Creating an Efficient Hiring Process

OVERVIEW

As a Co-Lead UX Researcher on this project, I played a key role in identifying product market fit for a new product and validating the MVP design. I led a team of UX researchers through discovery, exploratory, and evaluative research stages to explore an ambiguous problem space. My focus was on conducting methodologically sound research, generating actionable research insights, and facilitating collaboration with the design and product teams to craft an MVP that addressed the real needs of job candidates and hiring managers.

TEAM

1 UXR Co-Lead
5 UX Researchers

DURATION

3 months

CLIENT

UX Cabin, via Tech Fleet Professional Association

PROJECT TYPE

MVP Proposal

Problem

Each job posting in the U.S. attracts 250 resume applications on average (Glassdoor, 2015). However, UX hiring managers struggle to determine whether candidates selected for interviews have necessary the "soft" (communication/ interpersonal work) skills just by reading a resume. As a result, the hiring process is often stressful and time-consuming.

Solution

I co-led a team of 8 UX researchers, where we conducted discovery, exploratory, and evaluative research to examine pain points around the interviewing process and identify ways to appeal to job candidates and hiring managers.

The proposed product, Async, is a community-focused platform that solves problems for both UX job candidates and hiring managers by emphasizing transparency and connection in the hiring process.

Impact

Final Product

After our project was finished, I edited the design and changed the color schemes. I also experimented with Figma components and creating interactions between elements. (Please click the image below to access the interactive prototype).
Async app home screen saying "interviews are tough" on a light green background.

Research Process

Before the official project kick-off, Shima (my co-lead) and I wanted to understand exactly why our client wanted to use asynchronous video interviews (AVIs) in his product. After conducting a stakeholder interview, we affinity mapped our conversation and created three main research questions for this project.

Research Questions

1. Do other hiring managers find the current hiring process to be a problem? How do they currently address their pain points?
2. How do hiring managers and job candidates feel about using asynchronous video interviews (AVIs) to expedite the screening process?
3. What could reduce potential friction around adoption of an asynchronous video interview tool for job candidates and hiring managers?

01 | Discovery Research

The first step was for us to define our problem space: what products exist, and how do people feel about them? We identified 11 direct competitors (AVI platforms), and 8 indirect competitors (interview preparation and portfolio hosting sites).

We conducted SWOT analyses for the competitors, and used social listening to understand how users feel about the current AVI experience. Then, we came up with 3 ways to differentiate Async from existing products:

Secondary Research Insights

There is currently no solution that humanizes the AVI process for job seekers, who find these interviews awkward, judgmental, and anxiety-inducing.

​Hiring managers need a way to quickly & accurately judge a candidate’s experience and character. While efficiency matters, they also worry about the integrity of candidate responses.

How Might We...

Integrate asynchronous (“one-way”, pre-recorded) video interviews to create a more efficient – but still supportive – interviewing process?

02 | Exploratory Research

Interview Insights​

Candidates Want
  • Substantive feedback from trusted sources to verify their improvement on interviews.
  • Targeted questions to prepare for interviews, so they can manage their anxiety and increase their confidence.
  • To evaluate the company for culture and values fit. AVIs could be more attractive if they allow for two-way evaluation.
Hiring Managers Want​
  • To quickly & accurately determine best-fit candidates with limited information.
  • To be certain that the candidate is qualified for the job. Currently, it's hard to determine information veracity.
  • To test problem-solving skills and soft skills to determine if candidates align with the team/company dynamic.
Affinity map of the job candidates' user interviews.
Candidate interview responses, affinity mapped. (n=13)
Affinity map of the hiring managers' user interviews.
Hiring managers' interview responses, affinity mapped. (n=6)

The conflicting needs of both parties made it clear that we needed to understand what causes frustrations in the current hiring process. We conducted in-depth interviews with both hiring managers and job applicants to examine the job application process from different points of view, and identify possible shared pain points/needs.​

Each interview had one researcher conducting the conversation, and one notetaker. I conducted 3 of our 19 interviews, took notes for 2 other interviews, and co-led the affinity mapping process to uncover common themes shared by participants. Our team then developed key insights that were used in the team-wide ideation session.

Project Pivot & Rescoping

After conducting interviews with both user groups, we found that several key pain points about the hiring process (such as lack of transparency around interview requirements, recruiters without UX experience, and losing candidates due to slow hiring processes) were out of our control. In addition, the product team decided that replacing current AVI tools – which work well for hiring managers – was out of scope. 

In a meeting with the product and design leads, we reassessed our MVP scope. Since we discovered that AVIs were already being used, we believed it would benefit both job applicants and hiring managers if it were easier to practice for these one-way video recordings. Instead of Async being an AVI platform, we decided to focus on helping applicants become comfortable with asynchronous interviews.

03 | Evaluative Research

In a full-team ideation session, we came up with the idea to build a community that allows job candidates to practice interview skills, get acquainted with AVI technology, and receive/provide peer feedback on question responses. We used remote moderated video calls and concept tested four low-fidelity ideas with 9 job candidates to identify strengths and weaknesses of our proposed solution.

First concept in the concept test. Title text says "tell me about yourself", over an image of a person. There are three buttons at the bottom: "start recording, pause recording, and stop recording" from left to right.
Second concept in the concept testing. Shows an image of a person on the left, with speech bubbles on the right side to represent comments on the job candidate's video recording.
Third concept in the concept test. Left side has a box that has three dropdown arrows titled: what we're hiring for, why work with us, and watch our head of UX talk about the role and team. The right side has an image of a person with a company folder. There is a button on the bottom that says "begin application".
Fourth concept in the concept test. Left side has a question at the top that says "tell me about yourself". Below that, there are two boxes with tips on interview practices. The right side has an image of a person with a button below that says "start practicing".
Our four low-fidelity concepts, tested with UX job candidates.

Concept Testing Results

04 | Analysis & Synthesis

With insights from our desk research and interviews, we had a more complete understanding of our potential customers. We collaborated with Product to update their proto-personas and create journey maps to visualize user emotions throughout the entire interviewing process.​

The updated personas were used by the Design team when they created their wireframes, and helped our team align on which problems we were solving (and for whom). Our journey maps allowed us to pinpoint exactly where job candidates' pain points show up, and identify how candidates and hiring managers could discover our product. Although we didn't focus on hiring managers in our MVP, I advocated for updating materials for hiring managers so that future teams could reference our research easily. 

Hiring manager persona.
Hiring manager journey map through the interview process. Stages are "Prepare, post, receive, review, contact/schedule, communicate, interview, evaluate, decide, wait".
Hiring manager persona and journey map.
Job candidate persona.
Job candidate journey map through the interview stages. The stages are "Explore, discovery, apply, contact/schedule, prepare, interview, wait, receive response".
Job candidate persona and journey map.

Results

At the end of our two months, we defined the current AVI space, understood how job candidates and other hiring managers feel about the use of AVIs, and prioritized features for Async after getting feedback from interviews. With a deeper understanding of the market space, we realized that instead of directly competing with existing AVI services, we could address the quality of candidate responses. Async's focus on preparing job applicants for AVIs will help candidates showcase their skills to the best of their abilities., while still making hiring processes efficient for hiring managers.

If you're interested in a comprehensive overview of methods, deliverables, and next steps, please check out this handoff document from our team.

A venn diagram showing how async addresses overlapping needs between job candidates and hiring managers. Job candidates desire feedback, practice, respect and agency, Hiring managers desire efficiency, access, authenticity, and vetted candidates. Async can provide an avenue for genuine connection, fit assessment, holistic assessment, and transparency in the interview process.
A Venn Diagram illustrating Async's value propositions for both job candidates and hiring managers.

Reflections

It was my first time co-leading a research team, and I really enjoyed planning the research stages and being involved in all parts of the process. I gained experience with managing stakeholders, facilitating cross-team collaboration, and conducting Agile research with a small (but very dedicated) team. 

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