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GuidesUser experience (UX)32 common UX job interview questions with example answers

32 common UX job interview questions with example answers

Last updated

11 January 2024

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Whether it's your first UX research job or the next step in a long career, the interview process is often nerve-wracking and stressful. 

Many candidates spend a lot of time worrying about how the interview process will go. What kinds of questions will the interviewer ask? What are the best ways to answer them?

As with most things, the best answers depend on your circumstances. Different phases of the interview process ask different types of questions. 

In this guide, we aim to provide an overview of the types of questions you may encounter in each phase of the process. 

Keep reading for concrete tips on approaching these questions so you can feel confident and prepared. 

7 background and experience questions

The interviewer will ask these questions to get to know you better and glean a little about your experience:

  • What first interested you about the field of user experience and research?

  • What did you study in college, and how has it prepared you for a career in UX research?

  • How do you define a successful user research project?

  • How have you collaborated with design, product, and engineering teams?

  • How has your approach to UX research evolved since you began your career?

  • Describe a particularly impactful research project you've led and what you learned from it.

  • Describe a project that didn’t implement your findings and how you handled it.

Some of these questions might not apply to entry-level positions. 

Tips for answering UXR background questions

Be specific

Interviewers aren't looking for generic answers. Answer questions by detailing specific projects and experiences. Detail how the experience relates to their question. 

Highlight impact

Companies want to hire someone who will make an impact on their products. Discuss tangible ways your research has increased user engagement or retention. When possible, give precise metrics.

Showcase collaboration

Being a team player is vital in any position in a company, but that's especially true for UXR. Discuss how you collaborated with designers, product managers, and other stakeholders to inform decisions.

Discuss methodologies

Part of gauging your experience is examining how well-rounded you are. Discuss different research methods you’ve worked with to highlight your versatility. 

Be honest

Interviewers are great lie detectors. If you haven't used a particular method or tool, don’t lie about it. Missing some experience is less of a dealbreaker than lying. 

Highlight soft skills

Many companies find that employees often lack the soft skills for effective teamwork and collaboration. Be sure to highlight how your soft skills have driven results with examples. 

Show continuous learning

The field of UXR is constantly evolving. Unless you've recently graduated college, you should have been evolving with it. Be sure to mention any classes, workshops, or other training that you've had to keep your skills sharp.

Don't fear failure

Sometimes, projects don't go as planned. It can be tempting to avoid discussing these, but interviewers aren't expecting perfection. Instead of avoiding projects that didn't go well, use them as an opportunity to highlight how you learned and grew from them.

Prepare a portfolio

A portfolio of your work showcasing the projects you're most proud of can serve as a visual aid. It’s an easy-to-access place for key metrics and projects, making answering questions easier. 

Practice active listening

This is one of the soft skills mentioned earlier. Listen carefully to the question to ensure your answer is relevant. If a question is unclear, don't be afraid to ask the interviewer to clarify.

Take your time

Interviews can be stressful, and stress often results in impulsive answers. Keep the stress under control by taking your time to think about the question to provide a better answer. 

8 decision-making assessment questions

A UX researcher is responsible for making or influencing many decisions that will impact a project's success. The interviewer will ask questions that assess how good you are at making these decisions. 

Some examples include:

  • How do you decide which research method to use for a particular project?

  • How do you prioritize research requests from different teams or stakeholders?

  • How do you decide what to research with limited time or resources?

  • How would you handle situations where user needs conflict with business goals?

  • How do you handle situations where quantitative data contradicts qualitative findings?

  • How do you determine if a finding is significant enough to recommend design changes?

  • Describe a time when your research directly impacted a product decision.

  • How do you ensure your recommendations align with short- and long-term strategy?

Tips for answering decision-driven research questions

Think aloud

Take time to gather your thoughts before speaking. Once you do, walk the interviewer through your thought process. This will show off your analytical and decision-making skills better than simply answering questions. 

Reference past experiences

The interviewer wants to know how you'll put your decision-making skills into practice. The best way to do this is to highlight real-world examples of your skills. 

Emphasize user-centricity

The user experience is obviously one of the most important parts of user experience research. Highlight how the user's needs and experiences are central to your decision-making.

Consider business objectives

While user needs should always be at the forefront of UXR, decisions must also align with business goals. Let the interviewer know how you balance these two goals. 

Data-informed decisions

Data has always driven research of any kind. In the era of big data, that's never been more true. Discuss how you leverage quantitative and qualitative data to inform your decisions. 

Discuss collaboration

UX research is a collaborative field. Often, you won't be the only one involved in the decision-making process. Discuss how you've collaborated with various other business units to come to the best decision for all stakeholders.

Acknowledge trade-offs

Decisions often involve trade-offs between two competing interests. Interviewers are going to ask questions about how you'd handle these situations. Be prepared to answer them. 

Stay calm and logical

Your interviewer will likely ask complex questions that require deep thought. Don't rush to an answer. Take a moment to process the question to answer it logically. 

Ask clarifying questions

Given the complex nature of some of the questions you'll need to answer, you might not fully understand them the first time. Asking clarifying questions shows thoughtfulness and ensures you don't give a silly answer. 

9 technical questions

Your technical capabilities aren't the be-all and end-all of the interview, but they are its meat and potatoes. These questions will determine whether you have the knowledge to perform the job effectively. 

Some questions you may hear are:

  • Which UX research tools are you most familiar with?

  • How do you ensure the validity and reliability of your research data?

  • How do you handle recruiting participants for research studies?

  • How do you typically analyze and prioritize user feedback from disparate sources?

  • How do you structure and present your findings to ensure they're actionable for others?

  • How do you employ user journey mapping to identify UX pain points and opportunities?

  • What strategies do you employ to ensure unbiased results during user testing sessions?

  • What metrics do you track in usability studies, and how do they inform your conclusions?

  • Describe when you used a specific statistical analysis method to interpret research data.

Tips for answering process and technical knowledge questions

Be specific

The interviewer will be asking you many particular questions. They are looking for equally specific answers. Avoid generalities and answer the question as directly as possible. 

Use real-world examples

Back up your answers with examples from your work. Discuss specific projects, challenges, and how you applied your technical knowledge to address them.

Explain your process

As your math teachers wanted you to show your work, interviewers are interested in how you arrive at your conclusions. Explain the thought process behind your answers. 

Highlight continuous learning

Answers to technical questions are an excellent opportunity to show the interviewer that you have an interest and background in continuing your education. 

Showcase problem-solving skills

Many questions will revolve around the challenges you face. Answering these in detail is a great way to show off the problem-solving skills you've developed in the field. 

Speak the language

Remember, you aren't talking to a layperson who doesn't understand jargon. You're trying to impress someone who does. Use the appropriate technical terms to show off your knowledge of the subject. 

Prepare in advance

If you think the interview will contain technical questions, give yourself time to quickly review the material. This will ensure you don't get caught off guard by a question you haven't considered. 

Be enthusiastic

Interviewers want someone who is excited about the field. When answering technical questions, show your enthusiasm for the work. This will show the interviewer that your passion for the field aligns with company culture and expectations. 

Ask reflective questions

Another way to demonstrate your passion for the field is to ask the interviewer related questions after you answer. Don't go overboard and give the impression that you're the one conducting the interview, but show you love to discuss the topic. 

8 adaptability questions

Interviewers will likely want to know how you handle things not going as planned or when conditions change rapidly in the middle of a project. 

Some of the questions they may ask to determine this include:

  • How would you handle stakeholders who disagree with your research findings?

  • How do you adapt your research focus to match product lifecycle stages?

  • How do you handle feedback or criticism about your research approach or findings?

  • How do you adapt your research objectives to sudden changes in business goals?

  • How do you approach research with emerging technologies or unfamiliar platforms?

  • Describe a time when you had limited resources for research and how you made it work.

  • Describe a time you changed your research methods due to unforeseen circumstances.

  • Describe a time you faced significant challenges in a research project and how you overcame them.

Tips for answering adaptability questions

Highlight problem-solving skills

At its core, adaptability is about problem-solving. As you answer the interviewer's questions, discuss the strategies you use to keep your thinking critical and focus on the task at hand.

Show flexibility

Whether it's due to new data, stakeholder feedback, or changing project goals, UXR work requires flexibility. Giving examples of how you've handled these situations in the past will give interviewers a better idea of how easily you adapt to new directions.

Emphasize collaboration

Adaptability in UX research involves changing needs across various teams. Showcase how you've integrated the needs of other stakeholders and teams into your process as goals change.

Communicate proactively

In scenarios where you've had to adapt, emphasize how you effectively communicated changes or new directions to stakeholders.

Show resilience

Few people enjoy sudden changes, but a good researcher will not be dismayed. As you answer your questions, emphasize your resilience rather than your annoyance at the changes. 

Demonstrate empathy

Several questions may include conflicts with other team members or stakeholders. Always demonstrate that you value their input and consider it, even if you go in another direction.

Be concise

While it's essential to provide detailed examples, ensure your answers are concise and to the point. Avoid over-explaining.

Frameworks for crafting effective interview answers

An effective and engaging interview answer tells a story. Like any story, it needs structure. 

Several frameworks can ensure your interview answers are well-structured. Let’s go over a few so you can find one that best fits your personality and matches specific types of questions.

STAR

The STAR method provides a straightforward structure to answer questions. It provides context to the situation and how you resolved it. 

It's a good method to use when interviewers seek specific examples of past behavior to gauge your future performance.

  • Situation: Explain the circumstances of the situation you’re discussing

  • Task: Explain the challenge or responsibility that arose as a result

  • Action: Describe the specific actions you took to address the task or challenge

  • Result: Detail the result of your actions, focusing on positive impacts and lessons learned

CAR 

This method is a simplified version of STAR. CAR is good for quick-paced interviews or discussing experiences with clear and direct outcomes. 

It's easy to remember as a general structure when nerves make it hard to think clearly.

  • Context: Describe the situation you'll be talking about

  • Action: Explain the actions you took to resolve it

  • Result: Discuss the outcomes of those actions

METEOR 

METEOR goes more in-depth and incorporates metrics and broader outcomes, providing a tangible scale to the situation you’re discussing. 

This framework is good for quantifying the impact of your actions or answering questions about scenarios with broad-reaching implications.

  • Metric: Start with numbers or data to give context or scale

  • Example: Provide a specific scenario or situation

  • Task: Describe your responsibility or challenge in that scenario

  • Effect: Talk about the immediate impacts of your actions

  • Outcome: Expand to broader implications or longer-term effects

  • Result: Sum up the result of the experience and what you learned from it

Final thoughts

There's a lot to absorb in this lengthy list of potential UX research interview questions, tips, and frameworks. If you try to memorize all of it, you'll likely stress yourself out even more. 

Instead, read over it a few times in the lead-up to your interview and give it a quick review on the day itself. Focus on the tips you hadn't thought of before or stick out in your mind.

Pick one or two frameworks that might apply to your interview. Practice telling the story of some of your past projects under those frameworks. 

This approach will familiarize you with the frameworks and how to adapt them on the fly. It’ll also give you a set of stories to draw from during the interview. Good luck!

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