There are a few great guides out there when it comes to hiring UX designers, but it can be a tricky process nonetheless. At the same time, it’s also an extremely important process, since your UX designer is what stands between your company and your customers’ experience with your product, and a design-first approach pays huge dividends. It’s widely known that the customer comes first in business, but too many people forget this fact when they aren’t interacting with their customers face-to-face.

In fact, personal interaction is the way many companies judge their customers’ experiences, but most customer experiences go well beyond just interaction with company employees. Nowadays, most customers will consider their use of your website or app as their main interaction with your product or service (instead of their infrequent interactions with your customer service representatives), so you want to make sure their experience with these platforms is top notch.2015-10-14-1444808198-2990005-blogchartcopy.jpg

To do that, you will need a great UX designer, and many others do, as well. The job is in high demand.

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Hiring a top UX designer isn’t easy, so we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to foolproof hiring based on the following steps:
  1. Create Your Job Description
  2. Seek Out Good Candidates
  3. Ask the Right Interview Questions
  4. Check for Common Mistakes

Before Hiring:

1. Create Your Job Description

Your position’s job description is usually a candidate’s first introduction to both the role and the company itself, so you want to be sure that you start out on the right foot. A quality job description is clear, easy to read, and contains all relevant information; however, the process is a balancing act. Posting a generic designer description for your job ad will only lead to a flood of applications from UX masqueraders. On the other hand, being too specific with requirements can scare away candidates who may be very qualified for the position.

For best formatting practices, you should separate your job description into multiple sections with relevant headlines, so it is easy to read. Try breaking your job down into the following sections: Company Introduction, Job Description, Responsibilities, and Role Specific Skills/Qualifications.

Also make sure you include an overview of your company’s culture, the benefits and perks of working there, and specific aspects of the job. Ideally, you want the best candidates to read your job description and get really excited about the prospect of working for your company. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure it’s a good one.

2. Seek Out Good Candidates

It’s tempting to be passive in your search for a designer by posting your job description and waiting for all the great designers to come to you. But anyone who adopts this approach will soon realize that top designers aren’t simply flocking to posted job descriptions. Job descriptions are still extremely important, but employers must also be intentional in their outreach these days and many are surprised to learn where they can find the best UX designers.

For example, gone are the days when outsourcing means shoddy work from amateur designers that barely speak your language. In fact, there are great freelance options that can connect you with top UX designers if you are willing to look. Many of these designers are at the top of their field, have tons of great experience, and are willing to work with your company on your schedule. Additionally, employers can try reaching out to contacts at universities with top design programs to get recommendations of top students. Finally, as with any other candidate search, you should explore connections within your network through referrals or sites like LinkedIn. If that search comes up short, you can also explore portfolios on sites like Behance.

3. Ask the Right Interview Questions

Separating a top UX designer from the rest of the pack can often be a challenging feat, since user-experience design requires the mastery of many facets of both the design and development process. For those who aren’t well-versed in development and design, it’s also critical to find a UX designer who is a quality communicator and well-versed in both the qualitative and quantitative aspects that validate a design hypothesis. With all these moving pieces, measuring the work of UX designers can be overwhelming for those hiring.

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It always helps to have someone with design experience running your interviews, but all’s not lost if that is not your situation. Above all, it pays off to invest time in establishing a UX interviewing plan. To begin, you must familiarize yourself with the right questions to ask, such as:
  • What is the definition of user experience?
  • How would you best describe user-centered design to a client who is unfamiliar with the process?
  • What do you do on a personal and professional level to advocate for good usability?
  • Do you specialize in wireframing and functionality design, or other areas of design?
  • What kind of data would you use to validate your design?
  • Do you have prototyping tool and wireframing tool preferences?
  • Can you give me an example of a project where requirements changed halfway through? How did you handle this?
  • How do you provide clear instructions for other designers and developers you work with?
  • Where does your role as a UX designer end?

With these questions you are looking for both expertise and the ability to explain the UX design process in a way anyone can understand, which demonstrates a true mastery of design.

After Hiring:

4. Check for Common Mistakes

If you are able to hire a top UX designer, he or she should be able to manage their own work and avoid common UX mistakes. But that does not mean you should check out of the process completely. Instead beware of these common mistakes, and watch out for them as your UX designer starts working:

Lack of focus.
The purpose of your app or website should be clear for all users. A simple call to action can be a lot more effective than random, unfocused content. A comprehensive site is important, but you don’t want to lose the user by having too many bells and whistles.

No clear value proposition.You need to provide your users with value from the get-go. If they’re not getting anything out of using your site, then they’re not going to use it. These days there are plenty of alternatives for almost anything. Strive to add value for your user with every aspect of your site to keep them engaged.

Forms from hell. If you must use forms, start by getting as little information from your users as is necessary. No one wants to spend twenty, or even just ten, minutes filling out an endless form. Instead, get the information you need to maintain contact, and let the user get out.

No story or personality. Although much of tech is focused on functionality and the usable side of web development, it doesn’t hurt to personalize your product. Users love a good story that makes a product or service seem more human, so don’t be afraid to use personalization as a tool to attract and retain users.

Launching at the wrong time. Product launch is a balancing act. On the one hand, launching too early can leave users with an unfinished or underdeveloped product, which will kill your product faster than you can say “launch.” On the other hand, leaving your product or site in stealth mode for too long can give your competition a leg up, which you want to avoid as well. Give your UX designer a clear timeline from the start to avoid these issues, and try not to change that timeline up too much along the way.

Following this guide won’t guarantee that you will end up with a great designer, but it sure will help you avoid a lot of bad ones. Feel free to leave a comment below with advice we might have missed!