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Hiring for UX: Balancing Experience, Budget, and Business Needs

April 24, 2024

Hiring a User Experience (UX) Designer, especially if it’s the first one on your team, can be tricky. Do you hire a senior candidate, or amore junior one? What are ways to evaluate designers during interviews, especially if you’re unfamiliar with design roles? And how does UX design impact the bottom line, anyways?

As a recruiting firm that’s recruited UX candidates, we’re sharing some of our tips – and answers – to these questions below.


How do you choose between hiring a User Experience (UX) Designer and a Senior UX Designer?


If you’re debating if you want to hire a Senior UX Designer vs. a UX Designer, there’s a few factors you should consider. The decision to hire a Senior vs. a Non-Senior title often comes down to budget and how much time you can dedicate toward mentoring and reviewing work. If your time is limited and you don’t know much about design, hiring a Senior UX Designer may be a better fit. If you have more time to provide feedback on designs, and your budget is more limited – you may be able to hire a non-Senior UX Designer.


To break it down further, Senior Designers often have:

1. 5-10+ years of design experience – they’ve been in the business for a long time.

2. Ample experience building user interfaces and experiences using software such as Figma or Sketch.

3. They’re comfortable interacting with customers and extremely comfortable creating product roadmaps.

4. They’ve worked in the industry, or one like the one you’re hiring for (for example – B2B SaaS).

5. An extremely strong portfolio of past design projects.

6. They have strong writing skills in addition to design and are comfortable translating requirements between people with different areas of expertise.

7. They know when to push back. If a feature or design will run counter to the goals of the business or what they’ve set out to achieve, they’ll push back and not make a change.


Non-Senior UX job titles often have:

1. 2-5 years of design experience.

2. Some experience building user interfaces entirely on their own, although they should also be extremely comfortable with tools like Figma.

3. Slightly less experience interacting with customers and creating product roadmaps; they may have done this in the past but not independently.

4. A decent portfolio of past design projects.

5. They have decently strong writing skills.

6. They may not always know when to push back on stakeholder requests, or may push back on items they shouldn't.

What are some of the best ways to evaluate a UX Design candidate?

Here's some of our top tips for what to do during interviews with User Design candidates.

Review their portfolio - together. Ask the candidate to present their portfolio and walk you through their design process for several projects. How do they talk about their work and describe the outcome of projects with you in the room (or on the screen)? Look for evidence of their role in the projects, the problems they solved, and the impact of their work on the project outcomes.

 Want to see some portfolio examples? We liked these top 20 portfolios from Career Foundry.


Ask behavioral and scenario-based questions. Pose hypothetical design problems or past design challenges and ask how they would approach these issues. You can draw on real examples from your company or industry to do this. What’s a recent design challenge your team ran into, and why?

This helps assess your candidates’ problem-solving skills and creativity. Questions could focus on how they handle feedback (especially if its negative), collaborate with other team members, and manage conflicting priorities or opinions.


Talk to them about communication skills. Assess whether they can effectively communicate and collaborate with different stakeholders (developers, product managers, etc.). Do they give answers that suggest they like to communicate 1:1, and can effectively talk about their work? Or do they prefer little communication, and like to be heads-down in projects?

 A UX designer should spend most of their time designing, and less time in meetings than other employees. But if you get the sense they won’t be able to communicate their designs, process, or asking for feedback (or won’t enjoy doing so), you may want to consider this as you make your final hiring decision.


Ask about their user-centric approach. Discuss their methods for gathering user feedback and how they ensure their designs meet the users' needs. How do they advocate for the user while balancing business objectives?


How does UX Design impact the bottom line of a startup or a company?

 User Experience, like other design roles, can be difficult to quantify. These roles don’t bring in revenue and aren’t directly associated with cost-savings (like a legal or compliance role would), so it can be challenging to evaluate their performance. Yet companies like Airbnb credit great design with their success.

 However, thoughtful UX Design can still impact the bottomline of a company – both from a cost savings and revenue generating perspective.Below are some ways we’ve seen this possible:


Increased customer satisfaction. Good UX design enhances user satisfaction by making products easy and enjoyable to use. A satisfied user is more likely to become a repeat customer, recommend the product to others, and provide positive reviews, all of which can lead to increased sales and revenue.


A great example of this is Spotify’s Year Wrapped campaign. People are excited to see what they’ve listened to the most each year when this debuts and share it with their friends, and good UX is a huge reason behind it’s success.


Reduced development costs. By incorporating UX design early in the product development process, startups can identify potential usability issues before they become costly to fix. This proactive approach can minimize the need for revisions and rework - reducing overall development costs.


Enhanced brand loyalty. UX design that aligns with user expectations and needs can foster a strong emotional connection to the brand. This can turn users into brand advocates who remain loyal over time, providing a consistent revenue stream and reducing churn.


Improved conversion rates. Effective UX design can directly influence conversion rates by simplifying the user journey. Whether it's signing up for a service or making a purchase, a well-designed user interface can guide users to take desired actions more efficiently, boosting conversions.


Lower support costs. A well-thought-out UX design reduces the likelihood of user confusion and the need for extensive customer support. If users can navigate a product intuitively and find the information they need without assistance, customer support teams can be leaner.  

In addition to User Experience Designers, we hire for Heads of Design, Mobile Designers, Product Designers, and User Interface Designers.

Ready to start looking for a User Experience Designer today? Get connected with our team.

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