“War of Talents”

Apr 4, 2020 · 9 min read

This project was carried out as part of the TechLabs “Digital Shaper Program” in Münster (winter term 19/20).

Exploring the problem

Everyone is talking about the age of digitalization. Fast changes, competitive pressure and the short half-life of knowledge characterize our everyday life. As a result, the demands on companies and employees have also increased enormously: they have to be able to adapt flexibly, develop further and abandon old habits, but also be able to involve relevant stakeholders in the process of constant innovation. In Recruiting there are some big challenges ahead: The demographic changes in society, which further reduce the number of available applicants; the increased demands of applicants due to the changes in society as a whole and the changed information behavior of applicants in the digital age, which makes applicants of today more passive overall.

Often HR managers still assume that it is sufficient to publish job advertisements on their own website and on one or two portals and thus generate the best applicants. But far from it: In the digital age, new conditions on the job market apply. Highly qualified candidates no longer have to apply. They can be approached by companies and headhunters. Generation Y, the generation of those born between 1980 and 2000, has ushered in the era of the dictates of talent. The few, very well educated minds of this generation are those who, due to their affinity for the media and their skills, can shape future change and are therefore needed and very much sought after. It is no longer only the employer who examines a candidate in the context of an application. The candidate also evaluates very carefully whether he or she wants to work for a particular company at all. It is no longer just the pure job information that is important in this process, but above all the signals that the company sends out as an employer and which thus also shape the employer brand. The feedback of current and former employees are also examined, as well as the question of whether the company can meet the central needs of its employees: Personal responsibility, eye level in working relationships and the best possible further self-development are the main focus.

It is the extra mile that makes the difference in the “War for Talent”. Companies nowadays have to recognize that excellent employees have to be fought for just as much as new customers have to be won in sales or marketing. Whoever approaches the right candidates faster, who understands how to satisfy their needs and who is prepared to provide the relevant resources in the organization for winning them over, can secure decisive advantages.

Shaping our idea

Informing and addressing the candidate market has become a challenge in the digital age, as the information needs of candidates has changed significantly. If you want to reach the best candidates, it is no longer enough to publish jobs on the homepage and a few portals and hope that they will apply. You have to understand their information behavior and reach them with the right content where they are. Our goal is to revolutionize both the communication of jobs and the whole “public” part of recruiting. The recruiting process should follow a clear and logical flow. It must per se meet two main criteria: efficiency and transparency.

For this we wanted to design a platform for companies that can place a detailed profile of themselves online (e.g. number of employees, reports from employees, etc.). In addition, there should be the possibility for potential applicants to get in contact with the company in a simple and innovative way. This should not be about the application process itself, but a kind of chat to communicate with employees from the respective areas. Potential applicants should be able to gain a better overview of the company beforehand, and companies have the opportunity to present themselves and thus gain access to new specialists.

Starting with some research

We developed an initial understanding of the problem by reflecting on the main challenges of recruiting. For this we a.) brainstormed about our experience b.) talked to other people and c.) searched the internet for more information on this topic. We documented our results in the form of a huge wall full of colorful Post-Its. Here are some close-ups:

We sorted through our responses and found the top sources of pain were:

● Company
○ external image
○ internal culture
○ application process

● Competition

● Applicants
○ special demands of the generation Y/Z
○ working methods (New way of working)

To understand which offers are already available on the market and which are our potential competitors, we conducted a competition analysis of the most important players in recruiting and applicant management.

Introducing our personas

All our data and research helped us create our user persona. We identified five personas, including potential customers in the dimensions of both the applicants and the requesting companies. To gain a more specific understanding of our potential customers, we differentiated their profiles.

Based on the personas, we developed our first initial customer journey, in rough sketch form. Which we then evolved into a detailed customer journey map which features several perspectives.

Introducing our brand and corporate identity

Before building our actual application, we first built our brand and defined our vision.

Vision: HOLD — Recruitment the other way around

(INTRO: Who do you spend the most time with in your life? Potentially your colleagues with whom you spend 5/7 days a week)

What do we want?

→ HOLD wants to revolutionize job selection by turning the game around.

→ The base of the selection should be the future teams. Who does not care with whom he later potentially drinks his after-work beer or the first coffee of the day?

Why hold (JOBSEEKER)?

Hold reacts to the fact that the interpersonal aspect simply takes on a much greater role in the decision on future job choice. (Company status, money, career opportunities are no longer the main criteria for job seekers)

→ Hold has the deciding human factor that the normal job search platforms like LinkedIn/Xing etc do not have

→ Of course, the company is not unimportant for the jobseeker either, but it is much more important for him or her with whom he or she really has something to do every day

● direct contact to the team no long texts/company profiles soft skills based and personalized actuator displays

● possibility to directly see my future workplace + colleagues (no more uncertainty + bad surprises)

Why hold (COMPANY)?

→ Hold has so also the crucial advantage for the employers that they also find employers who will probably fit perfectly into the team

→ Each team can present and realize itself — not only the whole company as before

What are our Goals?

The goal of HOLD is to find the right team for the searching employee to feel comfortable with.

● HOLD should be the opposite of embellished company pages.

● HOLD is supposed to represent the reality by means of small self-made videos and everyday moments

Getting our hands dirty in Figma

Now that we had agreed on a rough idea of what our prototype should look like, we started to build it together in Figma. After testing our product on real users, we made a few minor modifications and are now able to share our first prototype in Figma.

Here you can check out our final “product”:


Reflecting on our biggest learnings

The way to create our prototype was a real journey. We started as a very heterogeneous team. Everyone brought different experiences, knowledge and strengths. Over time, we learned not only to contribute our own knowledge and experience, but also to benefit from the strengths of the other team members. Just like in every good team, not everything went well. Through the semester we learned and evolved. Here are some of our biggest learnings:

Take time and talk to each other

One of the most convenient aspects of the digital world is probably mobile working. Especially towards the end of the semester, when all the team members have a lot of exams and assignments to deal with, it’s tempting to avoid face-to-face meetings and keep everything mobile. However, during our teamwork we noticed that there are some parts where it is useful to really sit together in one room and discuss. Face-to-face. Here is a small example: After we had made individual sketches for our prototype, it was incredibly important for us to discuss the individual features in person and determine the final functions. For this we mainly used boards and (washable) walls to make our ideas visible to the other team members.

Clear tasks and roles

Here is an example from the phase in which we wanted to transfer our “master sketch” to Figma. After we had build the sketch together, our basic idea was “Cool, to design the prototype everybody just works on it and does whatever they want to do. We don’t have to define clear tasks. In one week we will look at what we’ve done so far”. Spoiler: In this week really nobody worked on our Prototype in Figma, just because they thought “Oh, I’m sure the others are working on it”. As a consequence, we met and assigned wireframes that needed to be designed which worked out quite well.

Communication and transparency is key

In one week we had to cancel a set team meeting at relatively short notice. We decided that we would have a conference call instead. After this conference call was cancelled twice because only one person dialed in at a time, as the others had not yet given any feedback on whether they would attend or had simply forgotten the date, we knew “we have to work on our communication”. What helped us: We set up an f2f-meeting, changed our primary communication channel and set a clear schedule for the next weeks.

Google is your best friend

During our project work, from time to time questions arose that we could not answer with our current knowledge. For example at the very beginning: How do I set up a Figma document which all 5 team members can work on simultaneously? With a little googling we had solved the problem quickly.

Despite the challenges, we had a lot of fun while working on our prototype. Also, thanks a lot to the whole TechLabs-Team. Without you we would probably never have tried to set up our own UX project.

The Team:
Eileen Steinebach
UX-Design (LinkedIn)
Nora Richter UX-Design (LinkedIn)
Svea Tigges UX-Design (LinkedIn)
Marina Böhmer UX-Design (LinkedIn)
Kristian Kranz UX-Design

Pascal Schiffers


We Build. Digital. Shapers.