User experience (UX) designer is among the hottest jobs in the creative field, and top candidates may end up juggling multiple offers because of that. One way to tip the balance in your favor? Conduct UX designer interview questions that are compelling enough to leave both you and the candidate enthused and motivated to take the next step.

To achieve this, you’ll need questions that tease out a candidate’s skills, experience and design philosophy while also impressing them with your understanding of and commitment to great user experiences.

When drafting questions, remember that UX designers are multifaceted professionals who straddle the worlds of design and tech. With their technical and problem-solving skills, they’re comfortable collaborating with software engineers. But they also think deeply about consumer habits and preferences and won’t hesitate to veto some cutting-edge technology if it makes an interface clunky or difficult to use.

With that in mind, here are 20 UX designer interview questions that give candidates a chance to showcase their full range of skills and interests — and shows them how much you care about getting a great person into the role.

Open-ended UX designer interview questions

Don’t think of these as basic questions to get out of the way before the serious business begins. A good candidate will use common questions like these to highlight outstanding achievements from their education, work experience and portfolio. If their answers feel scripted, break in with follow-up questions to learn more about them as individuals and get a sense of their personalities. But your main aim is learning about their interest in UX design — finding out how and why they started their careers — and gauging their passion for the field.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What interests you most about this position?
  • What inspired you to choose this career?
  • What excites you about UX design?

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Questions about UX knowledge, philosophy and process

Questions about a candidate’s understanding of and experience with UX will likely comprise the bulk of your interview. Look for answers that illustrate the candidate’s expertise and knowledge of the industry. Do they fully comprehend all aspects of the discipline? Are they able to integrate research into their process? Find out how applicants work through a project and how they keep the user’s needs in mind with each step.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your specific product. You’ll not only find out if the candidate did their research on your company, you’ll get their take on areas for improvement and find out what they might bring to the table if they become a member of your team. Make sure they can create a digital experience that satisfies your users’ expectations while helping you reach your business goals.

  • How would you explain UX design to someone who has never used a smartphone?
  • Why does UX design matter?
  • Walk me through your design process, from brainstorm to mock-up.
  • How would you improve our product?
  • How would you say UX design relates to other disciplines, like graphic design or interaction design?
  • How do you incorporate user research and usability testing into your work?
  • Tell me about a project that didn’t go as planned. What did you learn from it?
  • What’s the best piece in your portfolio and why?

And to show the candidate your understanding of UX design, also mention brands that you think have good UX, and mention ideas for updating your brand’s user experience and see how they respond.

Interested in pursuing this career for yourself? Read Hot Job:UX designer.

Ways to discover what inspires and motivates them

Top UX designers need to stay abreast of rapidly changing industry standards, trends and technological developments. In this section of the interview, your goal is to see where candidates turn for inspiration, what they consider the hallmarks of effective UX design and their ideas on the field's direction. These UX designer interview questions will help you find someone who can evolve as technology and user expectations change.

  • Where do you find inspiration for UX?
  • Which brands’ UX design have had the biggest influence on your career?
  • What do you think will be the next big thing in UX design?

A deeper dive into their ways of working

UX designers dig deep to understand how people think, behave and consume, then build interfaces informed by those findings. This involves extensive collaboration and teamwork, so identifying a candidate who meshes with your corporate culture is crucial.

To get a read on the candidate’s preferred work environment, ask UX designer interview questions like:

  • What type of company culture do you thrive in most?
  • Tell me about a time when you persuaded your teammates to rethink a project or change direction?
  • Are you more creative and productive working alone or as a team?
  • If working remotely, how would you overcome the challenges of collaborating with colleagues at a distance?
  • How would your colleagues describe your communication style?

Finally, be prepared to deviate from any of your prepared lines of questioning if the situation requires it. Perhaps you interview a less-experienced applicant who has a thin resume and portfolio but appears to possess extra intelligence and passion to boost your current team. In this candidate-short market, people with raw potential are worth considering, and you can use the interview to assess their learning capacity, work ethic and willingness to be guided and mentored.