HR Leads Business

Aug 13, 2019 | Clare Chiappetta

Can Design Thinking Improve Your Hiring Processes?

There’s a significant disconnect between human resources processes and the needs of candidates. In fact, the Human Capital Institute says 60% of candidates report having a negative hiring experience.

“Traditionally design thinking was about developing a product, but it can be applied to processes as well,” says Ave Shalom, a creative director at Aon. “It means gaining empathy for the person you're designing the process for so that you can better meet their needs, and taking a step back from your assumptions of what you think their needs are.”

Here are three ways you can incorporate design thinking in your HR processes to best serve the needs of your organization.

Begin with Empathy

Design thinking revolves around people and their needs. It’s critical to put yourself in the employee’s position, and to try to determine the pain points an individual will experience. “The biggest misconception surrounding design thinking is that it is the same as brainstorming or ideating,” says James Colino, recruiting leader at RecOps. “Far too often teams try to develop solutions without first properly defining the end user's needs.”

Shalom says this process involves identifying the personas of the people your team serves, putting yourself in their position and trying to accommodate their needs. “What are their pain points? What are their lifestyles like?” she says. “Design thinking really prompts you to understand and empathize with the person that you're working for so that you can design the best experience for them.”

Consider reaching out to recent hires for feedback on some of your processes to get started.

Take a Complete Step Back

To really design an effective HR process, you can’t just rely on tweaking old processes. Instead, plan on designing an entirely new process. “HR leaders should consider the investment of time and resources that are required to conduct a design thinking initiative,” Colino says. “When done correctly, there are research, ideation, solution formulation, testing and launching phases.”

You may want to consider reaching outside HR for expertise. “There are a few different ways that a recruiting team can leverage outside expertise,” Colino says. “They could leverage a coworker who has design thinking training, hire a design thinking consultant or upskill someone on their team to properly lead an initiative.”

Plan to Redesign

Expect to take an “agile,” iterative approach to design thinking. You won’t know it works until you test it, so try to put together a group to have mock interviews and meetings on whatever concept you come up with. “For example, put together a pool of candidates and have them go through a mock process to test out your ideas,” Shalom says.

Once you’ve run through the process, take some time to do surveys and identify anything that went wrong. Working these out becomes the goal for your next run. “Testing is another aspect of design thinking that gets you better at an ideal solution,” Shalom says. “It really is about being agile and nimble, because if you're innovative, test as you go and include key stakeholders in the process, you will come up with a better solution.”