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Product designer hiring guide: Salary, competencies, and other information

Recruitment | 6 Min Read

Product designer hiring guide: Salary, competencies, and other information


If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.

Ralf Speth
The chairperson of TVS Motor Company

A product’s market success and its ability to surge ahead of competitor products are defined by its value and design. A product designer helps create a market-ready, valuable product from an idea or concept. Hence, a skilled product designer in the team is not just good to have but a necessity.

According to Dribble.com, a leading platform for finding product designers, a product designer is the most in-demand role for companies in 2022.

With the rise in demand, competition is also increasing to hire highly-skilled and competent designers. This article is a detailed guide to help companies hire the best-fit product designers.


Who is a product designer?

A product designer is a professional who uses different tools to design a product’s seamless, intuitive, and smooth user experience. As a result, these professionals play a crucial role during the entire product life cycle by either designing a new product or improving the existing design to optimize the user experience. Their major responsibility involves transforming a concept into a functional product through an effective design.

A skilled and competent product designer collaborates with engineers, researchers, designers, and stakeholders to create a user experience that aligns with the product’s objective. Therefore, though product designers only focus on design aspects, they also need to consider the big picture.

Product designers additionally determine deficiencies and lapses in user experience to provide relevant solutions. They are problem-solvers who are mindful of every product detail.


Image 1


Roles and responsibilities of a product designer

Christopher Stringer, one of the former product designers at Apple who played a vital part in designing the iPhone, iMac, iPod, iPad, MacBook, and many other products, said, “Our role is to imagine products that don’t exist and guide them to life.”

The following are the roles of a product designer:

  • Collaborate with designing, engineering, research, marketing, and data science teams throughout the product life cycle
  • Create user journey maps, wireframes, and prototypes
  • Streamline product functionality for a smooth user experience
  • Translate concepts and requirements into functional products
  • Create seamless, intuitive, and effective user experiences
  • Develop a feedback system to determine deficiencies and lapses in user experience

The following are the responsibilities of a product designer:

  • Determine new product opportunities
  • Research and analyze how new products align with user requirements
  • Research product technologies and structures
  • Present innovative ideas to internal teams and stakeholders
  • Set design requirements based on the information and insights gathered from research and internal teams
  • Create design concepts and drawings
  • Stay updated about the latest design trends 
  • Coordinate with other design members to create innovative designs and maintain consistency throughout the product life cycle
  • Maintain clear communication with design team members, other teams, and senior leadership during each design phase
  • Modify, improve, and revise existing designs as per user feedback and by identifying deficiencies in user experiences
  • Utilize necessary software for designing products and components
  • Prototype, test, and design products 
  • Oversee new designing, refining, and modification processes throughout the product life cycle
  • Create a style guide and develop documentation for maintaining consistency throughout the product life cycle
  • Train junior designers


Skills to look for when hiring a product designer

Along with design skills, a product designer needs leadership, project management, research, time management, communication, and many other skills. The following are essential skills recruiters should look for while hiring a product designer:


infographic 1



Determining what users need and accordingly designing products is crucial to a product’s success. Therefore, a product designer must conduct brainstorming sessions, create focus groups, and extract useful insights or valuable information before starting the project.


Critical thinking


Determining a problem, finding a solution, and creating a seamless user experience require critical thinking. Moreover, product designers need to be mindful of each detail.

Utilize Mercer | Mettl’s Critical Thinking Ability Test to determine and analyze product designers’ abilities while hiring.




Prototypes are designed to test and measure the product’s effectiveness before the project’s launch. It helps product designers to determine potential issues, design lapses, and overall functioning. Knowledge of prototyping can help designers identify project functions that add value to users.




Brainstorming various ideas and communicating the latest design trends to the team, stakeholders, and other teams require good communication skills. A great idea pitched in the wrong way can lead to rejection. Hence, product designers need good written communication skills to connect with other project stakeholders.

Mercer | Mettl provides an online Communication Assessment Tool to evaluate candidates’ communication skills.


User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design


UI and UX designs involve the product’s interaction with users and the users’ comprehensive experience.

Jef Raskin, the interface designer for the Apple Macintosh project, stated, “As far as the customer is concerned, the interface is the product.”

Therefore, product designers should create user-friendly interfaces and provide a smooth experience using UI/UX design skills.

Mercer | Mettl’s UI/UX Assessment Tool for designers, helps evaluate a candidate’s UI/UX proficiency.


Visual design


A product designer in any role requires fundamental knowledge principles, such as color and typography. While these professionals help optimize a product’s user-friendliness and ease, aesthetics help attract the audience. Hence, basic visual design skills are imperative.


Project management


A product designer’s role is at the center of the entire project. They collaborate with stakeholders and different teams, such as sales and marketing. As a result, they need project management skills to communicate and solve critical problems.


Questions to ask a product designer during an interview

Following are some of the general questions for a product designer’s interview:

  • According to you, what is a product design?
  • What is a suitable product design procedure?
  • What is the newest thing you have learned? How did you apply it, and has it improved your work?
  • What should be the first step taken toward a product design?
  • Which is more important? A style guide or product?
  • Tell us about a complex problem you have solved. What were the complications, and how did you simplify the design?
  • How do you stay updated with the latest design trends?
  • What are the procedures for conducting user research?
  • How do you take feedback about your product designs?
  • What steps are taken to identify a deficiency in user experience?
  • Which is your favorite product in terms of design? Why is it your favorite?

Along with the above question, recruiters can ask design-specific questions related to different sectors. For instance, computer-aided design (CAD) software is used in manufacturing. Questions related to various functionalities, tabs, and CAD software tools should be asked for hiring product designers in the manufacturing sector.


Image 2


Four tips for hiring the best product designer

After determining the roles, responsibilities, and skill-set required in the organization, recruiters can use the following tips to hire the best product designer:


infographic 2

Develop a concise job description

Once exact roles, responsibilities, and skills are mentioned in the job description, it becomes easier to filter out candidates and invest time in focusing on specific candidates.

Talk about a few important things in the description, such as:

  • Medical benefits, insurance, vacation, and other benefits offered to the candidate.
  • Qualifications and certifications necessary for the role.
  • Growth opportunities that the company offers.
  • About the company, business history, values, and other essential details.
  • Company’s culture, such as flexible working, working from home, etc.
  • List non-technical skills required for the role, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, attention to detail, and communication skills.

Evaluate the experience level

According to the job role and position, recruiters should evaluate the candidates’ experience. For example, a senior designer who has created at least four valuable products and has five years of experience may fit an advanced job role.

When hiring mid-level or entry-level product designers, consider their portfolios, resumes, and work quality.

Mercer Mettl’s Design Aptitude Test can help evaluate a candidate’s design skills, including abstract reasoning, verbal reasoning, creative thinking, and detail-oriented skills.

Headhunt candidates

Instead of waiting for candidates to apply for roles from job search websites, recruiters can headhunt the potential candidates. Design communities, such as Dribbble, Behance, Adobe Portfolio, and others, help find the designers’ work. Job search websites such as Talent.com, Indeed Jobs, and LinkedIn will also help find experienced product designers.

Utilize assessments to gauge performance

Organizations can identify role requirements and create a design challenge to evaluate candidates’ knowledge and experience. These challenges are a marker of actual work completed by the designer in the past.

It will help you assess the following details:

  • Candidate’s ability to clearly follow the instructions in the brief.
  • Ability to research competitors and industry requirements before designing the product.
  • Knowledge of design and related aspects to clearly understand product requirements.
  • Ability to follow the standard design process involving concept sketches, mockups, wireframes, prototypes, etc.
  • Fundamental understanding of typography, information hierarchy, and accessibility.
  • Ability to innovate and implement new ideas.


Use Mercer | Mettl tests for hiring the best talent

Online assessment tools can help accelerate the interview process once you have shortlisted a few candidates. Mercer | Mettl brings an extensive range of online tests to assist organizations in hiring the best designers and screening them in different areas and aspects. Following is the list of tests that can help recruiters in hiring the best product designers:

Design Aptitude Test – To assess design-centric skills

Design Thinking Test – To assess critical design thinking skills

Adobe Photoshop Test – To hire the best designers

UI/UX Skills Assessment – To assess product designing skills

These tests are adopted and trusted by leading organizations, such as Paytm, Airtel, AIMA, and others. They are designed meticulously to help recruiters assess potential candidates and speed up the interview process.



A product designer plays a crucial role in building a good product, consequently bringing returns on investment. So, it is essential to adopt a meticulous approach in assessing the skill set, experience, problem-solving abilities, creativity, and communication skills. Once roles, responsibilities, and skill requirements are defined clearly and concisely, it becomes easier to find the best-fit candidate.



What skills does a product designer have?

Who does a product designer work with?

What does a product designer do?

Originally published December 5 2022, Updated December 5 2022

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About This Topic

The primary objectives of recruitment and selection are to ensure high-quality candidates who are culturally fit and work toward shared organizational goals and vision.

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