How To Hire UX Designers in 6 Steps

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Posted by: David Garcia March 06, 2024

Design isn’t just about making your product pretty. 

A functional design helps declutter the distractions in your digital product. This allows users to intuitively navigate the journey, ultimately becoming loyal brand advocates for your company. 

In today’s customer-centric digital world, combining content, product, and user experience design is the key to climbing the throne of business success. 

But how do you hire a great UX designer? 

In this guide, we break down everything to know – skills to look for, mistakes to avoid, and a step-by-step process to help you make the right hire. 

What Is Good UX Design?

Effective UX design means users can intuitively interact with a mobile app, software program, or website. 

Users won’t need comprehensive instructions on how to use it, and they should clearly understand the next steps they need to take. 

A great UX designer ensures all pages load quickly to promote a seamless transition for users to access information. There’s also a clear visual hierarchy using quality images, whitespace, and engaging calls to action to guide users. 

Ultimately, effective UX design should meet the following criteria: 

  • Usable: Easy-to-use app features helpful customization, intuitive navigation, and UX design patterns that don’t require a learning curve. 
  • Desirable: The corporate identity brand, image, and other design elements should elicit positive emotions. 
  • Findable: Content should be localizable and navigable on and off the site. 
  • Accessible: The app or site must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. 
  • Useful: Content must meet your customer’s needs. 
  • Consistency: Users should have the same experience when visiting your app or site – every time. 
  • Credible: Poor UX can reduce brand trust. A great design adds credibility. 

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a UX Designer?

UX designers are expected to transform your ideas into effective and engaging user experiences that drive the business forward. Below are the benefits of bringing a UX designer to your team. 

  • Maximize product engagement: A UX designer conducts usability tests allowing them to observe how users interact with the product. This helps them identify issues that can be addressed in the design or user flow. Through iterations, they can optimize the designs for maximum engagement. 
  • Higher customer retention: Great user experience promotes higher customer satisfaction leading to greater profits. They’re more likely to continue using your product, increasing the amount of positive third-party reviews. 
  • Back-end flexibility: As your digital product or website receives traffic, you’ll be getting real-time feedback from actual users. Having a UX designer in-house can help you implement feedback quickly to adapt to market trends. 
  • Reduced development costs: UI designers or engineers aren’t well-versed in crafting usability tests. UX designers conduct thorough user research to help fix usability and design flaws in the early phases. Thus, it reduces the cost of redesigns after the app or product has already been launched. 
  • Higher revenue growth: According to a comprehensive study from McKinsey, they found that better user experience design correlated with higher revenue growth. With more functional utility and intuitive usability, your product will help retain more customers and improve conversion rates, thus driving revenue. A user-centered design also minimizes the number of support and maintenance queries. 

What Skills To Look For in a UX Designer?

With millions of UX designers on the open market, finding the right person isn’t going to be easy. However, knowing which skill sets they must possess can help. Here’s what to look for:

  • User research and strategy: Research is fundamental to any UX design process. They must be well-versed in many research methods, such as quantitative and qualitative data collection. 
  • Wireframing and prototyping: Early-phase visual representations help them to communicate their ideas and gather feedback on their design concepts before moving into the actual development phase. It’s a great way to iterate and experiment with various user flows and layouts without investing too much time. 
  • User interface (UI) design: While UX designers may not be putting the final visual elements together, they should have a good idea of what design elements help optimize user interactions. 
  • Responsive web design: The user experience will vary depending on the device being used. UX designers must be able to create adaptive designs that display across various screen types, including mobile, desktop, and tablet. 
  • Communication skills: It’s easy to overlook the soft skills contributing to tangible deliverables. However, intangible skills are equally as important. UX designers need communication skills to build rapport with usability test participants, collaborate with engineers, or sell the value of their design vision. 

Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring a UX Designer

Filling out the UX designer position can be challenging. Many companies jump into the process with little to no preparation, leading to a lot of wasted time and effort.

  • Getting dazzled by a perfect portfolio: A UX designer must be able to walk you through the details of crafting their work, including their mistakes and how they’d do things differently now. The portfolio clearly shows why and how the designer contributed to the end result. Pretty portfolios mean nothing if the app is littered with glitches and filled with complex clickstreams. 
  • Hiring a UX designer to make beautiful prototypes: Employers often over-emphasize the importance of prototyping and storyboards. UX designers focus on the user experience, specifically how they navigate the product. Design isn’t about aesthetics but market relevance and meaningful results. 
  • Prioritizing specific skills: Hiring should be a part of your long-term strategy, not a quick-fix solution to your immediate problem. Instead, assess the UX designer’s critical thinking and see how they solve complex problems or translate business requirements into intuitive design. 
  • Posting a boring job ad: If you want to attract top talent, you must create job descriptions that clearly state the benefit of working for you. Focus on aspects that would spark a UX designer’s interest, such as career growth, stable work-life balance, and learning opportunities. 
  • Hiring a UX designer just for an audit: Sometimes, companies hire a user experience designer to audit their existing project. They may evaluate the click flow, look over the call to action or edit the website copy. However, a UX designer should be involved in the early stages to create style guides that match brand identity. 

How To Hire Talented UX Designers

As the hiring manager, your job is to recruit the top talent for your company. That means understanding what you’re looking for to add to your organization that fits amongst the team. Follow these steps to avoid the costly mistakes of a potential bad hire. 

Choose Between In-House Designers or Freelancers 

Typically, as a business, you have multiple options to choose from. You could hire freelancers because they’re cost-effective, and you can source talent from anywhere in the world. 

That said, freelancers won’t likely be fully immersed in your project since they have other clients to attend to. 

In-house designers make sense if you want complete control of the design process. You can also implement them into your existing company culture and have them collaborate with engineers and other designers. 

While more costs are involved, such as a full-time salary and benefits, they can become long-term contributors to your company. They may even blossom into lead designer roles, where they can train future new hires. 

Shortlist Potential Candidates 

Shortlisting is the process of eliminating many candidates down to a select few. The easiest way to narrow your list is to have strict criteria to screen out bad-fit candidates. 

You can use factors to judge candidates, such as their education level, work experience, and skills. 

Make sure to distinguish between mandatory criteria and desired criteria. A desired criteria could mean the candidate has relevant industry experience but may not be required, especially for entry-level designers. 

Failure to provide a thorough answer or grammatical errors in resume or cover letters could also be another criterion for automatic dismissal. 

Evaluate Their Portfolios 

When evaluating a UX design portfolio, don’t be dazzled by its overwhelming volume of examples or aesthetics. 

Instead, look for a handful of high-quality case studies that clearly connect the dots and demonstrate their understanding. 

The best portfolios should highlight the challenges the designer has overcome, lessons they’ve learned, and why they chose their approaches. 

Each case study should walk the reader through the entire design process. Rather than just showing the end result, it shows the employer all the steps it took to produce the product. This includes usability tests, wireframes and the technology used, and how the high-fidelity prototype was produced. 

Conduct the Interviews 

Preparation is key to conducting interviews that help you find what you’re looking for. During an interview, it’s easy to get swept up in the conversation. That’s why preparing interview questions is important to ensure you cover all bases. 

Here are a few questions to help you get the ball rolling: 

  • List your favorite websites or apps and why. 
  • Which is your favorite piece in your design portfolio and why?
  • Name two trends in UX design. 
  • What’s your strongest design skill, and how has that helped you complete projects successfully? 
  • Do you have any inspirational resources to help your design process? 

Make sure to actively listen to their responses and avoid back-and-forth conversations. By talking too much, you can lead them to give the answers you want to hear. 

Assign a Test Task 

Once applications start rolling in, it’s difficult to evaluate your candidates. Fortunately, assigning a test task can help you test whether they have the relevant skills needed for the position. 

Pre-employment tests will identify the top candidates off the bat, allowing you to make the best possible hiring decisions. 

The test task should mimic a potential project that you’d have for the position. 

For example, you can ask the candidate to design a task flow for your upcoming mobile app. 

They’re responsible for creating a user persona, designing a task flow with outlined core features, and using mockups or wireframes to illustrate their ideas. 

Perform a Background Check 

Whether hiring a full-time employee or an independent contractor, it’s good practice to make conducting background checks part of your hiring process. 

UX designers will likely take on critical roles within your company, access classified information, and, as they’re working under your guidance, may open you up to potential liability. 

Backgrounds can remove biases from the hiring process and ensure the candidate is verified and qualified. 

However, ensure you familiarize yourself with the laws of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

A reputable third-party service provider like ScoutLogic can provide various checks. For example, social media screening may be relevant for the UX designer position to validate cultural fit and brand alignment. Other verifications include criminal records, identity, education, and employment verification

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Hire a UX Designer?

Yes, UX designers help bridge the gap between resources and development. A UX designer will make your product intuitive and easy to navigate, creating a more customer-centric experience. An engaging user experience prevents users from abandoning the app, causing you to lose customers. 

How Much Does It Cost To Hire a UX Designer?

Hiring a UX designer costs about $50 to $200 per hour, with more experienced designers on the higher end. A mid-level UX designer in the US costs about $115,000 per year. However, this depends on the project’s scope, location, and experience level of the designer. 

Final Thoughts

Bad hires can be taxing for your business. 

That’s why it’s imperative to thoroughly understand the skills you’re looking for in a UX designer and how they fit within your product development plans. 

There’s no way to guarantee you’ll never make a bad hire. However, you can better avoid them by conducting thorough interviews, assigning a skill assessment task, and performing a background check. 

It’s easy for candidates to embellish their credentials or previous job roles, educational background, or even lie about their criminal backgrounds. At ScoutLogic, we offer comprehensive checks to meet your needs. With most checks returning in less than a day, you’ll have accurate information about your candidate in no time, allowing you to make smart hiring decisions. 

Hire with confidence and peace of mind with ScoutLogic today!

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