If you’ve breezed through a recruiter phone screening, wowed a hiring manager with your UI design portfolio, and proven your technical skills in a design challenge, then you’ve likely arrived at one of the final stages of the user interface design job interview process—the interview loop.
Depending on the organization, a job interview for a user interface designer can involve as few as one hiring manager, or become an intensive process with designers, managers, and executives from different teams. The goal tends to be universal, though—to get to know you as a person and a designer; to ascertain your passion and drive, and to understand how you might fit in with an existing team.
With that in mind, below are some of the most common UI design interview questions that are asked during candidate screenings.
Top UI Design Interview Questions & Answers
While all job applicants should also be prepared for technical questions about the tools and craft of UI design, the following questions (with answers!) are often used by recruiters and hiring managers to determine whether a designer will be a good fit for their organization.
1. How would you define the role of a UI designer?
This commonly asked question attempts to reveal two things: 1) What you understand about the roles and responsibilities of a UI designer, and 2) How you think about the role of UI design in the broader design process. Instead of reciting a definition of a UI designer, take the opportunity to show that you understand how strong UI design ultimately serves the user, how it falls at the intersection of user experience and graphic design, and the multidisciplinary nature of the job.
2. How did you get starting in creating user interfaces?
One way to think of this question is as an invitation to show your passion for the craft. Instead of giving the interviewer your life story, come prepared with a story about what drew you to UI design in the first place, how your background might have informed your interest, and whether there are any case studies that are particularly illustrative of what drives you as a designer. Remember: although there is no wrong answer to this type of question, the strongest answers show the recruiter that you have the creativity, problem-solving skills, and motivation to be a valuable addition to the organization.
3. What are some of the biggest design challenges you’ve encountered?
This is one of the more important UI design interview questions because it’s a chance for you to show that you can reflect and think critically about your own experiences, clearly articulate challenges you’ve faced as a designer, and talk about the problem-solving skills you’ve employed. This is not the time to complain about a former job, difficult coworkers, or demanding clients; instead, think of these challenges in a constructive way. What did you learn from these experiences? How did you use design thinking to resolve a problem? How might these challenges have prepared you for the role you’re currently applying for?
4. What’s an example of a design problem you’ve solved?
Similar to the previous interview question, this question allows you to focus on how you overcame a design problem by discussing your interaction design skills and capabilities, how you were a team player (if applicable), and any soft skills you used to solve the problem. It’s worth thinking of a favorite project you’ve worked on and the various design disciplines that you had to draw on—what kinds of user testing and research methodologies did you use? How did you foreground user-centricity? What teams and stakeholders did you have to work with and how did you manage to satisfy their needs?
5. Talk about your design process and how you validate your decisions.
A strong case study is crucial to successfully answering this question. Think of a project you’ve worked on (it might be the same as the one used to answer the previous question) and walk the interviewer through each step of the UI/UX design process. Some of the questions you might try to answer include how you incorporated user research and usability testing into your designs, what you learned from design trends, how each step—from the initial wireframes, mockups, personas, and information architecture to prototypes and the final layout—informed the next, and how you developed an understanding of the user experience along the way. Your response should show the interviewer that your choices were well-informed and deliberate.
6. How do you handle criticism?
Recruiters asking this question want to know that any candidate they allow through to the next round will be collegial, cooperative, and responsive to feedback. When responding, it’s worth highlighting an instance when you received negative feedback on a UX project and how you were able to approach that criticism in a constructive way. Did you have a meeting with a manager to get a better understanding of the criticism? Were you open to collaboration to strengthen your work? Did you use the critique as an opportunity to push yourself and/or learn? All designers will have their work critiqued at some point, so it’s important to show that you are committed to improving a situation.
7. Give an example of an app that you think has a strong UI design. What do you think it does well?
This is an opportunity for you to talk about your taste and design values—identify sources of inspiration, draw connections between the strengths of a design and how they might affect the user, and highlight elements such as graphics, buttons, fonts, and color that you believe contribute to a website or platform’s usability, accessibility, and desirability. Remember: this question isn’t just about your taste in design—recruiters are also looking to see if you understand how design decisions affect the user experience.
8. What app do you think has a weak user interface? Why?
Similar to the previous question, this question gives you room to talk about your design values. But it also offers an opportunity to critique a weak UI, which, by extension lets you demonstrate your ability to clearly articulate what isn’t working and why, and how you might give feedback to a team member. It’s also a chance to showcase your design thinking and creativity by offering possible solutions to improve the UI.
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Not sure if UI/UX design is the right career for you?
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This post was written by Tracey Lien.