How to Prepare for Your Next UX Design Interview

How to Prepare for Your Next UX Design Interview from UIGarage
Nikka Estefani

Updated on January 9, 2023

How to Prepare for Your Next UX Design Interview from UIGarage

UX Design Interview can be scary, especially if you are new to the field or haven’t done many design interviews before. But if you know how UX design interview work and why they are done, you can feel more prepared and confident as you start your job search.

The goal of a UX Design interview is to see if you are a good fit for a certain project or role and to learn about your design philosophy and skills.

Different companies have different ways of setting up interviews, but most UX interviews will have some things in common.

Recruiter screen

A 30-minute call with the recruiter is usually the first step in the interview process. During this call, the recruiter will try to figure out if you are a good fit for the job. Most of the time, you’ll talk about:

  • Why you want the job and what you can bring to it
  • Your relevant past work history
  • Your knowledge of how to make something
  • Your ability to work across departments and tasks

At the end, you’ll have a few minutes to ask any questions you might have about the job. This is a good time to ask about the salary range so you can decide if the job is worth going after or not.

Interview from the Hiring Manager

The next step is to talk to the design manager who is doing the hiring. They will talk more about the details of the job and how the team works. They will also get to know you better as a designer and as a person.

You will talk about the same things in this interview as you did in the recruiter screen. The person in charge of hiring you will also ask you situational questions like:

  • Tell me about a time when stakeholders did not agree with you. How did you respond?
  • Tell me about a time when your plans didn’t work out. How did you adapt?
  • Tell me about a project you’re really happy with. How did you make the thing you made?

Be ready to talk about the projects you’ve worked on and the problems you’ve had to solve.

If you haven’t worked in design before, use examples from your current job or from school that show you have knowledge or skills that can be used in design, like how to work with others, solve problems, think critically, and have empathy.

Portfolio presentation

After the first interview, the next step is usually a portfolio presentation, which is a deep dive into two to three case studies.

Unlike a website for your portfolio, a presentation should be set up as a slide deck that you can show to your audience.

When choosing which case studies to present, think about which skills are most important for the job based on what you learned in your last interview. As part of your presentation, you want to show off these skills.

For example, if the job requires experience with user research, talk more about how and why you do your research.

Tell a story as part of your presentation to keep your audience interested. The most important parts to talk about are:

  • What was your job, and with whom did you work?
  • What issue or chance does this project try to solve?For whom did you make this?
  • Which business goals did this project help meet?
  • What was your whole design process, from start to finish?
  • What happened? What was the answer?
  • How did you know if you were successful?

Finish each case study by talking about the problems you ran into, what you learned from them, and what you would do differently next time.

Be ready to answer any questions that might come up along the way, and review the details before you give your presentation.


Most of the time, product managers or developers, who are not designers, take part in these interviews. The goal is to find out how you work with people from different departments.

Some questions may include:

  • How does design fit into the job of managing products?
  • How do you find a middle ground when you have different ideas?
  • How do you tell people about the tradeoffs in your designs?
  • How do you get your designs ready to be passed on?

If you’ve never worked as a designer before, it might be hard to answer these questions. But you can answer them by talking about skills that can be used in a different setting, like communication, negotiating, and setting goals.

The point is to show that you can be a team player even when things get hard. Companies want to hire designers who can help them solve problems and reach their goals.

Whiteboard Challenges

Whiteboard challenges are becoming more common, but not every company will ask you to do one.

If you’ve never done a whiteboard design challenge before, you should definitely practice first.

Interviewers want to know how you solve problems and come up with solutions when you’re under pressure. Even though it’s not very realistic, it’s become a standard part of many design interviews.

You will be given a prompt, which is usually a vague statement of the problem. Then, you’ll be asked to talk out loud as you walk through your design process on the (digital) whiteboard.

Here are some questions to ask during whiteboarding:

  • For whom are you making this?
  • What are the pain points for the users?
  • When or how do people run into this problem?
  • How will this design help the business reach its goals?
  • What rules does the design have to follow?
  • How will you know if the solution worked?

App critique

Hiring managers may ask you to give a critique of an app as a way to see how you solve problems. An app review shows the employer how well you can analyze and evaluate how an app works for the user.

During an app review, you will show how well you understand design principles and best practices for user experience (UX). Find the app’s design’s strengths and weaknesses and make suggestions for how to make it better.

A review of an app also lets the person in charge of hiring you see how well you can explain your ideas and defend your suggestions. This is a useful skill for UX designers to have, since they often have to explain and defend their design choices to stakeholders.

Here are some ideas for how to critique an app during a UX job interview.

  • Start by talking about the app and what it does. Tell people what the app is meant to do and how it might help them.
  • Look at how the user moves through the site and how they can get around. Look at how the app guides users through different tasks and how easy it is to find certain features or information.
  • Think about the user interface and how it looks. Look at how the app uses color, font, and other design elements to create a unified and visually appealing experience.
  • Check out the message and the content. Check to see how the app talks to users and if the information is clear and easy to understand.
  • Think about how easy it is to use the app as a whole. Think about how easy the app is to use and if it meets the needs and expectations of the people who will be using it.
  • Make suggestions for how things could be better. Based on what you found, suggest specific changes or improvements that could make the app better to use.
  • Be ready to explain why your suggestions are good. The interviewer may ask you to explain why you made the suggestions you did, so be ready to talk in depth about your thought process.

Questions for the person doing the interview

At the end of an interview, you’ll have a chance to ask the person who interviewed you some questions. An interview should be a two-way conversation, so be ready with some questions about the job or company.

Here are some examples of questions you could ask:

  • Can you explain how the company designs and how the teams work together?
  • How does the company figure out if its products are successful, and what role does UX play in that?
  • How does the company help its UX team members improve their careers?
  • Can you tell me more about how the company thinks about design and how it works?
  • How will my job fit into the design team as a whole, and what kind of help will I get?
  • Can you tell me about any problems or chances the UX team is facing right now?

Keep in mind that the questions you ask will depend on the company and the job for which you are applying. It’s a good idea to tailor your questions to the company’s needs and goals as well as the parts of the job you’re most interested in.