How to Hire a Remote UX Designer

Learn how to hire a remote UX designer for your project, the challenges to expect and how to overcome them.
5 min read

Design plays a critical role in the development of products. As it becomes increasingly important, even companies with sizeable design teams do need an extra hand at times. That is where freelance designers come in.

An increasing number of companies are engaging freelancers as they look to get the brightest and the best designers on board. It is quite easy for large firms to engage talent across different time zones. However, there are a number of challenges design managers face when hunting for top-notch talent.

I will discuss how to scout remote UX designers for your design projects. I’ll discuss the challenges hiring managers might encounter and important considerations to have in mind when advertising remote UI UX designer jobs.

Choosing Between A Generalist And A Specialist

Should you go for a generalist or a specialist when sourcing for a UX designer? Source: Screengrab/ UX Collective

This is the first factor you will have to consider. Does the project need a generalist or a specialist?

Onboarding a generalist on your project has a number of benefits. They are flexible and adaptable. This means they will be able to handle different stages of the design process. You can also move them and reassign duties as necessary. I would advise you to go for a generalist if you expect a change in the range of your project or if you need agility on your team in the event of feedback from stakeholders.

One disadvantage of generalists is that they are always unable to handle complex projects that need specialized expertise.

On the other hand, hiring a specialist will get you a couple of highly-focused skills mastered from years of experience. Specialists are ideal for short-term projects that have the design briefs and project parameters clearly defined.

You should also go for specialists if your in-house team needs support for specialized tasks or you need someone for a highly specific role. The only downside to engaging specialists is that they lack flexibility and you will have to get an individual for almost every role. It can put a strain on your budget.

Important UX Design Skills To Look Out For

Be specific in the type of skills you are looking for in a designer. Source/ Just In Mind

It is very important to be specific when listing the skills you need for the remote UI UX designer jobs you are advertising. Most firms fear to be specific because they believe it will limit their pool of talent. However, you don’t want to run the risk of being stuck with unsuitable candidates for your design job.

Engaging a UX designer remotely is also not the same as having an internal designer. It needs more trust because you won’t be able to supervise their work as you would an in-house team member. Since a remote UX designer will enjoy more autonomy, you will also need to look out for someone with a strong work ethic besides the actual skills related to the job.

Another skill you should look out for regardless of the project scope is the ability to communicate clearly and concisely. Design as a discipline of art if firmly rooted in communication. Hire designers who can clearly express themselves and explain their ideas.

You should also have in mind the distinctive difference between workflows and tools. Most designers’ focus during learning is usually on using particular design tools instead of mastering the principles of designing. It is important to be able to comfortably work with tools that are considered industry-standard. But that should never be a substitute for mastering the fundamentals of design.

Why A UX Designer Needs Soft Skills

Soft skills are equally important for UX designers. Source/ UX Collective

Should you consider soft skills like leadership and problem-solving skills when hiring a remote UX designer? Yes, I would advise so. They are equally important just like hard design skills.

Candidates can quantify their hard skills, but can’t do that with soft skills. That is why they should be your primary focus when conducting an interview. You should gauge how well the designer can take criticism, handle emerging issues, and put across their thoughts.

How To Evaluate Remote UX Designers

How do you determine which remote designer is best suited for the role? Source/ Customer Insights Blog

You may have an idea of the type of candidate and the necessary skills you are looking for. The question is how will you evaluate the suitability of a candidate to the demand of the position you are recruiting for?

The candidate having an impressive UX design portfolio isn’t the only thing you are looking for. You may have to ask candidates to take aptitude tests to determine how well a fit they will be. You can also give them design assignments to gauge their capacity to handle the work. The aptitude test and assignment should be structured to reflect the work they’ll be doing. Have realistic deadlines and expectations.

If you are in a position to, you should pay your prospectives for the assignments you give them during the interview process. It shows that you value the candidate’s time and efforts. It helps to establish respect and good working relationships.

Tips For Interviewing Candidates For Remote UX Design Positions

Do you have a checklist of what you are looking for in your preferred candidate? Source/ Workable

There are a lot of things to consider when interviewing a UX designer for remote positions. This does not mean that the interview process should be relegated to the backdrop.

Video calls can be said to be the best way to conduct interviews for remote UX designers. It gives you the opportunity to read the candidate’s body language. You wouldn’t have this privilege with email trails or phone calls. Additionally, video interviews give better impressions of the designer’s demeanor and communication style.

It is important to keep in mind that the aim of the interview isn’t to make an attempt at blindsiding the candidate. Most top tech companies around the world have a reputation for asking unobjective questions during technical interviews even when the scenario has no correlation to how the candidate will perform in the actual role.

The goal of interviews in most cases is to try and build a working relationship with your prospective designers, not to take a hit at their esteem and embarrass them. The interview is also an opportunity to find out if their remuneration expectations match with your remote senior UX designer rate, especially if it is a senior role.

Tips For Onboarding Remote UX Designers

You can introduce the remote UX designer to other members of the team via a video conference call. Source/ EZ Talks

It doesn’t matter if you are looking to hire a part-time freelance designer for a short-term project or someone for long-term engagement. It is important to always treat your new hire with respect and courtesy. What I mean by this is that you should orient onboard and orient them on your values and goals as you would do for an in-house designer when they are just starting to work in your firm.

Introduce your remote designer to the rest of the team. You can do this through a channel-wide announcement through mediums such as Slack. Alternatively, you can use a video conference call for introductions. Ideally, having onboarding documentation would help your new hire to familiarize themselves with how the team works.

Onboarding documentation should include the following:

  • Links to important internal resources such as wikis and company intranet.
  • Guide to departmental and company policies. For example, an employee handbook.
  • Login credentials for access to necessary online services and software licenses.
  • A list of important contacts the hire should be aware of such as team leads, departmental heads, and project stakeholders.

Remember to clearly outline the expectations regarding internal communication and project deliverables. This includes how frequently they will be needed for team meetings and how to communicate any problems they experience. You should also let them know how, when, and to whom the assets of the project will be delivered. The more information and guidance you give to your new remote UX designer, the smoother the onboarding process will be for them.

Help Wanted?

It is much easier to hire remote UX designers now than it was in the early days. Telecommuting is becoming mainstream. It does not, however, mean that you should use shortcuts when sourcing for remote talent.

The most important thing to have in mind is that remote work doesn’t mean much as long as it helps you achieve your design goals. Don’t let the distance dissuade you. Geographical location shouldn’t influence how you source for talent, the interview process, and how you work as a team to achieve your goals.

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