How to prepare for a product design interview

Neil Turner
Jan 7 · 5 min read

As the well-known saying goes, by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. This might not be true of everything in life, but it certainly is true of job interviews. Whether you’re preparing for a product design interview at Redgate, or elsewhere, here are some key considerations to help ensure that you get your preparations right.

Find out about the interview

For example, at Redgate we typically carry out an initial 30 minute telephone interview and then a more in-depth portfolio review at the second stage. How you prepare for a 30 minute telephone interview will be different to how you prepare for a much more in-depth portfolio walkthrough and interview.

Do your homework

Doing your homework not only helps you to better tailor your examples and answers, but also shows that you’re seriously interested in the role.

Prepare your portfolio

Remember that when it comes to showcasing your work it’s not just the end result, but also the journey which is important. You should be able to talk about your design process, your design rationale and be honest about the contribution you made. Think about how you are going to tell a compelling story. What visuals will you need? What are you going to focus on?

To ensure that you don’t spend too long, or too little going through your portfolio it’s a good idea to practice so that you can get an idea of how long it takes to walkthrough a project. Ideally you should also get some feedback from a friend or colleague. How can your portfolio walkthrough be made even better? For more tips on putting together a compelling design portfolio take a look at Applying design principles to your UX portfolio by Jon Boardman, a lead product designer at Redgate.

Practice answering interview questions

Whilst you never know which questions will come up, it’s still useful to consider how you might answer common product design interview questions, such as providing an example of when you’ve had to influence stakeholders, an example of really good product design, or an example of when you’ve had to compromise on a design. Take at 11 Design Interview Questions and How to Master Them for some typical questions to consider.

Think about questions to ask

Think about what key information you’d need to know to consider the role. Great questions we often get asked by candidates include:

· What is the opportunity for career progression? (At Redgate we get asked this so much that we now have an online progression framework for product designers).

· What does a typical project look like for a product designer?

· What are the challenges of the role?

· What is the best thing about being a product designer at Redgate?

Plan your interview set-up

If the interview is being conducted remotely don’t forget to install and test any software beforehand and to find a nice quiet spot for the interview. Having to shout over the background noise of a busy café does not exactly set a great first impression.

Be honest

Recap

· Do your homework — Research the organisation and product design within the organisation.

· Prepare your portfolio — Select the best examples and think about how you can best showcase your suitability for the role.

· Practice answering interview questions — Think about and ideally practice your approach to answering questions, including common product design interview questions.

· Think about questions to ask — Make the interview a 2-way conversation by asking lots of questions about the role.

· Plan your interview set-up — Make sure you have a good set-up for the interview beforehand.

· Be honest — Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.

If you’re thinking about your next career move or are looking for an exciting new opportunity take a look at Redgate’s current product design vacancies on the Redgate careers page. We’re always on the lookout for exceptional product designers.

See also

Ingeniously Simple

How Redgate build ingeniously simple products, from…