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How to crush with the recruiter interview for a UX writer job

Learn what the recruiter interview is all about when you're interviewing for a UX writer job and how to ace it.
ux writer recruiter interview
ux writer recruiter interview
In: Job search

It’s time to prep for the interview process, and that kicks off with the recruiter interview, or phone screen.

Phone screen? Sounds like picking up a strange number to see if it’s a telemarketer.

Honestly, the recruiter interview is kinda like that. The recruiter, a member of the HR team, not the product design team, interviews you to see if you meet the qualifications given to them by the hiring manager.

Since their career and expertise is in recruiting, not product design, they don’t actually know what makes good UX writing. Instead, they’re given keywords to listen to by the hiring manager. And if you say those keywords, you’re pretty much on to the next round.

Kinda makes sense… What’s an analogy?

The recruiter interview has a lot of parallels with online dating on an app like Tinder. After you match with someone, you chat to “screen” them and see if they’re worth meeting IRL.

The recruiter interview is the same — the recruiter is “screening” you to see if your qualifications and background are worth the hiring manager’s time.

Chatting with a match and the recruiter interviewing you aim to answer the same question: Do I like what I learn enough to sacrifice precious time?

Just like with chatting with a potential boo on Tinder, the recruiter interview can end in one of 3 ways:

  1. The dead end 🪦 — Very uncomfortable interview that you know you’re not going to hear back from
  2. Close but no cigar 🚬 — The interview went mostly well, except you think you messed up in a few places
  3. Meant to be 🥰 — The interview couldn’t have gone better, and you scheduled the next one on the call.

Assuming you’ve dated, I share this goofy analogy to help you put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes and empathize with where they're coming from and their goals, because with empathy comes understanding.

So how do I nail the recruiter interview?

Again, the recruiter is waiting for you to literally say the right things. How do you know what the right things to say are? My friend, they’re right there in the UX writer job description.

That’s right — the UX writer job description holds all the keywords and points the recruiter is looking for you to hit on. Makes sense when you think about it — the job description is the most thorough definition of the role given to the recruiter by the hiring manager, and they don’t have that much more to go off of.

How to use the UX writer job description on the call

First things first — study the UX writer job description before your call, so you have a sense of what they’re looking for. Know enough about the role that you could explain in detail to a friend what the hiring team is looking for.

Then, when you’re actually on the call, have the job description up on your computer. When the recruiter asks you specific, not broad, questions, quickly scan the job description to find the relevant answer they’re looking to hear.

PS: A broad question is something like “tell me about your background” — the job description won’t inform your story. Also, you can’t use the UX writer job question to find the correct answer to “tell me about a time when” questions. It’s for specific questions, like what I’m about to share below.

What’s an example?

Say the recruiter asks you, “What does your day-to-day look like as a UX writer?”

With this question, the recruiter is cleverly looking to understand if you know how to do certain UX writing things listed in the job description and what other roles you have experience collaborating with.

Same we’re interviewing for this role:

Based on what the job description says, our answer might be something like (keywords bolded):

My average day as a UX writer is very collaborative. I’m right there with the product design team from discovery to concepting to wireframing to prototyping. While a lot of my time is spent collaborating, when it comes to heads-down time, my work revolves around writing and designing microcopy for product content and SEO. I work with a lot of data and user feedback to make informed decisions, and I jump at the opportunity to sit in on user research. I also spend time presenting to and collaboration with stakeholders, like product managers and engineers, to get them onboard with my vision.

This seems hard

I’ll be honest — it can take a few tries to get used to scanning and talking at the same time. But you’ll get the knack of it over time, and your success will soar.

Happy UX writing 🖖

Written by
Slater Katz
As founder of The Gig Gal, my mission is to make learning UX writing fanastically-simple and landing a job easy. I've held UX writing jobs at companies like Netflix, Fitbit, Verizon, Afterpay, & more.
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