Category Archives: HR Technology

Design Secrets from the Android Team @ SXSW

Helena Roeber (@helenaroeber) and Rachel Garb (@rachelgarb), who have both contributed to the design principles of google’s android, share the thought process behind their design success.

  1. “Enchant me. Simplify my life. Make me amazing.” Love the girl power/female speakers at Android Design Principles #androidux #sxsw
  2. Make me amazing – isn’t that exactly what we want from our devices?  They extend ourselves beyond what we can do without them, and what a huge win if they can make us amazing too.
  3. For every interaction that might trigger a negative emotion, always offer 3 that offer a positive one. #androidux #swsx
  4. .@helenaroeber Android UX team: We wanted to speak more to people’s hearts [with our designs]. #androidux http://pic.twitter.com/vqLw98PZkc
  5. Bring a ray of sunshine into the life of users. Simplify their lives and focus attn in what matters to make exp amazing #androidux #sxsw
  6. Use beautiful images to create positive experiences for the user.
  7. The most luxurious principle of this presentation! RT @charohenriquez: Delight me in surprising ways! #androidux #SXSW
  8. Paradox: technology has the power to bring us closer except that the interface & hardware keep getting in the way. #androidux #SXSW
  9. Customer complaints are really just #innovation opportunities in disguise. #androidux #SXSW2013
  10. I love the idea renaming a list of things to fix into something approachable and positive. #androidux #sxsw
  11. RT Excellent explanation of design principles behind android UX. “decide for me but let me have final say” is my favourite. #sxsw #androidux
  12. Create defaults for users so they have fewer choices, but let them override those defaults if they choose.
  13. Users are overwhelmed by options and limitless flexibility. #androidux #SXSW
  14. Only show users what they need, when they need it.
  15. The Android UX team refuses to use the phrase “are you sure?” in their UIs #androidux #sxsw
  16. Keep it brief. Use fewer words. The world needs this advice! #androidux
  17. #androidux words are powerful. Encouragement is powerful. I first learned that in Sunday school #SXSW
  18. Little annoyances have the power to erase all the magic in your world #androidux #whyIdoUX

How to Create a Positive Applicant Experience

candidate experience

13 ways to create a positive applicant experience:  View Slides

 Career Site Tools for Self-Analysis

Visit http://usability.mystaffingpro.com for the following tools:

  • Usability Quiz
  • Usable Not Confusable White Paper
  • Webinar Recording

Get Real & Rate Your Candidate Experience

confused

If you want to get real about your candidate experience, ask yourself these questions about your hiring process:

  1. Do my job postings contain complete information about the duties of the job, the requirements, and the conditions of the job in easy to read language?
  2. Do I communicate the length of time and the information required to fill out an application?
  3. Am I only asking only relevant information from the applicant via the online application?
  4. Do I give information to the applicant about the next steps in the hiring process?
  5. Do I provide timely status updates to my applicants?  And ideally, a way for the applicant to check their status online?
  6. Am I offering ways for my applicants to connect with my organization via social media or other communication methods?
  7. Do I disposition the candidates during the hiring process, and especially once the requisition is filled?

Then, apply to one of your own jobs and validate that everything works the way you think it should.

After you’ve done that, enter the Candidate Experience Awards and get even more insight on how to create a positive experience for your candidates.  You might even win some nice recognition.

Usable HR Technology Doesn’t Mean Less Clicks

In the late 90s when usability first came to software developers’ attention, a lot of focus was made on the number of clicks a user made and the tracking of the eye on a software interface to reduce user memory.  While these are still important considerations, the science of usability has advanced to include the persuasion of a user to accomplish a specific goal.

In recruiting, the goal is to find a good match for a job.  While efforts to reduce the number of clicks for an online application are admirable, they are not necessarily meeting the end goal of the application.  The focus should be on an easy to use interface that allows an applicant to show whether or not he fits the job.

“The future of design is about creating engagement and commitment to meet measurable business goals.” – Dr. Eric Schaffer / Founder and CEO Human Factors International, Inc. in his white paper “Beyond Usability”

When applicants are polled regarding what they do not like about online job applications, they don’t complain about the number of clicks, but rather the lack of information about the job, the irrelevancy of the information collected,  the limited data formats accepted and the lack of follow-up.  Most of these are soft areas that relate more to content than technology.  However, in both applicants and recruiters minds, all of it is technology.

candidate experience

From The Candidate Experience Monograph by Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler, with others.

HR tech vendors can help assist their clients by providing suggested content, best practices information during implementation and staying on the cutting edge of consumer focused technology.  The end goal of a talent management application must be to find the best fit for the job, while leveraging technology to save as much time and effort as possible, and to enforce compliance.  The end goal often gets lost within the latest industry buzz words and trends, but it must stay in the forefront in order to create truly usable hr technology.

Job Applicants Want a Touchable Application Process – It’s Time to Give it To Them

touch table at SXSW

I heard a lot of frustration in their voices.  A very tech savvy crowd yes, but still unsure how to present themselves as a job applicant.  “I have a beautiful resume, but the online application is asking me to cut and paste my resume,” laments one job seeker.

“I fill my resume with keywords, but never hear a word from the company after filling out the online application.”

“How do I link up to my online portfolio when they just want me to type in my work experience?”

The questions during the SXSW 2012 session on “Online Personality Disorder: Resumes and Profiles” highlighted the gap between the expertise of the applicant, and the technology of the average applicant tracking system.  I had to raise my hand and admit I am with an applicant tracking system (although one of those that does allow portfolio uploads, online profiles, and formatted resumes), and suggest that when a cut and paste resume is required (by an ancient system, ahem), make sure to put a link to your online profile/ portfolio at the top of the resume text.

In this age of TVs that change the channel based on your hand motions, video enabled vending machines that measure your smile, and touch table computers, basic electronic resume applications fall flat.

The truth is that applicants want to reach out and touch the application process.  They want to put their unique mark on their application – they want to demonstrate their passion and their skills.  They don’t necessarily want to apply with just “two clicks,” they want to interact with the organization and provide relevant information.

And the truth is, hiring managers want to let them.  But too often time constraints and technology get in the way.  The solution isn’t to go back to the paper resume or in-person hiring event.  The solution is to adapt applicant tracking technology to let applicants express themselves, while automating as much as possible.

Here’s some ideas on making the online application and the hiring process “touchable” for the applicant, and still protect the hiring manager’s time:

  • Allow the applicant to upload digital portfolios, images, and formatted resumes as part of their online application
  • Provide easy ways for the applicant to link to their online professional content
  • Give applicants status updates throughout the process – via email, text or a self-service portal.
  • Word status updates and email communication as personally and warmly as professionally possible, so applicants realize they are communicating with a real person
  • Consider using a company like Send Out Cards to send out recycled paper thank you notes with a status update after a phone interview.
  • Provide a kiosk in the employer’s lobby to allow applicants to apply online and/or check their status.  It’s relatively inexpensive to do with an ipad kiosk.
  • Use in-depth job descriptions and basic pre-screening questions to allow applicants who aren’t a fit to self-select out.  This allows more time for the hiring manager to review the information of qualified applicants.

Technology doesn’t have to be impersonal.  In fact, most innovation in tech sectors over the last few years has focused on making technology more and more personal.  Talent management systems and HR can provide a touchable application experience for applicants.  We all just have to try harder.

Takeaways for HR Tech from SXSW 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012 was my first time at SXSW, and I found inspiration for making HR Tech better from a number of channels including film, gaming, media agencies, and consumer focused start-ups.

Treat applicants like a consumer and let them be social

  • Let applicants be social about the jobs they are applying to, potentially letting them share the  fact that they are applying with friends, ask for recommendations
  • Help applicants sell themselves – they have a difficult time demonstrating their passion to an  applicant tracking system
  • Let applicants link to their rich online content, if applicable to the job application

APIs are a growing trend

  • Companies are making millions off just API transactions
  • APIs are now primarily written in REST, not SOAP
  • Well-document your API and make the documentation public
  • Create tools for programmers to build transactions with your API

Mobile is huge and is not being replaced by tablets

  • It is now an appendage to people, and everyone was a “cyborg” during SXSW12, per Amber Case
  • Mobile has become notebook, internet, phone, map, entertainer, camera, video cam and more, in one
  • Video and photos are the new “text”

From the gaming world we learn the importance of incentivizing users = goals & metrics

  • With gaming, people are incentivized to complete tasks
  • People like to see visually that they are making goals
  • Users by nature have a hard time figuring out metrics and are embarrassed by it
  • Requirements for a user to get into a good flow with software:
    • Goals, then challenges,  then skills, then feedback, then control

Relevance more important that simplicity

  • In user’s mind, relevance = usability
  • No matter how simple you make something, it isn’t usable to the user unless it does what they wanted to do
  • In the case of job applications, less clicks does not = user satisfaction.  Rather, the right questions and truthful feedback = user satisfaction.

#SXSW Thursday – The Startup Crawl

While SXSW doesn’t officially start until Friday, I was excited to be able to jump on board with a new official event – the “startup crawl” – on Thursday night.

I jumped on a shuttle bus and joined other tech fans to shuffle from downtown startup to downtown startup. The array of technical creativity was impressive. I noticed a lot of very young faces in the crowd. After asking around, I realized that quite a few of the startup companies rely on college interns to help build their next new product. Austin, I am told, is a very young city.

Two companies stood out to me because of their creative approach to real-world need:

digby – mobilizing retail

digby puts a kind of hot spot they call localpoint into a retail location, and then recognizes customer phones as they walk through the door. With their mobile app, customers can then receive personalized content and coupons based on what store they are in, or even where they are in the store. The company offers a development kit that allows small businesses to build their own apps, but also has built these types of apps for large retailers such as The Home Depot and Toys R Us.

They say they don’t keep a record who the actual customer is, just the ID of the phone. For small businesses, though, if the app recognizes loyal customers as they walk through the door, it would meet a need to provide personalized service to those best customers. Would be really creep if wal-mart did that though.

Within the HR tech space, I could see some use for this for job applications onsite.

Bypass Lane

I have to admit Bypass Lane was my favorite startup of the night. This company offers a mobile app that allows you to order a drink or food at a large event, such as a football game, and then get it delivered to you, or schedule it for pickup. The app was live at the bar where they hosted their startup stop last night, and I was able to download the app while at their location, and order a drink from the bar. I got a text when the drink was ready and went and picked it up.

Right now they have limited their app to just large venues such as the Ford Center. I asked if they would set it up for my coffee house. Instead of the laugh I thought I would get, the developer said pensively that they hope to push it out to small business somehow, but haven’t focused on that market yet. I would love to see them team up with an independent business organization, such as AMIBA, who could offer it to their members.

Speaking of small business, I’ve read a few articles in the national media about SXSW and they seem to focus on giants such as google and Microsoft offering their innovations. That’s not what SXSW is about. SXSW is about independent business, innovators and startups. They invite the big guys too, just because it’s fair, but they get the same amount of consideration by attendees as the above startup companies I mentioned.

These conference is about recognizing that innovation and talent can come from someone’s PC in the basement as much as the billion dollar lab at a software giant. I’m very excited to learn from those talents today.