Employers Misunderstanding UX / Their expectations of what you will actually do


Hello everyone, my name is Sean.

Really happy to have found this website and forum. Excited to be here. I’m hoping I will end up finding some form of informal mentorship here and maybe make some friends.

My question at the moment though has to do with UX Job postings. I have been looking through UX Job descriptions to make sure that I can a) become more of what companies are looking for and b) learn how to sell myself as best as I can by learning what companies are looking for.

The weird thing though is that a lot of “UX jobs” I look at, don’t actually seem to have anything to do with actual UX design or even UI.

For example, one of the last job openings I just looked at…basically seemed to describe a job that was more like a programmer / web designer / developer. The first 3 things on their list that they were looking for was knowledge of Java / CSS / HTML5.

I’m just wondering how others before me have navigated this kind of terrain. How did you handle these kinds of job openings? Did you just go on to the next ones, or did you reach out to them, apply… did you seek clarification? Were they really looking for something else?

This also branches into another more general topic that I am wondering about: It seems like some companies pay well because they’re sort of looking at hiring you (the UX designer) as someone they can pay for one job but expect you to do 3 or 4 different jobs. Is this something that’s common, or am I just being paranoid? How do you guys deal with this, are you able to educate your future employers about what you bring to the table, or do they want you to be a programmer, graphic designer, UI designer, web developer / designer + A UX designer as well?

Would love to hear all / any advice or responses to these issues.

Thanks guys


Hi Sean,
Unfortunately this is very, very common. If you can spare the time it is worth going along and talking to them to set their expectations. Talk to them about what you were expecting how that differs from a UX role. At worst you get some interview practice.


Thanks HAWK. Well that’s unfortunate but at least I can prepare for that now that I know about it. It certainly won’t deter me! Thanks for the advice.


@HAWK is right - this is very common, unfortunately. UX has become somewhat of a buzzword, to the point that many people writing the job postings don’t have an understanding of what a UXer should provide in terms of value to the organization. Sometimes these postings are written by hiring managers, and sometimes they’re written by HR folks. Very often, neither are very well-equipped to understand just what they’re asking for or why.

Part of the problem is that UX has a lot of crossover skills. A knowledge of UI, development skills, business skills, customer service, etc., etc., can all be helpful. As a result, some people believer they can get one person who can provide the value of two, three, or four roles, especially if that person is compensated well. UX Developers, for example, are a thing, though they really shouldn’t be. UX and development are very different skills, and both require a huge amount of work to keep up with the changing trends and techniques. Keeping up with both is a full-time job in itself, in addition to the two full-time jobs they’re usually asking that person to do.

HAWK is also right in that it may be worth going to the interviews to help level set for the potential employers, though that may be somewhat of a losing battle. It’s interview practice, however, which is a good thing (to a point).


You may want to have a read of this article, https://uxplanet.org/fake-ux-jobs-and-how-to-spot-them-and-avoid-them-3770b863e081.


Here’s another article you should read:


Thanks so much for the feedback guys!


I’ve written a few heated emails to recruiters about this! Wanting someone who can do UX & UI is one thing… but to code it as well… no one can do it all. Even if you have the skills, there is simply not enough time in the day! don’t be afraid to let recruiters and employers know their job descriptions are fantasies.


It’s getting ridiculous but the reality desperate, less UX qualified, low quality (excuse the harsh terminology) candidates will take them up and create the illusion that such people exist, it’ll take a generation of these guys messing up projects and costing serious $$$ for employers to realise they need to clean up their requirements and expectations.


Oh boy – I hear you man!


I don’t know if this is the right solution though. I currently work for a recruitment company as a UX designer to improve our jobsites etc. The important part is that a company needs a manager that understands all the different roles and strenghts of these roles.

I’m the UX designer, but I was until recently doing front-end development for 95% of the time. Well, I felt really sad and tryed to change things. Couldn’t do it on my own though as a junior UX designer. Now we’ve got a CMO that understands everything. No front-end for me anymore from the second she knew I was front-ending.

I think in general we should start to communicate clearly what the role of a UX designer is and how this fits in the company. It’s not bad to have some knowledge from HTML/CSS3 and JavaScript, so we can change some little things ourself.

So let’s think in solutions, let’s create a website together for UX designer jobs? Companies can post their vacancies for free, but they should be checked by the UX community before they can go live. That way we can filter the good UX vacancies, but also the UX companies we would like to work for.

This was just a quick solution, not brilliant yet but maybe it’s time to spar about the problems we come across and how to solve them.

Drop prolems + solutions, I’m very curious! Let’s start by changing little things together.


Thats a pretty cool idea. And also guideline for employers to understand UX design role requirements and expectations.


" knowledge of Java / CSS / HTML5 .

I’m just wondering how others before me have navigated this kind of terrain. How did you handle these kinds of job openings?"

I ignore them.

To be honest, I rarely see a pure UX design job spec these days and I think the problem is that UX as an acronym is a very easy buzzword and I wonder if we called ourselves Research-Based Designers or something similar, would it have happened?

On the flip side, moving from being a “Web Designer” to a UX Designer" boosted my salary by 25% in my first job even though my duties only changed a little bit, so there are pros and cons to buzzwords.


Same. I’m always suspicious of jobs postings that are advertised as UI/UX or even UX/UI after going through so many interviews. My current job that I landed earlier this year was posted as a pure UX design position. So I’m grateful for that. My salary was also boosted 25% as well transitioning from being a front-end dev :slight_smile:


Thats great to hear! Congrats!


Maybe this is a project we can start together? :slight_smile: Instead of ignoring the vacancies, I would like to make a change.


After I got moved over from Engineering to Product in my last job, I created a slide deck explaining to my new boss what UX meant, and what the role requires to be effective. To this day, he jokes that he hired me, and I told him what I was going to be doing!

Anyway, this is an example of a story with a happy ending. At this point in my career, I would completely veer away from job postings that are vague or inaccurate about the position. I would only be a UX evangelist again out of necessity, not by choice.


Such a good story. And I agree with you – especially for junior UXers. It’s tough enough breaking into a new industry without having to tell your colleagues what it is that you do.