Common Product Design Interview Questions (With Answers)
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Interviewers often ask a wide range of questions to assess candidates and their suitability for a role. When applying for a product design role, general, in-depth, and experience-related questions are common queries to expect. Identifying product design interview questions and appropriate answers can help you prepare for your product design interview and increase your chances of getting the job. In this article, we identify various questions you can expect during a product design interview, provide example answers to common questions, and itemize other interview tips.
Product design interview questions
Product design interview questions often fall under three categories, including:
General product design interview queries
General interview questions provide an opportunity for the hiring manager or interviewer to understand you early in the interview. As a result, these questions often relate to your personality and motivation for the job. Likely questions under this category include:
Can you tell us about yourself?
What's your reason for seeking a new position?
How did you discover the availability of this position in this company?
What are our company values, and which of them best describes you?
Describe yourself using five adjectives?
Can you discuss three of your most prominent strengths?
What are your most identifiable weaknesses?
Can you discuss some of your goals as a product designer?
What spurred your interest in product designs?
Do you have any questions about the role?
Is there anything else you want to know about the company?
Experience and background related product design interview queries
Interviewers often ask experience and background-related questions after the general questions. These questions allow them to understand your relevant credentials and whether it makes you suitable for the role. Relevant questions you can expect in this category include:
Can you discuss your educational background and relevant experiences?
Have you completed any relevant product design training in recent times?
Are you a lifelong learner, and why do you consider yourself one, if so?
How long have you worked in the product design industry?
Do you prefer to work individually or collaborate with team members?
If any, can you describe any design leadership role you held and your contributions?
Can you discuss some skills you've gained and developed aside from your professional experience and education?
Do you possess any relevant certification that makes you unique for the role?
Is there any gap year in your resume, and if yes, can you explain why?
What's the longest time you've spent in a particular position or company?
Related: Top Product Management Skills
In-depth product design related interview questions
Interviewers also ask in-depth questions to determine your expertise and understanding of technical areas of the job. These in-depth questions are technical and may require you to demonstrate your proficiency regarding product designs. Some of the questions you can expect under this category include:
Do you have any experience creating user personas?
When completing design projects, do you employ a user journey map?
Can you describe the design thinking methods you prefer when working on design projects?
Do you have any experience employing A/B testing with prototypes?
Can you describe your preferred design tools and your proficiency level?
Can you describe how to develop navigation features when designing digital products?
Do you consider yourself better at designing physical or digital products?
Can you describe a time when you missed a production and product design deadline? What did you do to handle the situation?
Can you describe how you manage constructive criticism from your supervisor at work regarding your products?
Can you describe when your production wasn't effective and what you believed went wrong?
Example answers to common product design interview queries
Here are some of the common questions across the three categories and appropriate answers to these questions:
Can you explain what you understand by product design?
Hiring managers and interviewers often ask this question to determine your perception of product design. By providing your definition, they can assess your understanding of the concept and what you prioritize when completing tasks. It can be helpful to research the company's values when answering this question. For instance, you might want to provide a customer-related definition for a company that prioritizes customer experience.
Example: "My understanding of product design involves gathering and interpreting consumer or client perceptions to iterate various prototypes for testing. With product design, the goal is to create a well-designed product that solves an existing problem while offering an exceptional user experience."
How do you begin your design process?
Interviewers ask this question to understand how you approach starting a design project. Usually, this is relevant for companies that maintain process protocols for projects. It's important to demonstrate adaptability when answering this question by sharing multiple approaches that you can adopt.
Example: "Usually, I begin the process of designing a product with in-depth research and analysis. My research allows me to study and understand how competitors design similar products and consumer perceptions regarding such products. I then analyze this information and align it with my client's needs. During the initial stage of my design process, my goal is to identify consumer challenges and determine the best ways to solve them."
Do you have any experience creating user personas?
This question allows the interviewer or hiring manager to understand your approach when analyzing product audiences. As a result, it allows you to demonstrate how you employ consumer data to create user personas during the product design process. It's important to discuss the data collection process you adopt when answering this question.
Example: "When creating user personas, I often begin with information gathering about the consumer. This allows me to understand the target audiences for the product. To obtain this data, I use both internal and external data online and offline. Then, once I gain insight, I create around five personas that represent various target audiences. With each group, I focus on information such as demographic, goals, preferred channels, and personality."
How do you use user personas?
Interviewers may also ask you about your use of user personas throughout the design process. When they ask this, they might be curious to determine how often you consider your target audience in your design process and decision-making. It's vital to demonstrate that you prioritize your target audience throughout your design process. You can adopt a previous experience or project to demonstrate this.
Example: "I employ user personas throughout my entire design process, especially during the beginning and end of every step. I have adopted this strategy across most of my projects because it allows me to design a product that addresses customer needs across all production areas. For instance, I was designing a carpet cleaner and found that a common challenge was the inability to remove stains very fast due to the number of items users grabbed when using the cleaner. As a result, I added an in-built brush to the bottle to make stain removal easier using the bottle."
What research techniques do you adopt to gain consumer insight when designing new products?
Interviewers may ask this question to determine your proficiency in the relevant research techniques you require to gain consumer insight during product design. It also allows them to determine the importance of research during product design. It's helpful to demonstrate your proficiency in various research methods and the flexibility to change between methods when needed.
Example: "During the preliminary stages of my product design process, I often use empathy interviews or design thinking to collect consumer insight. I adopt design thinking as it allows me to derive innovative ideas from consumer or client ideation. Still, I adopt empathy interviews because they allow me to identify consumer wants and needs about a product directly. Depending on the project type, I can adopt either research methods or combine both of them."
Other product design interview tips
Below are some additional tips you can employ:
Punctuality is a great way to demonstrate professionalism to the interviewer or hiring manager. You can arrive at the interview destination 15 minutes before your interview time. This also ensures you can settle down before the interview and appear calm. You can confirm the duration you require to get to the location before your interview day and account for any unplanned event.
Your dressing is another great way to demonstrate professionalism and impress your interviewer. The appropriate dressing may vary from formal to business casual, depending on the industry and role. It's important to follow any instructions regarding dressing from the hiring manager. Where there's none, you can contact the hiring team via e-mail to confirm before the interview. You can also confirm the preferred dress code for an interview from present or previous employees.
Use STAR technique
The STAR technique is an interview response method that demonstrates your proficiency using past experiences. It involves identifying a situation, your tasks, the action you took, and the results you achieved. It's effective for situational or technical questions requiring you to demonstrate your proficiency using certain processes or tools. For instance, you can use this technique to describe how you managed conflict in the past.
Follow-up after the interview
It might be vital to follow up with the hiring manager after the interview. This involves a short e-mail appreciating the interviewers for their time while identifying the experience as a memorable one. This allows you to appear as a unique candidate to the interviewer. It's important to follow up only if the company and its hiring policies allow it.
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