you change about the next time you found yourself in such a situation?||3||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Behavioral||What specific kind of creative or design work have you not done before you would like to try if you got the chance?||Show curiosity and desire to grow||2||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Behavioral||How do you react when requirements change at the last minute?||How do you adapt to change? Are you flexible and proactive? |
Explore the deeper issue - is there a communication issue? What could have prevented this, or could prevent this from happening again in the future?
Example: a client might keep changing their mind because they keep looking at what competitors do and what to mimic that. Offer to do a competitive audit with recommendations, but also ask for the time and budget. Sometimes you have to suck it up and do extra work.
Is there an opportunity for good project management practices, such as creating a requirements list, assigning ownership, etc?
|4||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Behavioral||Share with me a project where you failed and what did you learn?||Show humility, ability to learn from setbacks, ability to improve||4|
|Behavioral||Tell me about the most difficult person you've ever worked with.||Show your sensitivity even dealing with difficult people, and your approaches. Bonus points if you mention specific communication strategies.||5|
|Behavioral||Tell me about the last time you disagreed with your boss (or another team member)||Show your ability to communicate clearly and depending on context, being able to be open and honest with whoever you have a disagreement with. |
Good to always mention research and bringing up data to back up your point. At the end of the day it's all about the users, it's not about you being right, but about doing what's right by the users.
|Behavioral||Could you describe a time when you had to convince your team mates to change direction?||Not only tests ability to communicate or persuade, but also if you have conviction in what you do and will put in the time to passionately make your case, instead of letting another department (engineering, sales), always make the final call.||4||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Behavioral||How do you get buy-in? How do you measure ROI [return on investment] for UX?||Research & show management user pain points, talking to customer service, etc.||3||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Behavioral||How have you influenced stakeholders? How have you made quick decisions?||Ideas to talk about: including stake holders early on in the process, leveraging user research and other data as a basis for design decisions. |
Quick decisions: relying on design patterns, rapid prototyping & user testing, surveying. More quick decision making can come from good communication & process.
|Behavioral||Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.||Classic behavioral question gauging your time management skills. Team communication is a big part of this, e.g. talking to your boss about high vs low priority tasks.||3|
|Behavioral||How do you balance customer and business goals?||- Ability to demonstrate value/ROI of UX|
- Evangelizing UX through user testing, usability reports, numbers
- Break goals down into smaller chunks, go for small wins
|Behavioral||What problems do you encounter when communicating your UX documentation to stakeholders and how do you resolve them?||[What is your process] to create a persona ... the tools and methods you use to help you craft them? ... This shows me ... whether they use primary or secondary research, how they gather that research, whether they are familiar with analytics tools etc.||4|
|Recruiting||Tell us about yourself||A concise statement about your experiences leading up to this point in the interview, why you're interested in this field and position|
Don't be afraid to include your hobbies and what you like to do for fun. Interviewers are also looking for a personality, not just another worker drone
|3||The most common recruiting screener. There's no substitute for knowing your story!|
|Recruiting||Can you talk about one of your projects?||* UX keywords to see if you can “talk the talk”|
* Ability to communicate clearly
* Ability to communicate the value of what you did
|Recruiting||How did you become a UX designer?||Wants to see your background, tell your story about your unique strengths, weaknesses and journey into this field. |
This is an opportunity to be relatable and share your relationship to the field of UX design
|Recruiting||Why are you looking to leave (your current job)?||Usually a safe bet is to talk about your personal growth and how you see the company you're interviewing with helps you grow.|
Recruiters ask this to spot for red flags in culture fit, interpersonal relationships, attitude problems, etc.
Avoid complaining old coworkers or saying bad things about previous companies.
|Recruiting||What's your interest in this company? (Or "what do you know about us?")||A little research goes a long way here. Talk about any products or design challenges the company has, that interests you. Or you may want to join because of the caliber of the team.||2|
|Recruiting||Why are you interested in UX?||See if you have passion and interest in the field. Opportunity to share your personal story into the field||1|
|Recruiting||Tell me about a project you've designed that you're proud of.||If you're able to walk them through a design process. Try using the funnel approach - start out broad with the problem, the research, then funnel down to how that problem was solved, the results, analytics involved, etc.||1|
|Recruiting||Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.||Evaluating for your work ethic - do you treat design as just another job, or is it something that you're nerdy about? Have you ever geeked out, or nerded out to something related to your job or profession? Have you gone out of your way to explain something to someone, work extra hours, or do something for the greater good of the team?||4|
|Recruiting||Do you have a desired salary range or hourly rate (if contract)?||Consider giving a range instead of a specific number. |
You can consider deferring this question by communicating that you're interested in learning more about the company and what value you can bring to the team, and that will take you some time to evaluate after talking to more members of the team.
|Technical||What app demonstrates good or bad UX, and why?||*The ability to articulate nuances of UX|
*Are you truly user-centered and talk about research, testing and iterating through different approaches?
|Technical||What is your experience with developing new products? What about existing ones?||Identify if you understand that working with new products can require a different process than existing ones. |
For example, new products give the opportunity of an end-to-end UX process (discovery through design), whereas for existing products you have to tailor your approach to the maturity or current opportunities with the product.
|Technical||Under what circumstances might you intervene in a usability test?||To demonstrate a person’s philosophy of usability testing.|
I ask for the last example, and then have a conversation about what happened to the data in that instance. We usability test in a very particular (and slightly unorthodox) way, and I can generally get a feel for whether a person will be comfortable working with us (and of course vice versa) from this conversation.
|User Testing||5||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Technical||Why is it okay to use small sample sizes for usability tests?||This tricky question is really about identifying the difference between market and user research. |
Market research typically require larger sample sizes and concerns demographics.
User research looks at behavior instead of demographics, and thus insights can be gleaned from smaller sample sizes. Example - observing that all 5 users have trouble figuring out your site's navigation is enough to show you that there's a glaring usability problem
|User Testing||5||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Technical||How do you map research questions / goals to methodology choice?||Gauging if you are knowledgeable about different research methods, and when to apply what. I recommend giving a few "if this then that" scenarios of what you would do.||UX Research||5||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Technical||When you create a task, what are you looking to observe about a user’s behavior?||Often, how users behave is different from what they say. They might struggle with something, then when asked "How was it?" They'd say "Easy!" |
So when you create a task, one of the things you should strive to do is to elicit a user's natural behavior without LEADING them. Do not create a leading question, and stay as neutral as possible to evaluate a user's true actions
|User Testing||5||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Technical||How do you know when your design is "done"?||Talk about constraints (schedule/budget/stakeholders), and how different elements of the UX process (user research, user testing) can help you get as close to "done" as possible||UX Process||4|
|Technical||How would you design for a certain persona?||Tests if you've practiced the basics of user research; talk about requirements, the considerations & tradeoffs you'll make versus other personas, etc. Bonus if you talk about learning from the EXTREMES (edge-cases), not just the average.||Personas||4|
|Technical||What is your experience with User Research? What role do you think should User Research play in a startup environment?||Discuss any relevant user research projects you've done. Again, sharing an interesting insight on something you learned during the user research process will engage your interviewer.|
For the 2nd part of this question, know that the methodology for user research in a startup is more sensitive to time and budget.
|User Research||4||Look up "guerilla UX research" or read Erika Hall's "Just Enough Research"|
|Technical||What process would you leave out for (insert type) of project?||The interviewer is asking you to pit THEORY against REAL-LIFE constraints (time, money, resources). The "perfect" design process cannot be done all the time, so give an example of a project in which you prioritized by leaving/minimizing one process while focusing on another||UX Process||4|
|Technical||What are your design principles?||This type of question looks for a candidate's "deepness." Are you not just a pixel pusher, but do you think about design in a philosophical way? The way that it has impact on other people? What do you strive for in design (i.e. simplicity, consistency, etc)?||4|
|Technical||What's the difference between an assumption and a hypothesis?||Communicate your own definition of assumption vs hypothesis, but also go a step beyond and provide an example in the context of designing a product for real users.||UX Research||4|
|Technical||What is your process in terms of presenting your work?||Gauge presentation & communication skills. Do you prime your audience for the information you're about to give them? Tailor your message to a certain audience? Do you have someone help you review your work before presenting it to a larger group?||Presentation||3|
|Technical||What type of user testing have you done?||Knowledge of different types of user testing, e.g. qualitative vs quantitative and when to use both. Knowing the tradeoffs between live guerilla user testing with a smaller sample size vs remote user testing with many more participants.||User Testing||3||Pro Tip: share an insight about your users that you've learned when user testing|
|Technical||Once you have the wireframe, how do you pass on to development?||Always talk to developers, and include them in your process instead of just handing something to figure out for themselves||Collaboration||3|
|Technical||We want to design a web form for X, how would you go about it?||Determines if you know basic rules or web form design & accessibility. Know some conventions, e.g. top-aligned labels are best in many situations, etc.||3||Look up Luke Wroblewski's blog or his book "Web Form Design" for a crash course|
|Technical||How do you test your ideas?||Basic question that looks for a couple of the common ways to test ideas. It's good to mention a specific type of user testing (e.g. a live user test) and analytics (e.g. Google Analytics)||User Testing||3|
|Technical||What is your typical design process, and which areas of the design process are your strengths?||Straightforward question but DON'T forget to mention research, testing and iterating. Far too many applicants dive into design without scaling back to think about the users and their problems||UX Process||3||For a good sample design process, skim through the book "Design for the Digital Age"|
|Technical||What's a website or app that you think demonstrates good UX? Bad UX? Why?||*The ability to articulate nuances of UX|
*Are you truly user-centered and talk about research, testing and iterating through different approaches?
*Demonstrates your UX understanding, gauges if you have a critical point of view when it comes to design. Avoid giving examples that are too common (e.g. Facebook or Apple)
|Technical||What kind of data have you used to validate a design?||Mention qualitative vs quantitative data. Metrics and tools like Google analytics, conversion rates, heat maps||3|
|Technical||What tools or methodologies do you use?||Another easy, general and common question. Often times the tools they're looking for is already in the job listing. Name those (if you have competence in said tools) and anything else is a bonus. |
List off some common methodologies across user research, user testing, validating design decisions, etc.
|Technical||Are you familiar with the concept of a minimum viable product (MVP)?||Define the MVP, which is a product that contains enough core features such that it can be used to validate the product's usability and usefulness. MVPs are developed to save time + money.||UX Process||2||The famous mantra is "don't spend a bunch of time building something your customers don't want."|
|Technical||What's a trend in UX design you don't agree with and why? ||1. You keep abreast on top UX news and trends -- this indicates passion and desire to learn |
2. You have an opinion and can defend it (i.e. what sucks, and why it sucks)
|Technical||What UX blogs, resources or books do you read or have read recently?||This is a common question and a give-me. Do NOT give a bland answer. Mentioning a few UX luminaries like Jared Spool or Luke Wroblewski will go a long way. |
The UX fields is both new and fast evolving. Interviewers want someone who will search out the new trends, read blogs, find new inspiring competitor resources, read books all on their own.
|Technical||Where do you look for inspiration?||Easy question - list the books, sites, and resources you read in order to stay fresh||1|
|Technical||Are you influenced by any approaches or styles?||Gauges how much you keep up with the industry, if you nerd out to design and are aware of design trends & other influences.||2||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Technical||How would you define usability in relation to building a website?||Provide an example of a time when you made a website more user friendly. You can also talk about challenges of designing for the website platform (vs mobile)||3||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Technical||What are the differences between usability and accessibility?||Usable products benefit everyone, whereas accessibility addresses the specific needs of a smaller (but no less important) group of people. These people can be blind, deaf, or have a disability that prevents them from consuming information in the same way as others typically would.||4||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Technical||What unique challenges exist when building responsive design websites?||Understanding of responsive web design and its complex parts, e.g. browser compatibility, typography, designing reusable components that can adjust fluidly||3||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Technical||You have a stakeholder who comes to you and says they want to redo the homepage and will you figure out what it should look like. What are a few questions you might ask right away?”||If you’re entry-level or have 1–2 years’ experience, they're very interested in understanding whether you know how to choose the right methodologies and how you take what a stakeholder or client is trying to learn and translate that into a research project.||3||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Technical||Explain the differences in interaction design, information design and interface design, and how they interact.||Jesse James Garrett's 5 Planes model can helpy you knock this question out of the park. Interaction design is more structural, working up through the interface design which is more surface level. Higher levels (interface design) are more heavily impacted by decisions made at lower levels (strategic & structural). If you change the strategy, you might have the change your entire UI and navigation. But if the strategy is sound and a visual mistake is done, it can be simple superficial fix.||3|
|Technical||What’s the process you use to analyze usability results? How do you present your findings and recommendations?||Two questions in one - first, talk about how you make sense of usability results, considering the qualitative and quantitative. Remember you have team members to rely on as well to help you make sense of it / vet your analysis. |
As for how to present your findings and recommendations, it's never a bad idea to check with your internal team (formal or informal) before spreading the findings to the team at large.
|Technical||Do you have experience designing user interfaces for large scale systems, such as an enterprise-wide data management system?||(If not, ‘what do you think some of the challenges might be?’) Goal: Get at whether they have worked with large, complex software products, multiple-view user interfaces (such as view by user type or interfaces that adapt to the type of data being viewed), saving user preferences, specialization and diversity of target user population.||2|
|Technical||Do you have experience creating and maintaining style guides?||Straightforward yes or no followed by a relevant example/experience||2|
|Technical||Do you have experience creating and maintaining widget libraries, UI element repositories, or other resource for reuse and consistency?”||Straightforward yes or no followed by a relevant example/experience||3|
|Technical||How would you measure the usability of a website or application?||Lots of methods...|
- Nielsen's 10 Heuristics
- "How do I go back? Where am I? Tests"
- Depending on the company, product and context, having access to analytics, heatmapping, other measurement tools
|2||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Technical||What other services can UX provide to the company other than usability testing and visual design?||Tests your knowledge UX's impact on business. You can easily talk about how various parts of the UX design process can help the company validate and create products faster at a lower cost, whether it's testing an MVP or doing user research.||4||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Technical||The project is launching and you’re asked to take a look at the ‘usability’. You see problems that could interfere with the project plans. What do you do?||This question is all about tradeoffs, prioritization, and communication. Since a project is launching, you can either say nothing, delay it a bit, or help stop it from launcihing depending on how big the problems are.||4||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Technical||We're thinking about including X Feature in the next release of our product. What steps do you think should be taken before release?||Looking for a process versus just blindly stuffing more features into an interface. Can you consider the tradeoffs of this feature (pros and cons) and how it'll affect the rest of the system / user experience? |
It's a good idea to include user research / testing as part of this response.
|Ҩ Curveball||What do you think makes a great UX designer vs. an average one? What makes you a great UX designer?||Demonstrate your knowledge of UX and what your personal goals are. |
This is an opportunity to showcase your transition story. Leverage your non-UX background into an asset, rather than a weakness
|Ҩ Curveball||What are the conversion points of this idea?||Understand that much of design is to solve problems, and the pathway to solve that problem is to convert a user to a buyer. This concerns strategic placement of CTAs (call to actions) and designing flows so that they're not only easy to use, but also lowering the barriers to buying. Remember, much of design relates to making money or growing (getting more users)||5||Marked highest difficulty because this is a rare question, but once designer learns about conversion centered design (10 minutes) it's easy to explain. |
Look up "conversion centered design" or google "design for conversions"
|Ҩ Curveball||How would you explain UX to a 10 year old?||Gauge presentation/communication skills. UX is new and you may have to "sell it" in your new job, so how would you explain the topic simply? |
There are many analogies that people use to explain UX. I like to use the ux-is-to-programmer as architect-is-to-construction-management analogy. It's not 100% accurate but it gets the idea that UX is a blend of strategy, creating the right blueprint and executing on a desirable experience
|Ҩ Curveball||If you had to put together an ideal UX team, who would be on it? What skills or roles would you want?||Typically reserved for a more senior designers, this question reveals if the applicant has an idea of the different skillsets required across the UX discipline||UX Process||4|
|Ҩ Curveball||What are your thoughts on designing the user experience of a startup vs. a more established brand?||Gauge if you can adapt to different design environments and contexts. Working lean and quickly may be emphasized at a startup, for example, while communication and managing different pieces might be the focus at a big enterprise||UX Process||4|
|Ҩ Curveball||Tell me at least one thing you would change about the design of our product today.||Did you research the company and try out their product/website/app? Can you demonstrate your value as a UX Designer upfront with some recommendations? |
They're not necessarily looking for you to solve their problem right away (they should pay you for that), but they are looking to see how you think and HOW you would solve their problem(s)
|Ҩ Curveball||Write down 25 ways to use a brick||This identifies people who can free themselves from reigning conventions and let their mind explore new, novel ways to do something. If they don’t take it seriously, I also learn how they’ll react to doing something they don’t want to do. |
If they don’t do all 25, I learn a bit about their persistence and determination, which are important in powering through HIPPO decisions and turning around projects so they provide the most value to the user.
|3||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Ҩ Curveball||You find a fortune in diamonds in a bag and nobody claims it, it’s yours — what would you do?||If you've watched No Country for Old Men, you would know what to do...that is check the entire bag and examine all diamonds yourself first :)|
Verify (relation: user test) that the diamonds are real. For example, take a random sample, let's say 10% of the diamonds, and have them evaluated for their worth.
Then go on to say how you would use the $ that you got from the diamonds. Trick is to not just assume diamonds are diamonds and to do your research :)
|3||Nielsen Norman Question|
|Ҩ Curveball||Let’s say you’re the only UX Designer at an agency, and your team is trying to win a client who doesn’t know what UX is. How would you help your team sell UX Design to a new client?||Tests if you can explain the value of your field (UX) through metaphors, examples, statistics, and any other data. Your answer, in turn, is also an indication of the breadth of your design knowledge. Talking about the ROI of UX / design / research is a good idea too.||4|