Interview questions product designers should ask when seeking a job

Dig deep, avoid traps and find green pastures.

David Portelli


The big shots say that a great deal of design is about story telling and pitching; never is that more true than when going through an interview process.

Interviews are tricky because so much goes on simultaneously. The company tries to assess you, but you too have assessments to make. You try to be swift at asking the right questions at the right time and give responses carefully — all whilst analysing if you can see yourself working with the person on the other side.

Gut feeling plays a part too, and whilst there’s no doubt that such feelings should reserve their seat, a good set of questions and answers are a better yard stick when analysing opportunities.

This article looks at some core areas product designers should be concerned about when considering an opportunity. Each area is broken down into template questions that may be selected to kick start conversations or reveal mysteries that are best discovered ahead of time.

Of course there’s no such thing as a perfect plan so take the liberty to go with the flow when you’re on to something. I hope these questions help land you land where you intend to.

Be clear on your expectations

It’s worth mentioning that you ought to be clear on what you’re looking for when you’re actively seeking an opportunity. List your must have’s and won’t have’s ahead of time and let them shepherd you to green pastures. This will help you identify good fits, avoid booby traps and negotiate favourable terms.

Some discussions are best left for following interviews

Most companies (or serious ones at least) will pass applicants through a number of interviews; there’s no need to discuss all affairs during round one — nope. You’re more likely to negotiate favourable terms after making it further down the line and convincing the powers that be that you’re the right fit.

Choose your questions wisely in the first interview and avoid asking about conference budgets, time off or whether you may bring your poodle to work. List…