Redesigning Georgia Tech’s Career Fair Experience

How can a chaotic process like Career Fair be streamlined?


Executive summary

The project attempts to improve the Georgia Tech career fair experience by considering interests of the three key stakeholders — recruiters, students, and the career fair team. Through our process, we realised that not all aspects of an in-person career fair are bad. In our solution, we attempted to preserve the good aspects of an in-person career fair and mitigated the bad aspects through a companion web system.

Key details

Team Vicky Guo, Megan Hamilton

Role Shared responsibility — Research, Wireframe, Prototype

Field Studies Georgia Tech Spring 2015 career fair

Methods & Technology Observation, Interview, Journey map, Storyboard, Sketch, inVision


1. Inspiration

It all started with our friends cribbing about the Spring 2015 career fair. Though the fair is beneficial for making industry connections and landing up with the job opportunities, it is also notorious for long lines, stacks of printed resumes and being mentally & physically tiring activity. We thought it was an interesting problem to solve!


Long queues for companies which are high in demand. Conversely, many of the smaller companies’ lines are vacant for most of the time.

2. Research Phase 1

Observations

In the first round of research, we conducted field observations to understand the broader picture. Also, we didn’t want any bias (may have been potentially caused after speaking with the users) to trickle in. All the three researchers conducted independent observations at the GT CoC Spring Career 2015. We observed the complete student journey from entering the career fair to the exit. The in-depth insights from field studies are located here.

Below are pictures depicting few of the pain points.

The allotted space for student belongings isn’t large enough which results in a disheveled, overpacked space.
The geometric layout of the company booths is confusing and doesn’t match well with the mental model of the place.
Long queues for companies which are high in demand. Conversely, many of the smaller companies’ lines are vacant for most of the time.
The current registration process is site-dependent and divided into three steps, it results in backlog and long lines of students waiting to enter the career fair space.
The information brochure handed out to the students after registration doesn’t contain up-to-date information

Insights

We combined all our observations and grouped similar ones together. We noticed several problems, but the key insights were

  1. We identified two other stakeholders — recruiters and the career fair team who also seemed to be frustrated.
  2. Pre-career fair activities have an impact on the career fair day activities and the career fair day activities have an impact on the post-career activities.

3. Research Phase 2

Interviews

We decided to conduct semi-structured interviews of the career fair team manager, recruiters and students.

The key research themes were
1. Understand their work flow
2. Understand their pain points
3. Understand the use of technology.

Analysis

We created personas and journey maps, for each stakeholder across the Pre-Career Fair, Career Fair and Post-Career fair phase to visualize the data collected. We plotted the attitudinal (what they do) as well as behavioral data (what they think, how they feel). We noticed several problems for the stakeholders but the common underlying themes were mismanagement of data and time.

Analysis of the data

Narrowing down the problem scope

We also realized that we had to narrow down our problem scope. Tracking student-company interactions seemed to an underlying issue for all three stakeholders.


4. Prototype Version 1

Phase 1: Pre-career Fair
Students enter details like the position sought and upload their resume
Phase 2: Pre-career Fair
Student browse different companies, reserve a time slot with the desired company, receive appointment confirmation and view their career fair schedule.
Phase 3: Post-career Fair 
Recruiters’ view and career fair management team’s view

Feedback

We concept tested these prototypes with students and the CF team manager. The key points were
1. Time slot system may reduce the number of company representatives students could meet. 
2. The CF team manager was skeptical about students honoring the time slot system. 
3. The serendipity factor is removed from the career fairs.

We incorporated this feedback in the next iteration.


5. Prototype Version 2

Phase 1: Pre-Career Fair
Students create their profile or import it from LinkedIn.
Students are shown the companies they are fit for. They have an option to add it to their schedule.
Students can view their career fair schedule.
Phase 2: Career Fair
On the career fair day, students print a wrist band for themselves. This wrist band has a QR code which links to the student’s profile. The recruiter scans the QR code on an iPad to view the student’s profile.
Phase 3: Post Career Fair
Career fair management team’s view

6. Reflections

While a redesigning a system, it is important to preserve the existing good points.

A good solution balances user needs, technical feasibility and economic viability.

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