How to hire a UX Designer.

Sumit Dagar
UX in India
Published in
3 min readJul 3, 2017

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Most of this is already common knowledge. But given the frugal orientation of the startup world in India, I found it relevant to put across this clarity.

Image Source : Career Foundry

Re-iterating the golden rule: UX !=UI

For your product sake, please look for UX skills in design resources. Folks strong in UI (visual design) might not necessarily have good UX skills. Folks who do UX well might be able to use Material or iOS stencil to deliver visuals as well. Both of these responsibilities require expertise and passion respectively. Look for candidates who suits your requirements, UX or UI.

Hiring managers read this. If you are looking for a UI wizard/ninja, chances are you are head of product in an early stage startup in pre-pilot/early validation stage. Go ahead and get the ninja.

As soon as your product becomes a priority, start looking for UX skills in candidates. This makes sure your offering has a deeper connect with your users, prioritises the right problems to target and propose the optimal solutions for the same. In functional terms, they make the information architecture, the workflows and the wireframes.

What to seek:

  1. Make a JD that targets UX-only resource.
  2. Search for applicants that show a variety of work, on multiple platforms.
  3. Bonus point for user research experience.
  4. Their portfolio should look more like a case study, and include (lots of) wireframes (paper or on software). Only significance of visuals is to judge if the works were implemented.
  5. Bonus points for portfolios that include information architecture for respective works.
  6. Bonus points for documentation of interaction flows.
Source : Ideo

How to interview:

  1. Seek process, not visuals. UX guy is supposed to be the in-house champion of Human-Centered-Design process (above). Judge candidates if they reflect this capability.
  2. Seek depth/detailing. Pursue edge cases in solutions. Ask questions that are self-contradictory. Thats what users will do. See if candidate considered these.
  3. Seek references from competition. Understand that affordance is an important UX principle. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when there wasn’t any need for it, see if candidate referred to competition when brainstorming solutions.
  4. Seek priorities/stakeholder connect. Designers tend to be opinionated (/lazy). See if they considered multiple-stakeholder requirements and took weighed decisions based on these.
  5. Seek multi-platform consistency. This has become relevant given the present product landscape. Often enough, priorities change with platform whereas functionality remains similar.
  6. Seek data informed decision making. Design is market driven, user driven and data informed. Be glad if your candidate reflected the same in his/her decision making.
  7. Ask about their roles. Whether it included user research, user testing, documenting design, prototyping??

Consider that, full stack roles might be biased towards visual design skills for a designer. Judge for yourselves if you are missing out on solid UX.

Hey community — happy to include ideas that I might have missed.

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Sumit Dagar
UX in India

Design Leader at Intuit. Ex head of design at 1mg, hike messenger. Creator of Braille Phone. TED Fellow, Rolex Laureate, Echoing Green Fellow.