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70 product design interview questions to nail your onsite – 2021 update

Hi, I’m Elle! I work as a product designer at Getaround and as an industry mentor here at Pathrise, where I help our fellows land great jobs in product design through technical workshops and 1-on-1s. Check out my list of product design interview questions.

Updated in 2021

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 make sure that you come into your onsite interview with confidence and turn that interview into an offer?

We created a list of 70 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. Airbnb questionDefend specifics about type choice, color choice, aesthetic v. usability, etc in your portfolio
  2. Rakuten questionHow would you define yourself as a designer?
  3. Amazon questionDescribe the project that you are most proud of. Why?
  4. Describe the project that you had the most trouble with. What would you have done differently?
  5. Slack questionThere 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?
  6. VMWare questionWhat’s your weakness in the design field?
  7. Facebook questionWhat was the goal, what were the challenges, what was your specific role, etc. (The intent is to get a better understanding of your design work/process, intentionality, and overall awareness.) How did you achieve this goal with your design decision?
  8. Dropbox questionWhat does your design process look like?   
  9. How do you rate your skills in product thinking, interaction design, and visual design?
  10. Informatica questionHave you worked on Enterprise applications?
  11. Rakuten questionRecommend to us a design related book, then explain why you have recommended it.

Research/metrics

  1. Accenture questionDescribe user researcher techniques
  2. Uber questionHow did you utilize data to guide your design decisions?
  3. Amazon questionWhat were the key metrics for your design, and how did you measure them?
  4. CA Technologies questionHow would you test a final product?
  5. Booking questionIf the metrics shows an increment in the clicks but not in the conversion: do you think that the change is successful? Why or why not?
  6. Tell me about your experience with A/B testing.
  7. Dell question How did you validate your solutions with users?

Tools/dev

  1. Accenture questionWhat are the design tools you use to create and communicate your design ideas?
  2. Adobe questionHow do you solve a design problem without computer?
  3. Zendesk questionExplain what an API is, in layman’s terms.
  4. Are you familiar with material design?
  5. Facebook questionIf you need to add a “social-based” feature to an app, how would you do that?
  6. Groupon questionWhat are your opinions of LESS (CSS Framework)?
  7. Nuance Communications questionHow would you make a caller experience sound more modern?
  8. Facebook questionWhat does the Back button do when you open the search bar?
  9. Have you worked with Android UI?
  10. TIBCO questionWhat kind of prototyping tools do you use?

Design challenge

  1. Amazon questionHow would you design an online presence of a brick and mortar coffee shop?
  2. Design a table that can show 1,000 parent devices. Each parent device could have up to 1,000 children devices. Design the table so you can sort and edit each row and find information for both parent and child devices.
  3. Google questionDesign a kiosk animation
  4. Uber question Design a UI for a location-based experimentation platform.   
  5. Booking questionRe-create a navigation bar in HTML and CSS
  6. Wireframe out a movie app layout.
  7. Airbnb questionReimagine and redesign an existing digital product of your choice that showcases your skills and abilities to solve a complex problem as a designer.
  8. Google questionHow would you design an elevator for a 1000 floor building?
  9. Autodesk question Design an interface for an employee vacation scheduler that solves a problem (no more than 2 people from each team are off at the same time)
  10. Box questionDesign a remote control

App/product critique

  1. Microsoft questionIf you could improve one mobile experience, what would it be and why?
  2. Cisco questionTalk 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. Apple questionWhat could Siri do better?
  5. What are 3 small, actionable changes you would make to our website?

Criticism

  1. Cisco questionTalk about a time you negotiated your way to the ideal UX solution?
  2. Accenture questionAre you open to design criticism from different members of a project?
  3. Autodesk questionHow 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. Accenture questionIf there was one obstacle or issue that you can foresee that might prevent you from hitting a deadline, what would it be?
  2. Google questionHow could you describe interaction design to someone don’t know interaction design?
  3. ADP questionWhat would you do if people don’t like your plan or your proposal?
  4. Design an airport experience.
  5. Facebook questionHow would you make an app that helps you decide which gift to buy?
  6. How do you handle a situation when a developer doesn’t create the product the way you designed it?
  7. CA Technologies questionHow do you know your designs meet the customers’ demands?
  8. Cisco questionA designer is successful with one project but not another, what went wrong?
  9. Booking questionImagine that you are working for Booking.com and you come up with 2 improvements for the site but you can only apply one. How you will prioritize it?
  10. Dropbox questionWhat does it mean to store something? Is it a natural tendency of people?
  11. Amazon questionWhat would you do if you know you are going to miss a deadline?
  12. Expedia questionHow would you handle tabs on a mobile device?
  13. Redesign the ATM
  14. Design a system for controlling a toy car with a smartphone.
  15. LinkedIn questionHow would you attract people who are not interested in LinkedIn to use the platform?
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. Microsoft questionHow would you help an independent coffee shop owner who is about to go out of business in a month?
  3. What do you do when the requirement from the stakeholder is vague?
  4. Netflix questionCome up with a solution for emphasizing Recommendations within the Browse section of the site.
  5. Palantir question Design a mobile app for splitting the bill among friends in the restaurant.
  6. ServiceNow questionHow will you improve the current ServiceNow product?
  7. IBM questionHave you challenged your boss before?
  8. Google question – How would you design gmail labels so that people would use them more?
  9. SAS Institute questionYou 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 positive signal

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

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 can very much 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, I’m thinking of doing Z. But I’m struggling with solving [problem].” You can also ask collaborative questions like,

  • I was wondering if you had any thoughts.
  • Do you think I’m going down the right direction?
  • Do you think my assumptions are incorrect?

With these questions & tips in your back pocket, you should be more than prepared for your next technical onsite product design interview. For more steps on how to become a UX designer by landing a great job, see our guide. And if you are looking to advance your skills, check out the best product design courses to help you prepare.

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 product design interviews or with any other aspect of the job search, become a Pathrise fellow.

Apply today.

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