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21 Essential UX Interview Questions & How to Answer Them

Preparing for your next UX interview? Get answers to the most common UX interview questions to land your next UX design job.

14 min read

September 16, 2021

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While preparing for a job interview, many UX designers focus their attention on the more technical questions related to their field. The reality is that product managers and hiring managers are looking for candidates who also possess soft skills, or the skills required to collaborate effectively and succeed in a team environment.

You should absolutely expect some intensive questions on the principles of UX/UI design, but don't be surprised if a recruiter or hiring manager also asks questions designed to test your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. For example, some interviewers ask, "What would your approach to solving problems be if you were from Mars?" This type of question allows hiring managers to assess your ability to think outside the box and solve challenges that aren't necessarily related to design.

Hiring managers want to assess your ability to think outside the box and solve challenges that aren't necessarily related to design.

Realistically, there’s no surefire way to fully predict UX interview questions or processes for any given company. However, you can still prepare for the kinds of questions you're most likely to encounter.

UX interview questions usually focus on five key areas:

  • Questions about you
  • Questions about your work experience
  • Questions about your workflow and process
  • Questions about your behavior
  • Questions about your goals

Before your next interview, consult this list of 21 essential UX interview questions and answers. When you know what to expect, you'll feel much more confident when you meet with a hiring manager.

Questions about you

Before interviewers ask about your technical skills, they want to know more about you as a person. This can help them determine whether your personality and motivations are a good fit for the team and the organization as a whole. Getting to know you as a person also helps the interviewer understand your ability to use design thinking to complete important projects.

1. Can you tell me about yourself?

Many applicants, including UX designers, are confused by this question. The good news is that it's easy to answer. Just think of the recruiter asking you to explain what's in your resume. You don't have to recite your entire resume from memory, but you should provide an overview of your relevant work experience.

Be sure to provide information about your educational background or qualifications, internships, and/or previous UX designer jobs. You may also want to talk about your current job and why you’re considering a move. This is an opportunity to tell the interviewer why they should hire you.

2. Can you tell me why you chose a career in UX design?

As part of the design interview process, you may be asked to explain why you became a UX designer. This is your time to shine, especially if you're interviewing for an entry-level position. Your answer should convince the interviewer that you're a good UX designer who understands how to apply the principles of user experience design to every project. Make sure you address the following:

  • Empathy: Make sure the interviewer understands that you excel at analyzing user needs and having empathy for the people who use your designs.
  • Problem-solving skills: UX design isn't just about design; it's also about helping users solve their biggest challenges. Your answer should demonstrate that you have excellent problem-solving skills.
  • Time management skills: Potential employers want to hire people who meet deadlines consistently. Make sure your answer convinces the interviewer of your ability to handle time-sensitive tasks.
  • Curiosity: Impress the interviewer with an answer that demonstrates your willingness to stay on top of industry trends and use negative feedback to improve your designs.

3. Why do you want to work for us?

Almost all interviewers want to know why you’re interested in working with them. Your answer to this question should be centered on the company’s values, mission, and overall purpose.

If it’s a tech startup, it may make sense to assert that you love a fast-paced environment focused on innovation. A big corporation? You may want to convey that you appreciate the stability of working with an established team of UX designers.

4. What Is Your Area of Focus — UX Researcher, UX Designer, or Visual Designer?

Out of all the UX interview questions you'll hear during your job search, this is one of the easiest to handle. You might be tempted to claim expertise in all three areas, however, that's the wrong answer. Focus on your greatest strength to ensure your passion comes across clearly. As an added bonus, discussing just one area of focus makes it easier to demonstrate that you researched the company and understand its needs.

Questions about your work experience

Now it's time to dig deep and discuss your work experience with the interviewer. These UX interview questions are some of the most important, as they help hiring managers determine how much value you can bring to a business.

This is your time to prove your expertise. Instead of giving short answers that lack detail, make sure the interviewer understands your depth of knowledge and ability to apply UX design principles under a variety of conditions.

5. Can I see your portfolio?

The interviewer is going to want to see your UX design portfolio to make sure you have all the important skills you listed in your UX resume and UX cover letter. Rather than handing over your UX/UI design portfolio and staying silent, describe each UX project, explain your design methodology, and give the hiring manager insight into why you made certain design decisions.

For best results, prepare a UX design case study for each project. A case study makes it easier for hiring managers to understand how you approach design challenges. Make each case study more effective by including photos of your prototypes or screenshots of wireframes created in Figma or Adobe XD.

6. Which design process did you adopt for these projects?

This is a direct question that requires a direct answer. The interviewer wants to know what you were thinking as you completed each project, along with why you made certain design decisions. As you go through your portfolio, explain the problems you were trying to solve and describe your approach to solving them. Your confidence in answering this question truly matters — showcase your expertise.

7. Can I see your favorite project?

Be careful when you answer this question. Your favorite project may not be the one that's the most aesthetically pleasing or the best match for a potential employer's needs. To impress the interviewer, you need to pick a project that aligns with the company's typical design aesthetic.

Ask your design mentor or another UX designer to look through your portfolio, pick a favorite project, and explain why it's their favorite. If you're meeting with a recruiter from the HR department instead of someone from the UX design department, your interviewer may not have a design background. That's why it's a good idea to also ask a non-designer to review your portfolio and pick their favorite project.

Now you need to explain why the project you selected is your favorite. Tell a story about your design and provide enough detail to let the interviewer know you're capable of handling tough design challenges.

Your interviewer may not be a designer, so it’s good practice to also have a non-designer look at your designs.

8. Tell me about a time when a project didn't go as planned. How did you fix it?

About 80% of interviewers ask candidates to tell them about a time something went wrong, so you definitely need to be prepared to answer this question. The best way to approach this question is to answer in a way that demonstrates your ability to stay calm and think logically when faced with a major challenge.

Be careful about the example you choose. If a problem occurred because you missed a deadline or made a design mistake, you don't want to draw attention to your error. Impress the interviewer by discussing a problem that occurred due to some outside influence, rather than something you did wrong.

9. What are some websites and apps that have great design?

Asking this question helps interviewers understand how you assess the work of other UX and UI designers. Rather than focusing purely on aesthetics, mention several aspects of each site's user interface and user experience. For example, you may want to point out that a site's information architecture makes it easy for users to complete certain tasks.

Your answer should show the interviewer that you understand the purpose of UX design and know how UX designers influence the success of a website or other digital product.

Questions about your workflow & process

Some interviewers want to know how you handle design projects. This gives them insight into how you're likely to handle their design work if you're hired for the job. 

10. What is your definition of UX design?

Many UX designers, UI designers, product designers, and product managers struggle with this question. Just remember that the interviewer isn't asking you to provide the dictionary definition of UX design. They're asking you to explain the practical aspects of UX design based on your personal and professional experiences.

No matter what other information you provide, you must tell the interviewer that UX design is what makes websites, mobile apps, and other digital products easy to use. Then you can provide more detail about aesthetics, accessibility, and other aspects of UX design.

11. What are the differences between UX design and other design disciplines?

If your interviewer asked the question above, they may follow up with this question about UX design versus other types of design. You don't need to provide too much detail, but be sure to explain how UX design focuses on usability. In contrast, graphic design focuses on visual appeal.

Don't worry if you think this answer is too short — it's exactly what the interviewer wants to hear. Hiring managers need to know that you understand the purpose of UX design and how it fits with other types of design in an organization. This is especially important if the potential employer has separate departments for UX design and UI design.

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12. What inspires you to create your designs?

This question can be a bit tricky. You don't want to tell the interviewer that you base your designs on print publications or websites from a decade ago. Otherwise, they'll wonder if you produce outdated designs that aren't aligned with current trends. If you rely on any websites, blogs, podcasts, or magazines for inspiration, tell the interviewer about them.

It's also helpful to talk about design conferences you've attended or newsletters you read regularly. This shows the interviewer that you're committed to professional growth and willing to spend time staying on top of of changing trends. You can even discuss your favorite design books or summarize some of the discussions you've had with your design mentor.

Hiring managers want to see that you’re current and forward-thinking in your learning.

13. How do you choose the features of your designs?

This is another tricky question, as you have to show the hiring manager why your expertise is a good fit for their company's needs. To knock this one out of the park, start with an explanation of how it's important to set business goals based on the needs of buyers and other key stakeholders. Then dive into how it's important to adjust those goals as user needs change.

Once you provide some background information, explain how you go about analyzing user needs and making sure your UX design decisions align with them. Then explain how you consider a company's goals while making those same design decisions. Make sure your answer includes an explanation of how you sample the target market, discover their goals, and solve their problems with your designs.

14. How do you discover the needs of your users?

UX design focuses on creating user-friendly experiences, so you must understand the needs of your target audience before you make a single design decision. Be sure to explain your approach to user research, usability testing, and the development of user personas.

15. What kind of research method do you use for new projects?

Don't try to impress the interviewer by mentioning complex research methods you don't have any experience using. Be honest about your current approach. If you wish there was a better way to gather information, tell the interviewer. This demonstrates your ability to think critically and focus on continuous improvement.

Questions about your behavior

Success in the UX design field isn't just about your design skills. You also need to work well with other team members, explain your ideas to non-design professionals, and respond appropriately to professional challenges. The questions below help interviewers determine whether you're a good fit for the organization and find out if it's possible for them to provide an environment in which you thrive as a UX designer.

16. What are your weaknesses?

It's common to struggle with this question, as many UX designers don't want to hurt their chances of getting a job by pointing out a major weakness that could make it difficult to succeed in the advertised role. The key is to point out a weakness that can be turned into a strength.

For example, you might want to tell the interviewer that you struggle when you don't feel challenged by your work. Another option is to tell the interviewer that you get bored when you're not busy. You can neutralize these weaknesses by explaining everything you do to keep yourself busy and engaged, from experimenting with new design tools to tracking KPIs related to your UX design work.

17. What are your biggest strengths?

Here's where you can really sell yourself as the ideal candidate for the job. Just be careful not to describe strengths that have nothing to do with the job description. Whether you excel at interaction design or user research, make sure the skills you highlight are relevant to the potential employer's needs.

It's also a good idea to list a combination of hard and soft skills. Interviewers want to know that you have the soft skills necessary to collaborate effectively and explain your design decisions to people who don't necessarily have a design background.

18. How do you handle critical or negative feedback?

Negative feedback is a fact of life, especially in a professional environment, so potential employers want to know that you can accept feedback gracefully and apply it to future projects. Let the interviewer know that you're always open to constructive criticism and use it to make better decisions.

It's also helpful to tell the interviewer that you'd rather get negative feedback from internal stakeholders than negative feedback from end users, as UX design is all about creating great user experiences. This reinforces your understanding of the UX design field.

19. What would you do if asked to hand over your project to a developer?

Interviewers ask this question to determine if you're territorial about your projects or have difficulty collaborating with other team members. It's common for UX designers to complete some aspects of a project and then hand everything over to a colleague. Therefore, you need to demonstrate that you're okay with handing over your projects, as long as they end up in good hands.

Questions about your goals

When an interviewer asks about your goals, they're trying to determine how you might fit in with the big picture. Even if the company is hiring a UX designer now, they may be looking for someone who's willing to stick around and take on a senior role later. This helps them understand if your professional goals align with the company's goals.

20. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

No one knows exactly where they'll be in a few years, but you should have some idea about how you see your UX design career progressing. Your answer to this question should have several parts. First, explain why you got into UX design and what you hope to accomplish in your first year if hired for the job.

Next, explain how you plan to increase your knowledge and gain new skills. If you plan to go back to school for an advanced degree or specialize in a particular area of UX design, tell the interviewer. Finally, let the interviewer know you're interested in growing with the company and making sure your goals align with the overall goals of the business.

21. Why are you passionate about this position?

It costs a lot of money to advertise a job opening, screen applications, and conduct multiple interviews. Hiring managers don't want to go through all this effort if they're going to end up hiring someone who leaves the company after a few months. An interviewer wants to know you're passionate about the job and unlikely to leave right away. 

This isn't the time to talk about the salary or tell the interviewer you're interested in perks. Instead, talk specifically about how the job description matches your career goals. Let them know you're excited to work with a design team that has a great reputation in the industry. Explain how you plan to add value to the business if you land the job. If you're passionate about the role, you'll have a slight edge over a less enthusiastic candidate, even if they have a little more experience than you do.

Prepare for your next UX interview

Reviewing this list of UX interview questions can help you get a leg up on the competition when it's time to apply for a design job. Once you're feeling confident in your interview skills, come to the Dribbble job board to search for UX design jobs posted by employers from all over the world.

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