25 min read
5 Things To Ask Before Hiring UX Designers
Learn five invaluable questions to ask when hiring UX Designers for your startup. Each question provides deeper insight into a UX designer’s process and priorities—allowing you to more effectively identify the ideal UX pro for your product.
Mikenzi Ross • Mar 14, 2022
Hiring a UX designer for your startup is a stressful process, even under the best conditions. When you're trying to build an incredible product that keeps customers coming back for more, how do you find the right person for the job?
We’re here to help (aren’t we always?)
Below we've provided a list of 5 questions you must ask before hiring UX designers. Each question provides deeper insight into a UX designer’s process, priorities, and work style. All of which allows you to more effectively identify the ideal UX pro for your product.
Wanna avoid the headache altogether? Why not give The Design Project a try? With a free 7-day trial, you experience the TDP difference with 0 commitment.
Alright, onto the interview questions…
Hiring UX Designers: What to look for in a candidate
Before the interview process, there are things to look out for when compiling a list of candidates. UX designers come in different shapes and sizes, but sometimes terminology can get chaotic.
When reviewing candidates, it's essential to know exactly what skill set you need. For example, are you looking for a UX designer, a product designer, or a UI designer?
If you don't quite know the difference, that's okay—most folks don't. However, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with their distinctions to maximize your investment—and feel confident that the person you're hiring also understands the difference.
Here are some resources to help you learn more about different branches of UX experts:
- The difference between a Product Design and a UX designer
- The difference between a UX designer and a UI designer
Once you've reviewed those articles, you'll have a much easier time determining what your startup needs, as well as whether or not your candidate has the expertise necessary to help your product succeed.
For example, if you see someone calling themselves a "UX/UI/Product"—noticing they use all of those terms interchangeably, make sure you ask for some clarification during the interview.
It doesn’t mean that they don’t have mastery over all of those specialties, it just means that you should ensure sure they understand the difference and how they'd apply them.
5 Questions To Ask A UX Designer
Alright, now that you know how to find great UX design candidates, let's get onto the 5 interview questions to ask, and the types of answers to look for.
Let's make one thing clear before we get started. Interviews are stressful for everyone involved, especially for the interviewee. As pretty much everyone understands, it's a very vulnerable position to be in, and the pressure of trying to provide the perfect answer can make even the best of us quake in our boots.
All that to say, even though these questions are constructive when hiring a UX designer, never forget you're dealing with another human being. Be kind and stay open.
Question 1: “What is your specialty?”
As we said earlier, you'll want to ensure that a candidate thoroughly understands the difference between UX, UI, and Product design.
Since you've just read about their specific qualities, you'll know pretty quickly if the candidate has the appropriate expertise. When the UX professional understands their place and expectations in the design process, they maximize their efficacy in the role.
Question 2: “What is your process?”
Effective UX design requires planning. Therefore, a quality UX designer should provide you with an overview of how they go from point A to point B.
Ask how they:
- Conduct user research
- Develop layout ideas
- Orchestrate creative reviews
- Reach mid and high fidelity mock-ups
- What they do after the product is live
UX design doesn't stop when an app goes on the app store—quite the contrary. In fact, that's almost where it begins. Why? Because now the designer starts researching, documenting, and adjusting based on user feedback.
Question 3: “What times in your life forced you to adapt?”
Since startup environments are unique, companies must ensure your potential hire is comfortable there. They could be fantastic designers with tons of experience… but if they can't adapt to the startup's need, things can get hairy.
Find out what situations your candidate has experienced that forced them to adapt moment to moment.
Tip: It doesn't have to be related to UX design. It could be any situation—at any point in their life. It's just about appraising how this person handles adversity.
Question 4: “What is your method of user testing?”
As we said earlier, UX design doesn't stop at high-fidelity. It's vital that your UX designer is ready and prepared to perform and analyze user testing to tweak and strengthen the product.
Invite the candidate to walk you through the key points and metrics they monitor, and how they collect user feedback. This shows they've got a plan and helps everyone communicate and contribute more effectively.
Question 5: “Have you worked in the startup environment before?”
Once you know about times when a UX designer was forced to exhibit flexibility, ask about their experience in the startup environment. This question is great for two reasons:
Reason 1: If you asked the adaptability question, even if they say 'no,' it doesn't mean they won't be a good fit.
Reason 2: If they say yes, then pop a quark and celebrate, that's just one more factor making them a great fit for your team!
Again, they don't have to have specific experience working with startups (like we do), but this question is a great segway where you can explain the unique demands and expectations. After all, clarity is vital in communication and UX design.
What Happens If You Don't Vett Your Expert
Now, we're going to get serious here and explain what could happen if you don't vet candidates with these questions. If you aren't thorough when hiring a UX designer, here’s what could happen:
You may end up doing more work
If you hire someone based on a pretty portfolio and an impressive-sounding resume/CV, you don't know how this person works. A portfolio doesn't have to come from real-life products. If you hire someone without getting to know their process, things are less likely to work out, and you'll be back at square one looking for a new designer.
You won't feel confident in them
When you don't take the time to listen to how a UX designer adapts to stress—or what their process looks like, you might worry about progress. Your lack of confidence will affect your relationship with the designer, and the outcome of your product will suffer unnecessarily.
You cannot create an effective product without communication. If you aren't sure what your UX designer is doing, or the methodology behind their decisions, it'll be harder for everyone to stay on track.
It goes without saying that with all of the potential issues that come with not asking the right questions, delays are almost inevitable. Lack of confidence, excessive revisions, and poor communication leads to missed deadlines and frustration for everyone involved.
The Best Way To Avoid Any Headaches—Or Mistakes
Don't just limit yourself to these five questions we've shared. Instead, use them as a jumping point. You just need to get comfortable asking questions. This builds your confidence, and ensures your UX designer also feels confident in your capacity as a client/leader.
Your performance in this relationship is equally important as theirs.
There's pretty much no such thing as too much information—even when it comes to your Aunt's sabbatical trip to Cabo with a mysterious stranger (seriously, give us all the juicy details!)
But in all seriousness, the strength of your product is directly tied to the effort you invest in the interview process.
But wait—there's more!