User experience design and research interview questions

During my time on both sides of the interview table, I’ve asked and received a wide range of design and research related questions. For each interview, I’ve tried to compile the questions asked. In planning interviews, I’ve also researched and collated questions others have asked. Here are a few of them.

Training and skills#

  • How does your background in [background] apply to design/UX research?
  • How did you go from [background] to user experience?
  • What attracts you to research?
  • What is your experience with qualitative research methods? (Ethnography, focus groups/group discussions, one-to-one interviews, contextual inquiry, observational research, etc.)
  • Since your experience is primarily in qualitative methods, how do you feel about quantitative analysis?
  • What skill do you possess that you think you do better than 99.9% of the entire population?
  • What do you excel at (your superpower), and what can you improve on (your kryptonite)?

Hands-on project experience#

  • Tell us about some of the most recent projects on which you have worked. (Note: this may be a review of their portfolio or a presentation).
  • How is what you did at your last job applicable to this one?
  • If you could go back, are there any projects that you would have done differently?
  • Tell me about a fascinating project where you discovered something unexpected.
  • What examples do you have when you had to jump in and learn about something unfamiliar to you?
  • What experience do you have with [subject]?
  • What experience do you have with [medium]? (For example, mobile software and hardware).

The design process#

  • What is your design process?
  • How does your design process change for each project you start?
  • What prototyping tools would you use to create an artefact to test, assuming there wasn’t an actual product to use? (For example, an HTML prototype, or React, InVision, Principle, Framer, etc.)
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of prototyping tools you have used?
  • Describe a time when you led a design project. (Expect to talk about receiving a brief, engaging with stakeholders and users, defining approaches to answer the brief, generating and evaluating ideas, etc.)

The research process#

  • What is your research process?
  • How do you plan your research? (For example, do they pull together hypotheses and objectives to frame a discussion guide?)
  • How do you choose which methods you’re going to use for a particular project?
  • How do you assess the requirements of those with different skills and limited devices? (The focus of the answer should be around accessibility.)
  • Which methods and approaches do you think are the most useful or practical?
  • What is the value of doing contextual research over lab-based research (for example, focus groups, interviews, etc.)?
  • How do you incorporate theory into your research?
  • What are your favourite social science theories?
  • How do you approach qualitative data analysis?
  • What tools do you typically use for analysis (for example, affinity mapping, coding, Excel, etc.)?
  • How do you analyse ethnographic data?
  • How would you go about researching and developing personas or rudimentary customer segmentation?
  • What qualitative data analysis software have you used? (For example, Raven’s Eye and Atlas)
  • At what point in the design process should you use user research? (Expect to talk about generative and evaluative research)
  • Tell me about a time when you had to change your plan or approach.
  • How do you balance the perspectives of internal users or voices with external users?
  • What is your experience working in agile environments?
  • How does user research fit into the agile process?
  • Describe how you would use a ‘lean’ approach in your research.
  • How do you include others—and who are they—when doing research? (For example, they could lead the analysis, but it’s worth getting others involved for a perspective.)
  • Do you plan the work, or are you simply a moderator?
  • Do you include others in the business in research? If so, how and why?
  • Describe a time when you led a research project.
  • What research methodologies have you taken part in or used previously? (For example, card sorting, tree testing, heuristic evaluation, cognitive walkthroughs, etc.)

Insights and deliverables#

  • How do you visualise data?
  • How do you visualise results for designers, developers and other stakeholders?
  • Give me an example of a project you worked on where you translated research data into insights.
  • What experience do you have with videography or video deliverables?
  • How would you sell the value of user experience to a VP of product versus a VP of engineering?
  • How do you deliver research outcomes to stakeholders? (For example, do they try and get a story across; can they showcase studies?)
  • What UX deliverables have you created in the past, and how have you used them to communicate your ideas? (For example, customer journey maps, mental models, personas, etc.)

Working with others#

  • How do you approach working with other designers (content, interaction, service and visual) and researchers?
  • How do you approach working with engineers (frontend and backend; mobile and web)?
  • Describe how you work with colleagues in other professions, such as product and engineering.
  • What best practices do you use when working with engineers?
  • What guidance have you provided to clients in the scoping of projects?
  • How do you deal with stakeholders with contrarian perspectives?
  • What do you do when a stakeholder disagrees with the results of your research?
  • What is your experience working with people who are unfamiliar with user-centred design?
  • How do you approach working with people who are unfamiliar with user-centred design?

Job roles and responsibilities#

  • What roles have you played on projects? (For example, lead versus support)
  • Describe a time where you led a project.
  • What is your experience working with recruiters?
  • What is your experience working with product and delivery managers?
  • What experience do you have scoping programmes of work?
  • What experience do you have working with and managing external research providers and vendors?

General job stuff#

  • Are you interested in a contract or full-time work?
  • Are you open to a contract-to-hire position?
  • Are you open to travelling (the UK and international)?
  • What’s your hourly rate?
  • How do you feel about working remotely?
  • What do you know about our company, products and services?
  • Why do you want to work here?

Career and plans#

  • What kind of work do you want to do?
  • Where do you want to be in 2, 5 and 10 years?
  • Why did you move into [subject area]? (For example, anthropology, user research, design, etc.)
  • Why do you want to leave your current role?
  • What are you looking for in the long term?
  • What is your ideal job?
  • What does success look like in this role?
  • How do you see this role and our company fitting into your long-term plans?

Workplace culture#

  • What are you looking for when it comes to the workplace?
  • How do you feel working for a start-up compared to a large corporation?

What questions have you asked or received in interviews? What would you add to the above list? It would be great to hear from you. Please send me your thoughts.

Further reading#

Updated on: 8 April 2018

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