UX Internship Hiring Tips for Employers in 2021

Joshua Yap

Design

February 3, 2021

Hiring UX Interns Simple Guide


UX internship 101 for Singapore, Malaysia and Entire Asia
UX internship: The beginning

You've probably done your research on hiring UX talent in Asian countries like Singapore can be a pain especially when universities don't teach the user experience or experience design in much detail.

There are all sorts of titles for UX-related job opportunities - UI/UX Designer, UX Designer, Product Design Specialist - the possibilities are endless across the 400,000 UX Design positions in the marketplace today!

How are you going to start hiring for a UX intern?

Let me break it down for you.

What Makes a Great UX Internship?

Your duty as a supervisor is to teach these young talents the elements of what makes up good UX design


An internship is NOT cheap labour. It's a learning period for the student to learn skills that they can use later on in their lives when they do land a job.

A great UX internship experience for both supervisor and intern lies in aligning your experience with the experience your intended intern would like to learn. In my opinion, they first have to be good researchers by nature to get the most of their internship.

There's 4 basic steps when it comes to hiring an intern for your UX team.


Step 1: Define the Job Description

You're writing this for university students or graduates who would be entering the working environment for the first time. Your job description should cover:

being chosen for the UX internship
The Ideal Candidate

The "Ideal Candidate"

Talk about personality, skill sets, and communication skills for example. Name the personal qualities and skills an ideal candidate should have in order to learn fast on the job.

The Ideal Candidate for UX Internship
Picking Responsibilities

Explain their Responsibilities on Your Team

What kind of products do your team design for which users and what role do they play on your team? You should walk them through the limitations of their responsibilities on the job and when they should seek your approval before work is passed down the line.

We covered the difference of responsibilities between product and UX designer in our previous blog.

Highlight What They Will Learn

UI/UX design? The design process? Wireframing? Think about the skill sets they get to pick up and even platforms like Figma, and how this internship will impact their career.

Team Culture for UX Teams
Team Culture for UX Teams

Promote your team culture

This gives candidates a taste of the interaction within your team and gives them insights of what to expect when they work for the company if you have teams not just in Singapore but also outside of the country, this is where you want to shout about it!

Have vs Needs during Design
Have vs Need
State the must-have requirements

Their degree is an obvious requirement. Are they are able to work in Singapore? Check all the absolute musts you need so you know who to reject when you flip through their application.

All good questions to think about.

Step 2: Start Recruiting on UX-Focused Platforms

You probably won't use JobStreet as a platform in this case because it does not make sense to spend that much money to hire UX interns.

Consider free platforms like:

Social media groups

LinkedIn and Facebook have large groups of people interested in UX which consists of students, self-learners and experienced professionals like yourself who would understand the kind of talent you want and could recommend someone up for the job.

An example of an Ecommerce Hackathon in Singapore back in  2018
Ecommerce Hackathon

Hackathon groups

You'll find the competitive bunch in communities like this, perfect if you're looking for hard workers and strong researchers who enjoy a design challenge on the job. They also tend to target user growth as a KPI so that saves you some pain teaching them the importance of user growth.

Meetup
MeetUp

Meetup

This is a platform for people who have similar interests to meet up. You'll find plenty of UX groups here where every member is at least interested in building a good user experience and some are hunting for a job every 3-5 posts, so keep an eye out.


TeSA supports a lot of academies in Singapore like Smartacademy who offer UX courses
TeSA

Universities or schools providing certifications

Some online schools or bootcamps do teach the fundamentals of UI/UX design well these days and I've personally found someone I trained up to be a product designer from an internship before.

Keep in mind that not everyone from these groups would be looking for jobs or may not be from Singapore. The beauty of these platforms is they consist people who range from product managers, front-end developers, designers - practically anyone with an interest in UX design

They will be more than willing to share your internship with their connections and potentially link you up with your next intern who would be interested in the opportunity.

Step 3: Interviewing

Typically, most companies would do:

  1. CV screening
  2. Phone screening
  3. Face-to-face interview


That takes too much time without testing their practical skills, so an alternative that I find works really well is this process:

  1. CV screening
  2. Face-to-face interview
  3. Practical design assignment

CV Screening

Self-explanatory - just make sure they don't list a fake degree, get a good understanding of their previous experiences or skills they learned so you know what you might get to work with to which role they could potentially fill in the team.

Virtual Interview Between UX Interns and Managers
Virtual Interview

During the interview

Treat it like a conversation. Here's a few questions you could ask:


This stage allows you to test their theoretical understanding of the industry and job they applied for.

Wireframing is a big part of practical work of designers, I recommend include it in the assignment - Credits: Career Founder

User Experience or UI/UX Assignment

This is where you get to assess their design skills.

We designed a simple test where candidates for the internship had to think like designers to design prototypes of actual work we've done for a client account before.

Each candidate had to perform usability testing on their work, keeping in mind that all the elements and interaction on their designs have to be focused on helping the user navigate each page as smoothly as possible.

A fun assignment would be to fix up Google's icon designs - Credits: TechCrunch


The end product of their work gives us good insights on the functionality of their current level of work, the skills they possess and which skills we should focus on teaching them.

Based on their overall performance, we discuss the performance and provide feedback to each candidate on their work and see how they take it, because a good intern takes feedback well.

The best attitude with at least a good fundamental understanding of what a good UX is gets to start their career with us while the others had to look for other jobs.

Credits: Glints


Step 4: Onboarding

Think about all the different stakeholders this intern will deal with on a daily basis.  Consider all the tools this person is going to use, and the processes your team use as well. Different companies have different workflows so even if they have done an internship with another company, brief them as if they are completely new to work anyways.

It would be a good idea to develop a checklist for them to get started. Here was ours:

Just cover the critical stuff with them on a call/in person, then give them the rest to read in their own time.

Final Notes

To sum it up in a nutshell, you know your company best and you should design the internship to be a good learning experience because your interns might one day become a valuable member of your team.

Train them like they're going to work with you in the long-term and who knows - you could find yourself creating the new powerhouse that will create impact like talent in companies like Grab do in the world of UX.

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