Commonly Asked Product Design Interview Questions and Answers in 2021

June 2021 · 6 min read

Read through some of the commonly asked product design interview questions and their answers to prepare and be successful at your interview.

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Doing well in an interview is more than about being an expert in a particular field. You may know everything there is to know about product design but that alone may not help you get the job. To be successful at an interview, applicants must know about the latest trends and have strong communication skills. If you can’t clearly and concisely communicate an idea, then the chances of convincing the employer to consider you as their next hire become thin.

In this article, we’ll look at the roles and responsibilities of a product designer and go through some of the commonly asked product design interview questions and answers.

Responsibilities And Skills Of A Product Designer

Some basic responsibilities of a product designer include.

  • Observing and identifying opportunities for new products

  • Analyzing the connection between a new product and how it fits with market needs and consumer preferences

  • Put together specific design requirements after studying the briefs from internal teams and external partners

  • Research and stay updated with new techniques and trends

  • Ability to sketch drafts on paper or digitally (for example, using CAD)

  • Use 3D modeling software to design products and/or its components

  • Employ design concepts to produce functional prototypes

  • Suggest improvements to design and performance to product managers

  • Coordinate with designers to ensure accurate communication and efficiency in the design phase

  • Look for new and innovative ways to modify/updates existing products

  • Be receptive to feedback, analyze and implement it to improve the overall design

Some basic skills of a product designer include:

  • Strong technical knowledge along with creative thinking and a hands-on approach

  • Strong visual, spatial, and commercial awareness

  • Advanced computer literacy including three-dimensional conceptual ability and CAD

  • Thorough grip on all the industrial processes, techniques, and standards for product design

  • Time management and the ability to cope with the pressure of deadlines, problem-solving

  • Strong communication skills both oral and written

  • Ability to build and maintain positive working relationships with both internal and external stakeholders

  • Share latest project updates with all the stakeholders

  • Flexibility to juggle multiple projects simultaneously

Need to learn more about Product Design?

Looking for more information on product design? Give these resources a try:

Product Design Interview Questions and Answers: A Few Examples

Listed below are a few product interview questions and their answers that you could use to prepare for an interview.

1. Tell us about yourself, your work and portfolio, process and goals.

This is a great opportunity to take the interviewer through your career history and your resume. Focus on talking about what your experience has been so far and how that empowers you to be the best candidate for the role that you’re applying for. Avoid taking them through every tiny detail on your resume and keep the conversation as professional as possible. Mention personal information only if it adds more weightage to your points. Make use of this opportunity to highlight all your key roles and achievements and how they translate into you being the perfect choice for this product designer role.

Step-by-step walk them through your previous jobs and projects. Give explanations on why you’re leaving your existing job and what you’re expecting from your new position. Give them a sense of your personality by telling them a little bit about your hobbies and passion. Aside from all this, make use of this chance to tell them what kind of a team member you are to work with. Share examples if you can.

2. Describe what methodologies do you use to test product designs and which metrics do you use to evaluate product usability?

This is one of those product design interview questions where you can highlight your expertise. Talk about the purpose of product testing is to understand the product’s users and to empathize with them. A great product designer will take this opportunity to talk about the different types of user tests they use - from behavioral and attitudinal, to qualitative and quantitative, each with a defined number of participants for optimal results.

Explain in detail what these different methods are and when to use them. For example, one of the product usability evaluation methods is called a “heuristic evaluation.” This studies a product’s common usability issues so that the problems can be solved, which, in turn, improves the overall user satisfaction and experience and increases the chances of a product’s overall success.

If you have an example of using them in the past, highlight it here and talk about how you went about doing the test and how the results impacted the final product design.

3. Why do you want to work here?

This isn’t one of the very specific product design interview questions but it is one that is most job interviews and it holds ample weightage. The trick to answering this question well is to do your homework on the company and the role thoroughly.

Look at the kind of company it is. Is it a large corporation or a tech startup? Maybe you could talk about how you love a fast-paced and innovative work environment or that you’re looking for the stability and job security that large corporations offer. You could also talk about the wonderful things about their CEO, team lead, or principal product designer and would love a chance to work with them.

4. Tell us about your favorite project that you’ve worked on?

If you’ve mentioned this briefly in the “tell me more about yourself” product design interview question, then this is the time to really dig deep and talk about your most successful project.

When answering this question, highlight what was so special about it. Give details on what made this project different from the others. Maybe it was a different challenge or maybe it delivered better results than expected. This could also be a personal passion project or a side hustle making it that much more special to you.

When the interviewer asks this question, they’re trying to understand what motivates you or how you tackle unique challenges. They’re also examining your communication skills--can you explain the project succinctly to them?

There’s no right or wrong answer here so, be as descriptive as you can and give them all the details to form a positive opinion about you.

Another thing you can do is to go through the company’s ‘About Us’ page to get a sense of what their values are and align them to your answers. Or you could also ask them about the values that they’re most proud of and how they treat their employees to make it a dialogue.

5. What part of the product design process do you spend the most time on?

There’s a chance that the interviewers might not tell you what the project is about or what stage of the project they are specifically referring to. So, try to address this question with a broader standpoint. Consider all the important aspects of product designing including user research, design, other design decisions and/or usability testing. This product design interview question is aimed to indirectly reveal what you believe to be the most important area to focus on when working on a project or a case study.

6. Describe a typical day for someone in your role.

A good way to answer this question is to study the roles and responsibilities highlighted in the job description. This will help you understand what the role demands on a broader level and how that translates into day-to-day activities. Talk about your skills and how they translate into fulfilling the roles and responsibilities that are required from the job. If you can, then give an example of your typical day in the current role and highlight how you could better it with the right resources.

7. When a client says they don’t like your design, what do you do?

Talk about how you can use this opportunity to dig deeper and discover the real reasons why a client rejected your design. Often in such situations, there’s a communication gap between what the client wanted and how the product designer approached the brief.

A great product designer would sit with the client and ask smart questions to understand what exactly it is about the design that is not working for the client. It could be as simple as the colors where you can use your expertise, knowledge, trends, data, and stats to explain to the client why something works and what your rationale was behind choosing those colors.

Sometimes the feedback could be more business-oriented as to how a specific design doesn’t give the client an opportunity to expand into getting more ad revenue into the future. As a lead on the project, it’s your responsibility to understand the client’s feedback and incorporate it in the next iteration.

8. What’s the difference between UX and product design? Are they related?

Product design is not the same as UX design but it includes UX design. Product designers do a lot more than UX designers. The latter mostly focuses on behavioral patterns, explores the different ways in which an application might solve a user need, and then optimize the user experience.

Product design is all this and more. It is about designing a holistic experience. You have to look at the product as a whole and not just parts of it. Product designers build the foundation on which the business depends. If the brand promise and product don’t align, the business fails. A product designer works closely with the marketing team and understands what they do and why they do it.

UX designers, on the other hand, are concerned with the functionalities and aesthetics of a product that make up “the experience.”

9. How do you make platforms accessible to all user groups, including users with visual, hearing, and motor disabilities?

Accessibility is a big topic for product designers since people are consuming more content digitally today than ever before. Designing accessible digital products is crucial to a product’s success.

Use this opportunity to talk about the World Wide Web Consortium’s ”Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.” Talk about how you’ve addressed this on your previous projects?

Also, talk about user testing and how it is important and should be comprehensive. Some examples you could give include using voiceover commands to navigate websites and apps for people with motor disabilities, adding captions to a video, which helps people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, making content easier to read by screen readers for the blind.

Conclusion

There is no set list of product design interview questions that you can go through to feel prepared for an interview. However, having a true passion for the profession, keeping yourself abreast of all the latest innovation and trends, and doing your homework before the interview can help you impress the recruiter and get the job.