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Coveted Careers: Mastering the Art of Securing Top UI/UX Design Roles in 2024by@alinahand
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1,632 reads

Coveted Careers: Mastering the Art of Securing Top UI/UX Design Roles in 2024

by AlinaMarch 26th, 2024
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Unlock the Secrets to Landing Your Dream UI/UX Design Job! Discover insider tips on mastering behavioral interview questions, navigating the interview process.
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About me and my experience

Hi, I'm Alina. With nearly 9 years in design, my journey started much like many of my peers – from graphic and web design to my current role as a product designer. My focus lies in crafting and enhancing user interfaces, conducting tests, gathering components, and ultimately aligning business objectives with exceptional user experiences. Today, I want to share my insights on job hunting, hoping to benefit newcomers and seasoned professionals alike.

Why UX/UI? What drew me to this path?

Art captivated me from a young age, leading me to explore graphic design despite initially pursuing advertising. Through persistence and learning various design software, I gained entry into the field, starting in small web studios. As I delved deeper, my interest grew, and I expanded my skills through research and hands-on experience in diverse product teams. Now, I'm with Planneer5d, a global leader in interior design technology, serving millions worldwide. While my background in drawing sparked my interest, the UX/UI profession prioritizes engineering prowess over artistic talent.

Why write about job hunting?

Having navigated the job market myself, I understand the challenges and uncertainties that come with it. I want to share my experiences and insights to help others in the design community find their footing and secure rewarding opportunities in this ever-evolving field.

Skill-set of a UX/UI designer in 2024

One of my biggest failings was that I initially entered the UX/UI market without the skill of research. And I always tried to research in a new place, either on my own or with the help of a research center, but I always had a great zeal to experience it in practice, to learn how it works. More often than not, a lot of jobs require this particular skill set. At interviews, they pick you, how good you are at qualitative and quantitative research, check what you know about it at all. And then, as a matter of fact, six months pass and you are not involved in research once, but there may be many reasons for this, let's leave it out, but the fact remains that you need to know how to research.


soft-skills




  1. So the first thing is the skill of the researcher. You need to know the base and have some experience in this. If we are talking about the base, you should definitely read about types of research – what types of research are exists, how it may be implemented, how it is prepared, how you should gather information, what you should do with it afterwards. It's likely that everything you'll find on the internets is the ideal research process and how a researcher should be. But that's not a bad thing. You know the base and this will help you further, try to do the research yourself if you don't have that experience: just take any product and start looking for bugs and problems in it, read reviews. Do this research work algorithm to understand it better.


  2. An unobvious skill, which for some reason is overlooked or missed by many people, is communication. The way you speak, how you present your work, tell about yourself, will decide whether you will be hired or not. In the work of a modern UX/UI designer you have to talk and negotiate a lot, in an accessible and understandable way. You will communicate not only with your team of designers and developers, but also participate in all processes, including communication with the business (because it is important to adapt the design to business needs and goals that both benefit the company and satisfy the user).The ability to ask the right questions and the ability to talk about solutions, to explain the value and effectiveness of their solutions is the most important quality, which converts not only into a monetary equivalent, but also into a credit of trust on the part of customers.


  3. Curiosity is just as important. You should care more than anyone else. You should be directly captured by the flow of any product, you should be curious to understand how the registration form works, or how this TabBar appears, what kind of nesting it has, where the application goes after the user clicked "send". And also being intensely curious about at what point the user will interact with the product. You'll find this skill very much helps you find creative solutions to design or improve some feature or product. Curiosity is parallel to the desire for self-development: it is a skill of constant learning, learning new techniques, trends and technologies.


  4. Empathy skill. Not obvious, but super important, this is about accessibility and inclusiveness. You need to understand, for example, how interfaces are designed for users with disabilities, what tools are used to test such products.


Above was everything that concerns soft-skills. And, of course, I'll mention hard skills, without which there is nothing nowadays.

hard skils


  1. Knowing how to work with ChatGPT. As strange as it may sound, it really helps in work. Neural network can write a good UX-text, write a flow for you, gather a competitors' base, write a script for testing, etc. Here you need to know how to ask the right questions and formulate queries.
  2. Skill in working with different illustration generators or KV (key visual) (Midjourney / Stable Diffusion).
  3. You need to be able to master tools such as Jira and Confluence. This is very important in day-to-day work and helps a lot with planning and teamwork.
  4. Being proficient in animation and prototyping tools will also help you have an edge over other candidates. There are some cool and handy tools out there right now, ProtoPie is a prototyping app, Spline is a cool tool for 3D animations, and Lottie Animation is for creating 2D animations. I recommend you to explore them as well, they can come in handy in your work: both in product presentation and for creating any interface animations.
  5. Know, understand and love web builders Webflow, Tilda, Wix.
  6. You, as a designer, should understand the principles of working in different frameworks. Such as Design thinking, Jobs To Be Done, Lean UX and others. Not to forget the laws of UX – it's important for interface design. Perhaps that's all I'd like to highlight and recommend to learn.

Your portfolio: tips and platforms

The question about platforms for posting your portfolio is an important one, but honestly, I don't follow it myself as much as I probably should. Because I just can't find the time to do it, or I think - "nothing, I'll put it off for a better time". However, getting back to the question - it's ideal if you keep a diary, write a note - anything - every time you are faced with any task at work! This will help you then, in the future, to tell and describe the process of work and to identify from this task the positives and what you learned. But it's not only good for portfolios, it's also good for behavioral interviews. Because if you break down each of your work tasks, you can answer any behavioral question.


  1. Try to keep a diary or notes with detailed descriptions.
  2. Make wireframes of your awesome interesting cases every six months. And every year, try to pick and choose a new case study from your notes and wireframes. Your portfolio should not contain 2 million works: here I worked in a printing house, and here I drew a banner, No, we are UX/UI designers, which means, well, maximum 5 cases you need to keep in your portfolio. And, of course, pay attention to the fact that we have to tell about the case in detail, namely:
  • tell what you did, not the team;
  • what the problem was;
  • what framework was used or how you did your research (competitor analysis, survey, etc.) and demonstrate it;
  • show low-frequency wireframes, diagrams, flowcharts, and the rest of the artifacts;
  • talk about the results and figures.


  • The best thing is to keep your portfolio on your own website. This can easily be done on Tilda or on Webflow - also a good tool. It's also very common nowadays for Senior level designers to use Notion.
  • I don't recommend storing in Figma, in .pdf and especially not on google disk. Recruiters and the hiring team leader don't have time to go through long uploaded documents and large portfolios with more text. They only have an hour to review 50 portfolios. The rest of the time this team leader spends in calls. So make sure that your portfolio is as readable as possible, so that a quick glance will help recruitment understand everything.

Answering the question about which businesses from which areas are now more likely to face a shortage of good UX/UI designers, I would say it's the segments of government organizations and industry. More often than not, they are always bad at UX/UI. But! I wouldn't advise you to look for a position there, because there are too complex and entrenched processes that will have to be shifted before something new is introduced.


Let's imagine you're looking for a job in Poland, try putting that region on LinkedIn, see what companies are hiring designers, or what companies even exist/base themselves in the region you're looking for a job in. Try writing directly to the team or recruiter (remember your letter should be concise and simple so the recruiter has time to read it), look for internships.


I also recommend paying attention to resources such as getmatch – I like it a lot. Also, of course, Otta and, of course, there are various Telegram channels, where they also publish interesting vacancies, you should keep an eye on them.


I also recommend you to pay attention to these resources

wellfound

mind the product

we work remotely


Interviews: preparing

I've had 40 interviews in my career, or even more. And that's because either the company didn't suit me, or I wasn't professionally prepared for such work.


The most memorable was the first one. I was applying for a job with the guys who design road signs, and I really wanted to start somewhere, somewhere to work. I knew Photoshop and Illustrator by then. Anyway, they were asking me questions about my experience, what I was doing. And I was just showing my sister's work and some of my own to make me look more confident and professional. In general, I showed my sister's work - websites (I had no idea then how they were made), and my graphics. And when they started asking me very deeply about the website, I was confused. This is the most memorable, because you should not lie, do not attribute someone else's work to yourself.


If you have no experience in something, try to do a project on your own, do some research, find some nuances in the product, propose a better solution. Test it. That way you will understand better what the job is all about, and you won't have to lie to your employer.


As soon as I entered the design market, I had no idea that you should and can prepare for interviews. And there is so much information out there to help you interview well and get the offer you want. So at first I was very afraid of interviews, almost to the point of panic attacks. But then I started to study my mistakes, read articles, collect feedback from recruiters, write myself down. And everything got better, and now I am more confident in such situations.




What is necessary and important:

  1. Research a company. You've probably heard about it a hundred times. Check out the company blog, read articles, look for company representatives speaking at conferences, meetups, maybe they run some kind of their own Telegram channel. Read SEO interviews, look into the company's values and culture. You might even be able to find your teamleader and study their profile as well. Try to find reviews about the company, talk to someone who is already working. This is a stage, just like in our profession - a stage of analyzing and searching.
  2. Prepare a presentation about yourself. First, practice a short self-presentation: you don't have to answer the question "tell us a little about yourself" with a 40-minute presentation! Try to keep it to 3 minutes. Here you should tell about your recent and previous experience, and highlight important facts that just meshes with the company's wishes. If the company is looking for a designer with research skills and animation skills, try to mention that, tell them that you've been able to get in touch with that. I would also emphasize three points: a) talk briefly about, for example, the last 3-5 years of work (depends on experience) + accomplishments there; b) update your current experience + achievements there as well; c) describe your career goals, and why you are in search.
  3. Prepare a portfolio and practice talking about each case study. Tip: Try to write down questions that come up in the interview about your cases so that you can cover them immediately at other interviews in the future.
  4. Practice behavioral questions, they come in many forms. There are platforms with coaching for such questions.
  5. Think about what questions you'd like to ask the company, the team, and maybe even the SEO.

Helpful resources for coaching behavioral questions:

biginterview

pramp

interview-warmup

questions-to-ask


article



Interviews: how it goes

process


  1. First there is the screening process. You talk to the recruiter, he asks you simple questions: who you are, why you are looking for a job, your experience. The recruiter's task at this point is to find out how adequate you are, how you conduct the dialog, whether the company's wishes coincide with your skills. Usually the duration is no more than 30 minutes.
  2. Further, if everything is good and you fit all the parameters, the recruiter already passes the information about you to the team leader, and you are assigned a meeting with the team. The waiting period can take up to a week.
  3. The next stage is a technical interview with the team. Here they will ask about your experience: on specific cases you will need to tell what you did, perhaps they will ask you to show a figma to understand how you maintain your workplace. Also at this stage they may ask you to solve some task. For example, they will ask you to show the registration process, this is where your approach to work is assessed. Behavioral questions may also be asked: such as, tell us about a time when you had a very tight deadline / tell us about a colleague with whom you couldn't agree / tell us about a project where you made a mistake and it was critical. You need to answer honestly - this question is necessary to understand how you behave in stressful situations, how you cope with difficulties, how you organize your working time, whether you can prioritize tasks and whether you are an effective time manager. This is where it's time to get your notes sorted out. At the end of the interview, you may be asked to complete a test task. This stage can take from one to one and a half hours.
  4. The last stage could be a defense of your test case solution or a meeting with the SEO. To summarize, there can be three or four stages, it all depends on the processes in the company.


Another common question is "why chose us" and "why are you looking for a job".


Answer these two questions honestly. To answer the first one, a recertification will help you, highlight something important to you - the company culture or work processes - anything that interests you! Don't, of course, say you're only here for the money.


Tell them why you decided to change jobs. The most common answer is that it is a need for professional growth, for example, you can answer like this: I am very grateful to company X, I have learned a lot, but I feel that I need growth, the tasks have become routine and simple for me, so I decided to go on a search.


I would also like to add that there are several techniques for answering behavioral questions. For example one of the famous techniques is STAR:

star


/situation - (challange) a company wanted to increase the number of subscriptions with /through our service

/task - I needed to create a marketing plan that would help me achieve the goal.

/action - action, I decided to use 3 different ones at the same time, we planned a few different family events and ran them

/result - not only did we reach our goal, but we still made a 60% revenue.

Read more about STAR here

By the way, I've never been asked about "what do you see yourself as in the next 5 years." That's because it's really quite a complicated question, we live in such an unusually complicated time, I never thought I would be in emigration for two years, for example, so if you do get asked that question, try to think about your growth beforehand – how you see it: linear or vertical.

Test tasks

How to treat it and whether it are worth doing?


No matter how many different managers I listen to, and no matter how many interviews I go on, no one has one, unified opinion.

For some, it's enough to look at your work and talk about case studies. And someone needs to see how a candidate handles a test assignment.


Therefore, if you are asked to do a test - agree if you are interested in the company and would really like to get there.


On the test they look at your work process, your layout design, mastery of components, mastery of research skills and presentation skills. The better you do on the test, the better chance you have of grabbing that coveted spot, so be sure to reserch, show your workflow, surveys, artifacts.


Also pay attention to your text! Don't make mistakes and typos in test jobs, ask questions if something is not clear.

Read a helpful article about test-taking assignments

What questions should I ask my employer?

It is very important to think in advance about what you would like to learn about the company or the work process and tasks. In its turn, the company records how interested you are, and it's strange that you can't care about anything at all, try to compare it with your previous experience - what you cared about there, try to ask the recruiter this question somehow correctly.


  1. What are the company's/team's objectives for the next six months?
  2. What is the approval process for the new feature / workflow?
  3. What platforms will I have to work with?
  4. And what is the number of users?
  5. How is the research / do you have your own research center?
  6. What are your goals for the new candidate. What does he/she have to do to pass the probationary period?
  7. What skills are important to you in a candidate?
  8. And why exactly did you choose this company, why do you like it, and what, perhaps, are the disadvantages?

I've also put together some helpful articles for you that will help you not to think about what questions you would ask your employer:

  1. unique-questions-to-ask-employers
  2. questions-you-should-be-asking




Thank you for reading this article, use my advice, put it into practice and share your experience! I hope it was useful 💛🩷🩵