Guided workflows for recruiting software
UX Case Study
Recruiterbox is an “Applicant Tracking System” that helps small- and medium-sized companies manage their hiring process — including sourcing candidates, screening, scheduling interviews, collecting feedback, etc.
In this project, we set out to add a layer of “smartness” to the system, to make it highlight action items based on the current status and the user’s role.
Role: UX Designer
Date: May — Aug 2016
Though the system already allowed clients to set up their hiring workflow (the stages a candidate goes through), these “stages” were nothing more than a set of labels. Keeping track of what is happening within each of these stages was not easy.
In the candidate profile above, all that the system tells is that the candidate is in Telephone Interview stage. It has no notion of whether the interview has been scheduled or not, who the interviewers are, and if they have submitted their feedback.
The goal was to make the system guide recruiters throughout the hiring process, allowing them to:
- quickly track the candidate’s exact status (without having to read through multiple sections of information)
- get a clear picture of what they need to do next + an efficient way to act on it.
MVP & Goal Validation
As this touches upon some of the core workflows of the product, we were aware that getting it right might take multiple iterations of fine-tuning.
So we planned to validate the value proposition of the goal, before working on an exhaustive solution.
So in the MVP, we just made the hiring workflow little more customizable, so that the CTAs on candidate profile make sense for the candidate’s current status.
This way, the change didn’t disrupt the existing workflows, while enough new workflows were getting set up (for new job openings), thus giving us big enough sample set for data analysis.
Learnings from MVP
When we looked at the events tracked on Mixpanel, we learnt that the dynamic CTAs were clicked only about 40% of the times they were shown.
So, we started digging deeper to understand what the rest 60% ended up doing. We put together the Mixpanel events against a snapshot of our backend database, which connected the user activities with the resulting state. While this explained the “what” of user behavior, we spoke to a few users (thanks to the great rapport our customer-facing teams had with our users) to understand the “why”s. Three behavioral patterns emerged:
- Interviews are often (almost 50% of the time) scheduled before the candidate is moved to the corresponding stage. Given that changing the stage is more of a bookkeeping chore and interview-scheduling is the real work, this made sense. Especially because interview-scheduling could be triggered by offline events — like a phone call with the candidate.
- People often diverged from the hiring workflow, using it just as a rule of thumb. For example, if the candidate is not in the same city, one might want to do an extra Skype call before flying in the candidate for a F2F interview.
- While interviews (and profile reviews) were core parts of the hiring workflows, recruiters also spent a considerable amount of time handling communication with the candidate as well as with other colleagues involved in the hiring.
With these solid findings, it was good enough for us to start working on an exhaustive solution.
At Recruiterbox, we used to follow an abridged version (~1.5 days) of the Design Sprint pioneered by Google Ventures. So, we started the sprint with “what” questions — to define the scope, followed by “HMW (how might we)” questions — to lay out the requirements.
Also, the learnings from the MVP were translated into the following requirements:
- Gracefully handle interviews scheduled outside stage
- Allow tracking communication-related work
- Accommodate multiple interviews/reviews within a stage
This is how the two alternatives fared against each other:
Option 1 — Pros:
- Less drastic change: Page layout remains roughly the same as the existing version, thus less relearning for users.
- Focus: Pending work items get more real estate and prominence (always at the top) at the top of the main column.
Option 2 — Pros:
- Visibility of multiple workflows: All workflows are visible simultaneously, while option 1 shows only one at a time, due to the limited space in the header (the user would need to click on the “+ 1 more” link to see the rest).
- Scalable number of stages: The vertical layout scales better for hiring workflows with a large number of stages, not only because it can show more stages in one shot, but also vertical scrolling is more natural than horizontal scrolling.
- Better zoning of information: The hiring workflow remains visible even when scrolled, while at the same time giving a visual separation from the candidate’s profile info (name, email, contact details, etc).
Option 2 was clearly better in the bigger context, despite involving more work and throwing away a previous design (of the hiring workflow graph).
1. Capterra Ranking
While we were just wrapping up the rollout, business-software reviews website Capterra carried out a study of 216 applicant-tracking-systems and singled out Recruiterbox as the number-one most user-friendly applicant tracking software:
While there are multiple components to this score, usability carried 50% weightage, which in turn was scored based on ease of completion of 7 core recruiting tasks. Read more
2. Internal feedback
3. Side effect — meaningful data
One of the common workarounds people were using earlier was to have multiple stages in place of one, to represent different states within.
e.g. “Skype Interview — to be scheduled”, “Skype Interview — scheduled”, “Skype Interview — collect feedback”, etc.
As a result of the guided workflows, such workarounds were no longer needed, leading to a more natural set of stages.
This, in turn, enabled us to provide users with useful insights about their hiring workflow — where the bottlenecks are, how long each interviewer takes to submit feedback, where most candidates get filtered out, etc.