A Digital yet Familiar CV Scanning Experience

A UX Case Study

Ryan Thurmer
Oct 1, 2018 · 5 min read

My role

In 2013 I joined the start up Talents Connect (22CONNECT AG) to help make the job search, head hunting and people development more candidate centered. The following documents a self initiated project from 2016 dealing with the the Talents Connect Recruiter Cockpit, an application management system which recommended applicants using a matching algorithm. Recruiters can also view incoming applications and track them throughout the stages of their application processes.

For this project I reshaped the information architecture, created prototypes with Axure, usability tested the product with recruiters, and brought the concept to life with the final visual design using Sketch. I shared the rolls of concept development and interaction design with then head of design Daniel Miebach.


I recognized an opportunity for faster interactions with candidate profiles by making the navigation more meaningful for recruiters.

Before the start of this project, to view a candidate’s profile, recruiters had to navigate back and forth between a list of candidates and the candidate profiles. Start Page → Filter to find job → Find applicant profile → Go back and repeat. Each step costing the recruiter a lengthy page load.

Recruiters navigating through the old interface

Going from one candidate profile to another could take up to 16 seconds of navigating and loading. That’s a lot of time for recruiters who often only spend a few seconds scanning a CV for the first time. (https://cdn.theladders.net/static/images/basicSite/pdfs/TheLadders-EyeTracking-StudyC2.pdf)


The original solution required more effort from recruiters than their traditional workflows.

Our goal was to make navigating between candidate profiles as easy as (or easier than) sorting through a stack of paper resumes on a desk. Though the challenges with load time and performance were out of the control of UX, I tackled the challenge of improving the workflow and reducing perceived waiting time.


To improve the workflow we rediscovered the primary use case and built our navigation to support those actions.

Our Google Analytics data showed most recruiters, after logging into the product, would… Filter to find candidates of a specific job → Find a candidate who had applied to that job → select the candidate, loading their profile → click “back” and repeat viewing the candidate profiles for a few seconds.

Our recruiters were attending to the candidates of one job and then another. Their mental model of this interaction seemed to be based on the paper analog. Scanning through stacks of CVs organized by job. This finding would guide the proposed navigation scheme.

The proposed information architecture added the step of selecting a job before seeing the list of candidates. A job would act like a folder for the candidate profiles.

Iteration began with a focus on improving the “scanning candidate profiles” use case.

One iteration envisioned the recruiter being able to simultaneously see the list of candidates and a detailed view of a selected candidate profile at the same time.

That iteration became a Axure prototype — exploring the idea of viewing both the candidate list and one candidate profile simultaneously.


The product architecture now more closely reflects the mental model of our recruiters scanning workflow.

The new start page after login became a list of the recruiter’s job listings, what we call candidate search profiles.

Clicking on one of the search profiles loads a subpage with all the job candidates organized in tabs throughout each stage of the application process.

Clicking on a candidate in the list opens their profile as an overlay. We decided on an overlay instead of a 2 column view to help keep recruiters focused on their candidates’ content, without pulling them completely out of context.

After viewing 5 candidate profiles in a row an intercom message appeared with the key shortcut tip.

A front end developer on the team came up with a great idea to quickly navigate from one profile to another. He built a keyboard shortcut so that routine users could use the left and right arrow keys to navigate through the list of profiles without leaving the overlay view.

To help onboard recruiters to the new experience I suggested integrating Intercom, and set up automated messages to let recruiters know about the changes to the architecture and the keyboard shortcut.

Key takeaways

  • Iterate with pen and paper first. I started the iteration phase in Sketch, and after a while felt stuck. After stepping back and starting over with pen and paper I was able to more rapidly explore alternative layouts.
  • Onboard users in the right context. We used to inform users about new features at the start of a new session using a modal with graphics and text. These were usually totally out of context, and only possible to build with the help of a designer (me), and frontend dev. and backend dev.. After integrating intercom anyone on the product team was able to write a message and contextually target them for specific user groups. A huge timesaver for developers and myself.

Thank you for reading

My name is Ryan. I am a UX generalist originally from Michigan, now located in Cologne 🇩🇪. I believe embedding customer centered thinking throughout an organization has a positive impact on business and naturally leads to excellent digital experiences.

You too? Let’s get in touch ✉️ linkedin.com/in/ryanthurmer/

I have a passion for exploring the 🌍, experiencing people through their food, music, art and surroundings. I dive, hike and mountain climb when I’m not working on a project. I cook something new every day and can’t remember the last time I left the house without a camera. 📷 instagram.com/kater_rhein

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