Monday, April 24, 2017

10 Questions You’ll Be Asked in a UX Interview
















The Questions (and notes):
1. How do you define UX/design?
Focus on crafting a unique and specific definition that sheds light on who 
you are as a designer. Use this also as an opportunity to tell a story that 
provides context for your design perspective. However you define UX, make 
this a chance to add something personal.
I focused my definition around empathy and the importance of understanding 
the people I’m designing for. It allowed me to touch on my background in 
psychology, allude to past experiences I had doing anthropological research, 
and brought to light the importance of designing human-centered experiences.
2. What is your design process?
Everyone has a different design process (and that’s okay). What will matter is 
your ability to describe your process and explain the rationale behind your 
approach. It’s a good idea to have a standard ‘go-to’ process in mind, yet 
it’s important to acknowledge your design context. Different UX situations 
inevitably call for different UX processes. It’s a strength to understand your 
environment and determine a process that’s best fits for your situation.
Ask your interviewer for specifics. Respond to a particular design problem 
the company is facing or talk about a process you have used in a particular 
situation.
Through all my processes, my one constant is to ask the right questions before 
designing.  It frames the way I approach a problem and guides me toward 
the appropriate UX strategy and tools going forward.
3. What are some apps or websites that you love?
When thinking about this question, consider your audience and have a range of 
apps/websites that can demonstrate a diversity of aspects you find important to 
design. When I was interviewing, I chose SquareCashLyft, and 
Meetup.com — all experiences I loved for different reasons.
SquareCash represented simplicity in design. It made money transactions 
painless and solved a problem I didn’t realize I had. Lyft represented a 
peer-to-peer service that was trust-worthy and delightful and leveraged 
local communities to foster sharing in my hometown (San Francisco) and beyond. 
Meetup.com represented a platform for community at scale and had provided 
a tribe for me no matter where I was in the world.While touching on UI elements, try 
to paint a picture of your values as a designer. By choosing apps/websites that 
highlight your interests and elegantly solve your pains, you’ll make a memorable 
impression.
4. How do you work with engineers/Product Managers/other designers?
The ability to empathize and understand the motivation of those you work with 
is crucial. Engineers, PMs, and other designers all come with their own particular 
needs and goals and if you can demonstrate your sensitivity to them, you’ll be 
well received.
Engineers: I’ve found that providing especially close attention to interaction 
design and accounting for edge cases is important. Engineers are responsible for 
building the product — making sure that your interactions function properly for all 
use cases will save your engineer friends time and frustration. Also, try to speak 
their language — learn how to code. Being confident in HTML, CSS, and 
JavaScript is a great start.
PMs: I emphasize communication, storytelling, and tradeoffs. PMs manage 
deadlines, appeal to admins and keep projects running smoothly. Make sure 
you and your PM are sync’d. Being able to tell a powerful story about your design 
will also help to make their job easier when trying to persuade other stakeholders.
Designers: Show, don’t tell. Focus your attention toward the design problem 
instead of individual design preferences. Working with other designers is an
incredible opportunity for collaboration and can push you to better work. When 
working with other designers, sometimes I like to practice pair design — it’s a 
great way to develop shared ownership over the work and push your individual 
design limits.
5. Who in the industry do you follow and read?
Don’t fudge this question! Find some members of the design community now 
that you admire and start reading — there are a lot of incredible designers out 
there to source inspiration. If you don’t have a list, check out LinkedIn, Medium, 
Twitter or design blogs to get started. If you’re feeling brave, reach out to members 
in the community and begin to cultivate a relationship. It’s remarkable how friendly 
people in the design circle can be.Julie Zhuo (Facebook), Daniel Burka 
(Google Ventures), Bo Ren(Facebook), Ximena Vengoechea (LinkedIn), 
and Frank Yoo (Lyft) are a few members of the community that 
I look up to, follow, and read.
6. What is the most interesting project you have worked on?
Use this as a chance to tell a story — and follow a typical story arc: background, 
opportunity, process, adversity along the way, triumphs, and outcome. Talk about  
what you did on the project but focus most on whythis particular project was so
 interesting for you. Did it have to do with the people, circumstance, opportunity, or 
something else?As a young designer, I like to talk about my first foray in design: 
Creating the user experience for a co-living space in Tokyo. This project was 
meaningful to me because it was my introduction to UX and trial by fire as a 
designer. I practiced UX principles in a physical space, was challenged with 
designing in a foreign context (Tokyo), and I was able to find success in 
ambiguity and uncertainty — when I started I really didn’t know what I was doing. 
Designing in a physical space provided a laboratory for me to observe, test and 
iterate in real time and built a foundation for how I now approach design problems 
in a digital context.
7. Do you prefer to work alone or with a team?
Having self-awareness of how you work and demonstrating flexibility is key. 
Consider the company you’re interviewing with — the size, what you know about 
the culture, and how you might fit into work dynamics. Also be true to yourself. 
The interviewer will be looking for how you play with others and determine 
if you’re a good culture fit.When thinking about this question, I sometimes draw 
a graph mapping out my energy levels throughout the day. I’ve discovered I 
like ‘heads-down’ time in the morning, collaborative time after lunch, (snacks 
throughout the day) and time to consume content and find inspiration in the late 
afternoons. I try to balance my own patterns while being aware of others and the 
dynamics around me.
8. Tell me about an assignment that was too difficult. How did you handle the 
situation?Working at a fast-paced startup, you’ll inevitably be thrown assignments 
or tasks that you won’t initially know how to approach (If this doesn’t happen, you 
might not be really working at a startup). Think about a time you took on a difficult 
task head first and struggled through ambiguity to eventually arrive at some 
conclusion. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a triumphant story as long as you show 
your willingness to explore, test, (fail), and iterate and demonstrate a commitment to 
learn and adapt going forward.One example that comes to mind is the first time I 
conducted (guerrilla) user interviews. I found myself clueless with a script in my 
hand, an iPhone camera, and 7 strangers to find and interview on the street. I failed 
pretty hard at first — approaching people on the go, waiting too long to make an 
introduction (awkward…) and rushing my questions. I studied my footage, observed 
patterns of when people could most likely be approached (lunch in the park), and 
upped my confidence with the support of a friend designer and tried again. This time, 
a little bit better.
9. Why do you want to work at [company x]?
I like to talk about the company from a design perspective. Focus on mentorship, 
desigculture, co-workers and the type of design challenges the company is currently 
facing. Make it personal and demonstrate a vision. Being able to talk about how the 
company melds with your past and how it will elevate you to where you want to be in 
your future shows a clear understanding of what you want and how to get it.
When I was applying for full-time jobs, I had just left a contract gig where I 
was the sole designer. I knew that I was looking for something different — a 
place where I could be mentored, level up in a thriving design culture, and 
solve problems at scale. I found companies that fit my focus and demonstrated 
how I was aligned with the team.
10. Why should I hire you?
For young designers, this can feel like the toughest question to answer. Without a 
lot of design experience, what you can offer is your hustle and a proven willingness 
to learn. Emphasize it. And don’t just talk about it —show it. Point to personal 
projects, blog posts, and other forms of commitment to design that you’ve taken.

As a young designer, you’ve taken an enormous leap into a new career. Talk about 
this experience and share the strides you’ve taken to get to where you are now and 
where you want to be. You have enormous potential — be confident as you go.

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