A new hiring economy: Introducing external evaluators.
By introducing a new role to the standard hiring equation, external evaluators, VidBib creates a triple-win situation for rejected candidates, companies that rejected those candidates, and companies that are looking to evaluate candidates for their job openings.
Type and Scope
Solo, conceptual project. A website/platform.
Feb 01, 2022 - Mar 19, 2022
Skills Used
Competitive analysis, product design, prototyping, questionnaires, secondary research, usability tests, user interview design, user interviews,  and wireframing.
🔦  Project SUMMARY
Problem Statement
One of the worst inefficiencies in the world is hiring processes that end with candidates’ rejection: Companies use very valuable resources, which they get zero return on investment, and most of the time, candidates get no feedback and spend their time in very repetitive interviews.
The case in point: Even for positions in which the candidate was under-experienced clear as a day, no feedback or no specific reason for rejection is presented.
Introducing external evaluators, a new role to the standard hiring equation: They evaluate job seekers’ application packages and create extensive reports on them. These reports are shared with job seekers; thus they finally get feedback that they have been looking for for a long time and can be shared with the hiring responsible in the companies that are interested in the job seeker in return for financial compensation.
Furthermore, companies that evaluated a candidate and spent valuable resources in the process can assume the role of external evaluators, and monetize their own evaluation reports, which enable them to get a return on their investment.
Last but not least, any company purchasing such reports can significantly reduce time and resources they spend on hiring processes.
Preliminary User Interviews
To understand the problems job seekers face before, during, and after the hiring processes they go through, I interviewed two people who were actively looking for a job and had interviewed within the last thirty days.
Both stated that:
Most interviews they participated in were highly repetitive.
They barely get feedback from companies they are rejected from.
They would love to get feedback.
They believe such feedback would help them to do much better in future interviews.
To reach a broader population to verify these statements, see what other problems job seekers face, and understand the landscape better, I decided to conduct user questionnaires.
One questionnaire for juniors and active job seekers with less than three years of experience and another for seniors with hiring responsibilities with at least three years of experience were prepared. In total, 34 questions were asked, and 9 individuals participated. Some key interview questions are as below.
Interview Questions for Juniors and Job Seekers
1. How willing would you be to take an external professional's evaluation on a job-seeker's application package?
2. How often were you provided feedback regarding your application package at the end of your process by the company you applied?
3. How inclined would you be to use a platform that stores your answers to one-way (asynchronous) interview questions for a limited time, so you could re-use them for your future interviews, not requiring you to answer the same one-way interview questions again and again?
4. How inclined would you be to use a platform that stores your answers to one-way (asynchronous) interview questions for a limited time, so that a qualified professional in your field could provide extensive feedback on your application package?
5. How much would it bother you if your answers to one-way interview questions were used for monetization by a qualified professional in your field? In this case, such a person would be monetizing her review of your application package to be purchased by the companies that are interested in you, and you would be getting this review as feedback on your application package.
Interview Questions for Seniors and Hiring Responsible
1. How often were external professionals invited to any panel interviews that you attended?
2. How inclined would you be to use a platform that stores job-seekers' answers to one-way (asynchronous) interview questions for a limited time, so you could watch their answers recorded at a time earlier than their application?
3. How inclined would you be to use a platform that stores job-seekers' answers to one-way (asynchronous) interview questions for a limited time, so that an external qualified professional in your field could provide extensive feedback on her application package?
4. How willing would you be to purchase such evaluation reports prepared by external professionals to provide you with more insight regarding job-seekers' application packages while making hiring/recruitment decisions?
5. How willing would you be to provide extensive feedback on a job-seeker's application package for monetary compensation? In this case, you would be monetizing your review of the job-seeker's application package to be purchased by the companies that are interested in her application, and she would be getting this review as feedback on her application package.
Key Learnings from Questionnaires
Job seekers truly care about feedback on their application packages and interviews.
Some job seekers find it tedious to record long answers to one-way interview questions.
A very high percentage of participants (85.7%) prefers using their computers for one-way interviews.
Job seekers prefer to tailor their application packages per company as different companies value different things.
Most seniors with hiring responsibilities would provide feedback if they had enough resources and time.
Job seekers and hiring responsible have a much higher preference for one-way interviews.
🏋️‍♀️  PROCESS
Meet Meetr
Based on my research, I concluded that any solution had to (1) provide stronger incentives to companies, (2) create new incentives for companies, or (3) improve how those incentives are displayed (i.e., a product with much better usability).
The first solution that I came up with was Meetr.
Paid application package reviews, portfolio reviews, and career consultancy are currently well-established services offered by seniors, social media celebrities, and companies. An aggregator of these services would make it much easier for job seekers to find people with high seniority already offering such services. Kind of like Tinder, but for candidates and reviewers.
Yet, as I thought more about it, I noticed three problems with the core idea:
  1. People providing such services would be much more inclined to provide positive feedback, resulting in less honest feedback.
  2. In any simulated interview, e.g., a mock interview, most job seekers would not feel the adverse psychological effects that they would normally experience in actual interviews.
  3. Most job seekers, especially those in developing countries or those in economic distress, would find it extremely hard to afford such services.
Back to the whiteboard, I decided to go over four key points I learned by then:
  1. There is a market (i.e., supply and demand) for career consultancy services.
  2. Seniors and companies would provide feedback if they had enough resources or had been incentivized strongly.
  3. Job seekers love feedback on their application packages.
  4. A hiring process that ends with the rejection of a candidate to whom no feedback is provided is extremely inefficient.
During a brainstorming session, I noticed that a new role, “external evaluator”, could be introduced to the standard hiring equation between job seekers and companies, immensely improving the current hiring practices.
An external evaluator would provide extensive feedback on a job seeker’s application package and get financially compensated for their time and effort. A job seeker would get extensive feedback, by allowing the external evaluator to share and monetize the extensive report they create, and companies would be able to purchase these reports, significantly reducing the resources they spend on job candidates, and/or sell their own reports on candidates they had rejected.
Most importantly, any person can assume any combination of these three roles under certain circumstances.
As an outcome of this new hiring process, job seekers’ interviews become less repetitive, they get more feedback, hand-selected pioneers of their fields can provide feedback to job seekers and monetize their efforts, and companies finally have a way to “recycle” their efforts and reports on rejected candidates.
After I completed the first iteration of VidBib’s prototype, it was time to test it with some real users. Yet, in addition to testing its usability, I had another motivation: To see how fast users learn to navigate through the website.
Even though I had done quite a good job with its information architecture, some power users would be switching between three roles constantly and very swiftly, thus how intuitive they find navigating through the product was very important.
With these two goals in my mind, I conducted an online unmoderated usability test with four tasks. All users were shortly briefed about VidBib before they started their tests, and as any task would start at the hiring responsible dashboard, instead of the product homepage where they could read about the roles, and the business proposition VidBib presents, etc., they would know very little about roles. While this is not clearly ideal for first-time users, this was intended to observe how fast they learn to navigate through the website, even when they have minimal information.
In fact, the two tasks, Task 1 and Task 3, were almost identical in terms of navigation, and to ensure they are not sequential, the longest task of this usability task was put between them. Any decrease in their average duration to complete those two tasks and any increase in their average scores would imply that VidBib's navigation is truly intuitive and very easy to learn through.
Usability Test Statistics
Avg. Duration
"Find out a hiring responsible's score on your answer as a job seeker"
140.6 secs.
"Review an interview as a hiring responsible"
301.0 secs.
"Find out an external evaluator's score on your answer as a job seeker"
108.6 secs.
"Find out a company's deadline and contact them as an external evaluator"
16.1 secs.
Key Learnings from the Usability Test
First-time users have trouble navigating between different roles.
Some test participants completed their tasks following indirect paths.
Users find VidBib's navigation intuitive, and easy to learn.
The average duration has dropped from Task 1's 140.6 seconds to Task 3's 108 seconds: A 23% decrease. The average score has increased from Task 1's 2.50/5.00 to Task 3's 4.00/5.00 as well: A 60% increase.
Easy-to-Use One-Way Interview Platform
Companies and candidates can use VidBib as a one-way interview platform. Pre-answers enable candidates to create their own pages, as below, review their answers, and share them with external evaluators, and companies to review those answers and write (and share) their comments on them.
Use Your Pre-Recorded Answers
If the candidate has answered an interview question in the past, they are allowed to take a look at their pre-record, and if they prefer, they can use them for their ongoing interview.
A Page to Display Your Best
Job seekers can share introduction videos, and "pre-answers" to interview questions publicly on their personal pages. Sharing those pages with the hiring responsible significantly reduces the time spend on pre-screening calls, or even interviews.
What Did I Do?
This project started with some preliminary user interviews with people who were actively looking for a job and had participated in job interviews in the last thirty days. Two questionnaires to verify if the broader audience shares their problems were conducted, and I noticed that the current hiring practices are extremely inefficient.
After carefully synthesizing my findings, I came up with a solution, Meetr, kind of like Tinder, but for candidates and reviewers; but as there were some severe problems with the core idea, I "divorced" it, and moved to a second idea, a platform based on a new role I call external evaluators.
Lastly, I conducted a usability test with four participants and got very important insights to improve the current prototype, such as, even though the navigation is extremely intuitive and easy to learn, first-time users with no to very little context have trouble with it.
Key Learnings from This Project
If I had made a better use of Figma's component variables, I would save so much design time, and more importantly, mental energy.
If I could conduct a usability test at an earlier time, then VidBib would not have an issue with indirect paths.
It is important for a designer to be able to divorce their ideas and know when to do so. If I had insisted to stick with Meetr, I would waste so much of my time, for no reason, without any tangible positive result.
Design is a team sport, and behind every large project, there are very large teams: I should not have tried to design such a large product, even if it is conceptual and it is a relative success in my eyes.