Looking for advice going into UX Design job interview

jobs

#1

Hi there!

I’m hoping there are some seasoned pros here who can help me on my way to my first UX Design interview next week!

I already had an introductory chat with the company owners yesterday about the job role and I’m really interested to go for the official interview next week.

I’ll summarise quickly my background and the job I’m going for:

  • I’m a graphic designer that has been working on brand identity and design for marketing over the past 6 years but always found this type of work not completely fulfilling as i never got to pursue my interests in human behaviour and psychology within the role

  • a couple of years ago I embarked on a counselling skills course as I thought studying to be a psychotherapist might be a better career for me. After some volunteering experiences in this field i discovered it wasn’t for me

  • back to the drawing board! i wondered if there was a field i could go into that combined both visual design that considered human behaviour, i then came across UX design which was indeed that!

  • earlier this year I decided to complete a fantastic course on Udemy (https://www.udemy.com/ultimate-guide-to-ux) which prepared me to take the BCS Foundation Certificate in UX, and in March I took the exam and passed!

  • Since then I have been freelancing still as a graphic designer until 2 weeks ago a recruiter contacted me for a job that came up within a software company as a hybrid graphic designer/UX designer.

  • The role would require me to carry out the graphic design tasks that I’m familiar with but also undertake UX and UI design tasks to improve the usability of the software product they are building. I would be the only Graphic/UX Designer there and I would not have anyone senior mentoring me so I would be in charge of my own learning and development.

  • I’m really excited about this role as it seems like a way to get experience of UX Design with opportunities to learn and develop. I’m fine with the role being a hybrid one at the moment, but I can see myself want to fully transfer over to being solely a UX Designer in the future as I imagine doing 2 job roles isn’t going to be sustainable.

What I would like to know is:

  • What do you think of hybrid roles? Are they good starting points for getting into the industry or are they a way of getting one person to do two people’s jobs?

  • Are there any tips and tricks I should know about to succeed in the interview?

  • When I’m negotiating my job role, should I request a set amount of time each month for learning and skills development within work hours?

  • Are there any Graphic Designers out there who have already done what I’m planning on doing? And how did you find the transition process?

All responses welcome! Thank you!


#2

hi jlang,

im currently also interviewing for ux roles, good luck to u next week!

A few things ive noticed. Ive come across quite a few hybrid UX/UI roles, mostly operating as the sole ux/ui person, usually within startups or smaller companies. It might be 2 roles, but to be honest, at smaller companies everyone is expected to chip in for the good of the company. It also gives you good exposure across multiple disciplines.

As a graphic designer you will be well equipped on the ux design side of things. You will be expected to explain your designs with reasoning and rationale, and support them with evidence i.e. interviews, testing, solving a problem/need etc.This is the research side and probably where you want to be building your capabilities. Usually, however, in my experience UX/UI roles tend to focus more on the design side with the research being a nice to have, but this is an area, if you can improve, definitely do so. After UX without the users is not UX!

With hybrid roles, you might be spread thin, and sometimes you might not do the full UX process, but on the whole, it will be a great experience IMO, especially if the company is growing. Are they? The good thing about this is that if you see the place growing, you will likely be the person growing out the team.

As for tips, be positive, enthusiastic and likeable. They will want to employ someone they can get along with! And be able to explain your design rationale and support it with evidence if you can

Good luck!


#3

Hi lykc

Thanks very much for the warm wishes and advice!

I think you’re right here, and I think this is the part of the role I’m nervous about taking on as research isn’t something I do in my design process at the moment, but I feel the skills I learned on my counselling skills course may be useful in area, in terms of speaking to people and getting to the root of a problem!

Being spread thin is also another of my worries! I realise I appear a bit like a UX unicorn/generalist, and I am concerned the company will expect me to be some kind of exceptional multi-tasker! However I don’t have coding skills. (Tried to teach myself them but nearly fell asleep with boredom) I made it clear to the company where my skills begun and ended, and I guess in a hybrid role like this, it will be important to keep managing their expectations of me.

This article informs me this is an acceptable thing to do. Would you agree?

a generalist’s experience can be light in some areas and deeper in others. It’s common for generalists to have areas of strengths and weaknesses. Some generalist designers are more UX-oriented, while others excel at visual design.”

The company are indeed growing, they say they’re intending to extend their marketing team and UX team so its likely I will have team mates eventually! :smiley:


#4

I am going to add one more question that I have playing on my mind,

What is it like going into a company as the sole UX person, and then trying to implement yourself into the current company working processes? I can’t imagine it’s a simple transition, either for the UXer in question or the rest of the team who would have to learn to work in a different way?

I’d be interested to hear if anyone’s got any insight on this, or can link me to a relevant article?

Thanks!


#5

since ux is a relatively new discipline compared to the more traditional roles, part of our challenge is educating others on the benefits and the importance of ux. Its easier in more senior roles where you have more contact with senior members of the team, but for more junior roles, it can be tough. It depends on the company and the people, and plus your impact wont be overnight, it will be measured over time. At this stage you might be overthinking it, just do your best to land the job, and then worry about it


#6

As for getting started with User Research, check out the books Don’t Make Me Think and Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug. They are both about usability testing, which is a good way to get started to have user data to back up your designs for both yourself and your stakeholders.

Hybrid roles do tend to spread a person thin so be clear about your boundaries. I wouldn’t ask about specific hours for learning as you are expected to do that on your own.

Hope that helps!


#7

I had a somewhat similar path to my first UX job, though it was a bit more winding than yours. I also work in a similar hybrid role today. To answer some of your questions:

  • Hybrid roles are okay, but you have to be careful in understanding what you’re committing to. Both graphic design and UX are unique skills that take a significant amount of time to keep up with in their own right. Learning new software, techniques, and sub-disciplines of each is what allows you to add continuous value to your organization going forward. What’s more, coming to a company without a design or UX culture, you’re going to have to be an evangelist for both within your organization. That’s quite the challenge, though it’s not impossible.

  • As far as interview tips and tricks, I’d read up on common UX interview questions. Simply googling questions and practicing your answer is a big help, and it’ll help you uncover areas of learning you may not have realized were missing from your arsenal ahead of the interview.

  • I don’t know if you’ll want to set a specific amount of time each month for learning and skills development, but I would make it very clear during your interview process that continuous learning is very important to you. I would also make it clear that you intend to continue to build your skill set, and that you would love to work for an employer that supported you on that mission. The truth is that skill sharpening is fairly common in the tech world these days, and working to better your skill set is an expectation of most workplaces to fill what you might consider “down time.”

  • The transition process wasn’t too bad, though it required a large change in thinking. Graphic design is a highly visual and artistic practice. UX has more elements of data science and research in it. No longer are you able to simply “go with your gut” on what you feel might work. Your designs should be data-driven and backed by industry best practices. This means conducting research, asking questions, and staying curious. It’s certainly a doable change, but be prepared for a shift in your way of thinking.

I hope that helps! Will you let us know how your interview goes?


#8

I highly recommend making a keynote/powerpoint deck telling your story of your UX experience and what you can contribute to the company. Most people don’t think of doing this and it will impress them. Show a lot enthusiasm. Ask a lot of questions. You want to interview them more than they interview you. Be careful interviewing for roles where you are the sole UX designer advertised as UX/UI or UI/UX. The company usually doesn’t completely understand what UX really is. You will be miserable and likely to quit within a few months. That’s why you should ask a lot of questions to clarify the role. Who knows, they might get UX and turns out to be a good opportunity for you. Good luck!