As design is becoming more and more important in product development, especially in the digital niche, the demand for UX design agencies is getting increasingly more significant by the day. As a result, their teams start to experience lack of time and – quite literally – hands, which more and more often makes companies turn to freelance contractors’ assistance.

Although modern design teams have little to no issues having employees from all over the world scattered across multiple time zones, it’s still quite challenging to hire the right specialists. Since the challenge is so great, UX design agencies have to overcome some quite unconventional obstacles to land top talent.

In this article, we are going to primarily discuss whether you should hire generalists or specialists for your design team and which is the best way to do this. Hopefully, you’ll get a much clearer idea of the challenges and how to resolve them to get a hold of the most excellent design experts that can help your company excel in the modern design market.

UX Specialists or UX Generalists?

Before you start looking for candidates, it’s necessary to decide whether you require a specialist or a generalist designer onto your team for your current project.

Perks of Hiring a UX Specialist

There are several advantages to hiring a specialist designer. First of all, specialists are frequently proficient in two disciplines supported by at least several years of experience in the field. In the end, it is impossible to be skilled at something without practicing it for some time. That is why hiring a UX design specialist is a perfect choice for short-term projects that have predetermined project parameters and design briefs.

Specialists are also an ideal option if you require an employee to execute a very particular role on your team or to support it with specialized assignments.

Perks of Hiring a UX Generalist

There are also particular benefits of hiring generalists onto your team. As you can tell from the name, a generalist is presumably good at doing various things – a sort of a Swiss Army Knife in your staff. Such employees are very adaptable, capable of working through each stage of the UX design process and can be quickly reassigned within the team. It’s best to hire a generalist, if the project’s scope can still change or if you need a more agile organization.


Both UX specialists and UX generalists have their shortcomings. While specialists are highly effective at a couple of particular tasks, they are not very adaptable and flexible. At the same time, generalists can deal with a broader range of design tasks but may lack the specialized competence to take care of complex design assignments or intricate roles on the project.

Skills You Should Hire for

Considering all of the above, what should you focus on when hiring designers onto your teams? What skills should you look for? The first thing you want to do is be specific when listing the required skills, as obvious as it may sound.

When hiring, a lot of companies tend to be unspecific about the necessary skills on purpose. It’s because they don’t want to restrict talent pools to their lists and miss out on the right candidates. But, such an approach will almost surely backfire due to tons of resumes coming in from people who are not suitable for the job.

Also, if you are looking for remote employees, you want to be specific, because working with them is an entirely different experience compared to those working in-house. It’s rather challenging to review the work of a remote designer, so you need to make sure you can trust them. Along with the desired skills, you should look for a person that has a strong work ethic, as they will have to be disciplined and autonomous to meet deadlines and quality standards.

You also have to look for a person that can communicate concisely. While design primarily has to do with visual art, it’s also a matter of proper and clear communication. Your potential designers should be capable of providing a clear explanation of their thinking patterns and logic, using clear and understandable language. In case a person you’re considering to hire can’t do that, you might have to pass because they will need to work in a team, and communication is critical.

Also, make sure to separate workflows from tools. The thing is that both UX specialists and UX generalists focus on getting around with a particular design tool instead of grasping UI/UX design principles. No matter if you’re looking for a generalist or specialist, they have to be able to ‘go with the flow.’

Summing Up

Generalists are great. Specialists are great, too. But, if it’s the design industry, it’s always best to have a mix of both. Sometimes you will need to focus on things that require in-depth knowledge and understanding, while other times, you will need a more agile team that can adapt and change its work concept, while still delivering high-quality results. The thing is that if the industry didn’t need specialists or generalists, one of these two categories would have already gone away. But, since both of them are still around, it means that both of them are still useful.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.