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Chapter 6
How to make an offer and onboard a designer
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Chapter 6

Hiring Manager's Guide to Crafting Offers for Design Candidates

You've come a long way of identifying your needs and your type of designer. You've spent hours surfing job boards to find the perfect fit, screening, interviewing, and testing your potential candidates, and now you've selected the best candidate. What’s next? It's time to make a job offer and introduce the new team member to your company's workflow.


Extend an offer

Netflix’s Principal Product Design Recruiter, Carrie Cardona, says that most companies conduct the process of hiring designers 100% remotely these days, using a blend of video meetings and online tools. This includes extending job offers online. The offer can be attached as a PDF or simply contain all the information in the email body.

Start the offer by congratulating the candidate on having been selected. A job offer usually includes the following information:

  • Job details
  • Contingencies (if applicable)
  • Starting date of employment
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Deadline by which the candidate needs to either accept or reject the offer
  • Your contact details
  • Any other relevant information

Don't worry if the candidate doesn't accept the offer right away. Highly qualified specialists might have several offers on the table and will need time to consider their options. Give them 3-5 days to reply. Be generous if they ask to extend the deadline but don't do it to your company's detriment.


Salary negotiations happen either before or after the offer extension, depending on the company policy.

Some companies prefer to conduct a pre-offer meeting to ensure that the candidate is interested in the job, see if they have other offers, and understand if the company can meet their salary expectations.

Other companies offer a follow-up meeting after the candidate accepts the job offer, where more details can be ironed out. At this stage, the candidate can still try to negotiate their salary before signing any papers.

As an employer, avoid lowballing your future employees. Check out the industry rates for the position you are hiring for and make an offer accordingly. If you try to pay as little as possible, some candidates will reject the offer without attempting to negotiate. Others might accept, but only to get some experience with your company and leave shortly for your competitors.

If you are interviewing a great candidate and want to make sure they choose your company, consider offering them more than the median. Also, leave some room for negotiations if the candidate wants to bargain.

Notify other candidates

Once your chosen candidate has accepted your offer, notify the other candidates that the position has been filled. Avoid doing so before your selected candidate takes the offer, as they may still reject it.

Thank other candidates for their time and efforts, and keep them in mind for future job openings. Optionally, you can give them feedback on the skills that you think they are lacking but make sure to do it in a friendly and respectful manner. Overall, keep the lines of communication open in case your first choice doesn't work out.

Onboard the new designer

A new team member’s onboarding is similar to product onboarding. Its goal is to explain what the team does and the new member's role. A clear onboarding leads to a better-performing team member.

Remember that just like a candidate needs to make an excellent first impression on a potential employer, the opposite is also true. A new design team member is more likely to stay if they feel that the company cares for them and wants them to succeed. In 2013, the Aberdeen Group did a study on onboarding. It revealed that 86% of respondents felt that a new hire’s decision to stay with a company long-term was made within the first six months of employment.

Onboarding widely differs from company to company, but here are some topics you need to familiarize the new hire with:

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The company

Tell a new designer about the company's size, office locations, departments, the company values and culture, working hours, privacy and security policy, and basic HR information. For onsite positions, an office tour is an important part of the onboarding.

The people they need to know

Explain the role of the people the new design team member will need to interact with. For example, who to ask for sick leave and who to turn to for fixing computer problems. Normally, a new designer should meet the:

  • Office manager
  • HR manager
  • Project manager
  • Product owner
  • QA engineers
  • Developers
  • Design team members
  • IT department members

The workflow and the tools the team uses

The new team member must understand the work process, how the team communicates, what programs they use, what team ceremonies they need to participate in (daily meetings, retrospectives), the work process between the design team and the product managers, and others workflow-related details. As well as what the company does to upskill design team.

Explain each step of the design process, detailing both the what and the why. Ideally, have your new teammate shadow an existing designer as they go through the process on a real task. Junior positions may require a more qualified and experienced designer to train the new hire for a period of time.

The product

The new team member needs to understand how many products the company has, what each product is, who its users are, how the design system works, how often the updates are released, and similar details.

Onboarding tips

Give your new teammate some quick wins

Give your teammate the tools to start contributing quickly so they feel like a valuable team member — these can be small design tasks that they can help with right away. If they get stuck, walk them through the team's design process and explain it more.

Alleviate information overload

In today's fast-paced work environments, new employees often overestimate how quickly they're actually expected to get up to speed. Pace the amount of information the new hire is exposed to.

Create an individualised onboarding plan and spread out the sessions over a few weeks. This is especially important if onboarding is done online, as overbooking a new team member can cause screen fatigue.

Help establish connections online

When running an online onboarding, it's crucial to help the new team member establish connections with other people. Here are some ideas you can implement when onboarding a new person online:

  • Introduce them on Slack or another messenger that your company uses.
  • Schedule a meeting with the manager and the design team to welcome the new member.
  • When designing the onboarding plan, mix serious talk sessions with virtual coffee meetings. “Remote work is a challenge because it doesn’t have the opportunity for hallway conversations. So we have to rediscover new ways to work productively in this new world, and with a focus on what works best for employees,” says Drew Hamlin, Senior Director, Product Design at Slack.
“Companies should make sure to create time and space for employees to be themselves and be able to socialize.”
Drew Hamlin, Senior Director, Product Design at Slack

Doing so helps the new designer get to know the team less formally.

Build rapport and encourage them to ask questions

Encourage the new designer to ask questions, as it's crucial when learning how to work in a new environment. When introducing the team, explain to whom the new designer can address specific questions. For example, workflow questions can be directed to the senior designer and office-related questions to the HR manager.

On your part, get to know them better: ask questions about their life, where they come from, and what they like to do. This will help you create more effective relationships and support the new team member better.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should a job offer contain?
When should salary negotiations take place?
How should I onboard a new designer?
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