Use Design Thinking In Recruitment

Trying to solve problems in a recruitment business can be like introducing cats to each other for the first time (I know this, because I just got a new kitten). It is tough work. 

Having worked in recruitment for some time, I know that one of the weaknesses is trying to problem-solve quickly. I can feel the pain of every single one of you at the moment, thinking of the hours wasted in your boardroom!

So I wanted to share an approach from the concept of service design that I have been using over the past couple of years. In particular, I wanted to show you a form of design thinking that can help you to solve a problem and get to an MVP or MVS in less than an hour. H/T to Andrew Cameron from the V&A in Dundee (can’t wait for the V&A to open!) and Will Mitchell from 4c Design in Glasgow.

This simple five step approach to finding a solution can become a brilliant method of NOT wasting time!

Step 1 – The Interview – 16 minutes

In theory, as recruiters, we should all be experienced at getting information from people. But when using it internally for problem solving, we can often be very poor. This first step is a requirements gathering exercise. Interview the person or group who is experiencing the problem twice:

  • The first interview should last eight minutes. This should be an initial fact-find to establish the key themes.
  • The second interview should also last eight minutes. This should dive deeper into the key facts and reasons for the problems.

Try and avoid leading questions.

Through these first two steps, the focus should be – where possible – on emotions. How does the problem make the person or group feel and what would the impact be if it was resolved? Exploring this side should result in a better quality of information.

Step 2 – Reframe The Problem – 3 minutes

The next step involves summarising the findings from the fact-find and then defining it by creating a problem statement.

  • Summarise your findings for three minutes. Describe (using verbs) what the person or group is trying to do.  Gain insight by reviewing how the person or groups feels and come to a clear conclusion about the emotional parts of this problem.
  • For the next three minutes, create your problem statement:
    • [Person/Group Name] needs a way to [Person/Groups Need] surprisingly / because / but [Insight – the emotional conclusion met].
    • An example problem statement might be this: ‘Jenny needs a way to find more candidates in her market but doesn’t yet have the ability to do so and gets frustrated’.

Step 3 – Ideate Alternatives And Share Your Solutions – 12 minutes

  • For four minutes, sketch (even if you cannot draw) five ways to meet your person or groups needs. They can be absolutely ridiculous and radical. You can see my sketches below the first time I worked through this process – I can neither draw or come up with sensible ideas!
  • Then, for eight minutes, share these solutions with the person / group. Gather clear and concrete feedback from them on your proposals.
It's good, but it's not great
Step 4 – Iterate By Incorporating Feedback – 3 minutesFor just three minutes – not a long time – sketch out the solution that you think best fits, taking on board the feedback you have received from your person / group. Sketch it out, process map it, whatever suits you. But make it clear exactly what is involved in the solution.

Step 5 – Build & Test – 18 minutes

Build your solution! Whether it is a product or a service, get your creative juices flowing by creating something physical that you can then share with your person / group. Even if it is a service, you can still do something very quickly.

Then – for the final eight minutes – find out through questioning what:

  • Worked?
  • Could be improved?
  • Question that where asked?
  • Ideas the person / group has that good be incorporated.
Each time you carry out this process, you should have something to work with at the end of it. It probably won’t be perfect – but you will have a solution that can be further iterated and then implemented.Do you have any problems that you can apply this approach to today?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *