We are in the process of hiring a UX designer for our company, for which the primary skill set is:

  1. Ability to understand the product and its features
  2. Provide input on requirements
  3. Ask questions
  4. Come up with design solutions

We have a few candidates shortlisted for the testing round, but I find it difficult to come up with a test to evaluate candidates on the above mentioned skill set.

I was thinking of sharing some real UX design problems that we face in our organization but that would need a lot context which could be distracting for someone who doesn't know anything about our system.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a recruiting question, not a UX question. Even if it were a UX question, it is too broad. – JohnGB May 25 '16 at 9:57

I think testing a candidate in an interview situation is not a very good way to select a candidate, unless this is how you design and create products in your company (I hope not). And regardless of how well they perform in the interview, there is always some degree of uncertainty for how this performance will translate into their job.

I believe that assessing a candidate's temperament and ability to solve problems is best done by simply talking to the person and working out how well they communicate with people on different levels, ranging from something more technical to high level/general conversation. Because this is the skill they will use when engaging with different users and stakeholders, not in an interview setting where the interviewer is in control of the situation.

What I would be looking for in particular is the candidate's ability to speak their mind and provide reasons for why they agree or disagree with something, because I'd want them to be able to point out things that are going wrong rather than just going with what everyone else thinks. I would also look for their ability to ask questions and show that they are thinking deeper about the information rather than just accepting it without questions, because that's not the best way to approach research and design when you are liking to be making a lot of assumptions that need to be tested.

And if a couple of the candidates turn out to have similar abilities, then it is better at that stage to assess their individual fit to the company culture, but not before you have figured out that they have the ability to get the job done. HR departments have issues letting people go once they have been hired because it indicates that they didn't pick the right candidate and they can't ask the previous ones back (even if they were still available).

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Often times it's not advised to have a design candidate solve an actual problem your company is trying to solve. This can be seen as spec work, which in the industry, is considered a no-no. Instead, create design problems that are not directly related to the core problems your company is trying to solve. They can, however, solve a similar types of problems. For these problems, it's best to add some restraints to ensure the candidate can work with dependencies. These restraints can be technical, social, environmental, etc.

You can find more info about hiring designers here: https://library.gv.com/how-to-interview-a-designer-with-the-perfect-design-exercise-2c99e6646612#.kcp5bmrky

TL;DR Create new design challenges not related to your business to avoid pitfalls such as spec work, context, etc.

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Test cases are always a good idea. They're more than just a right/wrong answer, they're a look in to the candidates thought processes, and they might even give you some new insights.

However, it shouldn't be an actual company for several reasons: -they might not understand the situation, and wild guesses or luck make for an uneven playing field. -you run the risk of leaking information or company secrets or whatnot. -like Aaron said, it can be seen as 'do this work for free for us', which looks bad for the company.

Instead use specifically made cases. They might be harder to come up with, but they'll be more useful and more safe. You can look through this site to see common UX problems like how to organize settings for example. Or you could look at commonly used things and think of a new usercase.

For example; design a facebook app for old/nearly blind people. You could just increase size of everything but it'd be cluttered. Do young/old people have different experiences with the platform so you need to focus differently? Etc.

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