UX Design Job Interview Suggestions for International Candidates


When my husband’s employer transferred us to the US, it meant a giant transfer from Ukraine to New York Metropolis. I needed to depart my function as a UX designer for EPAM Programs, a digital transformation firm in Kyiv, and wished to discover a place with an American firm. Job searches are all the time difficult, however trying to find a UX design job after I was new to the nation was particularly robust. There are further obstacles whenever you’re navigating a brand new tradition, language, and metropolis .

To maintain myself from getting overwhelmed, I divided my efforts into three phases: the search, the interview preparation, and the post-interview follow-up and reflection. The method took a number of months, and I realized priceless classes that I wish to share with different designers pursuing a UX profession within the US or with US-based corporations.

Earlier than you plunge into the UX design interview course of, work on the fundamentals like networking with fellow designers, training your language abilities, and curating a standout portfolio.

Networking is the No. 1 approach folks get jobs, so it’s vital to attach with others, both on-line or in individual. Ensure you have a profile on LinkedIn and be a part of related communities like LinkedIn’s Person Expertise group. Take part in design-oriented discussions on Twitter. Be a part of one or a number of design associations, and attain out to folks you’d wish to be taught from or get to know. Along with serving to you discover alternatives, networking will make it easier to keep optimistic and motivated, for the reason that job search could be lonely.

I moved to New York Metropolis simply earlier than the COVID-19 lockdowns, which made it tough to attach with different design professionals. However I joined conferences and classes nearly and met a number of connections that approach. Since issues have opened up, I’ve been in a position to attend native networking occasions in individual, such because the Tech and Startup Networking Mixer.

Develop Cultural Competencies

Throughout a job search with American corporations, these of us from Jap Europe or elsewhere exterior the US face a standard problem: speaking successfully in English and understanding American tradition. The preparation part is the time to get snug with this.

Observe Your English-speaking Expertise

Talking in English with Individuals was an adjustment for me, however I used to be fortunate, as a result of in Ukraine I repeatedly used my English at work when speaking to purchasers, and I had a number of American buddies. Nonetheless, after I moved to the US, I found that the tradition and communication types in America had been totally different from these in Ukraine.

For instance, when an American asks, “How are you?” they’re merely extending a greeting, not searching for an account of your day. Additionally, in Ukraine I used to be fairly direct with my suggestions to colleagues, however within the US direct suggestions can generally come off as too blunt. I additionally discover that Individuals use lots of idioms, so I ask for clarification after I do not perceive one thing, and more often than not individuals are good and don’t thoughts explaining.

I like to recommend connecting with a speaker of American English—on-line or offline—and speaking to them about day-to-day matters. I do CrossFit exercises, so becoming a member of courses was a great way for me to satisfy folks and work on my English abilities.

Immerse Your self within the Regional Tradition

America is a gigantic nation, and communication types differ from state to state. Once I visited Southern California, folks had been so open and pleasant. It was truly virtually overwhelming. In New York Metropolis, alternatively, individuals are extra reserved till they get to know you. It’s busy and fast-paced. Due to these variations, I like to recommend familiarizing your self with a few of the distinguishing components of the areas the place you’re making use of. Watch out for stereotyping or overgeneralizing, in fact, however gaining some perception into regional context could be useful.

Excellent Your Portfolio

Your portfolio ought to mirror a powerful private model. It’s value taking the time to outline this for your self: Think about what your design philosophy and aesthetics are and study the way you wish to be seen by others. Your portfolio must also present your course of, since employers not solely wish to see completed initiatives, but additionally the way you resolved issues, workshopped or examined totally different iterations of a design, and interacted with stakeholders. I wish to put my course of in a scheme that features the steps and actions every challenge entails. I present how I got here up with varied options all through a challenge. There isn’t a one option to doc your work—you could be artistic, so long as your processes are clear.

A list of steps to take during the design process, divided into four columns: research, ideate, design, and evaluate. Under each is a list of actions that comprise each step. Under “research” the list reads: online kickoff, value proposition, canvas, user interviews, secondary research. Under “ideate” the list reads: personas, information architecture, features ideas, lo-fi wireframes, style guide. Under “design” the list says: high-fidelity mockups, interactive prototype, and design system. Under “evaluate” the list reads: moderate usability testing, improve mockups, transfers to development team.
For every challenge, I present not solely the completed product, however a map of the method my crew and I took to create it. It usually follows the four-step design course of that features researching, ideating, designing, then evaluating the ultimate product.

Make sure you have an “about you” part and embrace private particulars like the place you’re from and what you do for enjoyable. This part can spark dialog and construct a bond between you and a possible employer. As an illustration, I included that I communicate 4 languages, and that I get pleasure from instructing and mentoring others in UX design. I additionally volunteer for a corporation that works to protect the orca whale inhabitants.

Begin Small

Once I launched my job search within the US, I reached out to a pal who labored at Google, figuring a referral would enhance my possibilities of getting a place on the tech large. I had no actual understanding of the hiring course of and even tips on how to promote myself and did not land a job there. Had I utilized to smaller corporations first to change into acquainted with hiring practices and to work on interviewing, I may need been employed.

Don’t Be Afraid to Observe Up

Once I moved to the US, I assumed that if an American employer didn’t reply to my cowl letter inside every week, that meant they did not like me. Not essentially true! Just a few days after contacting a corporation, you must name or e mail the human assets division to observe up. In some circumstances, hiring managers could also be evaluating candidates on how proactive they’re or how they appear within the place, so following up can transfer your résumé to the highest of the pile.

As soon as You’ve Landed the Interview

You’ve despatched out dozens of resumes, constructed relationships with fellow UI/UX designers, and made positive your portfolio is pixel-perfect. You’ve heard again from a recruiter or hiring supervisor, and now you will have an interview on the calendar. Right here’s tips on how to put together your self to make sure your UX designer interview course of is a hit.

Observe the UX Interview

Once I started interviewing, I carried out mock interviews with a pal and recorded them. It was solely then that I spotted I didn’t sound engaged or excited; my voice was monotone and overly severe. Typically, I discover Individuals are sometimes extra animated in dialog; I anxious that I used to be conveying an absence of enthusiasm in regards to the job, and that I’d be perceived as impolite. I instantly started engaged on this. Recording your self can repay massive for those who’re trying to enhance your interview talking abilities. If you happen to document your self utilizing video, you can too get a superb sense of your posture and facial expressions. The recording might present one thing you didn’t discover about your self, and if you’re courageous sufficient to face that, you’ll enhance drastically.

Put together to Focus on Successes and Failures

Ask the pal who’s role-playing with you to ask you a couple of favourite challenge. Then have them ask you to speak about one which was particularly difficult. Employers will wish to hear the way you dealt with a failure or disappointment. My pal Anna—additionally a designer—did this for me, and since she knew my work, she might level out particulars I might neglected, or areas the place I used to be promoting myself brief. Afterward, I requested her to critique me. Was I clear? Did I emphasize my strengths and promote myself? Her suggestions helped me see the place I might enhance my voice and tone to raised reveal my pleasure in regards to the job. She additionally helped me assemble a extra refined story about myself and what led to my varied transitions to new roles all through my profession.

Professional tip: Though related expertise in a selected area could be helpful, some corporations want to disrupt the state of issues, so earlier expertise may very well work in opposition to you. Put together for this eventuality throughout your UX interview prep and prepare to speak about how your expertise may also help in disruption efforts.

Present Enthusiasm

Your demeanor ought to reveal that you just’re wanting to land a brand new job. In my case, that took apply. Even after I was excited a couple of new alternative, my voice generally instructed a distinct story: I used to be typically nervous and busy translating the English in my head. I needed to actually work on projecting confidence and conveying my enthusiasm in interviews. That turned out to be a vital approach of demonstrating my competence and getting that decision again.

Share Your Profession Story

Storytelling could also be probably the most vital abilities for touchdown a job. An genuine story that demonstrates your ardour provides you with a bonus over different candidates. It needs to be sincere; don’t say you all the time dreamed of changing into a designer if that’s not the reality. Personally, I’ve a background in structure, and I by no means considered changing into a UX skilled. Once I interviewed for jobs within the US, I instructed the story of how, after I tried UX design, I unexpectedly linked with the method.

I additionally share how the issues I did previous to changing into a UX designer formed my imaginative and prescient, targets, and priorities. For instance, I realized English whereas working as a bartender in Ukraine, as a result of my boss spoke solely English. It’s a superb story as a result of I didn’t notice on the time how that job would assist me achieve the language abilities that might change into so priceless in my work as a designer. Join the dots in your life and inform your personal story. Even when the story is a couple of failure, if it exhibits the way you grew to become the individual you might be, inform it!

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Credit score

Design is collaborative, so you will need to reveal you could companion with fellow designers and stakeholders, give and settle for suggestions, downside resolve, and share the highlight. That mentioned, you additionally want to have the ability to discuss your private achievements. Be ready to level particularly to your personal contributions that positively affected a course of or product. I’ve observed that a lot of my fellow Jap Europeans are likely to underestimate themselves and keep away from declaring their very own strengths. This can be one thing we absorbed culturally; nonetheless, when making use of for jobs within the US, it’s worthwhile to go exterior your consolation zone and have the ability to articulate what you deliver to the desk.

Silhouette of a person on a Zoom screen. The headline above it reads “Prepare for a UX Design Interview by Practicing.” The items under the headline and at the right of the silhouette explain what should be practiced: “Telling your career story,” “Discussing successes and failures,” “Showing enthusiasm,” and “Taking credit when you’ve earned it.”
Treating your job interview like a efficiency can set you as much as succeed when it’s time to satisfy with a recruiter or hiring supervisor. I like to recommend not solely training your solutions to potential questions, however recording your self with a pal doing a mock interview so you may analyze your strengths and weaknesses.

Reflecting: Wrapping Up the UX Design Job Interview Course of

After an interview, particularly if it included a number of rounds and a design task, you may be tempted to loosen up, believing you’ve completed the whole lot it’s worthwhile to do. But there are nonetheless steps you may take to maximise your possibilities of touchdown the function.

Ship a Thank-you Electronic mail

Electronic mail a quick thank-you notice inside 24 hours of an interview. Whereas a handwritten notice is sweet, mail can take too lengthy, particularly in case your potential employer desires to fill the function rapidly. If a recruiter facilitated your name and also you don’t have your interviewer’s e mail, ship a thanks to the recruiter and ask them to ahead it.

Attain Out As soon as Extra

If you happen to haven’t heard from an organization for 2 weeks, don’t be shy about sending a well mannered message to your interviewer asking if they’ve decided but. Provide to offer the rest they want. Do that to emphasise that you’re severe about and nonetheless serious about working for them.

Study From Your Rejections

Being rejected is disappointing and might have an effect on your motivation. Give your self time to take a seat together with your feelings, then mirror on what may need occurred. Think about reaching out to the recruiter or supervisor who interviewed you and ask for suggestions. They will not be prepared or in a position to present it, however sometimes they’re. One design supervisor I interviewed with mentioned she didn’t have issues about my technical or design abilities, however felt I had room for enchancment in connecting my work to the worth it introduced the enterprise.

Her recommendation was to take one other have a look at my case research and check out reframing it round influence. She urged organizing it like a narrative, highlighting the general narrative, beginning with the issue and segueing into how we solved it. She felt I wanted to enhance my storytelling and persuasion abilities, as a result of her crew included many colleagues who didn’t perceive the design course of properly.

Get Clear on What You Need

You could be so centered on getting an employer to say “sure” that you could be not have thought of for those who truly need the job. They could have to decide on you, however you even have to decide on them. It is essential that the corporate you’re employed for helps your profession development and your total life targets. Ultimately, it’s about you discovering the best match. By familiarizing your self with how the UX design interview course of works within the US and investing the effort and time to apply and put together, you may uncover the right alternative whereas demonstrating that you’ve the abilities and abilities to excel within the function.


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