New product development
12 weeks (July 17 - September 17)
After the successful launch of the recruiter mobile app, two colleagues and I were made responsible for setting up MondayLabs - reed.co.uk’s innovation lab. This was an R&D team situated offsite and tasked with generating and validating new product ideas. My role as the sole designer in the team of three (alongside a Product Manager and a Technical Architect) was to conduct UX research and interviews, set up design sprints, prototype new solutions and deliver finished designs.
We started by researching the pain points, motivations and key issues facing Recruitment Consultants in the current market by conducting numerous user interviews both in person and over the phone.
After 2 weeks of research, we decided to run a design sprint around the theme “How could recruitment agencies provide a better service for candidates". Most modern technology recruitment solutions look at ways of replacing or automating the work of a human recruiter. However, we felt that a good recruiter provides an invaluable human-led service that will always be in high demand.
The Design Sprint was to run a full week and include the senior leadership team, including reed.co.uk’s Managing Director and Director of Technology. Basing the sprint on the Google Ventures Sprint model and adjusting it for our needs, we spent 5 days:
Creating a customer journey map in as much detail as possible
Bringing in expert’s to validate our journey map, writing ‘How might we notes’ based on the expert testimonials/pain points we had uncovered
Dot voting to decide on the top three problems we felt we could solve/that would bring the most value to all parties
Creating empathy maps for the recruitment consultants
Sketching product ideas
Testing prototypes with Recruitment Consultants to get early stage validation on our ideas
The Design Sprint was hugely productive and we came out of it with three ideas to explore further. The idea we chose to pursue was ‘dubl’.
dubl was an idea that I came up with in order to solve my own problem when looking for a job. Signalling that I was ready to look for offers on LinkedIn simply opened the floodgates to a raft of recruiters, to which I was just a keyword match. I’d often get sent job specs that were completely unsuitable and it was - and still is - highly frustrating.
I knew that good recruitment consultants existed but I didn’t have any easy way of finding them. The way I found mine was through a recommendation from a friend, but this recommendation took place offline which led to me thinking there might be an opportunity here.
Whilst new solutions in the tech industry such as ‘Hired’ try and address the problem of high-value candidates being inundated by matching candidates directly with companies - I personally needed to speak to an industry professional who could offer me advice, understand my particular needs, whilst also having a broader view of the job market in my industry - something an in-house recruiter is unable to provide.
My idea was to reverse the LinkedIn mechanic. Instead of Recruiters being able to send inmails and connection requests, we’d give the power back to the candidate by only letting them initiate contact with Recruiters. The Recruiters would have profile pages with details about the roles they recruit for and most importantly also have ratings and reviews from former placements.
One Recruitment Consultant we interviewed likened it to ‘Bumble’ which was trying to address a similar problem in a different vertical - dating. In this case the high-value asset/short side of the market is the woman, so Bumble only allows them to make the first move.
We ran another design sprint, this time we focused on validating the idea with the other side of the market, the jobseekers.
We again drew and validated a customer journey map
Had experts talk through their processes finding a job
Created ‘how might we notes’ from their testimonials and our research
Created empathy maps for high-value jobseekers
Sketched and prototyped solutions and tested them with Jobseekers
We tested prototypes with 6 'high-value' candidates, benchmarked by a salary requirement of > £60,000. They came from a variety of different sectors/backgrounds and we were ecstatic that 5/6 unprompted, asked “when can I start using this?” during the testing.
We presented our findings to the Board of Directors who signed off on us starting the project. We decided to choose a beachhead market of Technology and a location of London as we felt it was the easiest for us to get into / find recruiters for.
I used the learnings from the research, prototypes and interviews we had conducted over the previous month to map out and understand what a MVP would look like, first creating wireframes before the finished visual designs for both sides of the marketplace.
It was during this time that I was offered a role in an early stage startup (Alumnet). Whilst it was a big decision for me to leave this team as it was one I had helped create and shape, it was the right time for me to broaden my horizons and take on different challenges and responsibilties. I'm especially glad to have added Design Sprints to my repertoire to take with me into new projects.