How to get the junior-level design role you applied for

Timothy Kolke
3 min readAug 4, 2022


Photo by Zhu Liang on Unsplash

We’ve all been there… You’ve sent in your job application and now you’re waiting. Or maybe you are just in the process of putting your application together. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your application and get through the interview process.

Our design team at Later has very specific things we are looking for (and I suspect many other design teams look for these same things). It may come as a surprise to you that character, not design skills, is at the top of the list. This means we care more about your values and how you work with other people than what you know about design. We can all learn the design stuff along the way, but it’s not easy to change who we are.

Below I’ve copy and pasted our actual candidate evaluation checklist. We use this to evaluate candidates who come through the application process.

Candidate evaluation checklist

What we are looking for in general

We are looking for new team members who are well rounded as people and designers. This includes a genuine desire to collaborate with others in a team setting, has a natural inclination to be curious about the perspectives of other people, can do both big picture thinking and detailed interaction design, likes learning and feeling challenged, and knows how they want to grow personally and professionally.

Things to look for in the cover letter

That they don’t only talk about themselves and how awesome they are (of course a bit of this is okay :) ). We’re looking for balance. Do they also mention a desire to collaborate and work with other people? Do they show a desire to make a contribution to the team and the company? Do they show empathy toward others (users and team)? Do they show humility?

Things to watch for in the UX exercise review meeting

Pretend this is an exercise in collaboration in the context of a design review. Imagine that you are seeing some new UX work for the first time and you are a key stakeholder looking to get the best solution possible. Note that we are looking for both big picture thinking (problem solving skills) and detailed interaction design abilities.

Try to ask questions that challenge the design solution. Look to see if candidates respond well to feedback on their designs. Are they genuinely curious about your ideas? Do they get defensive? Are they open to exploring new ideas? Do they defend their ideas using data?

Professional UX experience

  • Junior: has at least 1 year of experience, could be an internship at a reputable company
  • Intermediate: has at least 2 years experience
  • Senior: has at least 5 years experience


  • Shows humility
  • Shows ownership (goes beyond the job description)
  • Shows service (looks for opportunities to help others)
  • Shows craftsmanship (quality and attention to detail)
  • Shows nimbleness (can adjust direction quickly when needed)

Communication and collaboration

  • Has worked with a team
  • Shows a excitement about working with a team
  • Demonstrates effective collaboration
  • Can communicate effectively (writing and verbal)


  • Shows taking initiative
  • Bias for action
  • Drives toward a good UX outcome
  • Helps create best practices and processes
  • Prioritizes well and demonstrates effective time management

Design skills

  • Thoughtful user flows
  • Well crafted wireframes
  • Proficiency with Figma
  • Uses best practices
  • Well organized

Research and data skills

  • Demonstrates use of data
  • Shows a desire to rely on data to make decisions
  • Knows how to work with event data

Learning and education

  • Shows that they like to learn, curious, hungry for knowledge about their craft
  • Has either gone through formal training for UX or has demonstrated that they are a self learner



Timothy Kolke

Curious about design, research and humans / Head of UX @ Later