To help you dodge a UX career nightmare
My similarly titled YouTube video is the basis for this article.
During the past decade, I’ve applied for hundreds of UX designer jobs in the industry across multiple countries and noticed 11 red flags.
I find these red flags in UX design job description signal potential issues with the role, the company, or the company’s culture.
Watch out for these and run away while you can.
If the job description is unclear or lacks details about the responsibilities you are expected to perform in the job, it indicates that the company actually doesn’t really know what UX is truly about. In addition, it could be a sign that they did not plan well.
If the job posting requires you to be skilled at all sorts of and a wide range of unrelated areas and have an excessive number of years of experience, that’s unrealistic.
Again, the company might not know what a UX designer performs in a job.
Years ago, it was okay when companies expected a UX designer to be able to code, but nowadays, when we have all of these specialist roles, this is not a standard expectation.
If the job description is over-emphasizing visual design, graphic design, or aesthetics over research and usability, that is not a true UX position.
The company might think that that’s a user experience designer role; however, you should know better. You should know that you’ll be asked to perform more of a user interface designer responsibilities instead of UX responsibilities.
If there’s too much emphasis on visual design in job ads, it suggests a misunderstanding of the nature of user experience design.
If the company offers a way lower salary than the industry standards, it indicates that the company doesn’t really value user experience design.
They might just want to hire like a token UX designer. Your role and all UX activities will be performed as a checkbox exercise. Your input won’t be valued, at all.
If the job description doesn’t mention anything about growth opportunities, learning opportunities, career advancement, or professional development within the company, then you will have very limited growth potential if you choose that job.
That is a big one, especially in North America and in consultancy, regardless of the country.
If the job description mentions long hours, or if they say ‘at least 40 hours’ a week, that should be a red flag because you’ll have an excessive workload.
You always need to be on, you constantly need to check your emails and Slack messages. It just indicates an unhealthy work environment, and the potential burnout is just six months away.
UX design is a collaborative field. There is no question about that.
Our role requires us to collaborate with other designers, software architects, engineers, product and project managers, and stakeholders.
So if the job description doesn’t mention teamwork or collaboration, it indicates that you will be working in a silo and you will be super isolated.
If the job description doesn’t emphasize user research, user needs, or usability testing, it suggests that the company doesn’t focus on user-centric design.
You can come up with wireframes and designs based on best practices. However, if research is absolutely not in the picture, that should be a red flag.
A UX position that doesn’t involve users is not a proper UX role.
It’s essential for UX designers to be familiar with a variety of design tools (not only Figma).
However, if a job focuses solely on proficiency in a particular design tool without mentioning any design principles, UX design laws, methodologies or processes, it indicates an extremely superficial understanding of user experience design.
Do your research before accepting a role. Actually, before applying for a role.
Use Glassdoor. Use LinkedIn.
See how many people are working at the company after a year or two years. See the tenures of employees. It really should tell a lot about the company’s culture.
Read the reviews of what previous employees say about the company. Negative reviews and high turnover of employees should be a signal that there are huge issues at the company.
This last one is my favourite.
It will indicate you will have no boundaries, and everything is expected from you immediately.
It’s just a hard no.
Remember that HR views you as merely a resource.