Recently while browsing some UX websites, I came across common question posted on websites/Bogs and that was….
Hi, I am a UX professional and am actively seeking opportunities. I am looking to find the typical questions that interviewers ask for a UI/UX/Usability role.
So I decided to write as well collect it from various sources. Ok let’s get started….
Here is a list of questions that might help; I have divided the questions in two sections (a) common (b) UX /UI
Q) Tell me about yourself.
The most common interview question and it works all the time, it works for the both interviewer and interviewee. But care full as most of the candidates don’t spend time to prepare for exactly how to answer it. Some key points that need to be cover in this answer:
b) Your unique selling proposition (USP)
c) Be specific
d) The most importantly be prepared and your interviewer is not looking for a 10-minute dissertation here.
Q) What is your current role / responsibilities and what kind of role you want in your next job?
For the first part of question; be descriptive about you role and responsibilities because Here you want to demonstrate your knowledge of the different roles within a team and show that you have a strength but can still be versatile. 😉 Provide a brief example from a past experience at work.
For the second part of question (what kind of role you want in your next job.) This question is more than an interview question; it’s a question that you should ask yourself before the interview. The interview wants to know whether your goals are a match for the company’s needs.
Q) Where do you see yourself in next x# of years?
Well again this question is more than an interview question; it’s a question that you should ask yourself before the interview. The best way to respond to the interview question “What are your goals for the future?” you may want to include following points in your answer :-
a) Long-term goals
b) Involve growing with a company
c) Continue to learn
d) To be top performing employee in a well-established organization, like this one.
Q) What do you hate doing in or why do you want to leave your (current job)?
This question can be answered in several ways, but do your best to keep your answer short. Avoid being dishonest with this question, for whatever reason. There are usually only a few reasons if someone really wants to leave their job and, surprisingly, money does rank at the top of the list.
Avoid making negative remarks about your past or present manager, your fellow employees, or the company you are working for – even if they are true! Don’t even hint at the fact that you hated your manger and avoid sarcastic remarks. Remember, the interviewer does not know your previous manager or fellow employees. If you start bad-mouthing them in the interview, you will immediately be flagged as having a negative attitude towards your co-workers. The interviewer will then assume you will act the same way at this company and be a bad influence. You will not get the job.
There is no right answer to this question, only wrong ones. You don’t need to make book out of this answer, just something short and positive is best. The point here is to convey the interviewer that you are not leaving because you are mad, tired, bored, overworked, underpaid, or job hopping, just that you are leaving your job because…
a) I do enjoy working at my current job. The culture and the people make it a great place to work. But I’m looking for more responsibility with new and fresh challenges.
b) Departmental changes and corporate restructuring have made it difficult to keep on track with my career goals.
c) It is time for me to move to a more progressive organization with more opportunities and new challenges.
d) My company recently moved their office across town and now my morning commute is about 90 minutes and I need to be closer to home.
For interviewer: You may want to understand what drives them to look elsewhere. If the same situation exists on your team/Organization, Then this person isn’t a good fit for your team/Organization.
Q ) Quiz them on how they will deal with recalcitrant developers, pushy managers and incompetent co-workers.
The most important thing to remember here is to stay positive. The interviewer wants to get an idea of what type of supervisor/employee you are and how you interact with management / team.
Q) What’s the accomplishment you’re most proud of?
Interviewer wants to listen to best story from you. The secret to this question is being specific and selecting an accomplishment that relates to the position. Think of the qualities the company is looking for and develop an example that demonstrates how you can meet the company’s needs. 😉
Q) Tell me about the experience you had getting here today 🙂
The interviewer wants to know how observant you are. Since the interviewer knows nothing about the journey. The interviewee actually undertook the complete experience. It’s great way to seeing what was noticed, how it is communicated to someone who wasn’t there, and of course it’s very much a case of seeing if they pick up on what you are expecting of them and can convey the experience descriptively and passionately ( or not…) and if they can actually ‘tell a story’ in the process.
Q) What is the definition of user experience? OR explain what you do?
The most simple and the toughest question by asking this question interviewer want to know if you aware of UX process; and if you can explain the process (story teller).
If I have to explain in the simplest term and in one line so it would be: It’s a process to solve problem at the interface level by taking care of user goals and needs. –Nadeem Khan
It’s about creating a tool for a task, and making it so that people can do the task without really noticing they’re using the tool. – Roger Attrill
Q) Describe your ideal work day experience as a UX Designer. What kinds of things happen during the day?
Interviewer want to know what you do or how do you spend 8 hour in office also what kind of project you work on, what process you follow, kind of people you interact with.. etc…
Few example of typical day of UX designer…
a) Interview stakeholders / gather requirements: this could be remote or in-person. Document meeting notes.
b) Brainstorming meetings: these are the get-togethers with coworkers to discuss solutions for clients, how to structure a sales pitch, that sort of thing.
c) Research/information gathering/heuristic evaluation: reading stuff, browsing the web for successful websites, print-out screenshots and evaluate current website.
d) Keeping up on industry trends: again this is mostly browsing the web/mobile/twitter, and it’s basically just “surfing the digital tsunami”, finding out what’s going on and learn new things and techniques.
On the silent note I just want to say: – Seriously all this?
Q) What are you specialized/Expert skills core area in you e.g.: Usability Testing
First and foremost, professionals is known for their specialized knowledge. Experienced interviewers often want to know the essence of your skills — how you arrived at your accomplishments from previous jobs.
The bottom line is…. interviewer wants to know: What do you have to offer? Why should we Higher you 😉
Q) What is the team structure that you work with?
Interviewer wants to know if you have experience of working in/with team, if yes then how was OR is your experience; are you a team player?
a) you can give an example of a successful project you were part of team. What was your role? Why was the project successful?
b) Describe situations from your past work experience in which your support and experience made the project and team successfully.
Q) What is the design process you follow? OR What are the design methods / Process that you have used? What method have you used a lot and why? Which is your preference?
As you can see the Quote in the header section of this blog: Good design is a process not a product.
Interviewer wants to know do you have or follow any design process. If yes then what are the various stages, how much time and money is involved, team size required if any, infrastructure required if any or outsourcing a part of it e.g. usability testing…, do you have or prepare any project plan or you wore involved in preparing project plan and how well you can narrate the process. (narration part is very import for client interaction so it’s very important that you use proper example and your body language matches the same)
Q) What are the challenges’ you faced during design?
While this is a broad question, Interviewers want to find out whether the candidate has experienced any challenges. Once the challenges are mentioned many interviewers proceed to ask what the candidate has done or would do in order to overcome those problems/challenges.
Q) How do you estimate your design?
Interviewer wants to find out whether you have any knowledge of estimation, if yes then what tools/ technique you use to estimate your project/assignment OR timeline is already given to you by someone else. More interestingly interviewer wants to find out if you meet those timeline.
Depending on the project you work for, multiple Estimation techniques are used some of them are: Function Point Analysis. Use Case Template and so on….
Q) Have you ever faced a situation in which your feedback/recommendation was not taken? How did you handle the situation
Behavioral question, interviewing requires you to give an answer where you describe those specific actions in more detail to demonstrate you’re thinking processes and problem solving skills.
Q) What steps have you taken to convince a reluctant developer to listen to your advice?
Behavioral question, this is a great question for showing that you are a creative and capable problem solver. The problem you select to use as an example should be as similar as possible to a problem that you are likely to face at the job you are interviewing for.
Q) How would you explain the benefits of a user-centred design approach to a project manager who is unfamiliar with it?
Simplest solution would be just give this link to him 😉 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User-centered_design
Interviewer what to see how well you’re explanation/convincing /communication skills are, if you can convince client and how good story teller/narrator you are. You may want to give some example having advantages of UCD complementing with ROI.
Q) How would you do a competitive analysis of two applications or websites?
Yes analysis… interview want to know if you have or you follow any process.
a) Gap analysis
b) Tools and techniques used for analysis (you can gather information from various sources) e.g. Google analytic to find out the most clicked area of website, exit point, number of click per day, geographical coverage and so on….
c) Interviewer want to know what process you follow to analyse website or app and how you document the same.
Q) What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of contextual inquiry/field studies when designing a web site or application?
Well… one of the disadvantage of contextual inquiry would be, its time consuming and too much of data gathering. One of the advantages would be, it allows analyst to make more accurate interpretations of data.
Interviewer want to know if you are aware of process, but the key point here is interviewer want to know if you can strike the balance in between. If you know the pros and corn of one thing then it’s easy to balance and make the right chose and move ahead.
Q) Describe and create the worst user experience you can and explain why it’s poor.
If you can answer the above question then even this will be simple. If you know the advantage and disadvantage of anything then it is easy. If you want to sell anything we highlight the positive points and if you want to discourage someone we highlight the negative points.
E.g. white color in background looks good because it looks much clean and peaceful, on the other hand what white color seriously? It’s so simple so dull, plan, no life, it’s so bright hear-ting my eyes so sharp, and the list can go on. It’s like acting a Sales person.
Q) How do you keep your knowledge of user experience design and usability up to date? OR What are you looking at lately for inspiration?
We work in changing competitive environments. If we don’t keep up with news and trends, we can miss key opportunities and can be caught unawares. That’s why, for us it’s important to keep-in-touch with news and trends in our industries.
Source for inspiration can be reading blogs, LinkedIn, twitter, Forums, Google alerts and many more…
Q) What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a web style guide? If you have worked on a style guide, describe your method for developing it.
Style guide can be a t good training tool for new members of the design team. Since a style guide provides the basic templates, controls, and rules of design for a suite of products, a wise development manager would require every new developer to read the entire document before touching a line of user interface code.
Above are the positive selling point, you just have to do negative selling now 😉
Q) What design tools you know? How do you rate yourself?
Well no one can answer on your behalf, I would say just be honest to yourself…
Q) What 2 or 3 usability or user experience design books would you recommend to your colleagues?
I would say:
a) THE ELEMENTS OF USER EXPERIENCE (I have read this book and I can say it’s an excellent book)
b) Luke Wroblewski -Web Form Design – Filling in the Blanks (I have read this book and it worked for me)
c) Designing Web Interfaces, O’Reilly 1st Ed – Jan 2009 (just started reading and I guess it worth reading)
Q) What are some general guidelines for making web pages accessible to users with visual, hearing, or motor disabilities?
Do you even know or care about accessibility or you just focus on UI/UX/and technical implications.
Generally government websites are section 504 compliance (Accessibility), so it will be good example if you have worked on such websites; If not then at least aware about the process.
The U.S. Department of Justice in 1996 held that the World Wide Web is in fact considered a place of public accommodation. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities.
In addition, the 1998 amendment of Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that the Web sites of federal agencies and all electronic and information technology (EIT) developed or purchased by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities.
Technology is accessible if it can be used by people with disabilities as well as by those without. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) describes Web accessibility as the following:
“Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understands, navigates, and interacts with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web.”
Q) Ask them slightly more focused questions on what they like to see and don’t like to see on sites and why. Make sure you are verifying their REASONING not their CHOICES.
As mentioned verify the “Reasoning” e.g. I like white colour in background instead of red, because white signifies purity, honesty, clean and so on were as red is devil, negative, used mostly for highlighting error. Interview wants to see how good you are in justifying things.
Are you able to justify the changes done by you? that’s the bottom line.
Q) If you had the power to change one object/device/software application you use regularly, what would it be? And how would you change it? –
Suggestion : you may want to listen for answers to the 2nd questions I didn’t ask “why change it?” and “what will the implications be?” Everyone can come up with ideas but few people can explain them well and see the bigger picture.
Interview is not interested in listening why (yes want to know why but, that’s not the key question here), you may want to explain how your suggestion/change could improve the product/services and what will it take to do that without effecting much the existing architecture.
For more UX Q & A, i will point you to another website, although I have taken the permission to re-post the article on my blog but I thought I will direct you to the source.
Personal website: http://www.teresabrazen.com
Some of the question you may want to ask yourself before changeling job or, in general about career.
1) What attracts you to the position?
2) How do you keep yourself motivated?
3) How would you manage your time and objectives in your role?
4) How do you mange time and priorities?
Some interview question from fortune companies (Source www.glassdoor.com)
1) How do you deal with difficult teammates that you HAVE to work with? How do you pick and choose you battles?
2) How do you design an interface for a 1000 floors elevator?
3) Tell me about your work at company (x) – very specific question related to technology and execution
4) What would you change about Gmail?
5) UX Research Methods
6) Talk about your design process. How would you approach a project?
1) There was a design exercise where they give you an idea and you need to walk them through your design process and along the way create a design from that idea.
2) How would you balance the requirements between the user goals and business goals?
3) How would you improve user experience on a section of the website?
4) What would you consider one of your failures?
5) What was your biggest mistake and how did you correct it?
6) What were some compromises you made and what did you get in return?
7) What is the difference between kerning and tracking?
8) What is leading?
9) How would you handle the hypothetical situation where one or more designers try to dominate the conversation and do not seem to be listening to other members of the team?
10) How do you decide which features to drive UX design for a specific release?
11) Let’s say a VP came to your desk and said we needed a timeline of past orders and gave you no further direction. What would you do?
12) What is your ideal design process?
13) How do you form positive relationships with developers and/or stakeholders?
1) The question was specific to my portfolio, but it was about a project I had done 12 years ago.
2) I’m not confident with your design skills. What else can you show us?
“Interview questions should engage candidates in a discussion of their approach to their work, experience, and general problem-solving approach.”—Whitney Quesenbery
One final question from me to you:
“What is the most bizarre question that you have been asked in an interview”? Thanks in advance for sharing. Good luck!
In the end what matters: Success is not measured by how happy client is, but how happy the site visitors are (user of products/services). If a visitor can’t find what he/she is looking for, is forced to use search, can’t make out the site vocabulary, then how successful is the site?
Source for the below section: http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/2012/02/16/how-to-recruit-ux-designer/
To all those who take interview: Tom Wood of Foolproof: “My role model is David Ogilvy. He had a really clear and public view about the qualities he looked for in the people he hired. His quote, ‘If we each hire people smaller than us, we will become a company of dwarfs, but if we each hire those larger than ourselves, we will become a company of giants,’ is a call for everyone in a position to make a point to step up and challenge themselves through the quality of people they hire.”
What makes a great UX designer is, of course, a matter of opinion, but there is a consensus that a UX designer must, in the words of Martin Belam, “make good stuff and make stuff good.” They must have an ability to interpret and empathize with the user, to simplify the process and to execute a design solution.
And my favourite Question by Peter Merholz: “What is the thing that gets you out of bed every day and wanting to do this kind of work?”
As an interviewer, you undoubtedly want to understand the motivations of the person you are speaking with. After all, motivation is the key to a happy, productive workforce.
That being said, if you flat out ask a person what motivates them, they’ll probably lie to you with the usual interview spiel about their satisfaction in doing a good job.
Asking someone what gets them out of bed every morning is a roundabout way of asking the same thing, but you’ll catch the individual on the hop, and they’ll probably give you a more honest answer than had you asked what motivates them.
Article written and compiled by: Nadeem Khan