Interviewing UX/UI Designers: what's an appropriate case study assignment?

I'm helping craft the new interview structure for a UI/UX Designer and want to make sure the case study requirements are inclusive and dont prevent canidates from continuing in the interview process due to time or resource barriers

I'm against case study assignments that ask canidates to design something for the company they're interviewing for. I dont want anyone to ever feel they're being asked to do free work.

If you're a UX/UI designer or are on a hiring panel for one, what are case study assignments you've provided and how have you communicated the investment expectations from canidates?

teresaman's profile thumbnail
Wonderful that you're thinking of it from it a very inclusive lens! A couple things come to mind:- make the exercise part of a live interview process (to reduce biases in favouring those who can spend more time on it offline)- if take-home: state clearly the number of hours expected; what you're not looking for (eg. to reinforce that more output ≠ better)- choose a space that's adjacent to your company industry but not identical, and/or reinforce in writing that this is purely a hypothetical exercise to evaluate skills x,y,z
alinabochkacheva's profile thumbnail
I once bought this eBook that had a list of good exercices for an interview. What I really liked about them is that they were not focusing on designing a digital product (even though you are hiring a digital UX designer). They rather asked to design a kiosk of a certain type, like a bus tickets kiosk or a shampoo/soap dispenser kiosk in the supermarket. We didn't do it as a take home exercise, we just did it in the office as part of an interview. This way you could see:- How they approach the problem? What questions do they ask? Do they jump to conclusions?- How do they design a solution?- How do they react to feedback and pushback?
amiharish's profile thumbnail
oh this is interesting! can you recall the name of the ebook? and were you able to get feedback from the candidates on how they liked this structure? wondering if "real time" cases divide people more. some people dont do well under that kind of pressure, and realistically they're never asked to think that fast on the day-to-day job so wouldnt want to create further barriers. I'm always concerned people who may not feel comfortable with public speaking or are not native english speakers find these type of situations daunting and dont get the chance to play up their strengths. would love to hear your thoughts!
Are you going to pay candidates a contract rate for the hours that they spend completing the homework exercise?If not, don't require an exercise. It's labor exploitation, even if the assignment has nothing to do with the company's product or service. It's still "free work."Asking for a portfolio presentation of the work that they've already done is more equitable and inclusive.
This. I rarely go further in a process with a company if they ask for a design exercise. There’s been enough written about the inequity of them and that there are better methods. You’re going to lose good candidates who’ve done a lot of work and don’t want to entertain doing free work that you can then steal.
amiharish's profile thumbnail
thanks for this feedback! are there other non-negotiables you stick to as well in the interview process?
amiharish's profile thumbnail
thanks! what are the objectives for the portfolio presentation you provide to guide interviewees on what your team is looking for?
AmandaPorter's profile thumbnail
For the final interview, I really value letting the candidate create a presentation of design work and process they have done already. This way, no design work is needed to be done and they get to show off something they've done and (ideally) are proud of. You, as the interviewer, then get to hear and see their process and design skills at play and can have very constructive conversations about who they are as a product designer.
tannerc's profile thumbnail
What exactly are you trying to get signal on by having interview candidates do an exercise?It's fantastic you're thinking of evaluating based on fair structure, but there are many ways to assess a designer's capabilities and I rarely encourage anything like exercises—particularly if the ask is to have the designer do it on their own time.Instead, I'd ask if you and your team can get better signal by doing something like a 30 minute, face-to-face design challenge wherein the candidate is asked to think aloud alongside you or another interviewer. You could try a face-to-face app critique as well. And, of course, optimize your interviewing process for evaluating the candidate's prior work (as opposed to asking them to do something new/different).Happy to elaborate and/or share my process and more when it comes to hiring designers!
Almost every ux/ui designer I've encountered has had a portfolio when applying. This body of work should be sufficient in determining whether a candidate has the right kind of skills. In the past, I have been asked to talk through 1 or 2 of my favorite projects (didn't necessarily need to be in my portfolio, and if it wasn't, I created a presentation of the designs). As a parent to 2 young kids, I really don't have the time to work on free work, whether a true project or hypothetical. Whiteboard exercises (for me) are also very stressful on top an already stressful job interview.
emilypatterson's profile thumbnail
I was the hiring manager for my team's first UI UX person and I didn't have candidates do a project. I spend like 90 min and have them walk through one of their portfolio projects very in depth and ask questions. It becomes very clear who really knows their stuff, and they don't have to sink extra time.