A college recruiter's best friend
Our team was assigned to examine the needs of mobile workers (i.e., people whose jobs require them to move around, like yoga instructors or plumbers) and see how a mobile app could help them use their time most effectively. We almost immediately decided to focus on a niche, rather than try for a less focused solution. We examined various types of mobile workers and settled on college recruiters based on ease of access to users and lack of existing solutions.
Our team conducted interviews via phone with various college recruiters we knew professionally. Our interviews focused on understanding the core issues they faced when traveling, especially about time management. We also talked to recruiters during a career fair at CMU that fell in our research period.
We learned that recruiters have no trouble finding things to do when they are traveling, since they have very little free time. Instead, recruiters feel pressured by the huge number of steps they have to take before they even show up, and then the flood of information that hits them when they are on a campus. Maps, dates, times, names, and conversations all fly by during a career fair, and more than anything recruiters wanted a way to handle all of that information.
We synthesized this information and created personas who could guide our design.
We decided to create a mobile app that would help recruiters wrangle the various types of information they need to keep track of during a career fair: maps of the areas on and around campus, the day's schedule of events, and resumes of the students they meet. We considered the basic workflow a recruiter goes through to register and attend a career fair, and automated pieces that could be automated. Our app connected the maps with the schedules, allowing recruiters to check one app for getting to everything, and tied in student profiles to reduce the need to carry paper around the country. Since most colleges already have career sites with databases of student profiles, we designed the app to plug into those systems and require minimal additional effort on the school's part.
In considering the business case for the service, we designed the app to be paid for by colleges as a piece of their career services, since it would entice recruiters to schools with the service. The only work for schools is connecting the app to their existing student databases and sending invitations to career fairs through the app, which in turn saves them paperwork. Our design also included the ability for different career fairs to appear in each school's colors.
To demonstrate how the app would be used in context, our final presentation was a day in the life of a recruiter, made easier by use of the app. I developed the app as a native iOS app in a couple days, which let us show off how easy it was to use.