Jul. 2018 - Sep. 2018 | Sep. 2019 - Dec. 2019
Hiretual is the leading AI-driven recruiting platform to help recruiters and sourcers crush their hiring goals by searching, engaging, managing talent relationships in one platform. I joined Hiretual in 2018 as the first and only generalist designer to lead and shape the product design process with the small agile scrum team. This impactful project iterated in my first three months was focusing on Hiretual Engagement function, which helps recruiters boost candidate engagement and further doubles candidate response rates.
The original Engagement has not been changed in years, and has witnessed diminishing returns in its product experience. Our team started the redesign and enhancement process for maximum user engagement experience and streamlining the product flow.
I am the lead designer led the redesign efforts with a team consisting of CEO, CTO, engineering team, and customer support team. I am actively involved in all parts of project lifecycles, designing and shaping the product with our team.
My responsibilities in this project included refining user pain points with CEO, CTO and customer support team, streamlining the product flow with the product team, and collaborating with frontend and backend engineers to implement and test the final design.
Recruiter and Hiring Manager
Recruiters and hiring managers are the main users for this feature. When they narrow down their targeted potential candidates, they need to get the candidate contact information, construct outreach email content, schedule the sending times, and automate candidate pipeline to stay on track in the system. How to make this process quickly and easily for recruiters to maximize their time and achieve their hiring goal is critical.
Hard to adopt unfamiliar terms
Before this redesign, Hiretual Engage applied some terms such as ‘Nurture Tracks’, ‘Follow-up Templates’, ‘Talent Groups’, ‘Email Templates’, ‘Engage’, and ‘Engagement’, which are not commonly used by other email client providers. Additionally, since recruiters are always on a crunch of time, these new terms increased users’ cognitive load when learning to use the tool and also increased the difficulties for recruiters to adopt Hiretual.
The old Engagement UI. It includes several terms which are not commonly used by email service providers so that our users are hard to understand the meanings and functions.
How to streamline different user flows and multiple entry points into one.
After talking to the customer support team and some of Hiretual’s power users, the feedback reflected that the top difficulty for our users would be understanding where to start, how to track, and why one place would have different outreach flow than another place.
How to advocate UX in engineer-heavy environment
This is the first time Hiretual has UX designer involved in the agile process. Before I joined, the implementation process is simply giving the requirements to engineers and they start the development solely. Therefore, dealing with Eng-driven culture is not easy at the beginning. When solving a problem, most teammates usually think about adding a new feature rather than figuring out user intents, context, and user flows. I summarized some points I did:
Closely communicate with partners and understand cross-functional teams’ language and concern. As a designer, I am heavily involved in the initial process to understand the requirements, identify the real needs, and evaluate with the CEO and CTO for the business goal and user experience.
Gain the buy-in from higher leadership to advocate for the team.
Being proactive to have teammates involved in the brainstorming and ideation stages, such as hosting the design review with engineers to make sure everyone is on the right track and inviting the customer support team to attend user testings to understand if there’s anything missing.
Unify the engage flow
My first step to deal with these problems is to clearly redefine the flow and the terms. To optimize users' work efficiency, I proposed a new flow that formalizes and unifies the engage function. Totally, there were 3 major changes:
Remove the "Engage" tab in "Projects" page -- Recruiters use projects to manage each opening position and interact with the candidates within the projects. However, the "Engage" tab actually brought them a lot of confusion about how to manage those engagements and where to check after they sent out the emails.
Remove "Talent Group" -- Before, the goal of the talent group was to manage all the candidates including candidates within a project, within several projects, or candidates without any projects. However, the problem our team realized later was that no one could understand what talent group means. Our customer success team needed to explain all the time to the users during the training demo.
Unify the whole engage flow to make it intuitive to use -- After several times of discussions, our team unified the flow and the new design defines clearly that each time, users will start with selecting projects and candidates, and then choose single email or sequence to engage with users.
I listed down the entry points and the workflow users would apply.
Over 90% of users start engagement from projects. The new flow clearly tells users two ways to create new message: Single Email or Email Sequence.
If users start from Engage from the menu, the design still follows the single workflow: select project and stage → select single email/email sequence → create new message.
Simplify the engage UI to reduce the time of exploring the product and easily managing the engagements after emails sent out
In the past, our customer support team needed to explain each item and go through one-by-one on how they worked to our users during the training session. The new design I tried to avoid unclear terms and make each item self-explainable so that users could quickly understand what they could do on the page. Also, the engage list provides recruiters an easy way to track how many candidates received, opened, clicked, and replied to the emails. Users now could easily track the progress and understand who is their target candidates to move to the next hiring stages.
The new Engagement design applies a user-friendly compose window and provide tracking table for users to stay tuned on the status of top talent.
Evaluating the Usability
Because of the timeline and startup constraints, we directly went from prototypes to real implementation with the first round iterative testing with the internal team. I worked closely with front-end and back-end engineers to execute the designs and created all the visual specs.
We published our new engagement function and validate whether the design solutions were helpful to users by testing with some invited recruiters in big enterprise companies. The testing existed two weeks and the following are key findings:
Users like the new engage UI and think it's similar to the ways other applications implement, so users could intuitively use without going through the pain of learning new functions.
More than half of the testing recruiters could understand how to use the function and our customer success team doesn't need to explain one by one during the training.
Before, Hiretual users tended to find contact information and then copy and paste into their own email system (Outlook and Gmail for example). With new engage function, users are pleased to use Hiretual engage feature and follow with several follow-ups so that they can reduce their time of tracking each candidate and also keep touching base with those targeted candidates.
Thoughts and lessions
This project took us three months from identifying the problems, redefining the flow and brainstorming the possible solutions, designing the interactive prototypes, and implementing the final design. When designing, I worked closely with the customer support team to understand users' feedback, collaborated with CEO and engineer lead to understand every relation between technology constraints and user needs so as to come up with the best solution.
I learned that while this feature is important to the users, we were limited by scopre because of the engineering constraints. Especially when I work at a startup, usually there are tons of constraints including technology, time, and business needs I need to consider when designing. This was a strategic course of action to give the users what they asked for along with easy improvements, followed by bigger enhancements in the future release.