The Worst UX Interview Questions EVER

May 24, 2022Mikenzi Ross

Finding the right candidate isn’t the most challenging part of the process when it’s time to hire UI designers (or UX designers.) Quite frankly, when it comes to hiring all types of designers, the best way to ensure a successful hiring outcome is to know the right questions to ask.

Equally important is knowing the questions to avoid. Yep, even though the TDP team believes you can never have too much information, some questions—many of which will surprise you—actually inhibit the hiring process.

What are these UX interview questions your startup should avoid asking? We’ve got the answers below—so let’s get started!

The reason UX interview questions require strategy

Your most powerful weapons in the hiring process are the questions you choose to ask. While glistening portfolios, glowing testimonials, and well-manicured LinkedIn profiles offer valuable insight into a candidate, the best way to hire UI designers (or other types of designers) is by asking questions that correlate with the overarching goal of your product.

  • Is speed a priority, meaning that you need a designer who can produce an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) in a short turnaround time?
  • Is this designer going to be working solo, or are they joining a creative team—what skillsets make up this team?
  • Do you need a UX specialist, product design specialist, UI specialist—or all of the above? (Not sure what the difference is? Check out our blog to find out!)

Compiling effective UX interview questions gets easier when you define the goals you want to achieve by hiring a designer.

What happens if you ask the wrong UX interview questions?

The most obvious answer is that you and the interviewee are left confused and unsure. Furthermore, the wrong questions can mean ideal candidates slip through your fingers because they may not be the best at interviews.

After all, many creatives tend to be “show don’t tell” types, and obscure or overly personal interview questions can create tons of friction during an interview.

… and you know how we UX designers feel about friction <>_<>

Friction =/= no good.

The worst UX interview question

You’ve patiently waited for it (or perhaps you’ve immediately scrolled down to this section—whatever floats your boat), and now we’ll review some of the most unproductive UX interview questions!

“What Is Your Biggest Weakness?”

This is a popular question, and initially, it might seem like great insight into the candidate’s ability to self-reflect. In reality, it just forces an interviewee into a dark and vulnerable place.

Such a question accomplishes nothing but potentially demeaning the candidate and putting them on the defensive. Instead, a better route is focusing on how the individual creates systems for success.

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

This is a cliche entry into our list, and it would be more than reasonable for a candidate to respond with:

How the hell should I know?

No one is a fortune-teller—don’t ask them to be. So much can change, and someone’s five-year plan is no exception. More importantly, it has nothing to do with their UX and UI design qualifications.

Not to mention, it puts the candidate on the spot to give you an answer you want to hear—not their actual goals.

“Tell me about yourself”

This seems like a very innocuous ice-breaker. Honestly, this question isn’t necessarily harmful. Still, it can derail a conversation away from the applicable data both you and the candidate need to decide if this is a good fit.

You don’t need to ask this question to gauge whether this person will socially get along with your team. You’ll get a feel for that by talking to them. You can get to know each other as you work together. Keep interviews focused on actionable and applicable data collection.

Disclaimer: If you like to ask this question, that's okay—ask away. Just don't allow the conversation to get too off-topic.

“Have you ever been on a boat?” (This one is from Applied Systems, for a graphic designer position)

Sorry but… WHA-A-AT?

(Okay, this last one was just for fun—and you can read a bunch more hilarious ones here in the "25 Crazy Interview Questions" article by Adam Vaccaro of Inc.com)

Go in with a plan

As with all successful endeavors, most begin with a plan. Before scheduling interviews, sit down and clarify the scope you want to hire UI designers and UX designers to accomplish. Then you can compile questions that lead to the results you’re looking for.

It’s likely to expedite the interview process and save everyone time because you know exactly what you want—and what to ask to get it.

Your candidates will respect and appreciate this, and hiring these types of designers becomes easier and more effective.

Psst, c’mere—wait, don’t run away yet!

Jump down the rabbit hole to the weirdest UX community on the internet—subscribe below before the TDP gnomes get… feisty.

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