Content designer interview questions – plus what to ask your interviewers

2 people looking at sheets of paper which look like a CV
Read Time:8 Minute, 40 Second

β€œHow would a content designer check their content meets user needs?” Lizzie Bruce shares 40 potential #ContentDesign interview questions, plus what to ask them, a CV structure and an example career path.

Here I share some interview topics and questions you might encounter, plus what you could ask the interviewers, a simple CV structure and pointers for stepping into content design.

For each topic I flag what to consider and provide links to relevant modules from my content design and UCD e-learning. These could be a helpful springboard – but remember interviewers are looking for real world context. Demonstrating how you overcame challenges and how you showed pragmatism in coping with, for example, budget and scope constraints will generally go down well.

Comments are open on this post – please add any more interview questions, topics and considerations that might be helpful for the community.


Interview topics and questions

1. User needs

What is meant by a β€˜user need’? How would you describe a β€˜user need’?
How do you discover user needs?
How do user needs relate to content design? How do user needs relate to page structure and information architecture?
How would a content designer check that their content meets user needs?

Consider:

Needs versus wants, user stories, job stories, acceptance criteria, user research, language research, analytics, content hierarchy, page sketching, task-based content, topic grouping.

Prepare:

User needs: meaning and design purpose module 🍰
Content design pathway course πŸŽ‚

2. Content accessibility and usability

What are 3 essentials for accessible content? What factors come into content accessibility?
In what ways can a content designer make web and digital content more usable?
Can you tell us about a website or app you’ve come across recently which was not usable? How could you improve this with content design?
Do you have any examples of how you have improved content accessibility in a past role?
How would you make the case for content accessibility and usability?

Consider:

Text alternatives, clear language, readability, legibility, literacy, button size, font, tech, non-flashing images, user research, situational, temporary and permanent disability, WCAG 2.1, Equality Act, accessibility is usability, social model of disability, stats, reaching the widest audience and customer base.

Prepare:

Content accessibility an introduction module 🍰
Content usability basics module 🍰
Content design pathway course πŸŽ‚

3. Language research

How do you make decisions on which words to use in your content?
What language research methods do you use?
What would you say are the differences between optimising content for (your own) users and optimising content for search-engines? Humans use search engines, so why shouldn’t an SEO-focused approach be the default?

Consider:

Clear language, readability, user research, literacy, audience and customer base, location, context, jargon, user needs and motivations, Google Trends, Answer the public, Google Search Console, SEM Rush, keywords, metadata, user interviews, user feedback, help desk data.

Prepare:

Content findability module 🍰
Content design pathway course πŸŽ‚

4. Content inclusivity

How do you approach designing inclusive content?
What are some important considerations for inclusive design?

Consider:

Diverse team, diverse user research participants, representation (of broad range of genders, races, cultures, nationalities, ages, abilities, sexualities, class backgrounds, financial situations, relationship statuses, family set ups, more).

Prepare:

Content inclusivity: an introduction module 🍰
Design out bias FREE module 🍰
Content design pathway course πŸŽ‚

5. Scaling quality content

How would you approach introducing content quality standards across a large site?
What processes and methods can support content quality?
How would you make it easier for remote, devolved editing teams to adopt content quality standards?

Consider:

Strategy, governance, tech, team size, central support team, standards, style guidance, content patterns, structured content, user-needs bank, task-based content, consistency, processes, gatekeeping, publication flow, approval flow, localised content, personalisation, customisation, content management systems, training, maintenance, community of practice, content workshops, internal content conferences with remote access.

Prepare

What is readability? module 🍰
Task-based content module 🍰
Content design pathway course πŸŽ‚

6. Governance and content strategy

What should an organisation’s content strategy cover?
What publication models have organisations you’ve worked at used (centralised, devolved, hub and spoke) and what are some advantages and disadvantages of each?
Have you had any experience developing content standards?
How have you gone about engaging content owners in the past?

Consider

Content creation, content ownership, maintenance, consistency, accessibility, asset library, style guidance, content review, factual sign off, content management system, publication flow, responsibility, standards, show and tell, stats, analytics, presentation.

Prepare

Content usability basics module 🍰
Content design pathway course πŸŽ‚

7. Working with stakeholders

How do you engage stakeholders and subject experts in the content design process?
What approaches do you take when a subject expert is unhappy about their content being changed?

Consider

Show and tells, pair writing, presentations, best practice, competitor/sector examples, readability, clear language, how people read online, task-based content, user needs.

Prepare

Pair writing a content item 🍰
Content usability basics module πŸ°
User needs: meaning, and design purpose module 🍰
Content design pathway course πŸŽ‚

8. Advocating for content design and UCD

How would you explain content design to someone who had not heard of it before? Same question for user-centred design.
What are 3 things you would like someone new to content design to remember about it?
What activities have you been involved in previously where the aim was to engage other teams with content design processes?
Have you ever needed to convince a budget holder to invest in user research? How did you go about it?

Consider

Show and tells, blog post shared in all-staff email or featured as internal news item, championing content design to directors as well as subject experts and service teams, community of practice, demonstrating uplift, before and after examples, value, ROI, explaining what content design is, user needs, usability, accessibility, stats, best practice examples, presentations, guidance, sharing training, recommending books.

Prepare

Content usability basics module πŸ°
User needs: meaning, and design purpose module 🍰
Content accessibility an introduction module 🍰
Design out bias FREE module 🍰
Content design pathway course πŸŽ‚

9. Return on investment, success indicators

How have you shown the value of content in a previous role?
What measurements and indicators have you used to show uplift in user satisfaction with content?

Consider

Fewer complaints, help desk less busy, positive feedback, surveys, user needs acceptance criteria fulfilled, user interviews, representation, accessibility review, analytics show page visits to previously unfound content, more conversions, completed transactions, quicker user journeys.

Prepare

Content findability module 🍰
Design centred on users: an introduction 🍰
Content design pathway course πŸŽ‚

10. Collaborating with other disciplines

What are your experiences of working in a multidisciplinary team?
How do you communicate with user researchers, visual designers and developers on a project?

What is the most useful thing you have learnt from another discipline and how do you apply it to content design?
How have you collaborated with service teams, project owners, subject experts and other stakeholders?

Consider

Daily stand ups, video calls, team meetings, talking to them, retros, show and tells, user research analysis sessions, asking questions, understanding the offline service experience, presentations, lunch and learn, question and answer sessions.

Prepare

Why multi-disciplinary teamwork works 🍰
Pair writing a content item 🍰
Content inclusivity: an introduction 🍰
User-centred design pathway course πŸŽ‚


β€œHave you got any questions for us?”

What is the digital content team size?
How long have you been practising user-centred design at [organisation name]?

How on board with content design processes are the content owners or subject experts?
Do you have content owners who approve content changes, or subject experts with factual sign off?
How often do you do user research interviews or usability testing?
Do you design iteratively? What is the content maintenance cycle like?
What opportunities would there be for me to progress in a content design role at [organisation name]?

Do you hold daily stand ups and regular retros?

A good reference for the UCD maturity of an organisation is Padma Gillen’s 5-phase digital maturity lifecycle. You will have different opportunities and challenges as a content design er at different points of the cycle.


Your CV structure

Here is a simple outline that you can adapt. You do not need to include your gender, age, marital status or address on your CV.

Profile (1 or 2 lines)
Skills
Software and tools
Professional training
Qualifications
Publications
(blog posts, articles, papers, books)
Awards


Work history (could be more than 1 page)

Languages (if relevant to role position this section at top, for example after or within Skills)
Interests

Presenting your work history

If you are you continuing in the same career direction and building on previous roles, you can present this chronologically as:

  • recent: brief narrative
  • mid: bullet points
  • older: only title and dates

But if you are changing direction, put focus on transferrable skills and relevant experiences by presenting your experience by relevancy, which could be non-chronological, so:

  • relevant: brief narrative
  • less relevant: bullet points
  • not very relevant: only title and dates

Stepping into content design and user-centred design

If you have not worked specifically in content design before, there are many transferrable skills you might have. 14 of us offer career tips in this Working in Content article, including examples of how to best frame your existing experience.

Hippo Digital and Made Tech offer salaried academies where you can learn as you earn and graduate into client work with their agencies. Both have highly skilled , UCD-experienced staff, and great project work opportunities.

Scroll has an excellent newsletter and there are many great #ContentDesign folk to follow on Twitter.


Career path

You may also like to explore the content designer career path and official skillsets from the UK Government Digital Service, the organisation where the discipline originated.

Content design career progression can be from associate to head of, but you may end up stepping into another user-centred design discipline, or may come from one.

Working in content design and strategy, you may frequently need to advocate for content design and user-centred design. You’re welcome to re-use my e-learning content for presentations, just add a reference to Cake Consultancy Ltd as your source, and if you use social media post a tweet, LinkedIn update or blog entry tagging Lizzie Bruce (@CakeContent on Twitter).

Good luck!


β€œHow would a content designer check their content meets user needs?” Lizzie Bruce shares 40 potential #ContentDesign interview questions, plus what to ask them, a CV structure and an example career path.


Image credit: Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.