With over a decade in design, I've had the opportunity to interview many designers across different stages of their careers. Throughout this time, my interview structure has continuously evolved.
In this post, I would like to share my latest interview framework, which accommodates designers with varying experience levels. Naturally, the depth of questioning adjusts according to the position being sought.
The introduction is the gateway to the interview, setting the tone for what's to come. It's a moment to break the ice, establish rapport, and lay the groundwork for a productive conversation. You can start with a warm greeting and casual conversation about the day (or weather! ⛅️) . Give a brief introduction about yourself, outline the structure of the interview, and open the floor!
Problem Statement Analysis
- Understand how the designer arrived at the problem statement. Bonus points for redefining the problem statement with a deep understanding of evident and latent needs. Assess whether the problem statement was articulated with precision and clarity. Was it well-defined and coherent?
- Has the designer considered different perspectives while understanding the problem?
Collaboration - Aligning user and business needs towards a single goal
- How did they collaborate with their cross-functional partners? Do they have a good understanding of business needs? How did they align user and business needs? Did they face any problems? How did they resolve them? What are their methods for collaborative problem-solving?
- Focus on stakeholder management and conflict resolution
- What problems did they face during collaboration? How did they resolve them?
- Process - Uncover the factors that steered the ideation process and their underlying reasons.
- Focus on design system and component issues when working with engineering
- Problem Resolution - Is the problem getting adequately resolved with the solution? How did they measure it? Is the solution aligned with the defined business and user objectives? Are there any ambiguities or loose ends in the solution?
- Navigating ambiguity - Understand how the designer navigated through ambiguity and uncertainty (if any).
- Quality and Inclusivity - Focus on craft and quality of work. Has the designer considered an inclusive experience?
- Feedback Reception: Analyze how designers respond to and integrate feedback into their work.
Contextual and Open questions
- What are their thoughts on handling design debt and design evolution?
- How do they upskill as a designer?
- Why <this company>?
- What are your expectations from the next job regarding personal and professional growth?
Questions for the interviewer:
- It's a red flag if they don't have any questions. Beware of the absence of curiosity, for questions unasked signal a dire omen.
In the intricate dance of the design interview, every step, from the warm introduction to the probing analysis of problem-solving, collaboration, and ideation, plays a vital role in uncovering a candidate's true potential.
There's no one-size-fits-all approach to structuring an interview. The process should be dynamic, adapting and evolving with the industry's context and ever-changing landscape.
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