HackerRank’s First Virtual career fair is a remote university recruiting event where students from across the United States can connect with potential employers.
4 Months : Jun 2020 - Sep 2020
Historically, 400,000+ student developers and 1,200+ schools have relied on in-person career fairs to find internships and full-time jobs every year (Data from National Center for Education Statistics). But given the impact of COVID-19, in-person career fairs around the country have been forced to cancel to enact social distancing.
How can a platform supersede the traditional career fairs to tackle COVID-19 and other problems?
We dug deep into the problem and apprehended that there was a bigger problem at hand than just COVID-19.
For both employers and job seekers, traditional career fairs are artificially limiting: restrictions around budget, travel availability and time mean that only a fraction of available job seekers and employers are able to successfully connect.
While first impressions at a career fair are often based purely on resumes, we wanted to leverage data from the HackerRank platform to create a skill-based experience.
Working in a fast paced start-up doesn't let you spend ample amount of time on research and includes a lot of re-iterations.
On the brighter side, every review and iteration gives you a better understanding of the purpose and the goal. It also gives you the idea of what's feasible, what could be developed, business aspects and a lot of other things.
Understanding the Users
In order to design for the Fair, We had to talk to mainly 2 kinds of people.
- Job Seekers
We conducted interviews with job seekers and employers to see how we could provide a smooth experience not very different from the traditional fairs.
In doing so, we learned a lot about traditional career fairs and their drawbacks. I then laid back all the drawbacks, pros-cons and had put them in simple points.
How might we design a platform that replaces the present career fairs and solves user's pain points?
For Job Seekers:
- Have a competition during the fair's time to give everyone an equal shot at getting hired.
- Introducing an end-to-end flow from logging in to getting an interview.
- Company profile showing more details about the company, location and the role description.
- A list of employers with search and filters.
- Build a company profile and showcase it to thousands of candidates.
- Live events to interact with students.
- ATS to keep track and contact students.
We brainstormed extensively on what features we would want to add to the website. What pages, information and flows are relevant and important to our user?
Keeping our user's needs in mind, we decided that our high-end flow should go like this
Based on the user flow and the information architecture, I sketched out some concepts for the pages. Due to very short deadlines, the sketches made are for understanding the concept and taking feedback only.
The deliverable for this 4 month project was a set of high fidelity mockups of all the screens discussed previously.
We ended the fair with 20,000 signups from 1000+ schools. 8,000 of these students sent in at least one application for a total of 72,000 applications submitted.
Challenges during the Project
Is it even a design project if it isn't filled with challenges? I had faced many intriguing challenges and some of my favourite ones are:
- Designing cards with variable text is a difficult jobs. Taking the perfect use case breaks your design when the worst case arises. Always try to design for the worst case.
- Use law of common-region when you are designing a screen with elements on a same level. When you put similar things together, they appear to be in a group and our brains thinks that they have the same action/purpose.
This was my first time working on a huge product from end-to-end. I had learnt a lot about design and processes from this project and here are few of my learnings. Most of the learnings were known to be but experiencing them and being a part for the first time was definitely different.
- Spend a lot of time on research and making sketches before jumping on to the hi-fidelity mockups to reduce the number of re-iterations.
- Not everything you design can get developed. There are some restrictions when you work in a company which has a well-defined UI-Kit and it takes a ton of time to create something entirely new.
- Make more with less. - A lesson my mentor, ex-boss - "Musho" used to say and it definitely stands. The more elements you use, the more complicated it becomes.
- You think you have aced your design until the stakeholders/heads see them. Always make sure you have a couple of versions for them to select from. (Pro Tip: Do include a really bad one).
- Take some time-offs in between especially when you are working on a huge project. Looking at the same thing over and over again refrains your brain from thinking different.