Candidate Pipelines Redesign

Finding qualified applicants for K-12 school districts' open positions is one of the most difficult and time consuming tasks that school distrcts face.

There were many issues existing in the system that had plagued users for years. My task was to identify those with the product team and formulate solutions that were somewhat backward compatible (to migrate current users), but still forward thinking.

Quick glimpse at the old way of cataloging applicants.

Don't worry, the above screens were the BEFORE state of the app.

Some of the issues we identified after talking to users (and just looking at it) were:

  • Visual clutter in the interface
  • Confusion around what data is important
  • No help for users with best industry hiring practices
  • Overuse of training for user understanding

Our research also unveiled that pipelines are the primary way most applicant tracking and hiring products handle the process. As a result, we decided to redesign the whole process around the concept of a pipeline rather than the current mishmash of folders and pseudo-pipelines.

The Goal

Our goal for redesigning pipelines was to reinforce hiring practices and put priority information in the forefront.

Our top-level goals for pipelines were:

  • Give users a visual representation of the steps in the hiring process.
  • Surface top decision-making data.
  • Provide approval chain and interview management tools.
  • Make it easy to use so hiring managers and admins can focus on other tasks.

My Role

I led the design of this project and collaborated with a product manager, a team of developers, and various other stakeholders.

This project was placed on hold as we were about to proceed to development due to some changing business priorities.

Initial Workflow Discovery

Before I was able to start designing, we needed to confim that our assumptions about the education recruitment and hiring processes were valid. In addition, we made some interesting discoveries.

Keep 'em Moving

Stale applicants are generally not desirable.

Process Criticality

A few stages in the pipeline are more critical than others.

Qualified & Available

Often the biggest hurdle for hiring managers is finding qualified applicants.

Approvals

Approvals are a complicated process.

Based on these findings, we did some sketching and tried to refine our takeaways into user workflows.

Documenting overall IA, problem areas, and user workflow.
Documenting overall IA, problem areas, and user workflow.

Brainstorming Visuals

After validating the use cases and jobs to be done by our users, I started experimenting with the visuals and interactions around the applicants list view and core pipeline section.

The list view of applicants ended up being something that really helped us get clarity on what user's wanted to see at a glance. I used these screens to start several conversations with users and internal experts about what information was top priorty.

Working through list view and important details

I also quickly found that this type of view below wasn't as useful for our users as I thought. Their needs were more in comparing applicants in a single pipeline stage. Seeing all at once wasn't as useful. Also, applicants generally are moved linearly through the steps so this dragging interface was unneeded.

Some visual exploration of pipeline cards to spark conversation.

After several rounds of iteration and feedback, I landed on the following design. This allowed users to compare applicants in a stage as well as quickly switch between details of each applicant.

Pipeline with filters and card explanation
Detail view of an applicant

Other Designs

Comparing applicants is very useful for hiring managers, namely towards the end of the process.

Comparing two applicants against each other

Admin users also needed a way to browse job postings in the system for their district. This was the jumping off point for job postings. Giving users useful information here was key. We needed to communicate which job postings needed attention as well as metadata about the postings.

Working through list view and important details

Wrap-up

All in all, I think we were able to settle on a solution that drastically improves the visual clarity of the pipeline process. From our testing, initial understanding of pipelines improved substantially and we anticipate to reduce customer service interaction regarding pipelines by around 50%.