Solving for the Customer with Cross-Channel Experiences
My job is to deliver software that meets the hiring and job hunting needs of the food & drink industry. I spent the last two years focused on growth & optimization. In this study I show how I drove a 1,300% increase in candidates scheduled for interviews
Poached had existing functionality that allowed an employer to schedule an interview with a candidate, and the system would send an email with options to accept, decline, or reschedule. Customers hire Poached to fill an open position (the job-to-be-done). A critical part of that process is interviewing candidates. We knew from analyzing data and talking to customers that there was significant room for improvement.
We conduct ongoing qualitative and quantitative research as a means to understand how well we are serving our customers needs. A few facts emerged that helped us prioritize this project:
- Response rates and times via email were poor.
- Scheduling often requires back-and-forth discussion to agree on a time.
- 70% of job seekers use Poached on their phones and generally prefer texting to email.
- Candidates often do not show up when scheduled for an interview (common industry problem).
- Enabling employers to have conversations with candidates will make scheduling interviews easier.
- Candidates will be more responsive if they receive text messages instead of emails.
- Sending automatic reminders and confirmations will cut down on no-shows.
Analyzing the Competition
It’s important to keep in mind what competition means, which isn't just other companies in your space. The competition, in this case, is any method employers use to contact applicants and schedule interviews outside of Poached. When an employer goes outside the system we don’t know about the interview and lose valuable insight into the process. These methods include things like:
- Texting the number on the candidate's resume from their mobile phone.
- Using a built-in calendar like Google or a scheduling app like Calendly.
The first case above is also undesirable for the Employer — now their conversations are scattered in their text messages, there’s no indication of the interview status, and they’ve opened a channel for the applicant to repeatedly send them text messages. The second case is fine, in that the employer and the candidate both want the event to end up on the calendar they use for daily life.
Designing the Experience
This was a complex project that required mapping out experiences for both users across multiple platforms (web app, email, sms). I sketched out user flows to support texting applicants from Poached while maintaining a centralized view of messages and statuses. Because we previously created a robust design system, I could go from high-level concept to high-fidelity prototype. The basic components of my design are:
- Encourage candidates to provide and validate a mobile phone number.
- Provide a clear messaging interface and let the employer know that they can text candidates right from the app.
- Let the employer know that we will send automated reminders to the candidate on their behalf.
- Deliver cross-channel messages to the job seeker and support replying and accepting invites.
- Notify the employer when they receive responses.
- After an interview, prompt the employer to record whether the candidate showed up or not. This makes record-keeping easy and gives us data that we can use to improve the feature.
Managing the Complexity
The deeper we got into the project, the more the complexity grew. I was coming up with endless questions. Which events should each party be notified about? How do we decide when to send the candidate a reminder? What if the interview was scheduled on the same day? How do we fit the necessary information into a concise text message? How does the message vary if it’s sent by email? What if a candidate wants to stop getting texts? What if an employer wants to end a conversation?
I dug into our existing data to inform our decisions. For example I found that 50% of interviews were scheduled 1-2 days out, and almost 20% were scheduled on the day of the interview. These kinds of insights are valuable. Now I knew that scheduling interviews day-of wasn’t just a hypothetical edge case. To manage all this complexity I put everything into spreadsheets.
- I created a list of messages by platform (e.g. reminder via SMS) and wrote copy for every variation including an example and a template for each.
- I compiled a list of events, and whether each event triggered a status change in the app or a notification to the user. I defined the status labels and any CTA for the user, and wrote copy for each notification.
- I defined rules for sending reminders based on variables like the time of day and the time between the invite and the actual interview.
Thanks to all the work I put into managing the complexity and documenting our decisions, the development process went smoothly and the project was incredibly successful. Within a few months of the release we were finding that:
- Employers were sending messages to 46% of applicants they viewed.
- 13x increase in candidates scheduled for interviews! (85% of candidates scheduled were sent a message first.)
- 10% increase in response rate to interview requests.
- Up to 4x decrease in response time for candidates who received text messages vs those who received email (from 21 hrs down to 6 hrs).
See the Design
Take a walk-through of my design and see the whole thing in action.