When I review a previous year there are so many themes and trends that jump out at me, however, in 2019 there was one broad theme that struck me as by far the most important, and one that will stick with us for a much longer time than the “dark mode” design trend will.

2019 was a year for me where the attitudes towards working culture shifted a lot, and it’s interesting to think how those attitudinal shifts will follow-through and impact Design hiring in 2020. If you are looking to hire in 2020, here are three key hiring themes that you should be aware of, and why yourself and your organisation can benefit from them when it comes to hiring Designers (and others).


There are no prizes for long, unnecessary interview processes

Interview processes in 2019 started to get away from themselves in many cases, and we spent a lot of time consulting directly with clients on building interview processes which perform three core functions:

  1. They provide the both the hirer and candidate with all the information they need to confidently make a hire.
  2. They don’t include unnecessary stages, or demand an unreasonable amount of time from the candidate (or the hirer, for that matter).
  3. They are a two-way process (No more “tell us why you’re good enough to work here” interviews).

It’s not my job to tell you that your interview process has ‘unnecessary’ steps, because each and every business is looking for different qualities and needs to assess these things in different ways. What I do encourage, however, is that you ask yourselves the following with regard to your hiring process:

“What are we looking for in this hire, and does our interview process do a good job in assessing those things? Is every part necessary? If the candidates we need are likely to have multiple interview processes, does our process engage candidates throughout? Are we getting the result we want? If not, are we using our time effectively?”

If it’s the first time you’ve hired a designer / design team then, rather than have a long process, the best way to get the hires right is to use external advice from a combination of experienced design leaders and specialist recruiters to help you make decisions and get the process right for your business. This will save you time, but also help hire an individual who you will have a strong chance of retaining for longer.


Interview experience is just a part of the overall hiring experience

The interview experience is really important, but it is just a part of the overall hiring experience – there’s no point in having a great interview process, if the overall hiring experience is terrible (e.g. slow and / or impersonal updates between each stage).

We often place Designers into new roles, having had them at offer stage for two (or more) different businesses. It’s common for them to be far more interested in Company A than Company B based on the brand & reputation of their team but, having received offers from both, they finished the process accepting an offer at Company B.


’They made me feel like they really wanted me to work there, and the other didn’t’

It honestly doesn’t matter if you’re their preferred choice at the start of the process, it matters that you’re their preferred choice at the end. If you were interviewing with a business, what experience would you buy in to most? Start with that.


Flexibility can be the difference maker

There has been a huge shift in businesses measuring output and impact over hours worked and the location the work is done – I see businesses caring in equal balance about the health and well-being of their staff, just as much as they do about the output and performance. If someone is well, happy, and performing then what could be better than that?

Ultimately, if you can make a positive impact in your teams lives without compromising their output then why wouldn’t you? On top of this, a business offering flexibility is often interpreted as a business that trusts its employees, and one that is prepared to embrace new and modern ways of working – two key attributes that most job hunters look for in a prospective employer.



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