Finding the right person for the right job can be hard but finding a product designer to strengthen the aesthetics and usability of the product can be a tough job considering the pool of people you have to choose from. You need to find someone who is capable of leading the entire design team of your company. He or she has to be the one who can solve all your customers’ problems while still making your product easy to use and lovable.
In order to handle this hiring challenge, we have prepared a list of 21 questions that you can ask when hiring a product designer for your company. These questions will help you in scanning the hires to reveal their true personality and skill set…
1. In your opinion, what is product design?
Why to ask: The field of product design is an interdisciplinary domain that connects psychology, business, technical skills and others. You want your potential hire to understand this knowledge and also explain to you how they have applied it in any of their previous works.
2. Can You walk us through your job profile?
Why to ask: Even though you may already be familiar with the designer’s portfolio, yet seeing it through their eyes with the background that only they can provide will help you in understanding them at a whole new level.
3. Tell us more about the latest thing that you have learned that has helped you in improving your designing profile. What was it?
Why to ask: The field of Product design is a constantly evolving field. One has to constantly keep on learning to achieve success in this domain. It is this practical approach that differentiates a good product designer from an ordinary one.
4. How do you approach a new project?
Why to ask: A good product design is about solving the product problems. Look for the designer who answers the question with reference to finding solutions by researching user data and going through archives of older design work. Even though every person has his or her own process, what you really need to be looking is that whether they have a solid process in place or not.
5. How much time did you invest in the same and how did you apply it in your work?
Why to ask: This field needs constant practice to stay updated with the current trends. A good product designer is the one who devotes ample time on practicing and following these trends so as to keep the company on top.
6. In your opinion, how to start a good design process? Give reasons for your answer.
Why to ask: According to the famous designing expert Simon Sinek, everything should start with a ‘why’. Designing is a human oriented field and despite the methodology that any designer might use, he or she should have an empathy level and certain willingness to relate to others’ problems. This is an indispensable skill that helps a person to make a mark in this creative field.
7. What is the most important part of your job?
Why to ask: This question acts as a self awareness test that helps the designers themselves to understand why they wanted to become designers in the first place. After all, they are the problem solvers that strive and maintain the balance between the user needs and business needs. There is no answer that fits in this mould and you need to use your intellect to choose the one with the right response.
8. What comes first- style guide or product?
Why to ask: This is a chicken and egg kind of question. There is no correct answer to this question. Designers should have strong conviction regarding their choice. You should then choose the person who is able to give a reasonable explanation for the same.
9. Tell us about any time when you found a simpler solution for a complex problem.
Why to ask: A good work today is always better than great work done tomorrow. With this question you will come to look for the compromises a person has made for his or her clients for the sake of time and resources.
10. How did you react in a situation when you were asked to do something you knew was wrong?
Why to ask: Time to time, everyone has some kind of disagreements with their colleagues. It is not always about what is right or wrong but about the right communication. This question gives an insight how he or she will react in such kind of untoward situations.
11. What are favorite aspects of your favorite product in terms of design? How can you improve it?
Why to ask: Product designing is a skill that can only be mastered with constant practice. A good candidate will be prepared for this question beforehand and will seldom have any problem tackling it.
12. What are your first steps when you start working on a new desktop / mobile app?
Why to ask: This question acts as a dual check on whether the candidate would be able to lead the design process in your team while owning the same. A good product designer is sure to ask lots of questions to deal with the uncertainty that comes with a new app. You are sure to hear questions about the target audience, the desired platform, the user profile and several others in the answer of this question.
13. What kind of resources do you use to keep up with the latest design trends?
Why to ask: Most of the average designers get knocked out on this question. In order to keep up with the up and coming design trends, they need to follow some high quality content in addition to a desire to experiment whatever crosses their path.
14. As a designer, what do they consider to be the most important aspect of their job?
Why to ask: You need to look for a person whose interest in the field of design stretches beyond the limits of their own specifications. Even though every person may have their own answer, you need to select the one whose answer matches your criteria.
15. Talk about a badly designed product or system and how you can improve it?
Why to ask: People may be prepared to talk about their favorite apps and products but sometimes you need to take some time out to think about some everyday systems and products and how it affects your life. Do make sure to ask about what they would do in order to improve it to make its design better.
16. What do you lean on for intuition regarding your design decisions- your intuition or data? What happens when you have no data?
Why to ask: This is the perfect question for a person who has experience in products with small user base and hasn’t been around for long. It helps you in judging their experience in designing products when there is not much data present and you have a lot of unknowns. A good designer will always make use of his or her common sense and have an established pattern to design some prototypes to validate their deductions.
17. What is that one habit that carry forward to your designing process?
Why to ask: This questions helps you in uncovering parts of your prospective designer’s personality without being too technical about it. The point of this question is to understand the mind of your designers and what designing aspect does the designer pay attention to. A lot of ingrained habits may be a small part of the designer’s life but they also make the designing process simpler and easier without stumbling.
18. How do you come to know when your design is finally “Done”?
Why to ask: This is an important skill for a product designer to have. Even though they may be a perfectionist, the truth is that there is never enough time to finish a design project. It is always incomplete for them in the sense that they keep on evaluating it to make it better. However, there is not always time to polish it the way they want. They have to take the time and provide the richest experience that they can. Consider these factors as an important characteristic that tells a designer when to stop.
19. Are you able to design for multiple landscapes?
Why to ask: This question is specially important if your product caters to multiple countries. Not only does it help you in understanding how the designer takes the different consumer profiles into consideration but it also allows you a good look into their research techniques and what they do to better understand the needs of their audience.
20. How do you make sure that your team remains motivated?
Why to ask: In order to design a successful product design, your designer should know how how to lead the team. Any successful leadership is defined by the importance the team members hold for the hiring manager. He or she should be able to tell about how important the team members are in the process of product designers and what he or she intends to do to nurture them.
21. As a CEO, Why should I invest in product design?
Why to ask: This question is perfect for a relatively smaller startup companies. There is no right answer to this question. It is basically a way to see whether the potential candidate can be his own salesman. He or she needs to be very clear as to the gains a product incurs from product designing. It is a way to blow his own trumpet and showcase the credibility and trust earned by the designer.
Though interviews may be a tough process to handle, you have to be really careful regarding the questions that you are asking from your potential candidates. This is because it is not just the literal meaning of their words that you need to take into consideration but also the thought behind the same and the way it is spoken that is also of importance. A thorough review of their portfolio is definitely a good starting point but you need to cross question them based on their answers to get a better look into their minds and determine whether they are a right fit for your company or not.