Oh the dreaded job interview. No one likes to have to interview for a new job. But it’s the necessary evil that we as UX designers all have to face at one time or another. I have found there are a few techniques that have helped me prepare for the interview as best as I can. I’ll be honest, I have not landed every job I have interviewed for. Not even close. But I look at every interview as an opportunity to improve my answers and approach.
I encourage everyone, whether they are actively looking for a job or not to take every opportunity to be ready for that next interview. That means having these tips below in your toolbox. That also means taking the opportunity to practice these interviewing skills whenever you can. That may even mean going on an interview even if you don’t want that job. I have certainly done that too.
The question comes back to:
Prepare for a UX job interview
1. Do you homework
Know the basics about the company: what they do, who owns them, how long have they been in business, why they have been in the news recently, what are they knows for, etc. Also know your team members. Find out who you will be interviewing with in advance and stalk them on LinkedIn. Know what their job title is, where they have worked, where they went to school and what their career path has been. Determine if you have any common traits that might be interesting points of discussion. Also see if you know anyone who has worked with your interviewers to get insight on what it could be like working with them.
2. Know the industry and landscape
Similar to the know the business aspect above. But this is understanding a bit more about the technology and how that impacts your job. Also know what competing companies are doing in a similar landscape so that you can ask questions related to technology and trends in the industry.
3. Practice the whiteboard challenge
No matter how you feel about a whiteboard challenge, (Uhg, that’s a discussion for another day.) a company might require you to do a whiteboard challenge as part of the interview process. Love it or hate it, you need to be ready to do it. Be ready to show your UX process and how you would tackle this request in a short amount of time. I am suggestion that you practice this so you don’t freeze under pressure. Believe me, I’ve been there.
4. Have behavioral interview answers ready
Have answers ready to go for questions like:
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How do you deal with conflict?
- What would you do with a problematic boss?
5. Have behavioral design and technical answers ready
Not only knowing the Human Resources questions are necessary, you also need to walk the walk. Know your UX stuff. Be able to speak to the projects in your portfolio and how you executed them. Talk about the technology and tools being used by other UX designers. Show that you are keeping up on current trends and practices.
6. Have questions YOU want to ask about the company
A job interview must be a two-way street. You need to also find out if this is the company you would like to work for. Not only does it show that you are inquisitive, it makes you look like you are serious about the position. You want to learn about the culture, your co-workers, their process. I always like to ask “Why are you still working here?” and “What would cause you to leave?” Try to flesh out how happy their are there and if the company is a good fit for you.
I’d also like to include an image that I recently came across on Toptal’s website. though not super in depth, this is a nice visual representation of the difference between UI and UX.