Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Interviewing UI Designers

Since we are in the process of building a team of UI designers at work, I have been assigned the task of conducting interviews to decide on potential candidates. Today, I held my first few rounds of interviews. Until today, I have never realized how entertaining an interview can be.

Me: So, on a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate your CSS skills?
She: 6, at least. (smile)
Me: Nice. 6 is not bad. So, what does CSS stand for?
She: Cascading Style Sheets
Me: Ok. Why are they called 'cascading' style sheets?
She: Because you can cascade it onto multiple pages.
Me: So, I need to write a JavaScript snippet that can read a user's inputs in a form, prepare a text file, and save it on the user's desktop. Can I do this using JavaScript?
Him: Sure!
Me: (understandably surprised) Can you show me the code?
Him: Sure! (starts scribbling something down, but gets stuck)
Me: (probing) Are you sure this can be done using JavaScript again?
Him: Yeah, I'm pretty sure.
Me: Have you seen any examples of this before?
Him: Yeah. We have used similar things in our previous organization.
Me: How do I add a style sheet to my HTML document?
Him: Simple. You click on 'Insert' on the menu bar, and click on "Style sheet".
Me: No, I meant by hand-coding in markup
Him: Yeah. You can do it that way too.
Me: Yeah, that's what I'm asking. How do you do it?
Him: You should use the right tag for that purpose.
Me: Which is the right tag for this purpose?
Him: (thinks for some time, but can't come up with anything)
Me: (trying to help him out) Are you familiar with the link and style tags? What do they do?
Him: You use the style tag for attaching style sheets, and the link tag for creating links.
Me: Allright, how good are you at JavaScript?
She: Very good.
Me: That's quite a relief. So, what is the DOM?
She: (thinks for some time) I'm not really sure. I've heard that for the first time.
Me: Is JavaScript an Object Oriented language, or is it a Procedural language? Or is it some weird mix of both? Or is it neither?
Him: I did not understand the question. Could you please tell me what is 'Object Oriented'?
Me: So, about image editing, when would you use the GIF format, and when would you use the JPG format?
She: I'll use the GIF format for making animations, and the JPG for static images.
Me: I meant static images itself. Which format will you use, and on what basis will you decide?
She: Static images? I'll use the JPG format.


Anonymous said...

Hey Nerd,

You seem to be getting Nerdier by the day. You are taking interviews now???? What has gone wrong with this world????? By the way I would have got 4/6 correct there. I know this would sound stupid to everryone but what is the prob with JPEG? Personally I might PNG or something.


Rakesh Pai said...

You bet, Buds. Things couldn't be more wrong with this world. :-)

Prashant Sakhuja said...

Hey these are hilarious!!!!
reminds me of the Dell call center executive jokes.....

can i use these as fwds: ..... ;)
- Prashant

Rakesh Pai said...

Feel free to use the material on this blog for any non-commercial purposes, Sakhuja. Giving me credit for it would be a nice gesture, just as informing me about what you are doing with the content is.

As for sending mails, you can simply click on the mail icon at the bottom of the post to forward the link for this page to anyone. :)

Steven Tew said...


I've mean in a big mood all morning but this post has got me giggling.

And I knew all correct the answers too!

Thanks for sharing.

Gravecat said...

There's nothing funnier than people who pretend to know (or mistakenly believe they know) things when they don't. :D

Useless Mortal said...

u alive? Long time, no see

Anonymous said...

So which of these illustrious candidates got the job?


andrius said...

just wanted to share my new blog with you.

You're the only one I know at Blogger :)

Anonymous said...

so funny, ur world is so different than mine, for me, all these answers are correct.... hehe
the most difficult question for me is 'How does one put ones computer on?'

raka said...

Well you are looking for a UI designer, and asking some good fundamental CS questions and some basic Javascript/html kind of questions, I am not surprised that with the kind of demand that is there in India now for IT talent, you are getting such answers!

Anonymous said...

Well buddy..

Nice you can't have a laugh at these people. They are really innocent. They will learn things slowly. If you know things does not mean you can crack a joke over people who do not.

You too did not know anything some year ago. How you felt getting laughed at?

I am not impressed.

Rakesh Pai said...

What do I say to Mr. Oversensitive Anonymous!

FYI, I have never applied for a job where I didn't have the core skills they were looking for. That's really what's funny about these people.

I'm not impressed by your sense of humor, and I think you need to learn to see the funny side of things. Totally unimpressed.

JT said...

There's a major difference between Designers and Developers. You were interviewing for a Developer. A UI Designer is responsible for creating highly useable and intuitive interfaces (that look as good as they feel). How that interface is coded, while considered by the Designer, is not integral to the role.
All-in-all, the interviewees were not appropriate for either position!

Rakesh Pai said...


I agree completely. However, at the time - a year and a half ago, the concept of UI Developer was unheard of. UIs were made by server-side developers, and the only person who worked hands-on and specialized on the UI was the designer.

Of course, things have changed today. This position would be called a UI Developer now, without confusion or ambiguity.

Anonymous said...

ha ha ha ;-)

Any UI developer that doesn't know how to hand code CSS and JS is DOM.

Use JPG for static... (chuckle) use LINK for links... (cough, snort)... STYLE for stylesheets (Phssshaw)

Sounds like this would be the perfect candidate to handle all those tricky "doesn't work in IE" issues - NOT!

Abhishek Mishra said...

"prepare a text file, and save it on the user's desktop"

No wonder he couldn't get it at that moment. But I did it once in vbscript way back, basically by creating a FileSystemObject, and <confession> used it for all malicious intents at school lab. </confession>

But "Him: Yeah. We have used similar things in our previous organization"

This is the rofl part... I wonder what sort of applications were made in such ways and how many got blocked by browser and av updates after iloveyou disaster.