Design a Smooth Screening Process for HR managers and Interviewees

Bestaff is an Applicant Tracking System used by HR managers for the applicant screening process. I joined the team at the very first stage to design software that could help HR managers do better interviews, save time on daily tasks and bring an excellent experience to the hiring team. 

My Role:

UX Researcher / Product Designer

Design PeriodJan 2019 – Oct 2019

Project Summary

HR managers need software to collect and categorize many resumes at the screening stage and then have an online meeting with the applicant to get their information and update it in this resume bank. This process is done by ATS software. In this project, I was the main product designer, working as a user researcher and a product designer to build this software from scratch. 

The MVP process

We started doing user research to understand users’ needs. Our target customers were HR Managers, so we asked them what ATS software they were using, and we were shocked. They said that they were using Microsoft Excel to organize all of the data from their applications!

Initially, we had intended to create an online meeting software for HR managers, but they had a fundamental problem managing resumes and keeping track of the steps of the hiring process. So, according to our user research, we changed our strategy from making an online meeting software to an online ATS software, which also has a screening feature.

Qualitative User Research to Create Personas

Personas are created based on user research. I interviewed +10 HR managers to gain insights into their goals and motivations and to determine which pain points they experience during the hiring process.

The main challenge for the first group was the lack of ATS software that could help them manage the large number of resumes they received for every position.

The second group of HR specialists had the same problem, but they had adopted Microsoft Excel to manage the resume depot. They also needed to add some notes to each resume and sometimes they used MS Word to create separate files related to each resume and then put them in a separate folder beside the resume file.

ATS software persona

Journey map of recruiting new staff 

Here’s a journey map of the hiring process from the perspective of HR managers, focusing on the key stages and touchpoints they encounter. 

The principal steps of the recruiting process

  1. Identifying hiring needs (preparing the job description)
  2. Planning (choosing the right screening method based on the position)
  3. Finding, sourcing, and filtering candidates based on keywords in their resumes.
  4. Initial Screening (Using Google Meet or Zoom or phone call for the first interview)
  5. Interviewing steps (which may be one or more technical interviews and the results must be recorded. usually in a Word or Excel file)
  6. Assessment and Offer (in this step, the HR manager and the hiring manager work together to choose the best candidate based on interview ranks every candidate has received)
ATS software journey map

Ideation process 

Here are some ideas for creating ATS software, which were generated through brainstorming sessions with our team, interviews with stakeholders, and some market research on web-based applications available in the market.

Affinity Map

Affinity mapping is a technique commonly used to organize and analyze qualitative data gathered during research activities such as user interviews, brainstorming, or any other data-gathering techniques. It helps us make sense of large amounts of data and identify patterns, themes, and insights that can inform the design process. We use it to better understand users and their needs, to define product requirements, or to plan future product features.

affinity map of a ATS software

Software Features Mindmap

Based on the data from the user research phase, which was presented as affinity diagrams, we decided to visualize the features that we are going to have in our ATS software. These features were finalized, and we started to work on them. 

We knew that we couldn’t have them in the very first version of the app. So, we prioritized them according to these parameters:

  1. Features that are most wanted by users
  2. Fundamental features: They need to be implemented first because they are required by other features. Features like user authentication, resume depot and so on.
  3. Features that could make a huge difference in users’ time spent on daily repetitive tasks.
  4. Features that could help us sell this software as a useful tool to first buyers.
  5. Features that could make the product different from available options in the market.
mindmap for ATS software features

Use case definition

In the UX design process, a “use case” refers to a detailed description of a specific interaction or scenario that represents how users will engage with a product. Use cases outline the steps a user takes to achieve a particular goal or task within the product’s context. We defined many use cases for each feature to better understand users’ needs and interactions with the system.

usecase for an ATS software - sample

User flow Diagrams

User flow is the user’s path to finish a specific purpose. It includes each step, from the starting point to the endpoint. User flow works well in the app and website design. Getting feedback from customers is the best way to find where we need to optimize our existing products and website.

There are many userflows in this software, and I’m going to mention just 3 of them as an example:

userflow diagram for an ATS software

Wireframing starts on paper

Wireframes are used to provide a clear visual understanding of page structure, layout, information architecture, user flow, functionality and intended behaviours. After having the user, I started to visualize the user interface so that I could present it to stakeholders to make sure that we were creating the right product with the same features they needed. We could also do some usability testing on wireframes to see how users follow the steps and get their tasks done.

Applicant applying on the website’s career page:

In the following wireframes, the applicant goes to the company’s website career page, clicks on a job title, and applies for a job by filling out a form and uploading a resume file. Then, he/she is asked to complete a questionnaire designed by the HR team for culture fit or some basic technical questions.

After applying for a job, the applicant’s resume is sent to a pool and will be processed by the ATS engine and his/her information is extracted to build a searchable resume for the hiring team.

Bestaff ATS environment:

In the following wireframes, a HR manager or another evaluator, opens the ATS environment and works on a resume. They can change the status of a resume from received column to interview column and after interview, If the applicant is approved to be hired, the user can drag and drop his/her resume to the offer column.

ATS wireframes by pencil on paper

Drag-and-Drop feature Design Idea

This drag-and-drop interface interaction helps evaluators see which resumes are in which state and gives them a better understanding of the overall screening process.

The idea came from the Trello software, which is an online task manager and fits our UX process very well.

drag and drop feature in ATS softwares

Hi-Fi User interface

This project has many features and interfaces that are designed in Adobe XD, but some of the main pages are presented here as a sample.

More than 100 pages were designed to present all the user flows and details of each use case. This software was designed in Adobe XD and implemented with PHP as a SaaS.

Design ATS software

Some Pages, Designed in Adobe XD

design interface in adobe XD

Making a difference

Most of the HR managers that I interviewed had no access to ATS software. By developing this software, they can now use an automated process for extracting resume files, managing the hiring process, and saving time on repetitive tasks.