Lights, camera, action! Don't get caught off-guard in your next UX/UI interview. Here are some tips for studying up, so you dazzle your future employers when the spotlight comes your way.
Interviews can be nerve-wracking regardless of your specialty. But if you're a UX/UI designer, particularly in the MENA region, there needs to be more clarity on the questions you might be asked.
That's why we spoke to three UX/UI hiring managers in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon and asked them all about what kind of questions they ask in their interviews. So study up, because these could be in your next interview!
"I wanna know how their career got to becoming a UX designer because, from my experience, no one has ever just started as a UX designer." Malek Zalfana laughs.
For Malek, founder of Bold Studio, a digital agency, understanding the journey is important to making the right hire for his team. So how can you impress him?
Share the process and your journey.
A hiring manager like Malek wants to understand how you got from point A (whatever that was!) to point B (becoming a UX/UI designer).
"I wanna know why did they shift and how did they shift?" Malek emphasizes.
While sharing the steps along the way is helpful, like studying in university, completing internships, and taking on freelance jobs, ultimately, he wants to see how you solved your challenge of becoming a UX/UI designer.
"I don't care about their certifications or that kind of stuff." Malek explains, "I just wanna see how they thought about it‚— you know— what problems did they solve?"
Whether you're in UX/UI or not, this is a classic question that should stay on your radar. Rania Gharaibeh, UX manager at Jawaker, says she wants to see if you've done your homework.
Share your passion and vision for your next steps in the role.
As a baseline, hiring managers like Rania want to ensure you know where you're applying. "We are a gaming company, so we need to see that they are passionate about gaming and passionate about the UX/UI position."
And to stand out, Rania says they're looking for ambition: "We usually respect honesty, and we admire people who felt that they plateaued in the previous job and looking to advance more, to gain more experience."
Just make sure to focus on the future rather than dwell on the past, Rania advises. "We definitely don't want people to badmouth their current jobs."
"Okay, so this one is a loaded question," Malek admits. Usually, this is one of Malek's first questions to get the interviewee comfortable. After all, how hard is it to talk about your last project?
While it can be easy to dive straight into your most recent project, there are a few things someone like Malek is looking for.
Simply put: get excited!
"So if it's really something you worked on recently," Malek shares, "you most likely are still excited about it."
Malek is looking for real enthusiasm since that excitement will continue to power future projects and learning.
It wouldn't be an interview without at least one question that puts you in a vulnerable position, right? Well, this is a favorite of Malek's, not because it puts you in an uncomfortable position but rather because it allows you to share the common challenges you may have already overcome.
Be candid and analytical about what was tough (or what went wrong).
"I want to see all of the kinds of issues they've dealt with," Malek shares. Client communication, user rejection, miscommunication within the team, basically anything they could have learned from.
After all, that experience is a valuable asset.
Even if you're new to UX/UI, you'll know how important the user experience is. And this question digs right into that very foundation.
At its core, this question measures how user-centered you are as a professional. But it's also looking at a few other things.
Really get into your user research. And, by the way, the user is always right.
"I wanna see how they attached all data they collected to the design." For Malek, the process of collecting this information (and their research) is an important factor.
But there's also a common mistake in many answers to this question. "I often get the response, 'But I think the user is wrong,' or 'I think the feedback was a little off,'— then I know instantly, you're too confident."
For Malek, UX/UI designers must be flexible and open to change.
Most UX/UI designers (especially those more on the UX side of things) will be tasked with conducting user research as a core responsibility. Hiring managers like Amr Kh. Hamad, Miswag co-founder, want to dig deep into how you approach solving problems.
Highlight product thinking and scientific method
"The goal of this question is to find out whether or not they embrace product thinking and to find out if the candidate has the right mindset for solving problems," Amr explains. Additionally, he wants to ensure UX/UI candidates approach the problem with scientific precision.
"The work we're asking them to do is different from that of a graphic designer," Amr reminds, "We need graphic designers to have creative thoughts and be out of the box. But with UX/UI and product designers, they need to have reasons, more of a scientific method, and then apply their creative thoughts."
It's natural to feel stressed before an interview, but it's important to remember that you were invited for a reason. Of course, make sure to do your research on your interviewers, the company, and the position. And it certainly can't hurt to study up on some of the most common questions!
The project is funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German government.
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