hiring UI designer - cover

Secrets to Hiring UI Designers Who Captivate Your Users

Design, Product, Startup
9 min
Feb 15, 2024

Finding a UI designer who perfectly balances visual flair and user-friendly functionality can feel tricky some days. But cutting corners on design means frustrating users, and that does no one any favors.

UI design influences how people perceive your product and the company behind it. When the interface is intuitive and aesthetically pleasing, users are far more likely to enjoy themselves and walk away with positive vibes about your brand.

However, when the UI is confusing or unattractive, it creates negative emotions that cause users to quit your app quickly. Not exactly what you want for business.

The best UI designers understand that this discipline goes way deeper than just making digital products look pretty. It’s part psychology, part emotional connection, and part functionality connected to one holistic user experience.

This article is here to share insider tips on spotting top UI talent during the recruiting process.

Defining “Engaging” UI Design

Before assessing any UI designer candidates, let’s get clear on what exactly constitutes “engaging” UI.

Engagement means designing interfaces that don’t just function correctly on a technical level but also form an emotional connection. Engaging UI should:

  • Guide users intuitively through tasks and goals without friction
  • Foster positive sentiments through aesthetically pleasing and expressive visual design
  • Represent and reinforce brand identity through strategic use of logos, icons, typography, color schemes, imagery, and personality

Creating engagement requires empathizing deeply with users to understand their psychological motivations, pain points, and desires. It means moving beyond surface-level styling into delightful experiences.

For outstanding real-world engaging UI examples, explore Mailchimp’s playful logo and fonts that align with its friendly brand. Or Squarespace’s ultra-sleek and modern styling, communicating its empowering tech capabilities.

With a clear definition of engaging UI design in mind, the next step is developing an effective hiring strategy to find UI designers with these skills.

Crafting an Effective Strategy to Hire UI Designer

To choose amazing UI talent suited to your specific needs, start by clarifying who you need to be designing for in the first place.

Strategy to hire UI designer

Research Your Users and Define Goals

Conduct user research to deeply understand customer pain points and behaviors through surveys, interviews, support ticket analysis, feedback reviews, user testing reports, and market analysis.

Outline clearly:

  • Primary user personas
  • Common user goals and tasks
  • Key user journeys and required application flows
  • User behavior patterns and psychological motivations
  • Biggest user frustrations and desires

Additionally, outline measurable goals so designers clearly understand the project’s success markers. Common metrics include:

  • Increased user engagement
  • Lower bounce rates
  • Faster task completion
  • Reduced errors
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Improved user sentiment

This is how you can better assess which designers have the right expertise. With your users and objectives clear, you can detail the required designer skills for this specific role.

Pinpoint Required UI Designer Skills

First of all, break UI designer’s desirable skills down into non-negotiable technical expertise and preferred soft skills.

On the tech side, you likely want to see wireframing ability, solid visual design sense, prototyping skills, information architecture know-how, and expertise across relevant software platforms.

But don’t overlook powerful soft skills — extreme attention to detail, human empathy, top-tier communication, dealing with ambiguity, collaborating across disciplines, and balancing multiple stakeholder needs simultaneously. Skills are crucial, but mindset and collaborative nature also contribute to an excellent UI design.

With your ideal designer qualities detected, what’s next? Exploring talent discovery channels.

Explore UI Designer Discovery Channels

You can post job openings on major freelance hubs like Behance, Dribbble, Folyo, and LinkedIn, outlining your required UI designer qualifications. Enable notifications so promising applications hit your inbox instantly, allowing you to schedule video chats.

Many online platforms also offer advanced filtering and search functionality, letting you pinpoint regions, skill sets, software expertise, and more for improved matching accuracy.

Once you have identified a UI designer for hire, the next step is conducting interviews to further assess designers’ abilities.

Interviewing a User Interface Designer

Developing smart interview practices is pivotal for understanding how designers think about translating user behaviors into seamless interfaces. Here are some methods for insightful interviews.

Interviewing a user interface designer

Ask the Right Interview Questions

When interviewing design candidates, you should understand more than just their technical skills. Thus, create questions that reveal how they think about problems and solutions.

For example, describe a sample project and ask how they would approach key parts. What research would they do to understand users? How would they use the findings to set design goals? What options would they explore for visuals and interactions? You want to hear thoughtful, user-focused ideas.

Also, define their problem-solving process. Do they ask questions to clarify business needs and user wants? Do they consider both technical capabilities and limitations? How do they decide between design options?

Technical skills can be learned more easily than problem-solving instincts. Therefore, you should also understand their empathy, creativity, and critical thinking.

Assess Design Thinking

Rather than asking candidates to discuss skills in the abstract, give them real-world design problems to reveal their approach.

For example, provide a one-page brief for a website redesign project. Include backgrounds like business goals, target users, content types, and technical considerations. Ask them to think aloud as they conceptualize initial ideas for the homepage design. What visual identity would appeal to users? How might they organize navigation and calls to action?

You can also present a lower-fidelity design with clear issues. This way, you will see if the candidate can identify weaknesses from the user’s perspective and suggest improvements. What testing would they recommend to stress test solutions? With a thoughtful approach, you can evaluate true design thinking.

Create a Comfortable, Engaging Interview Environment

The interview should feel like a friendly conversation. Before asking skill-based questions, build trust through casual small talk. For example, you can ask about hobbies or weekend plans. Share a bit about the company culture to set the expectation of openness.

When moving on to the formal questions, let the candidate know there are no right or wrong answers. Encourage them to verbalize their logic out loud since the thought process matters most. If they struggle, provide gentle clarifying prompts.

Interviews are stressful situations. If candidates need a moment or a glass of water, accommodate them compassionately. And inject humor whenever possible — laughter relieves tension.

Your candidates should leave with energy and enthusiasm, whether you hire UI designers or not. A warm, enjoyable interview experience also reflects the company’s values they will share publicly. So, be sure to make interviews comfortable and fun.

With a UI designer hired, ongoing support is essential to retention and productivity over time.

After Hiring UI Designer

While attracting top talent is an achievement, the real work begins after. Thoughtful onboarding, collaboration with others, and ongoing training demonstrate your commitment to their growth. Prioritizing these areas results in happier, more productive designers that deliver increasing value over time.

Building a Strong Relationship During Onboarding

When your UI designer first joins, they likely feel enthusiastic yet overwhelmed. Thoughtful onboarding can help them understand your company, products, processes, and team dynamics.

after hiring UI designer

Start by introducing them to their direct teammates and key contacts. Ensure designers have the hardware, software, and access needed to start working. It’s also necessary to provide documentation on your design guidelines and standards. And remember to explain your goals, roadmaps, and release cycles so designers understand priorities.

In addition, schedule regular check-ins to seek their feedback on what information or resources would be useful. And, most importantly, be available to answer questions. Investing in thorough onboarding pays dividends in ramp-up time and retention.

Collaboration Between the UI Designer and Other Teams

Beyond onboarding, you need to facilitate collaboration between your UI designer and other departments. Design impacts various areas, including research, UX writing, development, product management, and marketing. Encourage introductions and knowledge sharing across these teams. Identify subject matter experts in each area who can provide guidance when needed. You can enable collaboration through both real-time and asynchronous channels.

Ongoing Training to Keep Your UI Designer Motivated

The design field changes quickly — styles/tools/technology evolve constantly as user expectations shift. Only through continual learning can skills stay relevant.

Let your designers attend industry conferences, classes, or workshops on topics like animation, accessibility, or design systems. Budget for books, online learning platforms, or one-on-one coaching. Set goals reflecting their growing expertise and compensate appropriately.

The whole organization benefits from new talents when you create a welcoming, connected, and evolving environment.


Hiring UI designer who succeeds at both visual appeal and user-centered design can be challenging. But investing in the right talent pays dividends through happier customers and stronger brand loyalty over the long term.

The advice provided here will help you identify special candidates during interviews.

Once hired, set up new team members for success by providing extensive onboarding resources and training. Support their professional growth through conferences, workshops, and continued learning opportunities.

Employing skilled UI designers from the Uitop agency can provide numerous advantages for a business seeking to improve its digital presence. Our expertise in layout, navigation, interactivity, and aesthetics allows us to deliver intuitive and appealing UI solutions tailored to your specific needs and goals.

If you are looking to hire the best UI UX designer, contact us today!

by Ivan Klyzhenko
UX Startup Advisor, Uitop


What capabilities should I look for when recruiting a strong UI designer?

Focus on designers who showcase intuitive, user-centric interfaces in their portfolios. Relevant research experience is also valuable since understanding users’ needs deeply informs great design.

How can I best evaluate designers' skills during the interview process?

Request work samples from portfolios for review. Consider including a short design exercise to reveal how they think. Discussing past challenges and successes can also provide insights.

Should I hire junior or senior UI designers?

Juniors may handle simpler deliverables well, while more seasoned designers will provide advanced expertise at a higher cost. Focus your search on UI designers with a skill level proportionate to the role’s requirements.

Are there any «red flags» I should watch for?

Yes. Outdated, uninspired portfolio pieces may indicate a lack of relevant skills. Resistance to discussing their work in detail or incorporating user testing can also be problematic signs.

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