Until recently, I was on the applicant side of job interviews, with, very often, moderate success. Recently, at my current workplace I was asked to join interviews with people who will be working with me as UX designers. And straight away I found out what my mistakes were! Here is (definitely not definitive) list of things that, when applied, will help you out to nail the interview.

Be late.
No matter if that’s a Skype, or in-person interview, make sure to be late. This will show the interviewer what a busy person you are. And obviously no explanations or apologies are needed.

Deprecate academic education
Obviously, as a self-learner, you’re way better candidate than someone who received academic education in design, psychology, or any other UX related topic. In the end they had to spend countless hours on university listening to (probably) an old person speaking about outdated stuff, while you were out there learning about the latest and greatest trends. Obviously, you’re way ahead of them.

“I’m a self-learner, attending the university would be a waste of time.”

Research and data are for the inexperienced
You’re way to experienced to rely on anything else than your own intuition and gut. You know what users need, you’ve designed plenty of websites and apps, and you don’t have to reach out to potential users, to ask what they need or what their problems are. Talking to them is just waste of time. You. Just. Know. Things. Make sure the interviewer is aware of this.

You don’t need a design process
When asked about your design process or habits, ensure the person on the other side you’re just going with the flow. You can jump straight away into Photoshop and not bother with pen and paper, or go with the other way around — don’t bother with any program — the developers and stakeholders will obviously know what you’ve scribbled on the napkin during lunch.

“I just go with the flow and trust my guts.”

You don’t feel the need for inspiration
When asked about favourite app in terms of UX, or people you follow, just make an ambiguous statement about nothing in particular. No need for names. You’re the expert, obviously.

No need for new or improving your skills
When asked about the stuff that you’re good or bad at, make sure you mention what you’re bad and and have no intentions to get better at it. No, you don’t want to learn how to conduct research. Or get better in graphic design for that matter. You are UX Designer, leave the research to data nerds, and graphics to the artists — gray boxes are just fine.

Methodologies and tools are for the weak
Personas? Mood boards? User flows? Nah. You’re too good to rely on those oldschool methods. Agile, SCRUM, any lean methodology? It doesn’t work in UX. Make sure to communicate this to the reviewer, especially when he stated that the company works in SCRUM. And Jeff Gothelf is plainly wrong. You just set things in stone and move on to your next task, no need for feedback loop or another revision. You know what you’re doing, obviously.

“I don’t think Agile in UX works.”

Last but not least:

Real UX Designers use only Macs. Period.
Do I even have to explain that? You don’t want to work for a company that will supply you with top shelf, cutting edge WINDOWS (bleh!) machine, right?

Bonus: Quick tips

  • If it’s a remote interview, make sure to dial in from a noisy place, busy cafe with loud music is perfect,
  • Make sure you don’t look too elegant. You’re applying to a UX Designer position, right? Not a bank teller. Scruffy looks, stained tshirt, dirty jeans will be just fine, you washed them 2 weeks ago, so it’s OK.
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Now, for a serious note.

All the above has been inspired by just couple of interviews I conducted in last couple of weeks along some feedback I got from people I know who were hiring. The 3 quotes are 100% real. And from a single candidate (my mind just exploded, seriously).

Let me quickly address some of the topics, in no particular order:

  • No, you don’t have to wear a suit to the interview. Unless that’s the dresscode in your potential new office, that is. But I beg you, get your shit together and don’t look like a hobo.
  • Respect other people’s time. If you will be late to the meeting or simply can’t make it for whatever reason, let the other side know. You may have technical difficulties with your connection, get stuck in traffic, whatever, shit happens. Just pass the message, it will be fine. A no-show with no message is just shooting yourself in the foot. With a shotgun. If you can’t let the interviewer know before the meeting (or even forgot), just follow up whenever you have a chance. I’m writing this as a person who actually forgot about an interview I was supposed to have as a candidate. I follow up with apologies, was given another chance, and got a job offer in the end.
  • Be positive. On one interview the candidate was so focused on what he didn’t like (SCRUM, learning graphic design, Windows), that I couldn’t see him any other way than through the perspective of his negativity. If asked, admit what’s your weak side, but be open about improvement. It’s OK not to be good at everything, but if you say “I don’t want to learn it” it’s a huge red light.
  • Keep up with the industry. For me personally, a person that’s not that good but is constantly learning and is keeping up with the news, trends and whatnot will be a better suited person, compared to a closed-minded “expert” (quotes intended).

That’s obviously not everything. If you are involved in hiring UX people, feel free to share your tips in the comments. The more we know, the better we can get.

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