Things we learnt when we hired six designers at the same time

This year we’ve interviewed, hired and welcomed six new interaction and graphic designers to the Digital Publishing team at ONS (Office for National Statistics).

A few weeks ago I ran an anonymous retrospective to review the whole hiring process and their first few weeks and months.

I asked them:

  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go well?
  • What could we do better next time?

Here’s a round-up of the main findings…


  • Give clear instructions on how to prepare.
  • Take time to give feedback afterwards.

Before the new starter arrives

  • Offer them a chance to meet the team before their first day.
  • Give them an idea of what to expect.
  • Make the environment nice – put posters up.

Day one

  • Give people an idea of what to wear.
  • Make sure they know what to bring.
  • Create an onboarding guide.
  • Introduce people to the wider department.
  • Don’t overload people on day one.
  • Be available to help.

Structured onboarding

  • Create a clear timeline or checklist for the first week.
  • Make sure they have access to training sessions.
  • Give clear guidance on using admin tools.

Help understanding the organisation

  • Give a guided tour round the building.
  • Introduce them to the organisation’s strategy and the different departments.
  • Don’t use acronyms.

Tech setup

  • Make sure they have everything they need on day one (computers, emails and internet access).