Selling a product is all about really understanding your customer and getting to the heart of what they want. A Product Designer is responsible for creating products that appeal to the customer, are easy to use and meet the market's exact needs at that exact moment.
When interviewing for a Product Designer position, it’s important to vet candidates with fair and specific interview questions during the hiring process. You want to assess their technical skills and ability to think creatively and solve problems so you can hire the right person for the job. 💪
Check out these top Product Designer interview questions to ask a candidate in your next job interview. We’ll start with some general questions and then get into some even more specific queries for Product Designers.
<div class="inpage-callout-container"><p class="inpage-banner-text">💡 Remember: A Product Designer job interview is a two-way street. While you need to get to know the candidate to make a hiring decision, it’s helpful to remind yourself that your candidate is also interviewing you about your company. Be ready to answer candidates’ questions and share helpful information that’d get them excited about working on your team.</p></div>
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First is a simple question to break the ice 🧊 and get to know your candidate a bit better. Don't go too deep into their personal life, but try to get a feel for who they are outside of work. Who knows? You might even find some common ground! This question will help the interviewee open up and feel more comfortable talking to you—that can often lead to the best kind of interview with the best outcome!
Listen for: Whether the candidate is able to articulate their passions and if those passions align with the company's values. They shouldn't have to think too hard about this answer. A real passion should come naturally to them.
Money? Recognition? Creative expression? Knowing your candidate's motivators can help you understand what makes them tick and whether or not they would be a good fit for your company. This question can also lead to some interesting discussions about what it means to be driven or what kinds of things can drive a team member at work.
Listen for: Try not to pass an immediate judgment when listening to their answer. At the end of the day, everyone needs to make a living and provide for their families (and themselves!).
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Does the candidate prefer to work independently or are they all about teamwork? Product design is a collaborative process, so it's best to work with someone comfortable working on a team. That being said, there will be times when your candidate will need to work alone and they should know how to do so productively.
Listen for: An excellent answer to this question would include the word "flexibility," as in "I'm flexible and can work either alone or on a team, depending on the situation."
You want a clear understanding of what your candidate is looking for. After all, the more aligned they are with your company values, the more likely they are to thrive at work”. If your company values differ from the candidate's, that's not necessarily a deal-breaker. However, it’s helpful to be aware of any potential mismatches so that you can address them head-on during the interview.
Listen for: Whether this candidate knows what they want and whether or not your company can provide it. If they seem to be just looking for a paycheck, they might not be as committed to the company's success as you’d hope.
Product design has many moving parts, so you must know your candidate's thought process when designing a product for your customers. Is it the user experience or the functionality? Is it the aesthetic appeal or the practicality? Or is it employer branding? Each answer is valid, but you need to know where your candidate's priorities lie.
Listen for: The candidate's ability to articulate their thoughts and explain their reasoning. A good answer to this question will include the importance of creating a balance between design aesthetics and function.
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Creativity is essential to product design, so it's important to know where your candidates’ ideas come from. They might be inspired by nature, art or even other products. By understanding their inspirations, you'll get a better sense of their design process and what kind of products they are capable of designing.
Listen for: Their ability to get creative and think outside the box. The candidate should be able to name at least a few sources of inspiration and explain how they use them in their work.
Since your Product Designer will be collaborating tightly with the UX team, it’s helpful to find out if the candidate understands the importance of user experience when designing a product. Product-led growth companies like Zoom have built their entire business models around this principle, so your ideal designer should be familiar with the strategy.
Listen for: The candidate's understanding of how user experience can impact product design. They should be able to provide examples of how they have considered user experience in their work.
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In a similar vein, you must know if your candidate has any experience with user research or usability testing. Creating user personas, conducting user research and running usability tests are all important parts of the product design process, so you'll need someone who is familiar with them.
Listen for: A description of their experience with user research or usability testing. They should know the difference between the two and be able to provide examples of projects they have worked on.
Unlike designing a one-off product, creating for mass production requires different considerations. If your company plans to mass produce the products your candidate will be designing, you'll want to know if they are aware of various constraints and how to work within them.
Listen for: The candidate's understanding of the various constraints of mass production and how they can impact product design. A good answer would be that "I think the most important thing to consider when designing for mass production is to acknowledge the cost of materials and labor.
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In today's world, designing for digital and physical products is a must. With the rise of the Internet of Things, more and more products are becoming connected. As a result, your candidate needs to be aware of the different considerations for each type of product.
Listen for: A comprehensive answer covering the various aspects of digital and physical product design. The candidate should be able to name the key differences between the two and provide examples of each.
Asking about their design process will give you insights into their working style and how they approach problems. Do they have a structured approach or are they more spontaneous? How do they work within a team? Do they take input from others?
Listen for: A concise description of the candidate's design process. They should be able to describe each step of their process, from ideation to execution. It might depend on the project, in which case they should be able to describe how the process adapts.
If your candidate has ever managed a team of designers, you'll want to know how they did it. They might be considered for a promotion down the line, so it's important to know how they would handle that responsibility. Even if it’s not a management role you’re hiring for, understanding how your candidate would manage a team can give you insights into their leadership style.
Listen for: Past experience with managing a team of designers. If they have never done it before, that's okay. But they should be able to speak about the type of leadership style they admire and how they would go about motivating a team.
This question will help you gauge how your candidate deals with conflict. Do they confront the issue head-on? Or do they avoid confrontation at all costs? How they answer this question will give you insight into their personality and how they deal with difficult situations.
Listen for: A non-confrontational answer that still addresses the issue. For example, the candidate might say, "I would try to see their point of view and understand where they are coming from. Then I would respectfully present my own opinion.”
It’s good to talk through a candidate’s preferred work schedule. They might work better with flexible hours or prefer a more structured 9-5 workday. Knowing their preference will help you understand how they like to work and if your company can offer them what they’re looking for.
Listen for: An answer that indicates they know what they need in order to be productive. They should have a preference for either a more flexible or structured schedule. But they should also be able to explain why that particular schedule works best for them.
Get to know your candidate's views on collaboration. With remote work becoming increasingly common, they should be willing to hop on a call once in a while for a team meeting and actively participate in those meetings.
Listen for: A generally positive attitude towards team meetings. They should see them as an opportunity to collaborate and contribute, not as a waste of time – although it’s fair of them to criticize long or too frequent meetings! They should also have a preference for how often those meetings should happen, depending on the project's needs.
Your future Product Designer will likely need to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously. From creating prototypes to conducting user research, there are many different balls they’ll need to keep in the air. This question will help you understand how your candidate feels about multitasking, how they approach it and if they’re up for it.
Listen for: Some hesitancy is okay, as long as they can explain how they manage multiple tasks simultaneously. For example, the candidate might say, "I usually like to focus on one task at a time so that I can give it my full attention. But if I need to multitask, I’ll break the tasks down into smaller chunks and work on them one at a time.”
This question will help you understand how your candidate deals with failure. Ideally, they take responsibility for their mistakes instead of trying to pass the blame. Their answer will give you insight into their character. Everybody's made mistakes in their professional lives, big or small. It’s how they deal with things that matters.
Listen for: Honesty and humility. The candidate should take ownership of their mistake and explain what they did to fix it. They should also learn from their mistakes, so ask them if that particular mistake has happened again.
Not every Product Designer will deal with customers directly, but it's still important to ask this question. It will help you understand how they deal with difficult situations and if they’re able to keep their cool under pressure.
Listen for: Strong communication skills and the ability to find a win-win solution. The candidate should be able to explain how they defused the situation and left the customer satisfied.
This question gives candidates the opportunity to explain their design process in detail. Do they like to jump right into creating prototypes? Or do they prefer to take a more research-based approach?
Listen for: A solid understanding of the design process. The candidate should be able to take you through each step, from user research to creating prototypes and conducting user testing. They should also be able to explain why each step is important.
This question feeds two birds with one scone. 🐦 It'll help you understand how your candidate receives feedback and if they can take it constructively. Some people see no difference between constructive criticism and insults. If your candidate accepts feedback and uses it to improve their work, you might have found a keeper!
Listen for: The ability to digest and learn from feedback. The candidate should be able to tell you about a time when they received constructive criticism and how they used it to improve their work. If they can't think of an example, they may lack experience or not take feedback well.
Hiring the right Product Designer for your team is a project in and of itself. But it doesn’t have to be—especially when you have the right tools to hire more easily.
Homerun helps you organize and streamline your entire hiring workflow, and most importantly, make a good impression with your Product Designer candidates.
Here’s how it works:
Create and share your job posting, create a shortlist of ideal candidates, then involve the rest of your team in the hiring process. You can share feedback on the candidates, get a visual of the job interview workflow, email candidates, invite them to final interviews and keep everything related to the hiring process organized in one place. 🤩