Design team

UX Designer Interview Questions or How Eleken Hires the Best Talent


mins to read

People who have ever had to hire a team member on their own would never underestimate the work of HR managers.

Many startup owners face difficulties in finding new team members and they need to dive deeper into the hiring process. The situation is particularly uncomfortable because there are two challenges at the same time: first of all, HR, second, evaluating the expertise of a person in a field where you don't have any expertise.

How do you know if a designer is really skilled? What questions to ask a UI/UX designer in an interview? What should you pay most attention to? Or, simply put, how to hire a UI/UX designer?

HR managers know answers to all these questions without having proficiency in product design. However, many emerging products have not grown yet to have an HR manager, and this task is not something you can outsource 100%. Most teams find hiring to be a rather personal issue — and they are right.

Here at Eleken design agency, we are a team of UI/UX designers, both seniors and juniors. We are constantly looking for new talent to join our agency. For years, we have established a simple but efficient hiring procedure. Let me guide you through our standard interview process so you have an idea of how to hire a UX designer yourself.

First step. Before the interview

Designers, whom we invite to the interview, are those who successfully completed the test task, and those who got the task are the candidates who had passed the initial CV and portfolio check.

An interview is just one part of the hiring process, and it starts long before the meeting. Let’s say you have already prepared a job description and received a bunch of applications.

Take as a rule to answer all the candidates. It may be too much work to send personal emails, but making two templates for yes and no answers is doable. A generic response is better than no response. Companies that make an effort to answer all applicants get many points for their employer brand.

In case you struggle with understanding the responsibilities of a UX designer well, we have an article explaining what UX designers do.

What should you be looking at in the CV of a UI/UX designer?

The first impression of the candidate happens when an employer takes a glance at their CV. It is undeniably true for any profession. Sometimes HR would try to ignore the clumsiness of the CV, bad layout, illegible fonts, and extra-long answers. 

For UI/UX designers, the most important thing is to understand users and create designs based on their needs. A person who can’t make a CV that’s easy to use for HR has little chance to be hired for this position. So feel free to trash any CV that does not look neat and clean (and don’t forget to answer the candidates a polite “no”, of course).

ux designer CV layout example
Image credit: Reux studio

Among the candidates that made a good first impression, choose the ones that have the appropriate working experience. This is the principal quality that we look for in the CVs. However, for a junior designer little experience is acceptable: portfolio is what matters.

Test task

As mentioned above, at Eleken, the test task goes before the interview. That way we give more opportunities to people with little experience.

The test task shouldn't be too long. Big companies that hire UX designers like Facebook or Google can have test tasks that take a week of work, but there's no need to demand so much work to see if the candidate is competent. The benefit of a small company is that we can make the hiring process fast and therefore get the best talent before they're taken by others.

Also, we have an opportunity to involve all the key team members in the hiring process to ensure the best fit of the candidate with the corporate values.

Here is an example of our test task:

Create a UI for a mobile AI Messenger App (at least 3 screens)

Imagine you’re a very busy person but your partner/family/friends want to get your attention and message you pretty often. You need to keep working but still be able somehow to pay some attention to your family and folks.

You need to create a UI for a messenger with an AI + chatbot which analyzes your previous replies and responds instead of you.

UX designer interview. The start

  • Tell me about yourself

All candidates expect that question and most of them have an answer prepared. To make the conversation more natural and less of an interrogation, start with telling a bit about the company first.

From the very first questions, we focus on the main: evaluating how the person thinks and expresses themself.

Technical questions

Technical questions are a very important part of the UX designer interview, while also being one of the most complicated to evaluate properly when you are not a professional in this field. To be able to speak the same language, check out our short vocabulary of UI/UX terminology.

You want to know what kind of methods and tools candidates use. You can ask them directly but chances are that you'll hear the same things that are written on their CV. To understand what skills the applicant has, the best thing is to ask them to tell a story from their work. Here are UI/UX interview questions for experienced designers:

  • Tell me a case from your experience when you had a challenge and how you dealt with it.
  • Tell me about this project from your portfolio. What was your part of the work?

The latter question is important when the projects presented in the portfolio are a result of teamwork. From this question, you can continue asking more about how the candidate collaborates with fellow designers and developers.

Ideally, you would already have a general understanding of the candidate’s skills by seeing their test task. You can ask some detailed questions about technical skills, but for us, the approach to design is what matters, even more than skills and tools. Here are some questions that can be asked about the test task:

  • Please guide me through this flow.
  • What happens if the user does this?
  • What made you choose this solution?
  • What is the logic behind this decision?

The same questions can be applied to any project in the candidate’s portfolio.

ui/ux designer interview
Image credit: KOBU agency on unsplash.com

It is important for us to see that UX designers base their choices on research and users’ needs rather than on aesthetics. Creating a sleek UI is easier than understanding and explaining what lies behind it.

Couple more common UX design interview questions that help to understand the approach to design:

  • What is your research process?
  • Guide me through your design process.

Another option is to pose an imaginary task and ask to explain the possible way of solving the problem. In this way, you evaluate the way of thinking and expressing rather than the solution itself.

  • Imagine you have to create an education app for kids under 10. How would you run the research process?

The best option is to offer examples of real challenges that your company is facing. Task-based UI/UX designer interview questions work great for freshers.

“Tricky” questions

Big companies are notoriously known for asking strange questions at the interviews to confuse prospective candidates. For instance, Google interviews may contain questions like “Can you mention the weight of the Empire State building?” or “If I open your browser history, what will I learn about your personality?”. (No, nobody knows the right answers for sure).

The objective of these challenging inquiries is to get away from the standard questions and well-rehearsed answers to see the candidates’ thinking process in unexpected situations.

However, there are easier ways of getting the “surprise” effect. Here is how the founder of Eleken design agency makes UX designers feel uncomfortable:

  • What is design?
  • What is interface?

These simple questions can confuse even experienced designers, being basic and unexpected at the same time.

As always, there is no single right answer. (Though you can get a hint by reading our articles on UI vs UX and product design). 

Personal questions

There are different opinions on whether the personal questions should go at the beginning or at the end of the interview. We believe that the best is to follow the natural flow of the conversation instead of sticking firmly to the script.

Personal questions are something that should be tailored more to the company than to the position. Here are some questions that we use:

  • How do you see yourself in 2 years from now?

The classic question adapted to modern times. Because who knows if UI/UX design will even exist in 5 years, as our director Ilya says.

People want to hire those who have their plans in life clear, but let's be realistic. Try to remember what your plans were 5 years ago and whether everything went that way.

UX designer interview personal question

Few other old but good personal questions asked in UX interviews:

  • Why did you decide to become a UX designer?
  • What makes you want to work in our company?
  • What are your weaknesses/strengths?

To sum up

Before preparing a list of questions, think of which ones you really want to hear answers to. You may find lists of the top 50 UX interview questions, but do you really need to know all that to hire UX designers? Do you really need to know where prospective candidates see themselves in 5 years? Do YOU know what you’ll be doing in 5 years?

Placing yourself in the candidate’s shoes helps to make interviews both efficient and relaxed. Our style of interviewing is rather minimalistic, however, it works pretty well for finding the top talent. Curious to meet some of them? Contact us to get a free trial!

UX designer interview question meme

Masha Panchenko


Table of contents

Top Stories

Design team
min read

10 Product Management Tools Used by Our Team

The main responsibility of a product manager is to evaluate opportunities and determine what is to be built and shipped to customers. In other words, they define what goes into the product’s backlog. Sounds quite understandable, right? But performing those duties has a complex mechanism and requires having a deep knowledge of customers, data, business, market, and industry. After all, developers and designers want to be sure that what you ask them to build is worth the shot, so you need to show them evidence.

To automate all these processes, and save time it’s essential for a product manager to have the right tools in their stack. 

Eleken provides UI/UX design services for SaaS companies from a variety of industries. We had a chance to see different product management tools in action, and in this post, we will list the 10 of them that we and our clients use the most often. These tools can help you with everything from task management to collaborating with your team. So, if you’re looking for a more efficient way to cope with your duties, keep on reading!

How to choose the right product management tool for my company

The ability to find and adopt the software that best meets your team’s needs helps you to simplify workflows and therefore focus more on delivering the right product. But how could you select the right one?

Here are a few key criteria that you should consider when making your decision about product management tools and techniques:

1. Usability – the software you choose should be intuitive, and easy to learn and interact with. Besides, it should require a minimal learning process, so make sure the software provides effective customer support. Also, pay attention to its interface on various platforms and devices.

2. Functionality – the tool should meet your current and future needs, as well as the needs of your team. Consider the size of your company when choosing the toolset. For instance, startups that are starting small may opt for software with a wide range of features and integrations to save the budget, while a well-established organization may choose several tools with narrow specialization designed to solve specific challenges.

3. Flexibility – the application should integrate with other types of SaaS software you’re currently using.

4. Scalability – the tool should be able to grow with your company as your product and the team expands. Tools that are able to scale should facilitate communication between teams in different offices or even time zones. Additionally, when choosing the tool check how they manage versioning and permissions across employees from different teams. 

5. Price – the tool should be affordable without compromising on quality or features.

And the final (and obvious) advice on how to choose the right tool would be to try its free version and experience the app in practice.

What tools to use for product management

Product people use a lot of applications in their work. In the list below we grouped tools used by product managers from our client’s companies into different categories according to their main purpose.

Product analysis tools

Product analytics platforms are vital for businesses as they give companies insights into how customers interact with their products and content. They show whether users are satisfied with certain features or not, how much time they spend using this or that functionality, and other user behavior in your app. Thanks to analytics software, product managers can make data-driven decisions about further product development. 

Below are a couple of tools for product analysis that our clients use the most.

  1. Pendo

Pendo is a product experience platform that provides in-app guides, NPS surveys, and product analytics - all in one cloud app. Pendo helps its users enhance user adoption, and at the same time guides product teams to better understand and track user behavior.

Our clients often choose Pendo as the tool for product analysis because

  • It requires no coding skills to set up and use.
  • It allows analyzing product usage across the web and mobile apps.
  • Its Pendo Feedback feature allows to gather and prioritize customer feature requests.
  • With its help, you can track users’ click paths and page views
  • It allows third-party integrations with Figma, Slack, Jira, HubSpot, Salesforce, and more.

A freemium pricing tier supports up to 1,000 monthly active users. For more than 1,000 monthly users you can contact Pendo customer support for a custom pricing plan.

pedo product management tool interface
Image credit: pendo.io
  1. Hotjar

One more application that is often used for product analysis purposes is Hotjar. It’s best known for its Heatmap and Session Recordings features that allow product managers to see what their customers are clicking on, what features/content interest them most, and at what point they drop off. Additionally, there are great Feedback and Survey options available, that help you communicate with users.

Some other reasons to use Hotjar are

  • Supportive and informative help/blog section with many types of how-to articles and guides
  • A wide list of tools packed in one app
  • The features for collecting feedback, which can be helpful if you are changing one website layout to another
  • Makes running A/B tests easy and effective

Hotjar offers three main packages for customers with different purposes: Observe plan, Ask plan, and the combination of both (Observe + Ask).

  • Observe package gives access to heatmaps and session recordings. It has a free Basic plan that allows up to 35 daily sessions. Pro plans for bigger teams, businesses, and enterprises start at €31 per month.
  • Ask package lets you ask users about their feelings/opinions and discover what they think about your product. It also has a free version for 20 monthly responses and plans for more people starting at €47.
  • Observe+Ask combines the offers of these two packages and has a 15-day free trial.
HotJar’s recordings show how people browse the page. Image credit: toptal.com
HotJar’s recordings show how people browse the page. Image credit: toptal.com

Building roadmaps

The roadmap is a visual representation of the product vision spread across a time period that allows managers to build and depict data-driven plans. For a product manager roadmap tool this is definitely a must-have, as one of their main tasks is to create a high-level product vision and clearly communicate it to the development or design team.

In this list, we have the two most popular roadmapping software.

  1. Product Plan

Product Plan allows its users to quickly and easily build custom product roadmaps, and quickly share them with different audiences to align their team behind the right product strategy.

Some characteristics that set Product Plan from other tools on the market are

  • Clear and aesthetical UI that allows you to easily visualize and communicate your product strategy.
  • A drag-and-drop editor that allows making changes in just a few clicks.
  • Over 20 templates of roadmaps, release plans, executive-facing portfolios, and more.

The price starts from $39 per user per month. Additionally, there are a 14-day free trial and offers for enterprises.

product plan tool for building roadmaps
Image credit: productplan.com
  1. Roadmunk

Roadmunk is an easy-to-use customer-driven software for building roadmaps used by product teams to visualize product strategy. It lets product owners and product managers easily capture feedback, prioritize features, and of course, create roadmaps to communicate their strategy to the whole team.

Among the advantages of this platform are

  • A built-in Jira integration.
  • A Roadmunc API powered by GraphQL for more integration options
  • Ability to create boardroom-ready roadmaps

Roadmunk offers a 14-day free trial, a basic plan that starts from $19 per month, and three more plans for bigger companies.

tools for product managers
Image credit: roadmunk.com

Collaboration and team messaging

Product owners/managers are responsible for communicating with different stakeholders, customers, business managers, the design and the development team to ensure the product vision is aligned with the business goals. And collaboration tools are great at bringing teams together through shared views on product plans.

  1. Slack

Perhaps 95 % of our customers use Slack for ongoing team communication. People choose this real-time messenger as it makes it extremely easy to quickly get in touch with teammates and different groups at work

Slack is best suited for small and medium-sized companies that need to share media files often. As well, Slack fits well for businesses with fully remote or distributed teams, as it has not only messaging functionality, but video/audio calls too. 

Here are some more features that make Slack so popular

  • User-friendly design that encourages quick replies and real-time collaboration
  • Smart search feature, which lets users easily find the needed information across different chats and channels
  • Slackbot that enables people to get automated alerts
  • The ability to quickly share files and links from Google Drive or your computer
  • Integrations with more than 2,400 applications

Slack offers a free plan that allows access to 10,000 of your team’s most recent messages, both cloud and on-premise hosting. The pro plans start at $6.67 per active user, per month.

collaboration and team messaging tool slack
Image credit: slack.com
  1. Microsoft Teams

One more app for team communication that some of Eleken’s clients use is Microsoft teams. Microsoft Teams is mostly adopted by companies that actively use Office 365 in their work processes.

  • The software has a corporate look that creates a favorable work environment 
  • It is good for holding online meetings
  • It can hold a large number of people with video and audio functionality
  • The app provides a convenient integration with Microsoft Office 365 suite and allows its customers a real-time collaboration with their teammates in Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and more

Microsoft Teams has a free version with an unlimited chat option, up to 60 minutes for a group meeting, up to 100 people per meeting, and 5 GB of cloud storage per user. Paid plans start at $4 per user per month.

microsoft team interface
Image credit: support.microsoft.com

Project management tools

When the list of items on your product backlog is growing, you’ll need a good tool that both visually and data-wise shows you exactly what you need to do to get back on track.

A project management tool helps you handle your project’s tasks through various stages from start to finish.

  1. Trello

Trello is a powerful and versatile tool that helps teams not to get lost in their daily tasks, project assignments, and To-Dos. The software lets you create boards and cards to represent your product, tasks, and ideas. You can then drag and drop cards between boards to keep everything organized and visible. Plus, you can attach files, images, and notes to cards for further detail.

Trello is loved by users for its

  • Easy-to-use drag-and-drop editing
  • Mobile-friendly app
  • Ability to attach files, organize tasks with labels and tags, and put deadline notifications
  • Easy upload from your computer, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box
  • Convenient data filters

Free plan allows unlimited cards and up to 10 boards per Workspace. Paid options start at $5 per user per month.

trello for product management
Image credit: business2community.com
  1. Jira

Jira is a project management tool used by Agile teams for issue management and project tracking. Product managers can use this software to manage their product backlog, capture and organize issues, track releases, and features, and assign tasks to team members. Jira also offers a variety of reports to help product managers assess the progress of their team and product.

Teams choose Jira as it offers

  • Customizable Scrum and Kanban boards
  • Real-time reporting
  • Integrated roadmaps
  • Customizable workflows to match your company’s style
  • Automation engine that enables teams to easily automate tasks and processes

Jira has a freemium plan for 10 users both for cloud and on-premise hosting. The standard plan starts at $7.50 per user

jira for product managemet
Image credit: atlassian.com

Idea generation and presentation

In most cases, product managers don't come up with innovative ideas on their own. They form these ideas by analyzing customers, talking to the sales team, listening to stakeholders, and cooperating with their team. So, having a nice tool to generate and present ideas can simplify their work processes a lot.

  1. Figjam

Figjam is an online whiteboard for team collaboration. With its help product managers can brainstorm, organize and share ideas, map user flows, build flowcharts, user journey and mindmaps, create mood boards, and more.

Our team loves it because

  • It has a user-friendly interface that takes no effort to start using
  • It’s easy to transfer files between Figma (we’ll tell you about it in the section below) and Figjam
  • Cute stamps, emojis, and a high-five feature

Figjam’s free plan is available for 3 Figma and 3 Figjam Files and unlimited personal files. Pro plan is $3 per editor per month.

Brainstorming template made by Eleken in FigJam
Brainstorming template made by Eleken in FigJam

Wireframing and prototyping

The last category of tools that product managers use is for design needs. To clearly communicate your ideas and prevent your team members from guessing, you’ll have to visualize what you’ve got in your head. Wireframing and prototyping serve these purposes well.

This last category is the closest to our designers’ hearts, so we want to mention only one tool here that we use most in our product design process.

  1. Figma

Figma is a SaaS designing and prototyping software that allows real-time collaboration for multiple teams. All our projects were designed with the help of this software. 

Figma is good for product managers because

  • It’s simple to use and collaborate 
  • It runs on browsers, so your team won’t have to install an app to view a prototype
  • The comment feature allows team members to provide feedback right in the app
  • It's easy to share web files with just one link
  • You can integrate live Figma files into apps like Notion, Jira, and Confluence.

Figma has a free plan that is enough for personal usage, but for more advanced features users have to pay $12 per editor per month.

Prototyping in Figma. Image credit: uxdesign.cc
Prototyping in Figma. Image credit: uxdesign.cc

How do I get the most out of my product management tool?

Once you've selected effective product management tools, it's important to make sure you're getting the most out of them. Here are a few tips to achieve this:

1. Learn the basics of how the tool works. This includes understanding how to create and manage products, as well as how to run reports and track your progress.

2. Use the tool to its full potential. Many product management tools offer features beyond simply creating and managing processes. For example, some tools allow you to track your team's progress, collaborate with others, and even run tests on your products.

3. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you're struggling to learn how to use the tool or aren't sure how to do something, don't be afraid to ask for help. There are usually lots of resources available, such as online support forums, user guides, or even video tutorials.

If this product management tools list isn’t enough for you check also what other SaaS tools can help you stay productive in cloud chaos.

Design team
min read

The Power of Mentorship: How We Elevate UX/UI Design Teams to New Heights at Eleken

Darina Silchenko has been a part of Eleken for over 3 years. She started as a UI/UX designer and recently got promoted to design manager. Darina creates fantastic designs, offers valuable insights to the clients, and helps Eleken’s designers to hone their skills and knowledge. 

Mentorship in Eleken comes in different shapes and forms, from individual advice coming from fellow colleagues to lectures and workshops. In this article, we want to share Darina’s story about how she started nurturing our design teams. 

Darina Silchenko, UI/UX designer at Eleken

Let’s start with a brief introduction. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your journey with Eleken, and how you became a mentor.

I have been working at Eleken for more than 3 years already. I joined the company when the design team was relatively small, 5 or 6 people only. I helped design Eleken’s website and started taking on responsible projects immediately, as my skills were already quite strong when I came here. 

So when we started hiring new designers, I helped them get to know how we do things at Eleken, how our designs should look, how designers could improve their work, and so on. At first, I did that occasionally, but then I started mentoring new designers permanently. At the same time, I started teaching UI design at Beetroot Academy

Did this experience help you later on with your mentorship in Eleken?

Yes, a lot. Working with students helped me find an individual approach to everyone and explain one and the same thing differently, depending on the student’s previous knowledge and experience. 

It also helped me improve the feedback that I give to my mentees. When you teach someone, you cannot simply say, “This element feels out of place; let’s remove it .” Instead, I had to support my arguments with design rules, so the students would memorize them and use them later in work. 

My mentorship approach also improved. After you explain something to someone without a design background, delivering the same information to someone familiar with design becomes much easier. 

Teaching also helped me develop my own study program at Eleken.

A study program for Eleken’s in-house designers. Sounds interesting! Please tell us more about it.

Sure. So, I’ve created a series of lectures for the Eleken newcomers. Just the basics, you know, typography, composition, color theory, and all that jazz. I’ve recorded the lessons to make them easy to access. 

We also ran a series of workshops to help new employees get familiar with Eleken’s approach. I gave a new assignment to designers and then conducted a review, explaining what was good and what could be improved. At first, we did it occasionally whenever I had time. Later, we structured it a bit and turned it into Eleken’s Mini UI school. 

Eleken's Mini UI School

This whole in-house teaching experience at Eleken sounds very special, right? 

It is special. I genuinely believe we have a unique and open culture at Eleken. We can reach out to our colleague designers anytime, and they will gladly help with anything. Thanks to that, I’ve never felt alone and isolated in my work, even when I was the only designer working on a client’s project. Even then, I could ask anyone from Eleken to give me feedback and some advice. I think that’s why we are so good: we share knowledge and experience, and because of that, we learn and improve our skills quicker than a single designer could alone. 

What’s more interesting is that we didn’t even have a hierarchy at first. All of us were just designers, no seniors or juniors. Even now, when we started developing the hierarchy, we did this mostly for mentorship purposes, so that more experienced designers could help less experienced ones. 

Speaking about helping — do you believe that anyone could become a mentor? Or does it require specific skills?

In my opinion, those who want to become mentors have to enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise. They also have to like interacting with people in all their shapes and colors. All mentees are different and require an individual approach. 

Being able to resist stress is also a must. Sometimes many people turn to you at once, which could feel overwhelming, especially when you have your own work tasks to handle. You need to set priorities and ensure that everyone gets enough of your attention and support. It takes a lot of energy. 

Essential skills to become a mentor

But although mentorship could be challenging, can you say it’s rewarding at the same time?

Definitely. While you give a lot of energy, you also receive a lot in return. Mentoring also helps me grow professionally. It encourages me to improve my skills to find new interesting information to share with my mentees. It also improves communication. When you explain things in simple words on a daily basis, it’s very easy to explain your point of view to the client.

Do you have any success stories to share about your mentorship journey?

I have one that I remember the most. One of my students from Beetroot Academy, Nastia, now works at Eleken as a designer.

She came to me with zero experience in design. But she was so motivated that she took the most out of the course and got hired by Eleken.

Do such success stories of your students inspire you?

Certainly. We are all people, and we have our ups and downs. Whenever I feel stuck, out of motivation, and the impostor syndrome starts creeping in, I remind myself that someone sees me as a role model, someone is grateful for my  mentorship. And this helps. This is definitely worth all the efforts invested.

So great to hear that. You do talk about it with passion. To add a final touch, what would you advise those thinking about becoming a mentor?

Prepare yourself that it would take a lot of time and resources. You have to be prepared for that.

Also, having enough energy to put into mentorship would be crucial, too. You need to feel ready to share your knowledge, communicate a lot, and work with different people who perceive information in their own unique way. 

Mentorship is about communication, patience, and putting your ego aside to help people. If you see it the same way, you are most likely ready to try it.

Thank you for sharing all this with our readers. That was such an enriching and interesting conversation!

Thank you too. 

If our approach to mentorship and growing new design talents speaks to you, you can see how this will work for your projects. Reach out to us to experience the power of Eleken’s shared experience and collaboration yourself! 

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