This morning I read a blog post by London digital recruitment agency Zebra People that couldn't have had better timing! As they stated, "the majority of final stage interviews now require UX Designers to carry out a task at home and present to the interview panel." I recently hired a Jr UX designer and did the same. Questions like, "What process do you follow?" don't cut it because you end up getting the same answers over and over again. Often the in-person interview process itself is mostly about determining if you can work with this person day-in-day-out. To assess how they apply their skills though, you need something a little bit more interactive...
I'm a major stickler for "no free work" as a freelancer so I would never ask someone to break my own rule. Instead of asking them to solve a real problem or redesign something on my own products, I came up with a fake product for a fake client that they needed to design from scratch. Here's the brief:
Following your UX process, please design a product that meets the following business requirements:
- The client needs a mobile application.
- Users must be able to log in with their email address and password.
- When inside the application, users must be able to perform only one task - tapping a button that says "Tap Me"
- Users must be able to view historical data on how many times they have tapped this button in the past.
- Your deliverable may be in the form of sketches, wireframes, mockups, prototype, technical specifications - whatever documentation you feel represents your personal skill level. There is no minimum or maximum that you must provide.
- Please use a maximum of 90 minutes for this challenge.
I gave this assignment to the three people who passed the initial interview rounds. Here's what the responses that I received told me about them:
- Did they include all the necessary account management pieces (such as Create Account, Reset Password, etc.) that come with email login?
- Did they create a true onboarding flow?
- Did they account for differences in user behaviour between iOS, Android and other platforms?
- Did they offer any documentation(such as object tables, database schema suggestions, etc) which could be passed straight on to developers?
- Did they make a single assumption about how historical data should be viewed, or did they instead create a system that scaled?
- How much did they focus on UX strategy vs UI design?
- Did they address the challenges caused by knowing nothing about this client or their purpose for the app?
- Did they make any alternative suggestions and back them up with justification?
In the end, the designer I hired passed with flying colours and has been a huge asset to our office. We were able to bring her onto the team with confidence that she would be able to dive in the deep end with us.
Check out Zebra People's post for other samples of UX interview challenges.
Got another suggestion? Catch me on Twitter @ashleymarinep.