“Human-centred design offers problem solvers of any stripe a chance to design with communities, to deeply understand the people they’re looking to serve, to dream up scores of ideas, and to create innovative new solutions rooted in people’s actual needs.” – The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design by IDEO.org
Have you ever thought about how your recruiting function came to be the way it is? Most recruiting leaders inherit a process from someone else and then modify or change it to meet their needs and likes. Once in a while someone gets the opportunity to create a recruiting function from scratch, but when they do they usually replicate what they already know.
In our world, recruiting career sites and processes are largely designed for the convenience of us – the recruiters. We want information from candidates, for example, that fits our needs and plugs into our systems. We rarely imagine what it might be like for the candidate to complete our forms, provide the information we ask for, or comply with our demands.
But imagine you could start fresh – set aside the old methods and rethink how the function might be put together – with the candidate at the very core – and still meet your needs. Imagine working in a team charted to design a new process without prejudice, opinion or preconceived notions. Imagine letting the end user or customer lead you to develop a process that is comfortable, easy to use and that delivers high quality.
We call the process of doing this human-centred design, but it is also known as design thinking, user design, user-interface design and many other terms. What is important is that it puts your stakeholder, customer, user at the very centre of your thinking and designs everything around and for them. There are four very important tools or processes that are used in human-centred design: conversation, collaboration, visualising, and storytelling. These require all the people on a design team be comfortable with each other, willing to be open and honest and give each other feedback. The work teams should have fun, be creative and open their minds to all sorts of possibilities.
There are four basic steps to this process:
The first is to discover what the issues are and where the problems lie. In this step you ask questions like, “Why do people only spend a minute or less on our career site?” or “How do we increase the number of engineers who apply?” This may involve observation, interviews, or even becoming an end user yourself. Here you share with each other what you think the challenges are and what you think the needs of the end users are.
Define – Who is the End User?
The second step is to define the end user. Who are you designing for? What motivates them? What are their needs, backgrounds, and experiences?
The end result is to create a “persona” or “personas” of your end user or end users. A persona is a generalised overview of a typical candidate or other end user. Personas help idea generation and help you become more empathic with your intended audience. Personas may include generic background information on a typical candidate including usual education level, common skills, socio-economic status, average family characteristics, age, and key experiences.
Some groups use sociologists and psychologists to gather data and put together a profile of the end user. You may interview them, observe them using your career site, for example, or watch them apply for a job. Solicit feedback and try to deeply experience what the user experiences and gauge their feelings, thoughts, frustrations, desires, and delights. The more you know and understand your end user or candidate the better you can design a solution to please them. Over the course of time the goal is to balance the desires of the end user with the feasibility of solutions and the needs of the business. It is also about learning to live with constraints such as budgets or staff levels, yet deliver quality services or products.
Develop/Propose Big Imaginative Solutions
The third step is to imagine how the user relationship might be. You conceptualise, brainstorm, and engage with other recruiters, users, and hiring managers in interactive discussion. You propose big ideas and even have internal teams compete with each other on defining solutions.
Deciding who this is and what the most appropriate process might be is a process of debate and discussion. It is where the realities of budget, technology and capability are pitted against the ideal solutions you can imagine.
Competing teams may define who this is differently, propose different solutions and imagine different methods. This brings diverse ideas into the conversation and enriches the end result which is to find a possible solution that fits into the constraints you face and yet is better.
Deliver & Prototype a Solution
The final step is to choose a new design and build a prototype that can be tested and challenged. This is an iterative process and there may be several prototypes until the final one work well. It is fine in this step to be critical and demanding. It is great to focus on details and tweaks that could enhance the process. The end result should be new function or process that smoothly and efficiently achieves your goals and at the same time serves the customer well.
ATC Events will be running a series of one-day workshops in May 2016 across Australia and New Zealand where we will share in depth knowledge of these human-centred design processes. Join us where you will learn the techniques, tools, and methods on how to apply these steps to real problems you have.
We hope to see you there.
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