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We have had great questions and answers around looking for and interviewing a UX candidate, but I would like to know about the other side of the table as I have an interview coming up and this would be my first interview around presenting my UX qualifications.

In the past I would mostly show them my design, and talk about it. But, UX is so much more complex than that.

What are the key points I should convey to a potential employer about my UX qualifications

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5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Here are some tips:

  • 1. Know your self: Identify your core UX skills. You may be specilized in one or more of the following: concept design, interaction design, information architecture, graphic design depending on your school of training.IF you haven't already read Jessee James Garrett's 'The Elements of User Experience' and review the digram articulating the areas and elements within the field. It helps framing your skills, and pointing out 'this is what I do really well, and this is also what I can do'.
  • 2. Understand their POV of UX: Different interviewers have different perception or understanding of UX as a field. Your skills may map to their job description, or they may be expecting additional skills e.g. CSS, javascript, etc. Be prepared to articulate your understanding and POV on UX.
  • 3. Present yourself using a portfolio: In this tell a story. Here are some tips on selling your UX skills:
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+1 for (2) that's a good point - your understanding of UX may well not be the interviewers understanding of UX. Unless you can articulate where you're coming from, and also grasp the other person's perspective, you're unlikely to converge at a common ground and therefore may leave the interview seemingly at odds - and neither of you with the right impression. –  Roger Attrill Jun 23 '11 at 20:05
    
Great answer! I'm so glad I asked. Lots of stuff there I dint consider. –  jonshariat Jun 23 '11 at 20:16
    
@jonshariat from your previous experience, do you have any metrics that show improvement? On top of the things mentioned here, I think that really helps in general. Think of some of the improvements you've made to existing processes and the impact they made [in numbers] –  Nic Jun 23 '11 at 21:29
    
Well due to some NDA type stuff I can give exact numbers but I have percentages? (Like 23% increase in conversions) Would that be helpful to share? –  jonshariat Jun 23 '11 at 22:51
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@jonshariat absolutely. It sounds like you're changing fields but have experience with UX, so it would definitely help to show some metrics with what you've done in the field. –  Nic Jun 24 '11 at 16:23

Some general concepts:

  • Leave ego at the door. Nothing wrong about being proud of accomplishments - but the beginning of wisdom, is honesty and humility about how much you really don't know.
  • Don't demagog. Don't be so wed to theories and abstract concepts - that you forget to do what works for real flesh and blood human beings.
  • Focus on what works and what is in the best interest of the user.
  • Remember this principal: "There are no solutions, only trade-offs."
  • At the end of every user flow, ask: "And then what happens?"
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I like the last point. Often we think of tasks in terms of "start and finish" but we can uncover some real issues by always asking "and then what?" –  jonshariat Jun 23 '11 at 21:24
    
Right -> Cause with applications/software/whatever - users don't just finish a task...and vanish from existence. They look for the next task. Important to at least consider. –  adc Jun 23 '11 at 21:26

+1 for (3) TELL A STORY!!

Seriously, we all know there is no set process for UX but there are numerous 'tools' we can pull out of the UX toolbox depending on the problem to be solved. Pick a project you worked on that used a number of the UX tools to get from start to finish and tell the story of what you did, why you chose those tools, and what the outcome was - particularly in how the outcome moved you to the next point in the project.

This will show the interviewer how you think and how you tackle UX problems which (I think) gives them an excellent feel for you as a personality.

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One important part for the whole job-search process for a UX position is to have some sort of passion or connection with your work. I went through a couple of rounds with different interviewers for a UX position, all came back with the conclusion that I did not have enough experience. (just recently graduated from undergrad). After 3 months, a place I interviewed with dealt with accessibility, which is something I have a great deal of interest with in designing UX. I was under-qualified for, for that particular position, but got the job. Overall point, Showing your interest aligned with your skill set can go a long way.

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The best way to present a complex topic is to make it simple. I think if you can demonstrate some knowledge, skill or experience in each of the three key competencies: interaction design, visual design and user research, it goes a long way to show that you have an all-around quality rather than being heavily geared towards on area or another (especially if that's your background). However, you should highlight the area that you have the most skill or interest in. Remember that you should also look for the right job, rather than trying to fit yourself to the job description.

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