As 2020 drew to a close, I got the good news I had been waiting for! I was invited to a screening UI Designer interview at Kwara. Kwara is a startup currently in Kenya and Germany. It is a business to business fintech that offers digital banking for SACCOs. Being a business major, this opportunity excited me and I hope to get in ūü§ě.

Background information

In 2020, I decided to explore the User Interface design. Having a background in graphics design the migration was easier. First, I explored the Daily UI challenge, a commitment to designing daily for 100 days. The challenge was exciting but after I managed to go to day 18 I realized I needed to build products that will be used by users, not just a beautiful Dribbble post. Fast forward to December 2020, I had encompassed a total of 7 UI/UX projects that I guess impressed Kwara. You can find my portfolio at https://bit.ly/PortfolioBethany

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Preparation Document

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Being my first UI Interview, I was jittery and anxious. The first thing I did was to ask for advice from my friends and mentors. I was given a sample interview preparation document where I posted my answers to common interview questions. Below are some questions I was asked during the interview and a how I tackled them:

Tell me about yourself.

As the role is UI designer, the interviewer is interested in your experiences in the design field. In my interview, I had less than two minutes to pitch about myself. Your answer can contain any of the following:

  • your design journey - how you started our in design
  • formal design experience - having not held a design role previously, I talked about projects I have worked on and clients
  • what do you do outside design in relation to your role - this may include whether or not you are a student, your volunteer roles and other technical expertise
  • what are you looking for - why do you want this role. My answer can be summarized by I want to focus on design and implementation. Being a freelancer comes with the challenge of always being on the look-out for your next client, joining Kwara would help me focus on design and develop my skills.

I want to focus on design and implementation. Being a freelancer comes with the challenge of always being on the look-out for your next client, joining Kwara would help me focus on design and develop my skills.

Why [insert company]?

Out of all the companies in the world, why would you want to work here? Although I was not asked this question, this question propelled me to do research about the company. First, I focus on the company mission as listed on their website. Secondly, I sent a LinkedIn connection to current employees to get their feel of the company. Although I was not able to ask the questions to current employees, here is a list of questions you can ask: Why someone should join Kwara. What is their day-to-day job like? Why should someone join Kwara? What is the culture like?

Strengths and Weakness.

The question about what are your strengths and weakness comes in so many ways. For instance, I was asked what are the technical skills and non-technical skills am I good/bad at? Your strengths and weaknesses should match your role.

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Name three referrals.

I made sure to thoroughly prepare for the interview but this question caught me off-guard. Once the question was asked, I knew I had to recompose myself. Therefore, I asked for a minute to align my thoughts then proceeded to list individuals I had been privileged to work with. In any tech-role, you apply to, especially as a beginner, is having tangible projects and working with others to actualize the projects. A piece of advice that rings in my head on this is: make sure your friends know what you are doing.

Make sure your friends know what you are doing.

Questions for the interviewer.

As much as the interview is focused on what you bring to the table, you should also interview your interviewer. Interviewing your interviewer will help you also ascertain whether or not you want to work at the company. My top three questions that I got to ask include:

  • How did the company adapt to COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What does UI design mean to¬†company?¬†(What is the role of a UI designer in the company.)
  • Why Kenya?¬†- what made the start-up launch in Kenya and what are the future plans for the company going forward.

Prepare!

Concluding Insights

  • Give examples to every point you have.
  • Mentioned the stage you are in, for instance, I just started and go ahead and share your progress so far.
  • In each project, you should¬†highlight¬†the problem, how you¬†identified¬†the opportunity, failures, results, who you worked with (Stakeholders), and what was your process?
  • Identify¬†problems and match them with solutions.
  • To answer the behavioral questions, consider the S.T.A.R. Method.
  • Check on time allotted for the interview. I was allocated 25 minutes, meaning the interview was meant to be a quick overview about myself and whether or not I will be a good fit for the company.
  • Have at least 10 questions for the interviewer arranged according to their priority.
  • Apply for roles, regardless: currently (during my application period) Kwara was not looking for a UI Designer, instead they needed a Visual (Graphics) Designer to work in the marketing team. I applied the role using my UI/UX resume and was called in for a UI role.
  • Prepare for anything.

As I am yet to get the role, I will leave my article as is. I hope these nuggets help you prepare for your next interview.