Insider’s Guide: How to Find, Evaluate and Hire UX Designer

By Adam Fard - Lead Product Designer

0 - Insiders Guide How to Find Evaluate and Hire UX Designers

Here’s an insider’s guide on how to find, evaluate, and hire UX designer successfully.

Anyone who has gone through the process of looking for, evaluating, and hiring UX designers will tell you that it’s not easy. First, you need to find UX Designer, then you need to evaluate them against structured criteria, and then finally, you need to convince them to join your payroll. Of course, all that is easier said than done.

To make sure you get through this process as smoothly as possible, you’ll want all the help you can get.

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I: Finding

Where Can You Find UX Designers?

Targeted Outreach

1 - Where Can You Find UX Designers - Targeted Outreach

Targeted outreach is one of the most effective ways to find a great UX designer, especially if you have a team that has worked with — or knows someone who has worked with — designers in the past. As the name suggests, targeted outreach means you need to make the first move and contact prospective designers.

Sit down with your team and brainstorm a few names. Create a list of UX designers to hire and start reaching out to them. If they’re too busy or not interested, ask them to refer someone else. Essentially, targeted outreach is based on referrals, so you can rest assured knowing that you’ll find someone with relevant experience and expertise.

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Online UX Design Communities

2 - Hire UX Designer from Online UX Design Communities

There are plenty of online communities where UX designers can show off their designs and share portfolios. Here, you can find skilled UX designers from all around the world, browse endless designs, and even post a job with your specific requirements.

Keep in mind that while these online communities are an awesome place to screen visual designs, they’re not particularly useful when it comes to understanding the strategy, vision, interaction, or architecture used by the designers to build the final product. Namely, you get a glimpse of the surface but not what is beneath it.

”A beautiful product that doesn’t work very well is ugly.”

Jonathan Ive

For this reason, it’s important that you know exactly what you want and need from your UX designer. Otherwise, you might hire a UX designer who excels in creativity but is lacking in the strategic department.

Prominent online UX design communities include Dribbble, Behance, Coroflot, and Awwwards.

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UX Job Boards

3 - Find User Experience Designer from UX Job Boards

Even though you can post your UX design job post on any job search engine, it’s best to post on job boards that specialize in UX design. This way, you can be certain that your post will target and reach the right audience: UX designers.

Here are UX job boards where you can find your ideal UX designer:

  • UX Jobs Board.
  • Toptal.
  • Just UX Jobs.
  • Designer Hangout.
  • Authentic Jobs.

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II: Evaluating

How Do You Evaluate a UX Designer?

4 - How Do You Evaluate a UX Designer

When you find a UX designer who seems like a good fit, it’s time to put them to the test and evaluate them. How do you do this? Everyone has their own methods, but most interviewers just go with their gut feeling. This is wrong. Your instincts — or innate biases — should not be the main selection criterion for a UX designer.

You have to know what you want in a UX designer. What is good depends on a candidate’s matching the competencies that you’ve chosen, at the levels of proficiency that you need.”

— Nathaniel Davis

Instead, you should develop valid selection criteria to make the evaluation — and ultimately, the selection — more accurate. 

To objectively evaluate UX designers you want to hire, follow these four steps:

  1. Know what you want. Define the specs of your project and design requirements.
  2. Evaluate hard skills. What skills are vital to the successful completion of the project?
  3. Explore soft skills. What personal attributes does the designer possess?
  4. Test UX designers. Can they create a viable design solution that satisfies expectations?

Additionally, you want your criteria to feature various qualities and skills that are essential to your project. This will ensure that the UX designer can easily adjust and contribute to your team. 

Here’s what to look for when hiring a UX designer:

Design Skills

What do you want to find out? Can this UX designer do the job efficiently?

How can you find out? Review portfolio, ask questions, and give design exercises.

  • Experience. Do they have sufficient experience in UX design?
  • Problem setting. Can they identify, question, and prioritize problems?
  • User-centered process. Do they base their design decisions on user insights?
  • Idea generation. Are they able to quickly generate high-quality solutions?
  • Systems thinking. Do they understand how their solution will fit into users’ lives?
  • Visual appeal. Is their design appropriate for the audience?
  • Innovation. Does their design feel new and original?

People Skills

What do you want to find out? Do I want to work with this designer?

How can you find out? One-on-one interviews, cover letters, and back-and-forth emails.

  • Communication. Are they a good listener and a persuasive speaker?
  • Collaboration. Can they work efficiently as part of a team?
  • Cultural contribution. Do they represent your company’s values?
  • Leadership. Do they take proud ownership of their work and decisions
  • Mission. Did they read up on your company prior to the interview?

UX designers that possess these skills are definitely worth considering for the job. 

If you’re stuck on finding the right questions to ask UX designers during interviews, here are a few that will give you the information you need to make the final decision:

  • Describe your design process and methods.
  • Describe the challenges you faced on a recent project.
  • How did you approach the problem?
  • Provide examples of how you deal with user research and usability testing.
  • How do you handle criticism from clients?
  • What does it mean to be a great UX designer?
  • What analytical tools do you use to evaluate your designs?

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What Else Should You Know Before You Hire a UX Designer?

When looking for the right UX designer, companies often make mistakes that end up blowing up in their faces. Make sure to avoid these common mistakes when hiring UX designers:

  • Merge separate roles. Do not expect a UX designer to perform a wide range of tasks outside their professional domain, like UI, marketing, and QA. If you’re looking for a great UX designer, stick to looking for someone who’s just that.
  • Judge a UX portfolio on quantity. Do not make the assumption that a UX designer with only a handful of samples in their portfolio is any less experienced than someone with 20 samples. Focus on what’s inside the portfolio, and put an emphasis on quality over quantity.
  • Expect a fast turnaround. Do not set unrealistic deadlines and rush a UX designer. This will do you more harm than good. Great UX design takes time. Accept it. Give the designer enough time to do their job properly, or risk cutting your product’s chances of success.
  • Posting a mediocre job ad. Do not reach out to UX designers with a boring job ad. Create one that will stand out from the crowd and spark interest. Share your company story, promote your work culture, and present your vision in a way that will leave a positive impression.
  • Ignore the competitive UX market. Do not think that UX designers are a dime a dozen. They’re not. UX is an extremely competitive market. This means you should think of ways to motivate and retain top UX talent even before you acquire it.

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So now that you have done your homework, it is the time to fix an interview with your shortlisted candidates.

III: Hiring

Interview Questions to Ask While Hiring a UX Designer

6 - Interview Questions to Ask While Hiring a UX Designer

Undoubtedly, when you are out in the market to hire a UX designer for your firm, start-up, venture or business, you are just as nervous and pressurized as the candidate in front of you. This is simply because you don’t want to make any mistake and lose a gem of a UX designer.

No worries. Here are a few interview questions for UX designer that you must ask your candidate.

  1. Did you solve any problem area that was invisible but enhanced the overall user experience of the application?

Your candidate could provide a range of answers here. And believe us, there is no right or wrong. However, to judge your candidate, look for any indication in their answer that demonstrates their skills to handle complexity in a product. This will prove to be a testimony of their understanding of what UX is composed of.

Some possible answers could be removing a redundant step from the process, reducing the amount of data inputted, or developing a data-rich dashboard.

  1. How do you understand the vision of the product and display it appropriately on the screen?

Needless to say, there are a lot of appropriate answers to this question. To understand the feasibility of this answer properly, it is important that you understand your vision properly. Analyze how the answer of your candidate aligns with your overall vision. Although they won’t necessarily be the same, they should resemble a large extent.

  1. What will you term as an ideal working environment?

This an important question both for you and your candidate. It is essential that both the parties involved work in harmony with each other, and prove to be a great fit. For instance, if your candidate answers the questions with, “working in a team with vibrant and dynamic atmosphere”, and your company is a bunch of tech-geeks with everyone focusing on their tasks and no one speaking to each other, you can sense the incompatibility out there.

Similarly, if you prefer your employees to work remotely, and if this is not something that doesn’t go well with your candidate, you might need to reconsider.

Other important factors that you must bring into consideration include – how joyful will they be when working with you, do you have projects that are the right fit for their skills and interests, is the person in question trustworthy, and do their mission and vision statement aligns with the mission and vision of your company? Are they comfortable with the goal of your company and will leave no stone unturned in achieving that goal?

  1. What UX tools do you commonly use?

This question is asked just for informational purposes and you should not base your decision solely on the answer to this question. Although tools play an important role, the tool match is not that important.

If your candidate knows one tool and not another, the chances are high that they will easily be able to pick up the different tools too. However, there are a few exceptions here. If you are hiring an UI/UX designer for an urgent project and want them to work on a tool right from day one, do not expect a quick turnaround time here. Your designer will take their own time, depending on the learning curve of the tool, and their grasping power.

Thus, the know-how of your designer on the UX tools should not be a subject of concern if you are hiring them for long term product development. However, if it is an urgent need, you should choose to hire someone who is already familiar with your preferred tools.

  1. What factors do you keep in mind while designing for varied types of users?

This is an important question of the entire UX designer hiring process. Most UX designers answer this question with demographic data. However, an even more important factor here is triggers. What will trigger your potential user to use or choose your products and services? It is important that your product not only flaunts a user-friendly user experience but also compels your users to take the desired action.

While asking these questions is important, what is critical is to understand that there is no best designer in this world. There is only the BEST designer that suits your team well, fits any gap in between, and enhances the overall user experience of your product, thus helping your company move forward. Also, the next important question that you should ask include the expected UX designer salary. Don’t forget to ask for UX design portfolio.

Finally, a Few More Questions, and You’re Good to Hire a UX Designer!

7 - interview questions for UX designer

Although the above-mentioned interview questions for UX designer will provide you with a brief overview of the candidate, here are a few additional questions which will help you in making the right choice:

  • Enquire them as to how do they keep themselves updated with the industry trends? Do they attend any conferences?
  • Give them a test task to analyze their problem-solving skills, designing skills, and communication.
  • The top UX designers have a degree in fields like graphic design, psychology, and human-computer interaction.
  • Do they come with any prior job experience? The size of the firm that they have worked with doesn’t play a vital role, but they must come with hands-on experience of a few months, if not years!
  • Look at how diverse is their portfolio. Prefer them if they have worked on a good mix of UX methods. If they have taken care of various stages of UX design – that’s an added plus. Also, have they worked on a range of applications – web applications, desktop programs, mobile applications, consumer applications and the like – that’s a bonus!

Finding, evaluating, and hiring a UX designer is not the easiest task. There’s no denying that. But with the right approach and can-do attitude, you can find and hire UX designers to join your team.

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