I recently completed a series of interviews for a new job. Here are a couple of reminders of areas where I think I did well, and others where I could have done better.
Assemble a portfolio, even if they don't ask for it. Some companies may care a lot about your portfolio, and some may not even ask for one. Either way, it's always worth the effort to put together examples of your best work. The exercise will recall work stories you can speak to in the interview to sell your strengths.
Be honest ... Usability evaluations involve judgments. There's a temptation to try and "pass" the interview by saying what you think the interviewer wants to hear. If you can support your position with solid reasoning, though, a good boss-to-be shouldn't hold their disagreement against you.
If you're not honest, you're interviewing to be a approval-seeking flunkie. And if your interviewers are put off by your honesty, perhaps it's a sign of how it might be to work with them.
... But also be humble. It's easy to criticize someone else's effort when you don't know what kind of time, budget, or business constraints they were under. Don't be an arrogant outsider dismissing an interface that may have resulted from the hard word of the interviewer.
Prepare for the obvious questions, such as
- "What do you think of the usability of X?" Usually you can guess from tone how the interviewer already feels about product or website X. If you disagree, be ready to back up your opinion with some good supporting evidence.
- "Give me some examples of products and websites with good usability." This is a simple question to ask, but it deserves more than a quick answer. Prepare at least a couple of good examples, with explanations of what users the products are for, and why specifically they will find the product usable.
- "What is your working style?" Most employers are looking for excellent communicators, persuasive negotiators, and above all collaborative coworkers.
- "Do you think your background fits this position?" Once you've learned more about the position and the company, sell yourself as best you can, but be honest too. For example, if you are someone like me, with less of an academic background, you might not be happy on a team of all Ph.D. HCI experts.