Is it unusual I've never been asked to do a design test or exercise during a UX interview?


Recently a friend who is trying to break into UX asked me how my design tests/exercises were like during my UX interviews. Her question made me realize that I was never asked to do any design tests or exercises during the countless UX interviews I have gone on the past few years. Is this unusual? I recently switched over to UX from a related industry about three years ago.


It’s a common, yet controversial, practice to ask candidates to perform some sort of tests druring or prior to an interview. Here’s another thread on the topic.


I know, but in my case is it unusual to be never be asked to do a design test or exercise for a UX interview?


What exactly are you refering to when you say UX, what industry?

I know in some design industries this is fairly common, but again Id imagine this would depend on what part of the world you live in.

If you design machines that produces tyres for example it might be important to prove you have the knowledge required to produce machines that are more efficient for the end user, but a test, mehhhh, not so much.

When you say UX industry, I butt heads with that term. UX is a component of design in everything its not an industry as such.


It could just be luck of the companies you interviewed with or your location. Not everyone does them. I wouldn’t say it’s usual, but it is not unusual either.


I live and work in NYC. I have worked for agencies, startups, and currently a major media company. All the interviews I went on that I got the job for never asked me to do a design test or exercise.


Probably luck of the draw? Or is it smaller companies who would ask this? Not sure.

In all my years, Ive only been asked to do design at an interview once. This was for a small local agency. When I’ve worked for larger companies/agencies, the usual thing was to present a few case studies from my portfolio. My guess is that larger companies with larger recruitment budgets and a larger pool of talent to choose from don’t necessarily have the time nor inclination to go through such a process. Just a guess.


It depends a lot on the companies you’re interviewing with. In general, companies without a design culture won’t run tests or whiteboarding sessions as commonly as those who have that background.

Also, this makes me very happy to hear. These tests are dumber than snake mittens.


That’s the thing though, these companies I interviewed at and got the job, had design cultures. I guess I lucked out.


There’s definitely a movement to scrap these things, so it’s all possible you’re interviewing with organizations that know enough to know that these tests are worthless as far as evaluating a designer’s skill set to do anything but finish unrelated work under crazy deadlines for no pay.

For what it’s worth, I’m working on an article about this (and have been for a few months), and I can tell you that at the very least geography doesn’t seem to play a role in it.


Oddly enough, I’ve never been asked to do any kind of exercise during a UX interview. During a communications manager/writer interview yes (ask me about my press release :wink: ).

I did once have a founding member at an agency try to make me draw a hard line between where content strategy ends and information architecture begins, though. That was a fun interview. :roll_eyes:


Ive been asked to talk myself up, which is basically what they are asking you to do, and just luckily Im VERY good at this with people I dont know. Know what they are asking, confirm what they are asking (reiteration) and slam dunk the job (never outright lie)