The ideal candidate experience and our recommendation for the RFP

Over the past 3 months, we’ve been committed to spending most of our time with our key users (candidates, hiring managers and HR professionals). Moving forward, we will of course continue to prioritize those engagements, but we have taken a small break from them to translate our findings into ideal user scenarios and thinking through how they might inform the structure of the RFP.

In a perfect world, what would it look like for someone to apply to a job at the City and County of San Francisco?

Let’s take Sarah as an example. She is a data analyst looking for a more impact-oriented job.

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Rough sketch of what a data analyst job page might look like
  • You have three years of professional work experience as a data analyst. Y/N
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Rough sketch of her confirmation, and a friendly face congratulating her on completing her application. We imagine the use of Intercom here.
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Embedded scheduling straight from the applicant tracking system or email by using Calendly.
  • Medical checks
  • Fingerprinting
  • Verification of education and employment
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But how would this actually work?

We’re using Sarah’s narrative to anchor us in external user needs. Our thought process is: let’s first offer the best possible experience to candidates, then work backwards from there. But we also know that this absolutely needs to work for hiring managers and HR professionals (however unrealistic this may seem at first).

Our recommendation for the RFP

If we think back to our first blog post, we described this project as having three phases:

  1. Process refinement: ideation and prototyping (~October/November)
  2. Tech and procurement scoping: implementation based on what tools are available to us today and what the various key constituents need (~December/January)

Key benefits

  • It is an approach that can help reduce vendor lock in, mitigate risk, and encourage the delivery of working software to users more rapidly

Key must-have

  • Requires strong internal coordination

Things we’re keeping in the back of our minds during this process

We realize that this type of strategy cannot be implemented in a vacuum and there are some key questions we need to keep top of mind. They include:

  • How do you effectively manage/coordinate multiple contracts simultaneously?
  • How best to hold vendors accountable and ensure they don’t just point fingers at one another?
  • How do you make sure the code is consistent and compatible while using multiple vendors?
  • What skills will be needed in-house over time to own this technology solution since the needs might be evolving?
  • How do you create the culture where people aren’t afraid to try something new?
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Brainstorm of services and products with San Francisco’s Chief Digital Officer Carrie Bishop
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Brainstorm of service modules and software
  • distribution capabilities beyond the City’s job website so the City can more easily get its postings in front of targeted audiences
  • analytics to track applicants by distribution source
  • customer support to answer any questions posed by candidates as they start the application process

What’s next?

More on additional prototypes we’re running and how those lessons are continuing to inform our recommendation for the RFP. As always, if you have questions or concerns, feel free to reach out at: monique.baena-tan@sfgov.org

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