In-Person Design Interview

The goal of an in-person interview is get a detailed understanding of how the candidate works (their process, decision making ability), the quality of that work, and how they work with other team members of the product development lifecycle. It’s also a great opportunity for them to learn our team and process.

Length: 3-4 hours Method: Multiple steps with different participants

Day of Agenda

  1. Portfolio Review (Hard Skills) [60m] - Entire Interview Panel
  2. Team Values and Soft Skills [30m] - PM & Engineer
  3. Design Exercise & Critique [60m] - Hiring Manager & Another Designer
  4. Pull In Others

Prep Work

Send Interview Portfolio Preparation Info to Candidate While scheduling the in-person interview, provide the candidate with a detailed breakdown of what is expected of the on-site interview. Often 3-4 hours.

The portfolio presentation is a chance for us to get to know your process and your design accomplishments. The presentation can be as informal or as formal as you would like.

  • You will have 45 minutes to talk about one specific project, which includes questions throughout so aim for 20-30 minutes you individually presenting.
  • There will be about 3-5 people present. The group will be comprised of the Director of Design, designers, engineers, and product managers.


  • An ideal project is one that best illustrates your design capabilities. Ideally, we’d like to see how your experience is relevant to the challenges you would face at our company. 
  • Assume that everyone present will already be familiar with your resume. Don’t go over your work history in this presentation.
  • If you were working as part of a team, clearly identify your contributions to the process and the final product.
  • Don’t speak in vague, general terms. Use specific examples to walk us through your design journey from the beginning to the end.

Portfolio Review

45 minute presentation, 15 minute Q&A The goal is to understand how they have worked, their hard skills, and their ability to present.


Minimum: Hiring manager and designer Ideal: Hiring manager, engineer, designer, and PM

Product Designer: Hard Skills
  1. User First: Do they describe who the user is first and ground you in the problem? Do they speak about how the user has guided specific decision throughout the process (design principles, etc…)? Research conducted?
  2. Craftsmanship: Did the designer sweat over all the details, both big and small, of the end-to-end product? Is there a sense that the final product is well-made?
  3. Interaction design: Is the design thoughtful and clear for how this product works? Does the designer have a good grasp of common patterns and interactions?
  4. Product thinking: Do they outline success metrics upfront? Did they frame the results around the success metrics? Did they speak to and understand the business outcomes?
  5. Collaborative Process: Did they demonstrate involving others in their design process? Workshops? Reviews? Stakeholder Interviews? Pairing with dev?
  6. Storytelling: Did they break down the problem so that it was easy to understand? Do the story flow well from definition to outcomes?

Is there a clear understanding how the solution fits into a wider experience? *Examples: awareness of how other users impact that core user, how the service influences the experience,

Product Designer: Questions to Ask Portfolio Review Questions

Team Values and Soft Skills

Time to understand their values and if it aligns with your team’s values.

Questions to Ask Onsite Interview Questions

Communication Skills Look for: ability to tell compelling stories to add the necessary depth to their work and that they have the ability to work through communication challenges.

Intentionality Look for: every design decision has an explanation.

Proactive (Self-starter) & Passionate Look for: always uncovering problems that they’re wonder why they haven’t been solved yet and then they attempt to solve them.

Humble & Collaborative Look for: extreme desire to be inclusive and acknowledgement that they don’t have all the best ideas.

Creative Spark Look for: high motivation and passion to leverage design thinking throughout their life

About Company’s Design Practice

Goal: Get them to want to work with us.

Critical Thinking Design Exercise

Goal: Capture deep thinking and decision making, knowledge of patterns, velocity of ability.


Problems for Exercise


  1. Frame up problem space to tackle all the smaller problem [5 minutes]
  2. Discuss [5 minutes]
  3. Crazy 8s [8 minutes]
  4. Discuss 2 ideas [5 minutes]
  5. Storyboard [10 minutes]
  6. Discuss

Take Home Design Assignment (Design Execution)

Only 30% of scheduled Internet installation appointments start on time with afternoon times getting as much as 2 hours delayed leading to frustrated personnel (longer work days) and customers (time expectations not met). Variance in installation times is impacted by many factors but the number one is house type - small family home versus low rise versus high rise.

How would you better schedule appointments for installers so they’re more likely to stay on schedule? Keep your ideas constrained to current technology abilities, preferably on mobile.

Please be prepared to explain your recommendation and how you came to it when we do our video interview. We will spend 30-60 minutes discussing it at the end of the interview.

Lastly, please time-box your work to no longer than 3 hours and make any assumptions you need to.

Alternative Reimagine and redesign an existing digital product of your choice that showcases your skills and abilities to solve a complex problem as a designer.

Design Process Exercise

A conversational and informal session, with open/out loud brainstorming The goal is to create an environment in which a design candidate can demonstrate his or her approach to user-driven discovery and design, research standards and the scientific method.

  1. Provide a scenario that contains a problem and a high-level hypothesis to solving this problem.
  2. Give them a few minutes to read the scenario.
  3. Time for questions.
  4. “With the solution hypothesis at the forefront of your mind, using the rest of the information as background, can you explain:”
    1. Without actually creating prototypes, explain what steps would you take to begin discovery:
    2. With whom would you conduct this discovery?
    3. For what would you be measuring?
    4. What are the outcomes of this round of discovery? How would you define success?
    5. What is the next round of discovery? How do you build on round one? Describe round two.

Product Critique

Goal: Understand their attention to detail Give your candidate the chance to assess what your team has done so far — and to articulate what they’d keep, what they’d change, and why.


Pull In Others

Goal 1: Determine Fit Goal 2: Sell Company