Kalibrr Design Exercise: A job search for fresh grads
Admittedly, being one of the top graduates of my batch and having won a lot of competitions in college, my expectations of job hunting and its reality are quite… the opposite. I faced the harsh reality of life. Later on, I realized that the problem is not really because of the lack of job opportunities. But the difficulty in finding a good match and competing with experienced and seasoned professionals.
As part of my application with Kalibrr, I was asked to describe my design process on solving a problem that’s close to my heart. I figured the best way to do this is to design it from ideation to creation, explaining along the way my reasoning and thoughts behind the decisions I made.
Total time spent: 20~ hours including writing this case study
The challenge: Create a design for a mobile app that helps fresh graduates find jobs.
I started noting my initial thoughts, writing down assumptions, exploring rough ideas, and looking at close competitors.
I jotted down common features and essential information found in these job listing sites. I separated them into two columns: what [probably] matters to applicants and to employers.
How can I design an app intended for fresh graduates?
Finding the Problem
Recalling my past experience, I can definitely relate to this problem. I heard these commonly shared opinions after lurking in forums and talking to a friend who recently graduated:
- Companies: “You need to invest a lot of time training, let alone onboarding fresh grads. We’d rather hire a mid-level developer. ”
- Companies: “We’re looking for someone with work experience or a proven track record and business impact.”
- Fresh graduates: “It’s difficult to look for decent companies that are willing to take risks in hiring fresh grads.”
These are not always true. To help fresh grads find jobs, we can solve these problems by focusing on three goals:
- Market the product to companies who are willing to hire and train fresh grads, instead of competing with other job listing sites.
- Highlight growth potential of fresh grads by emphasizing academic achievements and involvements.
- Bidirectional relationship between applicant and employer.
Sketches and Wireframes
There are two main characters: the applicant and the employer. This case study will focus on the primary user: the applicant a.k.a. the fresh grad.
Before I start sketching, I reached out to five friends who are decision-makers in their companies. I wanted to know the things they consider when hiring a fresh grad and what the deciding factors are when choosing them over experienced candidates.
Here are some good insights:
This is an epiphany. Now that I knew what matters most to employers, I can highlight the good points of an applicant.
Instead of focusing on the lack of experience, we’re compensating it with what they can potentially be.
One thing to note is that the app has a clear intent. The applicants’ pool is filled with fresh grads. Meaning, we removed the huge competitors (experienced workers) but still maintained a good level of competition amongst them. In that case, what sets apart a fresh graduate from another? How do we remove biases and give everyone an equal opportunity to be considered?
Now that I’m guided by inputs, it’s time to generate ideas.
- Information Architecture: I have already listed and assigned pieces of information in the earlier part of this study. I then organized them based on importance.
- User flow: I categorized the information and came up with 5 main pages. I knitted them together into a logical and familiar experience. At this point, I chose familiarity over novelty to lessen the cognitive load.
It’s often said that familiarity breeds contempt, but in user experience it could be said that familiarity breeds happiness. Or at least it breeds less head scratching.
— Germaine Satia on “Familiarity in User Experience”
- Persona: This is the tricky part. Since the competition is among fresh graduates, the major differentiator is their educational background and communications skill.
🧕 Gretel “The Achiever”
Graduated as Cum Laude in BS in Computer Science with a GWA of 1.50/5.00, won various quiz bee competitions and joined their student council, smart but lacks self-confidence, likes to read books, learn new languages, and hike.
👨💻 John “The Contented”
Graduated in BS in Computer Science with a GWA of 3.00/5.00, varsity player, won a basketball league competition, outspoken and outgoing, worked part-time in their family business, likes to play sports and travel.
Despite their obvious differences, Gretel and John both have good and bad points. We’ll design the app to make them shine in their own ways.
- Wireframes: I jumped into Sketch and designed low-fidelity mockups to get a better feel of the layout. I didn’t include them here for the sake of brevity.
I also considered products in other industries like Spotify, Instagram, and Tinder. They have little interactions I find useful:
- Spotify: Pull down to reveal search bar and filter button
- Instagram: Swipe to navigate thru pages, pull down to load new posts
- Tinder: Card’s swipe directions pertain to unique actions
The navigation has five items: Feed, Inbox, Calendar, Job Applications, and Profile.
I will discuss Feed, Profile, and Job Applications separately since they are the important pages of the app.
The calendar, as its name implies, keeps all your schedules. Users can keep track of interviews and find events nearby (job bazaars, seminars, and hackathons). They can also sync their Google Calendar or iCalendar. Duplicate events are handled by the system.
The inbox is where you receive notifications, reminders, and promotions. Since conversations exist only between employers and applicants and are often job post-specific, it makes sense that messages are tied to a job application.
Let’s discuss in detail the important pages in achieving our goals.
Market the product to companies who are willing to hire and train fresh grads, instead of competing with other job listing sites.
This is the make-or-break part of the app. Getting this process right increases the likelihood of Gretel and John to return.
- In getting started, the welcome screen describes how the app differs from its competitors. Next, it asks the user to answer 10–15 important questions. It should explain that completing the form allows the app to give the best matches.
- The questionnaire asks for: basic information, the achiever type (academic, sports, publications, creative, etc), role preferences, and resume file. Since the questionnaire is somewhat long, some items can be skipped. Answers are submitted one by one and progress is visually indicated to create a sense of accomplishment.
- Applicant’s information is reusable for quicker application.
The feed is basically where all job postings are.
- The cards are tinder-like with swipe gestures to reject, bookmark and apply. Cards are sorted from most to least relevant.
- The card’s above the fold displays basic information such as company name, job position, and location. At this point, we want John to say, “This looks like a good match. Let’s see more details.” He sees more information as he scrolls.
- The job posting follows a similar content hierarchy with other job listing sites. Perk tags (Why work with us?) allows Gretel to assess whether Loom is a right fit for her or not.
Highlight growth potential of fresh grads by emphasising academic achievements and involvements.
The profile should tell a story. Each of us has our own unique strengths, and the goal of this page is to highlight those. Growth potential is predicted using data science based on our skills, achievements, and involvements, and interests. The hierarchy of information is tailored to Gretel’s achiever type “academic”.
- Basic information
- Academic background
To showcase communications skill and personality, applicants can upload videos answering questions like: How do you see yourself in 5 years? (not shown in the image because Gretel is the shy type)
Bidirectional relationship between applicant and employer.
The job applications keeps all your applications in one place. Here, Gretel can view jobs she applied to and track their progress. Actions like request for rescheduling, withdraw, and message are shown when the card is clicked. Reply templates are useful for making quick replies.
If I had more time and resources, I would:
- Create a clickable prototype, conduct user tests, and iterate.
- Create a complementary app for schools to easily recommend their fresh graduates to companies.
- See how we can take advantage of network effects.