Taking a Lesson from Product Design in your Talent User Experience.

Taking a Lesson from Product Design in your Talent User Experience.


Wikipedia has lots of information to describe the framework, but what I find that catches my attention is how this philosophy optimizes the product design around how users want or need to use the product, rather than forcing the users to change their behavior to accommodate the product. While I’m sure you are thinking that makes profound sense on how best to design a vacuum, you may be wondering how that plays into your online talent user experience.

HR is complex and compliance heavy no doubt. Right or wrong, that’s the ugly truth. It often requires specific actions and is forced to make users go through their talent processes in a very exacting way. However, visitors on your career site (your product) and those applying for your jobs (your buyers/customers), very similarly want and need that time to be meaningful too and the outcome to be positive. I’m also sure that most of us will agree, the form and question complexity, variables and workflows of searching for, and applying to, a job are by far more in-depth than any other online transaction we may encounter. My hope is that Talentegy can bring greater visibility and perspective to this “transaction” and begin to help our Customers view this activity as a “relationship” with their product and company.

Of course, no matter how clear your user experience may seem to be, people will make mistakes. Your user experience should allow for and tolerate user error. But build in ways to help them navigate to the desired result. Know when to ask them for help based on actions. And use those moments as teachable situations in your overall user experience measures. With a recent study by The Talent Board1, 88% of candidates with a poor experience said they received no feedback or support during the process which means we still have lots of room for improvement. Knowledge is power, use it to make your conversion rate and user satisfaction the best it can be.

Here are a few things to consider when designing out your next talent process, whether that’s candidate or employee facing:

Principle #1: Understand your users and support their goals

I believe you need to first understand your users – their needs and objectives – in order to create an interface that allows them to effectively interact with your HR technology. We often assume too much or design a process and then try to squeeze our existing technology into that process versus the opposite. What may be intuitive to you may often not be intuitive to others, especially as they aren’t as close to the technology, processes or desired actions as you may be. An outsider’s point of view is always a good place to start.

Principle #2: Make your interface easy to learn and enjoyable to use

For example, take your typical iPhone user, they don’t care about the brilliance of the software and hardware engineering that went into creating their device, they just know that it is easy and enjoyable to use. For your career website or even a performance review process with employees, creating an interface that is enjoyable to use may seem less obvious, but being enjoyable can be as simple as a navigation structure that is straight-forward and instinctive. This applies equally to your mobile experiences. If I get through the process and you ask me to upload a resume or other documents, which I won't likely have on my Smartphone, this can quickly turn from enjoyable to a hassle in a hurry.

Principle #3: Remain Consistent

From the user’s perspective, this means not only a consistent look and feel to a system’s interfaces, but also that actions performed on the interface result in expected outcomes. If the same action is repeated, the system needs to respond in a consistent manner. Seems simple, but it often isn’t. For example, if you have a multi-screen application process, do you show me how far along I am with a progress bar throughout it?

Principle #4: Form a dialog with your users

A feedback mechanism is also crucial for effective interface design: the user needs to feel that their actions have meaning. We are all familiar with filling out and submitting an online form of some sort, but have you ever clicked the submit button and just had the page refresh and be presented with the empty form again in addition to never receiving an acknowledgement email? Then you are forced to ask if your information went through, was there really an error, should I fill out the form again to make sure? That’s a grueling feeling if I just spent 20 minutes (often more) on your application process, and likely won’t again. Careerbuilder's2 Candidate Behavior Report stated only 46% of candidates received such communications when asked. Don’t leave any doubt in your user’s mind – give them feedback options or ask for it along the way.

Principle #5: Be problem free

The quickest way to inhibit enjoyment is to create frustration over simple interface and navigation issues. It’s a competitive talent marketplace out there, and if your site’s interface has issues you risk losing your users, perhaps forever, no matter how good your brand is. And if over 70%3 of them will never come back after a bad candidate/user experience, it is critically important to get it right. Every now and then, an effective way to test your interface is to watch people use your system in a real-world scenario. Are they able to navigate around and achieve their objectives with relative ease? Is your interface intuitive to both experienced and less experienced computer users?

Bottom line: Having visibility to a problem, will help you to solve the problem. For HR leaders who want to hire the best talent, the winners will be those that can fail fast, iterate often and change course when they know there is a pattern of concern in their user’s engagement journey.

Shawna Berthold
Co-founder and EVP of Marketing & Operations

Cited sources: 1 The 2016 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience (CandE) Benchmark Research Report; 2 Candidate Behavior and US Job Seeker Report, Careerbuilder, 2015; 3 The 2016 State of Talent Relationship Marketing, Phenom People.

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