In the UK, you tend to find that talented UX designers head to Central London in order to find exciting new jobs. However, this doesn't mean that Central London is the only place for you to find the right candidate for your company. In fact, Head of User Experience and Design at dnata Travel Services, Paul Lyngby-Trow, has provided his thoughts on how to hire talented UX designers outside of Central London. He’s broken things down into 9 key principles to follow.
1. Start by looking locally
If your company is based outside of London, then it is always best to start as locally as possible. You will often be surprised by the quality of candidates already living in your neighbourhood; you just need to fish them out. You might also find they have no desire to commute into Central London and back every day, so coming to a contractual work agreement is often far more straightforward.
You can also establish relationships with local universities. Fresh UX talent can be studying on your doorstep. An internship program can help give you more UX options and on a relatively cheap budget. You may find yourself the next UX superstar!
2. Focus on offering the best quality of UX work and projects
Yes, it’s true that many young UX designers want to head into Central London to work as it's seen as the place to be. However, they don't just head there for the social aspect of the city. It is also the quality of work and quantity of exciting projects. As such, if you want to compete in attracting talented young individuals, you need to focus on pushing projects that are unique and appealing during your recruitment process.
3. Be flexible on requirements
The typical work environment has changed dramatically in recent years. So much so that having every single employee in one location for set hours of the day is no longer necessary, or indeed productive. Instead, flexible work arrangements like remote working and flexi-hour contracts are a huge incentive to those that value their time. As Paul puts it:
“People can work from home, that's fine. Start times can vary. Yeah, obviously you're going to have various meetings throughout the day, … but as long as you're showing you're doing your work, it’s ok!”
He finds this benefits both the business and the designer.
4. Sell yourself/ the business
Paul points out that selling your company is a crucial part of the recruitment process. You need to really dig down into what makes you different and what makes your company different. Be that the projects you work on or how you structure the working day. For Paul, being owned by the premium airline, Emirates is a key selling point to many of the candidates that come in for interviews.
5. Give people a voice to effect change – tools to use or process to implement
Nobody wants to feel like another cog in the wheel. Instead, they want to feel like their opinions will be listened to. As such, you need to make it clear to candidates that your company is one that listens to everybody and is willing to trial new ideas and effect real change. Then, make sure you follow through on this promise and always make time to listen to new ideas. You will find that, not only will the business benefit from exciting new ideas, but you will soon start attracting more and more candidates through word of mouth alone.
6. Be realistic with requirements
When you’re looking for UX designers from outside Central London, you will need to be realistic with what you are looking for to a certain extent. Yes, it’s fine to wait around for a few months for the right candidate, but you also need to be honest with yourself about what’s on offer and what the business can benefit from. There is always the potential to train new staff in key areas they might be lacking. Just remember, you are investing in long-term team members who will hopefully be with you for years to come.
7. Get the environment right – make it fun and rewarding
It’s important to never take yourself too seriously in business. And as Paul points out:
“I think the company as a whole, but also the UX team have quite a playful environment for a designer. You know, we don't take ourselves too seriously.”
He puts a lot of emphasis on fun, playfulness and creativity. If it is not a fun place to work, the new candidates will sniff that out right away. Worst of all, you might take on new staff who soon realise this and decide to leave just a few months down the line.
8. Be competitive and realistic with salary
If you are based outside of Central London and not looking to attract candidates who live in London, then you do have the benefit of not having to necessarily pay exorbitant salaries. You’ll find that costs of living and commuting are far less. However, this doesn't mean you should short-change anyone. Paul points out that his company offers competitive salaries to all new UX designers and offers a fair market rate. This allows you to draw in a wider base of potential candidates who are also great at their job and worth their wages.
9. Be patient and look for the right person
It is important to never rush into hiring someone, just because you get frustrated. Sometimes, you may need to wait up to 6 months to find the right person. Of course, you may need to take a risk on a few people and negotiate a working contract, but you don't have to do that for everyone. Sometimes, the candidate and roll just don't match up. Perhaps they might be asking for too much money or their skill set is lacking in too many areas. That is fine, just be patient, the right candidate will come along.
Yes, sourcing UX designers from outside of Central London may seem daunting and time-consuming. However, as the success of Paul and his business shows, it can be done, and you can build a great company off designers living outside London. The best thing you can do is to learn from people, like Paul, who have done exactly this and who now head up a company working on projects with the likes of Emirates and other global brands.
Consortia are a specialist User Experience recruitment agency. We have been placing the very best UX candidates with the very best UX clients for over 8 years building great relationships along the way. Are you interested in us helping you to fill your UX role?
Thank you to Paul for speaking to us around hiring a UX team outside of Central London.comments powered by Disqus