product design, interview uestions

38 product design interview questions to nail your onsite

Congrats, you’ve made it to the onsite interview! Now you have just one (pretty large) step between you & your dream job. How can you ensure you come into your onsite interview confidently and turn that interview into an offer?

We created a list of 38 product design interview questions, including questions from real companies, so you can nail your next onsite technical interview.

Product design interview questions

Portfolio critique

  1. How would you define yourself as a designer?
  2. Describe the project that you are most proud of. Why?
  3. Describe the project that you had the most trouble with. What would you have done differently?
  4. There are lots of steps within product design, such as research, prototyping, visual design, technical implementation. Which step do you spend the most time on, and which do you see as your strength?
  5. Recommend to us a design related book, then explain why you have recommended it.

Research/metrics

  1. Describe user researcher techniques
  2. How did you utilize data to guide your design decisions?
  3. What were the key metrics for your design, and how did you measure them?
  4. Tell me about your experience with A/B testing.
  5. How did you validate your solutions with users?

Tools/dev

  1. What are the design tools you use to create and communicate your design ideas?
  2. How do you solve a design problem without computer?
  3. If you need to add a “social-based” feature to an app, how would you do that?
  4. How would you make a caller experience sound more modern?
  5. What kind of prototyping tools do you use?

Design Challenge

  1. How would you design an online presence of a brick and mortar coffee shop?
  2. Design a UI for a location-based experimentation platform.   
  3. Re-create a navigation bar in HTML and CSS
  4. Wireframe out a movie app layout.
  5. How would you design an elevator for a 1000 floor building?

App/product critique

  1. If you could improve one mobile experience, what would it be and why?
  2. Talk about an app that you like and why you like it
  3. Choose an app and find UX issues that you might have solved differently
  4. What could Siri do better?
  5. What are 3 small, actionable changes you would make to our website?

Criticism

  1. Talk about a time you negotiated your way to the ideal UX solution?
  2. Are you open to design criticism from different members of a project?
  3. How would you handle a situation in which you’re presenting a design to stakeholders but are getting a lot of negative feedback and pushback on your solution?

Situational

  1. If there was one obstacle or issue that you can foresee that might prevent you from hitting a deadline, what would it be?
  2. How do you handle a situation when a developer doesn’t create the product the way you designed it?
  3. How do you know your designs meet the customers’ demands?
  4. What does it mean to store something? Is it a natural tendency of people?
  5. What would you do if you know you are going to miss a deadline?

More situational

  1. How would you design a 1000 story building so that people can efficiently get out of the building during rush hours (lunch hours)?
  2. How would you help an independent coffee shop owner who is about to go out of business in a month?
  3. Come up with a solution for emphasizing Recommendations within the Browse section of the site.
  4. Design a mobile app for splitting the bill among friends in the restaurant.
  5. You are working on a product team and another team member provides you with a design idea. The idea solves a short term problem but creates a longer term problem that is much more difficult to deal with. How do you respond?

Our mentors meet with so many talented product designers who have great portfolios but still struggle with their onsite interviews. Sometimes, people let their nerves get the best of them, so we also wanted to provide some tips to keep in mind while you’re in the interview.

Start with clarifying questions

Sometimes, interviewers make a question intentionally vague. You don’t need to jump in right away. Always take about 15-30 seconds to think about clarifying questions, like “Can I wireframe this out first?” or “How in-depth do you want the design?”

Proactively show a positive signal

As you work, give background information on what you are doing. This is strong tactic candidates use to reduce opportunities for negative language or information. The tradeoff is time, but in general, 30-second “tidbits” of knowledge usually help.

Give context

Context statements show the recruiter that you know the reasoning behind why you are doing something rather than just doing them. How you are interpreted will change based on the context that you give.

Know how to get help

More often than not, the interviewer will be ok helping you out, but sometimes, they just hate the word “hint.” So, a better approach would be to say, “my assumptions are X and Y, and I’m thinking of doing Z. But I’m struggling with solving [problem].” You can also ask collaborative questions like,

  • Do you have any thoughts?
  • Do you think I’m going down the right direction?
  • Are my assumptions incorrect?

With these questions & tips in your back pocket, you should be more than prepared for your next technical onsite product design interview.  And if you are looking to advance your skills, check out the how to find remote design jobs to land the best interviews for your career.

About Pathrise

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and young professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With these tips and guidance, we’ve seen interview performance scores double for job-seekers in our program.

If you want to work with any of our advisors 1-on-1 to get help with your interviews or with any other aspect of the job search, become a Pathrise fellow.

Apply today.

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Elle Chun

Elle Chun is an experienced Design professional helping Pathrise fellows to ace their technical interviews and succeed in their next design role.

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