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Real-life designer interview questions

In the dynamic world of design, a Designer is not just someone who creates visually appealing elements. They are visionaries who understand the user's needs, the nuances of digital aesthetics, and the importance of functionality. Here are eight insightful interview questions tailored for aspiring designers.

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Content team

Content manager Keith MacKenzie and content specialist Alex Pantelakis bring their HR & employment expertise to Resources.

These designer interview questions are directly sourced from real hiring managers and they are ready to use.

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8 good designer interview questions

  1. What’s the difference between UX and UI?
  2. What are your favorite examples of good UX?
  3. How do you handle feedback that you disagree with?
  4. Describe a project where you had to work closely with developers. What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
  5. How do you prioritize features or elements in a design when faced with constraints?
  6. What tools and software are essential in your design process?
  7. How do you stay updated with the latest design trends and techniques?
  8. Can you describe a time when a project did not go as planned and how you handled it?

Here are 2 real-life interview questions and 6 additional questions with sample answers to help you identify the best candidates for this role.

1. What’s the difference between UX and UI?

This question assesses the candidate’s understanding of two fundamental design concepts.

Sample Answer:

“UX, or User Experience, is about the overall feel and functionality of a product, ensuring it meets the user’s needs and provides a seamless journey. UI, or User Interface, is about the visual elements, such as buttons, icons, and layouts, that facilitate this journey. In essence, UX is how it works, and UI is how it looks.”

2. What are your favorite examples of good UX?

This question gauges the candidate’s awareness of industry standards and their ability to critically analyze design.

Sample Answer:

“I admire Airbnb’s platform for its intuitive navigation and clear call-to-actions. The user journey, from searching for a property to booking it, is smooth and straightforward, making the experience pleasant and efficient.”

 

Now, let’s proceed with recommended additional questions to round out the interview:

3. How do you handle feedback that you disagree with?

This question probes the candidate’s soft skills, particularly their ability to communicate and collaborate.

Sample Answer:

“I always appreciate feedback as it offers a fresh perspective. If I disagree, I discuss it with the person, explaining my design choices. It’s essential to have open communication and sometimes even test both versions to see which performs better.”

4. Describe a project where you had to work closely with developers. What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

This question assesses the candidate’s ability to collaborate with technical teams and navigate challenges.

Sample Answer:

“I worked on a mobile app project where the developers and I had different visions. We faced challenges in implementing certain design elements due to technical constraints. By holding regular meetings, understanding their concerns, and compromising on some design aspects, we successfully launched the app.”

5. How do you prioritize features or elements in a design when faced with constraints?

This question evaluates the candidate’s problem-solving skills and their ability to prioritize based on importance and feasibility.

Sample Answer:

“I prioritize based on the project’s goals and user needs. If faced with constraints, I focus on the most critical features that align with the project’s objectives and offer the most value to users.”

6. What tools and software are essential in your design process?

This question aims to understand the candidate’s familiarity with design tools.

Sample Answer:

“I primarily use Adobe XD for wireframing and prototyping, Photoshop for image editing, and Illustrator for vector designs. For collaboration, tools like Figma and InVision are invaluable.”

7. How do you stay updated with the latest design trends and techniques?

This question gauges the candidate’s commitment to continuous learning.

Sample Answer:

“I follow design blogs like Smashing Magazine and A List Apart. I also attend design conferences, participate in webinars, and engage with other designers on platforms like Dribbble and Behance.”

8. Can you describe a time when a project did not go as planned and how you handled it?

This question assesses the candidate’s resilience and problem-solving skills.

Sample Answer:

“Once, a client changed their requirements mid-project, which affected the entire design. Instead of panicking, I held a meeting with the client, discussed the implications, and recalibrated the project timeline. We managed to deliver with a slight delay, but the client appreciated our adaptability.”

What does a good designer candidate look like?

A competent designer is not just about having a keen eye for aesthetics. They should demonstrate a deep understanding of user behavior, be adaptable to feedback, and possess excellent communication skills. Familiarity with design tools, staying updated with trends, and the ability to collaborate across teams are also vital.

Red flags

Beware of candidates who are resistant to feedback or too rigid in their design philosophy. A lack of understanding of basic design principles, not being user-centric, or being unfamiliar with essential design tools can also be concerning.

Frequently asked questions

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