Case Study

Designing a new feature to solve an old problem.

Like most startups in their early stages, Accountingfly was building the plane while it was in the air; using what tools we had already built to fulfill the needs of the customer.

Viewing the 'job' page and Resume Drop button.

Problem

With two sets of users, Employers and Applicants, decisions we made sometimes affected both sets.

In order to support the need for Employers to capture qualified talent year-round, Account Managers were keeping our 30-day Job Postings active indefinitely.

After polling select Applicants, we learned that they weren't applying to postings that had been live for more than 30 days, assuming the position had been filled.

Solution

After a Product Sprint with my team, and a few weeks of design and development, we launched a new core-feature we called Resume Drop, with the name taken from a common term for when a graduate and an employer meet at career fairs in the Accounting industry.

At it's heart, Resume Drop was just a re-skinned Job Posting, positioned to act as a catch-all for Employers, and a way for Accountants to express interest, without the expectation of a typical job posting.

But ultimately it became a tool that provided value to our product outside of typical hiring seasons, generated monthly recurring revenue and further increased Employer's reliance on our platform.

Process

Research

The atomic problem, the user's problem, was that they didn't want to miss out meeting a qualified candidate, just because they didn't have an "active" job posting. This led to the idea of "evergreen" job postings. These were job postings that were always live on our platform so they could collect resumes.

You have to remember that pre-pandemic, mid-2010's, working completely remotely was just being accepted more broadly, much less in the Accounting industry. This meant that if someone was looking for an accounting job in say, Scranton, New Jersey, that they either lived there, or were planning to move there (lots of situations included Accountants moving back to their hometowns).

If an Accountant was actively looking for work in the Employer's city, they wanted the chance to bring them on board, even if that meant having to find a spot for them.

But with no "active" job postings, the Employers in Scranton would never surface in search results for those Accountants looking for work.

We considered running scripts that would automatically adjust a jobs posting date on any post tagged by our Account Managers, but that felt misleading.

Design

Collecting Resume Drops
Talking to Employers, we learned that they were wanting to collect the same information from an Accountant for any job, as they would for a specific job: title, resume, cpa certified, etc.

See also: Reconsidering a Legacy process: the job application

This meant we could duplicate our existing schema for Job Posts, but send the data to a new area of the Employer's dashboard. From this new area, we called Resumes, an Employer could still take notes and message the Accountant. 

We also added a new feature to Resumes that allowed Employers to invite an Accountant to apply to a specific job, which put their profile into the funnel for a particular job, only if the Accountant acceptd the invitation of course.

Submitting a Resume
Now that we knew the Employer's process, we needed to figure out how the Accountant would express interest and drop their resume.

We decided we would create a Resume Drop button that lived on the Employer's Profile, easy enough. But we quickly realized if an Employer had no "active" job postings then Accountant wouldn't be able to find them via our Job Search.

Discovering Employers
Employers needed to be discoverable outside of traditional Job Postings.

We considered an "Employer Search" feature that had you select what category to search, either Jobs or Employers, but that felt clunky and added too much complexity.

Ultimately we decided to add Employers as a search result during our normal job searches. We added a column to our search reults page that would display Employers within the specified range of the search.

We randomized the order of these search results each page load, so as not to give any Employer an advantage.

Search results page showing the new Employers column on the right

Results & Iterations

Financially, this was a hit. We were already selling this to Employers but now it has a name and real value and became a way for us bring on customers into a an annual contract, increasing our MRR.

Analytically, this improved engagement and conversion across the board. Accountants were spending more time searching, researching and visiting Employers profiles. We were converting more visitors into "applicants" via the Resume Drop button.

Unfortunately this higher conversion rate came with consequences. The positioning of the button was TOO prominent and Accountants were mistaking it for the actual Apply buton on job postings pages (the Resume Drop button was part of a template include on the Profile page so it showed up everywhere). 

So we put in some logic to only have it display on any Profile or Profile sub-pages.

This had a snowball effect though since an Employers "All Jobs" page was a Jobs page, so the button was removed. If a visitor ended up on this page, not have an opportunity to drop their resume was a missed chance at expressing interest, causing visitors to bounce from this page.

Our solution was if Jobs=0, display Resume Drop.

The entire Jobs lists was replaced with the Resume Drop button and some supporting text that the Employer could use as-is, or customize to fit their process.

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