common design interview questions

What are some common questions to prepare for as a designer getting interviewed?

ill start it off:
what was your least successful project?

hows about questions that designers should ASK while getting interviewed?

maybe its just me but i always struggle with questions to ask, moreso than answering the questions.


what are the expectations/responsibilities of the position?

maybe an assessment of your work/skills?

what the “typical” projrct like?

junglebrudda, thats not a bad topic to discuss, but id really like to know some common questions that i can expect to be asked. if you wanna know what to ask id suggest starting your own thread.

to answer both questions, google “interview questions” and you’ll get a lot of useful hits.

most are pretty standard, but depends on who you are interviewing with…design director/manager, potential colleague, HR… Q&A will differ depending also of course on the position/industry.


Whats your -

Favorite project?

Favorite part of the design process?

Reason for leaving your previous job?

my fault, i was just thinking that this exact topic comes up quite often & it might be helpful to look at it from the opposite point of view, asking questions of the prospective employer could make the decision easier for you if you have to decide between different placese…questions usually are pretty standard and besides doing the work IS the preparation, no? it is not as if they are trying to stump candidates…

thats is how my professors explained it to me…whatever questions you are asked, take a sec to think about it, and answer as honestly (& thoughtfully) as you are able. you might also try to put those answers in the context of highlighting your skills/strengths, while you might talk about any deficiencies/weaknesses as points of improvements…the questions that will be the most difficult will likely be those that are specific to the needs of the place/position be interviewed for and pertaining to your portfolio…i.e. how might you be an asset to this team?, what was the aim of a particular project?, how did you arrive at a particular solution?

best tip i have for answering interview questions came from an article i read about political speaking. can’t remember the source.

bottom line is to have 3 main points/issues you want to get across in your communication, and always bring the answer back to them.

for example, if your strength or relevant point for the position is your sketching ability, you can turn any question around to highlight it.

ie. -

Q. how do you work in groups?

A. I work well in groups, and find that my ability to quickly communicate ideas through sketching can help bring a wide variety of concepts to the table effectively, making easy to understand in groups of people from diverse backgrounds…

you see the same thing from politicians where they always (some better than others) go back to main campaign point despite the question.

also to keep in mind, is that in many cases your answers are not really whats important (esp. to HR people), but how you answer them (confidently, well worded, relevant, not rambing, etc.), and how the answers fit the position, skills they are looking for.

what not to do-

i had one interview with a potential hire that when asked “tell me about yourself” started with his birth, kindergarden, etc. had to cut the guy off after 5 minutes by the time he was only up to activities in high school…


Give an example of how you’ve worked well in a group:

Give an example of a time you have influenced the final outcome of a design beyond traditional design means:

What go you like most about your current job?

Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?

How do we fit into that?

What are your perceptions of our brand from an outside perspective?

What attracts you to working here?

How do you prefer to start off a project?

Give an example of when a project went off course and what you did?

Give an example of a time you’ve gotten feedback you didn’t agree with and what you did with it:

How do you like (our city) so far?

How do you ensure your original design intent is carried all the way to the consumer and the story of the design is told?

Have you ever collaborated with sales and advertising departments?

(If not evident so far) Show us what you would typically generate during the first phase of a project:

(If not evident so far) Show us some mid phase project refinement drawings:

(If not evident so far) Show us some technical documentation:

and the number one most over looked important question by interview candidates: Good morning how are you doing today?.. have a good answer.

my fave question when meeting nokia UK 4 yrs ago:

“How do you deal with confrontation?”



My least favorite interview question that I’ve been asked several times:

“What’s your worst quality?”

Second least favorite interview question (after looking at my whole portfolio):

“So, what are you good at?”

Great questions Yo!!!
Here are some I ask when interviewing a candidate:

What motivates you?
What brings you joy?
What are you most proud of?
What job was your most satisfying and why?
What kind of responsibilities would you prefer to avoid?
What was the best this a previous manager did that you wish everyone did?
What is the most important thing to you in a job?
What have you learned from your mistakes?
How do you measure your success?
If you could change anything about your career what would it be?
If you are doing everything that is asked of you are you doing a:
o Great job
o Good Job
o Average Job
o Below Average Job

My favorite question to ask is,
If you could do anything in the world what would it be?

I think I will be using some of Yo’s questions going forward.

It might be a weird question but I couldnt find any answer to it. Do interviews cover a demonstration of sketching or drawing skills?



I have done it. At our office, we need to sketch under pressure with our clients at the factory with jet-lag. So, if the person seems right in the interview, I will ask them to draw a simple shape for me. It is not just about the drawing ability, but how they handle the pressure.

I was recently asked “what is good design?” can be a bit of a curved ball if you hadn’t considered the question before.

What was your on the spot answer?

I said good design should just work well and enable your to get on with what ever your using the product/service for.

It might be a weird question but I couldnt find any answer to it. Do interviews cover a demonstration of sketching or drawing skills?

Yes, you may be given a specific problem to solve in a given period (through sketching).

There are always standard interview questions you should prepare to be asked here is a good place - Careers Advice | Career Guidance |

I think rkuchinsky’s ‘politician’ approach is a really good one otherwise you’ll end up having to remember a lot of responses you may not use.

And there will always be a curve ball…

Questions which have most thrown me off: “How do you think your office colleagues see you?”, and “If I were to give you £1000 now, what would you do with it?”

And recently: "What do you know about the Mississippi? - “eer… how to spell it…” - “Well what do you know about the flow rate of the river, and YES you’re going to have to give me an answer” - so I had to get up and work it out based on what I already knew…

Another design specific one was to be given an object (technical prototype) and being asked how I would approach developing the project.

It all comes down to how you cope with the question.

thanks a lot antidesign for your informative reply.!!


Thanks very much for this comment. It help me to think about my ideals.

Apart from that, this link below may be useful: Typical interview questions
Tks again and pls keep posting.

On a recent interview, I found that more questions are about me personally (what hobbies do I have, what music, etc), there were some design-related questions still. After talking to a friend who was given this advice about their design firm (which fits that recent interview), some firms look more towards people that they can have a beer with. Portfolio is to get you that interview, next step is more about my personality rather than my skills; the portfolio proved the skills. Kind of makes sense since they’ll be stuck with that new person 40+ hours/week, weekly, monthly, yearly…