Final Bootcamp Project — Feedback Tool for Recruiters

Job applications can get stressful, at times. We have all been there. But being able to communicate with the person in front of you has the potential to make the whole process easier. In our last two weeks of our Ironhack Bootcamp, my colleague Ioana Nitu and I have taken on the challenge of improving the user flow of a recruiting tool that would help candidates receive tailored feedback during and/or after their application process. This is the story of our fortnight design process.

So you can easily find your way around here, this is what you can expect to read:

  1. An overview of the project and our goal

2. The problem we want to solve

3. Our users and audience

4. The division of roles and responsibilities during the project

5. Scope and constraints

6. Our Design Thinking process:

  • a. Empathize
  • b. Define
  • c. Ideate
  • d. Prototype
  • e. Test

7. Outcomes and lessons

1. Overview

The company “Egall” (the name of which means “equal treatment for all”, Fr. “egalite” (=equality) + the English “all”) came to Ironhack with an MVP which has the purpose of breaking the silence barrier between recruiters, hiring managers and/or company owners, on the one side, and job application candidates on the other. They asked for help in improving the user flow, designing a more intuitive user interface, and a style guide.

The vision of the two founders is that the digital tool they created is going make the hiring process as transparent as it gets, helping candidates understand the recruiting decisions, improve their applications, and helping recruiters and/or companies build a strong relationship with the candidates and a good reputation (as a fair, transparent recruiter). The product was built to do this through sharing with the candidates, after each step of the application process, the (per criterion) scoring the candidates received from the people involved in their recruiting process, written feedback, and an anonymous ranking (the candidate could see how high he ranked in comparison with other candidates, whose names would be hidden).

2. The problem

Although the product has two different types of audiences, the stakeholders are initially focused on the Business to Business direction and they want to improve the user flow of the interface addressed to the recruiters. They described the MVP as not offering the smoothest of user journeys and this is an aspect they want to improve.

3. Users and audience

The users of the Egall digital tool are job application candidates, on one side, and the people recruiting them on the other side. As the founders of Egall explained, both users would have access to different interfaces of the online platform, on an individual account basis. Our users for this project are the recruiters and/or other people involved in the recruiting process (like the hiring managers, department managers, etc.)

4. Roles and responsibilities

Both my colleague, Ioana, and I have been involved in all aspects of the design project, beginning with the research and until the high-fi prototype design, dividing sub-tasks among each other according to circumstances and to available time slots.

5. Scope and constraints

The stakeholders gave us access to the recruiters-platform through two individual accounts and a couple of testers’ accounts and we were given a two-week deadline. What made the project particularly challenging was the two user types (who come with two different opinions about the tool) and, at the same time, the complexity of the recruitment process and of the tool itself, since offering and receiving feedback is just the tip of the iceberg.

6. The Design Process

a. Empathize

The beginning of our design process was challenging, as it was difficult to find recruiters who would be available for interviews, so we decided to start validating the assumptions from the candidates’ side. We created a survey to which 27 people responded. The survey validated the stakeholders’ product idea, in the sense most of the respondents were dissatisfied with the feedback they received during applications and that they needed to receive qualitative feedback. Some other stakeholders’ assumptions were however invalidated. The majority of the people were not interested in having access to the recruiters’ scoring or the rankings. They wanted however to receive written explanatory feedback after key steps of the application or at the end of it. Also, 96% opted to receive written feedback directly via e-mail, an option which the MVP did not offer at the time.

Meanwhile, we were also able to start the qualitative research, involving our main users. We conducted 5 interviews and MVP usability tests with recruiters (currently active or having different HR roles but with extensive experience in the recruiter role):

  • Two Senior HR Coordinators at two multinational companies in Berlin;
  • An HR Business Manager from Bucharest;
  • A Product Specialist at a tech company in Berlin (former Recruiter and HR Team Coordinator);
  • A Tech Talent manager at a tech school in Berlin.

For most of our interviewees, it was hard to place the Egall digital tool in the recruitment process and to see it integrated into their work routine. They defined it as too simple to be used as a general recruitment tool and too complex/time-consuming to be used as a feedback tool.

“I wouldn’t use this is a separate tool, it would maybe have to synchronize with my ATS, because I would not do this (enter all this information) on top of my ATS. I would use it as a plug-in or an extra feature to the ATS .“

“It looks like you want to substitute the main recruiting app.”

“If it is a tool about offering feedback, it should be more focused on the feedback itself. If it is a general recruiting tool, it should have more features.”

The recruiters also had several comments regarding the features that the tool was offering at the time and its usability.

“If you were to share all the scoring with the candidates it is too much transparency. This would open the door for having to explain to every candidate the division and the attribution of credits.”

“Receiving scores can be sometimes really hurtful, so I would probably just share the qualitative feedback.”

From here on, our User Persona easily took shape and responsibly took on her role of a helper in our design process.

b. Define

All of the users we interviewed acknowledged the importance and the benefits (for both sides) of communicating with the candidates during and/or after the application process but mentioned several obstacles that prevent them from offering feedback. The main ones that were mentioned were: the lack of time and/or capacity (resulting from a hard to manage workload) and the disproportionate interest of the candidates in receiving feedback or in the application itself.

This led us to our Problem Statement

Recruiters need a non-time consuming and priority-based way to offer candidates accurate feedback because they lack capacity and/or time.

c. Ideate

We started our ideation process with an HMW.

How might we help recruiters offer candidates accurate feedback in a short amount of time and taking into account their interest in receiving feedback?

Then we went on to the feature prioritization, using the Moscow method since we realized that our deadline will not allow us to solve all the problems our users mentioned.

The next step was a meeting with the stakeholders, where we presented our research results, the main pain-points of the users, and the direction we have decided to go in, namely focusing on improving the feedback feature.

From here, we went on designing the user flow, which is focused on evaluating a candidate on two different application steps and offering her feedback after each of them.

c. Prototype

We went through all wireframing stages, starting with developing first ideas through Lo-Fi Sketches, followed by more ideation by directly implementing them in our Mid-Fi Wireframes. For our next task we did an extensive test for the mid-fi version, using Maze and a video Zoom call, with a recruiter.

d. Test

We built two missions for our Maze testers, both related to evaluating and sending feedback to a candidate. We had 13 testers and a nearly 70% success rate. The feedback we got from one user, helped us implement a couple of changes in the home page (like eliminating a couple of buttons and turning initially regular text into a button).

We also received some very positive feedback during our video-call test. The recruiter described the prototype as easy to use, intuitive, more focused on feedback and they liked the pre-defined categories and the “send feedback” checkbox (both of them being time-saving).

High Fidelity Wireframes

The High-Fi was born from a Moodboard that took into account the colors used by the stakeholders for their logo and the way they wanted their product to be perceived by employers and recruiters (professional, reliable, helpful, success-oriented and communicative). From that Moodboard we were creating a Style Tile that reflected the visual design for our Hi-Fi Prototype.

Hi-Fi Prototype:

Outcomes and lessons

We presented our work (including a style guide) to the stakeholders after the end of our Bootcamp and they decided to implement the changes we designed to their MVP. At the time I wrote this article, the implementation had not been completed and, consequently, the improvements to the user flow could not be measured.

If our time frame had permitted it, our next steps would have been:

  • High-Fi Prototype Testing;
  • Implementing Should-Have Freatures;
  • Improving user-flow on different other tasks in the original MVP.

The main lesson we learned while working on the Egall recruiting tool is that real-life projects are a totally different story compared to the exercises we had done before, during the bootcamp. Finding the perfect users to interview and perform usability tests is harder, when you know that their opinion carries a lot of weight. Also implementing design ideas is not as easy, when you need to run them by people who may have envisioned the impact of their product differently. All in all it was a great experience, which has helped us gain more insight about the job we have been preparing for and for which, I am very grateful.

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Christian Hauptmann

UX/UI Designer from Berlin. Working as a Solution Designer at A EINS Digital Innovation GmbH. Please see my Portfolio here: www.christian-hauptmann.de