20 Industrial Design Interview Questions to Prepare For

Are you an industrial designer preparing for an interview? Chatting with prospective employers can be a bit daunting. After all, the interview process is where your technical skills, design process, and previous projects will be examined. So, how do you prepare to give a good answer to all of your future boss’ questions? Well, first you need to know which questions to prepare for So, keep reading. Below we’ll review 20 industrial design questions you may be asked.

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1. Talk about your design philosophy and describe how it influences your work.

If asked this question, you’ll want to reflect on your design process, previous experience, and your overall approach to projects. What about your design philosophy sets you apart from other candidates? Think about it then answer honestly. 

2. Are you proficient at using CAD software?

Every company demands something different from the folks they task with designing products. So, make sure you do your research on the company you’re interviewing for to get a good idea of some of the software proficiencies they might require. 

In some instances, this information will be available on the job listing. In other cases, you may have to make an educated guess based not the job description provided and the company’s goals.

3. Tell us about a successful design project. What are you particularly proud of? What business goals did it help meet for your previous employer?

As a designer, you solve problems. So, talk about a time that you did that particularly well. What design decisions did you have to make? What made this project a success? Think about the projects you’re proud of then share an example with the interviewer. 

4. Can you walk us through the key pieces in your portfolio?

Most designers have an online portfolio that is ready for clients and potential employers to view. So, we suggest doing the same. Your online portfolio doesn’t only show off your creativity and the products you’ve designed, it also shows where your focus has been. 

So, before you head into an in-person or virtual interview, you’ll want to make sure your portfolio is in good shape. 

5. How do you embrace new technology? What resources do you use to stay-up-to-date on the latest trends in tech?

When asked this question, you’ll want to talk about your product design process and how it is impacted by new technology. You’ll also want to include details about the sites and other designers you learn from on a regular basis. 

6. Are you experienced with conducting user research?

These days, industrial designers are often tasked with having technical skills in UX design and user research. So, if you are well-versed in this area, make sure you use this type of question as an opportunity to brag about that. 

Who knows? Your particular UX design skills could set you apart from the other industrial designers interviewing for the role. 

7. Describe a design challenge you’ve face. How did you overcome it?

No creative process is seamless, so you’ve surely faced your share of challenges. Talk about it when your potential employer. Tell them about how the challenge came about and what problem-solving skills you implemented to overcome them. 

8. How do you deal with constructive criticism?

Being able to accept constructive criticism is a part of any design job – industrial design is no exception. So, be ready to tell your prospective employer how you deal with feedback from a fellow team member, company manager, or the end-users. 

9. Discuss your experience with collaborative design projects. How do you work with developers to bring your design projects to fruition?

Industrial and product designers rarely work alone – which is why collaboration is extremely important. So, if someone asks something along these line, share details about your previous experience. Have you worked on projects with developers or manufacturers? This question opens up the opportunity to dive into how that process worked for you. 

10. Do you design products that are eco-friendly or focused on sustainability? 

As climate concerns take center stage across industries, it’s important to keep sustainability efforts in mind when researching companies to work for. If your prospective employer focuses on eco-friendly products, it certainly helps to have experience in that field. But in lieu of experience, try to express how you can incorporate sustainability into your future design decisions. 

an industrial design professional working on a tablet in a cafe with other working professionals

11. Have you ever worked on an industrial design project that had a limited budget? Describe your experience working within the financial constraints. 

Sometimes a company’s money is tight and a project’s budget gets cut because of it. Have you ever experienced that? If your prospective employer ask, be honest with them. With this question, they are trying to gauge how creative and resourceful you can be when challenged to work with limited funding. 

12. How do you generate new ideas?

Employers want to know what makes your creativity spark. Before your interview, take time to reflect on your design process from concept to final product. What are your sources of inspiration? How do you keep the creativity flowing project after project?

13. Discuss your experience with prototyping and its importance in your design process. 

For industrial, product, and UX designers, prototyping can be an integral part of the design process. Do you have experience with prototyping? If so, divulge those details at this time. If not, discuss how you use this job opportunity as a way to gain relevant skills . 

14. How do you work with your design team to make sure your products are feasible for manufacturing?

When it comes to designing products to reach a business’ goals, it’s important that the visual design can be transformed into a prototype and later manufactured into the final product. So, when asked about making products feasible for manufacturing, try to walk your interviewer through your design and collaboration process. 

15. Describe a project where you had to work on tight deadline. How do you manage your time while also ensuring that other business needs and goals are met?

Time management is important in every role. How do you ensure that your give appropriate attention to projects when you have competition deadlines? Do you work well under pressure? Depending on the work culture you’re about to enter, time management is a very important consideration. 

16. How do you create a balance between designing for the user and including design features that cater to the company you work for? 

The user’s experience can impact the success of a product. So, it’s certainly important to keep that in mind when designing. But, it’s also equally important to keep the company you work for in mind when making design decisions. 

During your interview, talk to the prospective employer about how you strike a balance between designer for the user and designing with company goals in mind.

17. Discuss a design project that challenged your skills or ability. Did you have to acquire new skills in order to complete the project and if so, how did you go about doing that in a short span of time?

Sometimes, design work can be extremely challenging, especially when we’re tasked with learning new skills in a short amount of time. But, the ability to pivot and adapt to changing trends or tech is important! 

When asked something along these lines, try to think of specific examples to mention and include details about how you embraced new technology or software to successfully complete projects. 

18. Describe how you balance form and function for a product’s design.

This question is deeper examination of your design process. After the ideation phase, how do you keep functionality in mind while creating products that sleek and visually impressive? You ability to strike a balance between form and function is imperative to your design process – so, discuss the tools and strategies you implement to ensure your design is functional in addition to being visually pleasing. 

19. What are the most important qualities of an industrial design professional?

Sometimes, an employer wants to know your perspective on what makes a successful industrial designer. Instead of coming up with a lofty answer that sounds good in theory, provide concrete examples of technical skills, soft skills, and personality quirks that you already possess (or ones you are working toward honing). 

If time permits, further describe how those qualities can be applied to this particular job position. 

20. Describe what sets you apart from other candidates. How would you excel at this job? 

Companies interview a variety of candidates to find the right one for a position. So, think about what sets you apart and be prepared to answer this common interview question. And remember, this question is simply another opportunity to pitch yourself as the best, most qualified person for the job.