You submitted a stunning portfolio. After hours of edits, your resume and cover letter are spot-on. Now, the next step: it’s time to ace the interview and get that coveted web designer job.
The purpose of a job interview is to assess whether you’re the right person for the role. Both your technical expertise and communications skills will be under the microscope—so it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But as long as you’ve done your homework, there’s absolutely no need to be worried.
An interview for a web design position is no exception. This article focuses on the discussion points and questions usually asked in a typical web design interview. You can use these examples as a blueprint for your preparation—adapt your own responses to the questions below, or use ours as a starting point.
Highlight Your Soft Skills
In almost all web designer interviews, your soft skills will be assessed in tandem with your technical expertise. You’ll be expected to collaborate and communicate effectively across various teams. So it’s important to work on your verbal communication skills and demonstrate your proficiency during the interview.
Right from the start, greet your interviewer as soon as you enter the room or join the video chat. Be polite and confident.
Remember to maintain eye contact - even if you're chatting virtually. Sit straight in your chair, keep your demeanor positive, and answer each question clearly and assertively.
Now, you're ready to get to the hard stuff.
Below is a list of questions, discussion points and possible answers to help you prepare for a web designer job interview.
This is an obvious starting point, but it’s a chance to help the interviewer understand more about you and why you love being a web designer. After introducing yourself, talk about your career path, education, previous work experience if you have it, and end with your interest in the job in question.
This will help the recruiter get to know you, your background and aspects of your personality - all of which factor into your professional style as a web designer. Creating a strong impression right from the beginning will set the pace for the rest of the questions to follow. Think about how you can discuss your background in a way that sparks their interest in knowing more about your skills.
Tell us about your previous projects.
The recruiter might like to get an idea of the work you completed in college, grad school, or internships. This is where you can discuss the particular projects you’ve been involved in, even early on in your career as a web designer. Explain past projects in detail, even if they’re not strictly aligned with the work you’re currently going for. Recruiters understand that students don’t typically have a clear and definite plan while completing their studies—it’s more about demonstrating your work ethic and learning abilities.
Remember to be clear and concise as you discuss your projects. This is as much a test of your communication skills as it is about your technical knowledge as a web designer.
How do you develop your design ideas?
Great web designers are technically proficient, but also imaginative. Recruiters will want to understand how you utilize your sense of creativity. But expressing this can be a tough task. All they really need is a glimpse of your thought process to imagine how you will fit into their organization.
To answer this questions, talk them through your creative process as a web designer. What do you do to arrive at a design? This might include reviewing reference material, creating a mood board, retrofitting an old design, or starting something from scratch.
What are the primary and secondary colors?
Every web designer should be prepared to answer some basic questions about design and color theory. Color and mood are intertwined, and this plays a major role in connecting with an audience. Color theory is a core subject in the web design process.
Your interviewer might even ask what colors complement each other and what don’t. This is an indirect question to assess how well you understand the process of developing a connection between the brand and the user. Be sure to mention how this knowledge influences your decisions as a web designer.
What’s your favorite web design tool?
Digital design tools are indispensable to developers and web designers. A designer can conceptualize their ideas with a pencil and paper, but to transfer those ideas digitally, you need a tool that brings together all the aspects of web design such as color, texture, design, and layout.
Be sure to mention the names of popular tools used in the web design industry. Tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator have a wide range of applications, so naming them will show the recruiter you’re familiar with them. Once you’ve specified your favorite, explain why it’s your choice and what aspects set it apart from other tools in your work. This question gives you a chance to highlight your experience and technical knowledge as a web designer.
How do you optimize a website?
Website optimization is an important aspect of web design. This allows users to quickly and easily access the content they’re looking for, no matter what device they’re viewing it through. The performance of the website also increases when it’s optimized. If you want to land that web designer job offer, potential answers to this question could include specific tips, like:
- Embed images in a suitable format.
- Ensure images are properly compressed and load fast.
- Codes should be concise to minimize data usage while loading a page.
- Make sure mechanisms for caching are enabled on the server-side.
Be sure to talk about how this knowledge has helped you in previous web designer roles.
What’s your favorite programming language and why?
Knowing a programming language will help a designer understand the development process better. In an office setup, a designer and developer will work closely with each other to create a website. The web designer should have an understanding of what programming language the web developers will be using, which will help in optimizing it.
Why is responsive design important?
If you’re a professional web designer, you’ll already know the answer to this one. Responsive design allows a website to adjust based on the device it’s being viewed through. It’s a relatively recent development that’s become much more important with the popularity of smartphones. People now use their phones to do a myriad of tasks once reserved for the desktop computer, such as browsing products, accessing news, online banking and using social media. If a website isn’t optimized for responsive design, it might look alright on a PC or laptop but be hard to access on a smartphone, which will affect business.
Your recruiter will want to hire a web designer who’s aware of responsive design, and how important it is for the company’s success.
What’s your view on copying another website’s template?
Businesses want their employees to be original, and that’s especially true in design departments. A web designer should be able to produce authentic layouts and design patterns, rather than copying other designers’ work. Copyright is a major issue in the design industry, so employers will obviously discourage any activities that are likely to attract legal action.
And of course, if a website’s design or content has already been seen elsewhere, it’s likely to create a negative perception of the brand itself. This could tarnish the whole image of the brand among their user base.
When answering this question, be sure to talk about why original ideas are so important to your work as a web designer.
What has been your favorite project?
Talk about a particular project you worked on that interested you, but also express your enthusiasm for working as a web designer in general. Mention the tools used to design the layouts and what inspired you to choose a particular style. Describe the research you did to understand the client and their business goals, and explain the process in detail, from the brief to its final delivery.
Speaking with confidence and clarity will help to demonstrate your communication skills, as well as your knowledge. Your future employer will be looking for a web designer who’s able to express their ideas, and enjoy their work. Show them you’re the right one for the role.
What do you love about UX?
Web designers will have a lot to say on this subject, which could actually make it a challenging question.
Start with the basics. Explain how your UX knowledge helps you to better understand the end-user, which in turn helps to create more interactive and engaging sites that encourage visitors to spend more time on the page.
How do you handle pressure?
It’s quite common to feel the pressure of looming deadlines when you’re working in a corporate setting. Your employer will want to know how you respond to stress. If you take small breaks or go out for a quick walk to relieve stress, mention those healthy coping strategies.
How do you ensure your skills are up to date?
The design industry moves quickly. Web designers should have a strong foundational knowledge and update their skills regularly through self-learning, which has become easier thanks to thousands of online resources. There are plenty of free courses and certification programs online that are specifically designed to help upgrade your skills in various aspects of web design.
Getting Hired as a Web Designer
Web design is a highly rewarding career choice for those with a talent for design. This is particularly true if you have the skill to interpret client business objectives and incorporate it into effective tech solutions.
There are many tools you’ll need to learn about to become a successful web designer. Thinkful offers project-based courses for those looking to upskill in web design. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our blog posts on all things web design, UX and UI.