Hurray! You’ve landed the ideal UX job interview. Now, how do you prepare for it? How do you keep your nerves steady? What’s your strategy to win the day and actually get the job?
If you treat your UX job search like the design problem it is, there’s usually two personas to satisfy; the HR Recruiter and the Hiring Manager. If you’re going to meet them in person, how can you help them?
You read that right. What can YOU do for THEM?
Make Your Interviewer’s Job Easier
It seems counterintuitive, but if you focus on adding value first instead of what people think of you, you’ll send a stronger, better vibe and instantly stand out from the crowd.
I’ve seen it happen over and over again for successful applicants regardless of career level. Whether you’re early in your career or looking for a leadership role, to get to the next level you must add value from the moment you say hello to a potential employer.
How Do You Do That?
I’ve spoken with many CEOs, CMOs, hiring managers and recruiters over the last few years. They all have similar opinions on the interview process:
- If you’re meeting with them in person, then your portfolio has done its job. Now they want to know how you think, how well you communicate, and whether or not you will be a good fit with their existing team.
- In their minds they are hiring – not interviewing. That means they want to weed out the people who aren’t a good fit as soon as possible.
- So be concise yet informative when summarizing your career during the interview. Recruiters and hiring managers don’t have time for your life story. Keep it short – about 5 minutes max. They’ll ask you to clarify something if they need more details. Use their time wisely by effectively managing yours.
- Clearly demonstrate your process and the impact of that process. Websites and apps don’t magically start with wireframes. What sort of research did you do to come up with your solutions, who was involved and what was the overall result? How do you know?
- They don’t really care what happened at your last job. They want to know why you showed up for their opportunity. Make sure you have a well-thought out answer. And never say anything bad about any previous employer. That’s a big red flag.
- They expect you to know something about the company, its management and its culture. If you don’t, that’s another red flag. Do your homework.
- Last but not least, what sort of communicator are you? Can you explain a problem or solution clearly on a whiteboard? Are you able to connect the dots of your past experience so it aligns with their current needs? Can you convince and persuade stakeholders with compelling arguments based on solid evidence?
What’s In It For Them?
Find out their needs as soon as possible. What’s their main project, why is it needed, what’s the current problem, and how will the team slay the design and development dragons? Let them do 80% of the talking. Really.
Be careful not to ask too many questions since they’re pressed for time. But ask enough well-considered questions to show genuine curiosity and interest. And notice I haven’t mentioned anything about asking about salary and benefits yet. Save that for the second interview 🙂
Meet People Where They Are
The best way to truly connect with anyone is to meet them where they are. The same is true for HR recruiters and hiring managers. Most are honest, hard-working people who need to solve a pressing problem.
Clearly demonstrate how you can help solve their problems and you’ll be on your way to nailing your next UX job interview.