Design Thinking in Tech Recruiting

These are processes that last for months, repetitive conversations, and lack of consistent feedback.

If innovation is the word of the moment, why not rethink the way we recruit?

This desire for change and the need for results according to our current market has created the possibility of using methodologies from different contexts, such as Design Thinking, in selection processes.


We call Old School Recruitment, the one that brings the idea of traditional. A more formal approach, little contact with the candidate and more conversations directed to the Management know you, much more than your co-workers.

Currently the focus of the selection processes have been, in addition to bringing a positive experience to the candidate, also use the knowledge and background of the recruiter to assist in conflicts in the area, intermediate managers decisions and contribute as a true business partner. Thus giving goodbye to the vision of recruitment that fills demands, positions and only meets numbers.

Today Recruiter’s profile requires new skills.

I particularly like this Modern Recruiter representation from LinkendIn. Source: LinkedIn, Talent Solutions.

From a more data-driven mindset, to the process of rethinking Marketing strategies and internal positioning, act as a true artist in creating new solutions for the company in which operates.

  • You need to identify your ideal candidate;
  • Determine which are the obstacles in the selective process;
  • Understand what attracts the right candidate;
  • Find what's the best source and motivation of these individuals;
  • Decision of the average metric more effective for candidates engagement;
  • Find and create attractive content for your public;
  • Evaluate the best tools to improve your sourcing skills.

They are among the activities of this new role within organizations that cherish autonomy and creativity to solve problems.

Who are the users?

Although much of our literature (Chiavenato would be an interesting reference) approach the main user of Recruitment as the candidate, the current market and repositioning of this role in our companies demands a more comprehensive view.
We have two users to attend to.

The Company

I always say that the HR or People area of a company is like the heart in our body! It pours blood, nutrients, so the business stays on and the Recruiters’ mission is to help, like veins and arteries, to meet the body’s demands.
In this context, the work of this professional is to bring up discussions that allow a positive change in the organization, test new strategies of attraction and retention, as well as reporting issues of People that favor the maintenance of culture.

The candidate

The other and perhaps most important user we have is the candidate. To build a process, we need to think about who is actually going to use it.
Central concept of Design Thinking, is creative practices focused on the human behind the Product. And in this case, our Product is Recruitment.

Why Design?

Design Thinking is a field that originated from the basic principles of Design disciplines. It is a problem-solving mindset that can combined with initial problem identification, idea creation, and different contexts within an interdisciplinary process that aims to solve complex, creative issues.

The beauty of Design Thinking, according to Microsoft YouthSpark, is that it is not limited to a specific use, it is an inclusive process.

Within the Recruitment space, many are the benefits of using this methodology.

  • Lead Time — Selective process time can be drastically altered with small changes, either in specific steps or in the form of evaluation. A very practical example relates the technical evaluation that can with some real time tests and visits to the GitHub of the Developer supply information of specific skills and knowledge. Decreases the need for more coding evaluations and optimizes selection.
  • Candidate Experience — As our focus is always on the users, being the candidate the most important in this case, the experience of this person during selection should be one of the bases for a good recruitment. Whether you respond with 5-day deadlines or act as a Host for whom visits your company, the experience of a selective process should always add new knowledge, whether the result for the individual is positive or not.
  • Metrics — At each moment it becomes more necessary to create standards in the evaluation of candidates and to have clear metrics of hiring can help on that. We can measure not only the life cycle of the candidate within our process, as well as the NPS of a specific event, either a Recruiting event or from Technology.

Think outside the box or transform it

“Think outside the box” seems to be the expression of the moment and indeed serves any situation.

Within the People area, with the evolution of our organizations, thinking about new work formats and solutions becomes extremely important. And bringing professionals who keep an open mind to these new visions has become the most assertive goal for HR professionals.

Even if we want to get away from the traditional, not all locations are at the same stage of evolution and openness to new methodologies. In this case, the best strategy is to adapt your new ideas creatively using what you already have.

Let's solve some problems?

Magic happens when we find that to solve problems, we can use any technique and reinvent the way we see solutions.

Double Diamond

Thoughtworks, Blog Insights —

For problem solving, whether strategic or technical, we can use the Double Diamond method.

In my previous experience, we were having difficulty to approve Quality Assurance candidates. Of the many approved resumes, which went through the test phase, only 30% were converging to the next stage of the process.

We noticed that, through a sample of candidates (5 people for the experiment), the introduction of the test did not clearly explained the requirements for approval.

To arrive at this conclusion and change what was necessary, our thought process followed the following logic:

  1. Understand — We understood the demand for a new test.
  2. Define — We re-defined the output for the problem, in this case the creation of a new evaluation and edition of the previous one.
  3. Explore the solution — We were able to select 2 candidate samples. One would perform the old test, the other the new one.
  4. Create — With a result of greater approval and good feedback, what we did was to include the new evaluation as part of the overall test. Thus both users benefited: the candidates’ chances of demonstrating greater knowledge were greater and the evaluations became more complete, generating value on both sides.

In the illustration …

When I started working on Resultados Digitais, I did not know the people, difficulties and challenges of the Technology area.

Internal User Search

In the first weeks of work I decided to meet my users!

I made conversations with Developers, Product Managers, Designers and Quality Analysts to really understand the roles they played within the team, to introduce myself to the reality of those people and to understand which points really needed improvement.

In the first month we have made a great improvement in the Dev Frontend process, with the insertion of a new and more complete exercise, which made it very possible to identify seniority of candidates for the position we have opened in that time (the test was created by one of our Developers).

The most interesting thing about this research is to discover that there are people who value the recruitment of new colleagues, who are dedicated to creating a new process with the Recruiter, but we need to give them the chance to always express their opinions.

Tip: Know the trajectories of people in the area you work with, you can connect common points and qualify your Sourcing for similar profiles.

Who actually uses your process?

Important to understand candidates feedbacks. It can be feelings during the conversations, the test experience, hospitality received when visiting the office. The intention must be to understand the sensations that your process arouses in its users — this is still the richest source of feedback on the work you are developing.

Our current reality is not only “my company seeks”, but “I want a place that fits my personality” and for organizations the challenge is to become an employer brand as attractive as the others.


Service Design Technique based on Cognitive Behavioral Psychology that maps the user’s trajectory and all points of contact between the candidate, recruiter and currently, recruitment systems.

I have done this technique with my past teams three times and I can say that it is a good solution to get a clear view of bottlenecks in the process, understanding how communication flows with our external user and possibilities of attraction — if the candidate comes more through active sourcing or if the person is an active candidate in the search, applying directly to the company’s website.

Keep tracking of your strategy

To further facilitate the process of creating new solutions, visually putting everything in a Roadmap can help not only in the timeline, but also in time dimensions, the value of that technique and delivery. In addition, using a Roadmap follows the basic principles of Design: encourage visual monitoring.

Example of a Roadmap used for DT strategy within Recruitment. You can also split into Quarters, making it easier for you to organize the delivery period.

Who knows if in our future Recruiting will not be executed by robots?

We already have experiments with Machine Learning, Gamification as a new format of group dynamics and increasingly automated tests, facilitating evaluations and optimization of processes.

But even with all the transformations provided by Technology, using Design to better understand the human being becomes essential in a world increasingly shaped by bits.
And most important of all, that when we touch the journey of a candidate, we do not lose the essence of working with people: empathy.

William Plomer

Slide Share: Lecture TDC Floripa 2017, “Design Thinking no Recrutamento Técnico: Entenda a Jornada de um candidato”.

Referências: HBR, Design Thinking comes of age. Jon Kolko, 2015. HBR, Design Thinking. Tim Brown, 2008. Atlas, Recursos Humanos. Isalbelto Chiavenato, 2000. Thoughtworks, Blog Insights — Double Diamond. TakingITGlobal,, Design Thinking for Social Innovation. Microsoft Youth Spark.




A little bit of that, a little bit of this. Recruiting | Employer Branding | Sourcing | Wellness | Psychology | Innovation

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Weeknote S02E04

Why give a conference talk? But also, why not.

Becoming “The Resource Guy” — My 6 Week Self Reflection of GA’s UXDI

This is the main reason why the coaching industry stinks, and how it is slowly killing itself.

Our Recruiting Process

Bug Bounty: My Work Schedule

Hot Networking Tips Every New Professional Should Know

The 3 C’s that destroy great designers.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ays Schmidt

Ays Schmidt

A little bit of that, a little bit of this. Recruiting | Employer Branding | Sourcing | Wellness | Psychology | Innovation

More from Medium

How have Google maps changed the way we explore and how it can be more engaging?


My first picture at Co-creation Hub

Becoming a Product Manager without MBA or Tech understanding

3 simple practices to become more creative