What to Expect From Your First UX Job Interview

Looking for a job in the web design industry is a challenge for anyone. Despite the fact that UX has been around since the early 1990s, it remains quite a niche and not many people can explain exactly what a UX specialist or designer does. Therefore, it may be up to you during an interview to fill in any gaps in a HR officer’s understanding.

So, what exactly can you expect during an interview for a UX position? What types of questions might you be asked? And what can you do to prepare in advance for this important meeting? Here is a rundown of what you can expect.

Start with the basics

First of all, you will need to prepare yourself as you would for any kind of job interview. There are several common topics that you can talk about, such as:

  • Your personal profile
  • Your academic background
  • Your professional experience
  • Your more general skills: communication, teamwork, leadership etc.

You should also be able to speak passionately about the company you wish to join. Do your homework and some research about the organisation, their clients, history, goals, and values.

If your interview is with an agency that has had many clients, you will probably find case studies on their website, or at least names of prominent clients they have worked with. Make sure to have a strong knowledge of what they’ve done previously.

Make sure that they notice:

  • How enthusiastic you are about potentially working with them
  • That you have read and studied the job description carefully
  • That you are a great person to have around

Prove that you know UX inside-out

UX is still a relatively new thing and is often confused with many other areas. The first thing that your interviewer will want to know is that you understand UX and the specific tasks involved.

Spend some time brushing up on your theoretical knowledge, as if you were going to give a short description of it. Make a clear distinction between User Interface and User Experience, so that your interviewer knows that you are up-to-date on the roles that each of these positions play in overall website design.

Be prepared for both an academic interviewer – who will be happy to hear you mentioning famous authors and experts; and a practical interviewer – who will want that you get straight to the point of your experience in UX.

Display up-to-date knowledge on the subject

You will also have to prove your passion for UX. There is no better way to demonstrate this than by talking about the latest news or trends in your industry.

This will demonstrate that you enjoy it enough to keep yourself informed about it, even if it isn’t paying your bills – yet! Don’t just repeat what you read, however. Bring your own opinion, analysis, and ideas to the table. Be engaged and interesting

Show off your experience

You will be asked about your work experience – treat this as the critical point of your interview. This is where a potential employer will assess if you are the right fit for their company.

While preparing at home, build your portfolio in a very attractive and engaging way – remember that you are looking for a UX job, so underline not only what you did for your client(s), but what they gained as a result of your input.

Be ready to showcase the projects that are a good match for the types of work the company does for its current clients, and be sure to demonstrate how hiring you might result in expanding their client base.

Take your computer with you, or a tablet if it works well. But also be prepared to explain your portfolio verbally, as you might not have the opportunity to go online.

If you are just getting started and have no previous work to show, consider creating a small project in order to show what you can do. You could also take examples from other people’s work and explain what you like or dislike about it. This will help them to understand how you view UX, and what is important to you in a design context.

Show them your methods

UX is all about the process, but that’s not to say that results don’t matter as well. When your UX design results in more traffic and sales for a client, that client will be more likely to recommend you to others. The company needs to be able to see your potential. Specifically, you will need to address the following:

  • How you identify the customers’ needs
  • What your testing methods are
  • How you validate your data
  • What is in your UX toolkit

Of course, there is much more to add to the list above, but it will depend on the requirements of the job.

Tell them about your additional skills

Try to see yourself as a product and show off a bit of added value. What skills are a great resource for your job, but that you don’t necessarily need to get the basic work done?

These can be anything from general digital marketing skills such as social media or planning, to advanced IT skills, such as coding. Take this as an opportunity to mention anything extra that positions you as an even better potential asset to the company.

To sum up

When interviewing for a UX job – much like any other position – you have to prove that you are capable, that you are a perfect fit for the company, and that you can provide them with fresh ideas that will support their goals.

Above all, it’s important that you appear calm and self-assured. By practicing your responses to potential questions you will be able to express yourself easily and assertively.

Don’t forget: if you have come as far as the interview in this application process, they are serious about you. Your job now is to turn that interest into excitement!


This post was written by Nicole Boyer on behalf of Career Foundry. 

CareerFoundry is the number one online destination for career development in the new economy. Its bootcamp style courses in Web Development, UX Design and UI Design have been engineered to get students a new job or level up in their careers in under 6 months. Its world-class mentors and strong student community keep each student motivated and ensures success in their new careers.

Nicole Boyer

Nicole Boyer

Graphic / Web Designer

Nicole Boyer is young graphic/web designer and also contributing blogger for several websites. She is tech-savvy and loves discovering new things. Connect with Nicola via Twitter or Facebook.