Articles & Blog

Kai Ho

Kai Ho

Thursday, 29 June 2017 16:53

Outlook on the The User Driven Economy

One of the fundamental truths for any business is that in order to be successful, they must understand their customers, as well as their potential customers and stay current with emerging trends. Today’s technology allows consumers and businesses alike the greatest amount of opportunity to reach potential customers and partners. This is, unsurprisingly, due to the sheer number of mediums with which a person can connect with one another. The rate that technology is advancing and being utilized is at an all time high. The rise in the gig workforce has reinforced the importance of the user experience and the need to continue to develop innovative, intuitive, streamlined, and yes, sexy, interfaces that enable people to move along the candidate experience path seamlessly.

Consider this; a job seeker in today’s ATS world must apply for positions with various companies by facing a daunting labyrinth of interfaces, uploads, keywords, formatting and other requirements only to receive a series of impersonal form letter email responses. It’s the bane of the job seeker’s existence, as if job hunting wasn’t already hard enough.

But imagine a world where applicants can walk away with a positive experience that starts from the moment they begin the application process, all the way through the applicant journey to their background check experience. That world doesn’t have endless forms to fill out. It doesn’t have error codes that force the user to re-enter all of their information, it doesn’t have 36-digit confirmation codes. The user driven economy is about proactively developing tools that make everyone’s life easier–things like pre-populated content (no more forms), geo-location services, artificial intelligence, transparency and feedback mechanisms to name a few.

Today’s tech outlook is that everyone’s user experience matters—not just the HR department. Leaders in any industry have recognized this and are taking advantage of them in a number of ways. Most of all, they recognize the importance in surpassing client expectations at all times and that lasting partnerships or client relationships are determined almost solely on user experience.

Thursday, 01 June 2017 16:26

The Candidate is King

The Candidate is King

Today’s background check providers do well when they focus on candidates. With old players and new challengers in the market, it’s important to carve out any advantages you can. The ultimate success of your service offering and the main driver of your results is the candidate. They are on the frontline of your UX design, your processes, and your primary data entry. It pays to focus on candidates!

Applying for a position can be stressful enough, but the background check portion can be not only stressful, but a bottleneck as well. It’s important to remember that candidates are relying on you to provide an efficient and reliable solution to aid in the hiring process or maintain their ongoing employment. Background checks are a necessary part of the process, but because candidate expectations are higher than ever, their experience matters more than ever. If they experience delays, bugs, and other problems, you can be sure that your client will hear about it. Worse, your customers might lose prime candidates that could give up and look elsewhere for employment. HR managers and your clients need reliable reports, but they also need you to help them woo candidates in the final leg of the process.

Candidates are typically very keen to get the ball rolling in the background check process. Help them help you by making your process as easy and well-designed as possible. Focus on the candidate experience, and they will reward you with timely, accurate inputs and positive feedback to the employer. When the candidate experience is intuitive, flawless and transparent, it builds confidence and trust and helps to alleviate pressure on your client. The user needs to be in control over their piece of the puzzle, and they want to have confidence in the process. An excellent candidate experience starts with excellent design and functionality. Adopting a “Candidate is King” mindset is a key concept that is driving the future of the industry.

When you think of the most powerful device in the world, it is not a super computer or quantum computing power; it is simply the smartphone. The smartphone continues to revolutionize and change the very landscape that we consume media in and the way that we interact with companies and their product. This kind of power has never been in the hands of so many; and yet for many in the background check business, they simply do not see the power that they have in front of them. We are going to review some examples of mobile disruption and then look at why and how mobile disruption could be the very way in which your company becomes the leader that it should.

Mobile disruption is a buzzword that has been thrown around for the last few years to term the ability for a company to disrupt the very industry it calls home with the use of mobile phones. For instance, Square has revolutionized the ability for small to medium enterprises to take payments, without the need for a phone cable or an expensive credit machine to rent from. Instead, a square plugs into your phone and creates a mobile payment option that has branched from the farmer's markets to coffee shops and small shops around the world. Uber is another example, where the makers saw a need in coordinating the sharing economy, and have revolutionized the cab industry. Today, more taxi companies are utilizing apps to track cars and request vehicles, and cities in which Uber is legal, have seen rate drops for the taxi unions. These are all good things, and would not have been possible without mobile disruption.

When it comes down to it, the background check industry is prime for a mobile disruption. Once a company can utilize an ability to move the process from computers to a smartphone, you will see this technological revolution start to mobilize. Not only are your clients more and more mobile, but an ability to respond quickly and on the very medium in their pocket will also connect you and your clients like never before.

How to do this, is the question. There are several avenues to explore but we have prepared one possibility. It is the ability for an interviewer to take a picture with their smartphone's camera of a resume and have it forwarded to your company securely through an app. You could then send your report back to the app and have an ability to have the full report sent via email as well. This would allow an employer to quickly assess the candidate’s eligibility and, if needed, review the file in depth when they have time. This would not only allow your company to become a better resource for employers but also have records ready to be accessed when needed instead of relying on a computer.

The time is now for a mobile disruption in the background check industry, and with the support of the right company, it is possible. It will take some work, but the benefits are practically endless. Just think of the power that a well built and secure app could provide for your clients, and see the results in your pocketbook..

At its surface, user experience refers to the way a user interacts or engages with a website or other application.

There are plenty of articles available that outline that process, so I’d like to take it one step further by digging into how we do it at deverus.

We get to know our users so we can better design around their needs. While it may sound cliche, it’s one thing that clearly sets us apart as a software provider.

Why do we believe getting to know our clients is the most important thing we can do as a user experience department? There are three primary reasons.

1. Client Rapport

As a SaaS provider, it is our job to help our clients look good to their clients. Background check companies are selling their services using the software we’ve developed. Ensuring our product is one they can confidently sell is something we take very seriously.

It is my role within deverus to engage our clients so I can act on their behalf throughout the development and design process. I travel to their places of business, conduct regular conference calls, and learn their processes and the difficulties they experience using our software.

The result is that our clients know they are heard. They don’t get everything they want because that just isn’t possible with a large number of clients using the same software, but they know we are striving to simplify their workflow.

2. Workflow Efficiency

Client workflow isn’t the only workflow impacted by this strategy. Because we take the time to survey and get to know our clients prior to the planning and building out of our software and features, we benefit as well.

We save ourselves time as a business because we’re able to articulate the client perspective to our development team throughout the build-out process. This results in a much better company experience and a huge time savings.

Before I joined deverus, we simply took client requests and attempted to implement them as much as possible. This is a faulty process because, as experts, we should be the ones dictating changes and improvements within the system.

Now when our clients come to us with requests, we can see the bigger picture having gotten to know them and their processes. It allows our developers to work more efficiently with a much better understanding of our clients.

3. Company Morale

Our proactive approach to usability also helps with company morale. Fielding constant requests and complaints can be exhausting, especially when each situation is “spot treated” instead of fully looked into the way it should be.

Developers are working on their heels trying to make everyone happy, but they are at a disadvantage without the bigger picture. The customer service team is left with irritated clients. The approach can really wear on developers, user success, usability, and the organization as a whole.

Taking a proactive approach to know clients the way we do has changed everything. Now we can strategically plan our development process, which puts us out in front of problems.

Final Thoughts

Getting to know our clients and their businesses the way I do is something I genuinely enjoy. I take great pride in the process and the shift in philosophy has been a game-changer for deverus.

The clients are happy and we’re happy. We can’t get any better than that.

Without a doubt, improving the candidate experience is a very hot topic for business of every size. And where background checks have traditionally been a just a painful check box for HR, we believe with the right mobile recruiting technology, they can actually be another touchstone that allows HR to shine with an improved candidate experience. This is how you can help.

Make the Information Entry Process Easier

Let’s face it, background check companies haven’t been known for speeding up the hiring process. In fact, it’s been the opposite. We require a ton of information and in many cases, it takes us anywhere from 2 to 4 days to get a background check back. Making the information entry process as <> as possible can go a long ways first of all to make the applicant actually fill it out and secondly, to speed to up the process. Mobile done right is an excellent way to get the application to the applicant, have them fill out faster if they were tied to a computer, and it you can shorten the process by improving the user interface design.

Brand Your Emails for Customers

There are many reasons not to use generic emails including a big one, they don’t get noticed! If you want to improve your speed to hire and applicant entry rate, brand your email using your customer’s logo and make the applicant feel like a person, not number. This is actually your chance to establish that first impression about you and how they can trust that you are going to provide an honest and transparent background check experience.

Give Constant Updates

Look at it from the candidates perspective. They want to be hired for a job and they just sent their personal information into a black hole. They don’t know where the information goes, who touches it, when it’s coming back, or even what’s on it. Keeping the candidate informed about who you are, their rights, and the status will go along way to make them at ease and actually when disputes do arise, it will give you an edge because you’ve already established a trusted relationship.

Allow the Candidate to Communicate Directly

These are very different times. Background check companies in the past have kept an arm's length distance from candidates. This was because it feels safer when you are reporting sensitive information and there really wasn’t the means of communication. Today, with email, texts and mobile apps, background check companies have the means to step up and provide constant, direct communication to the applicant. This is important because it allows you to show HR that you also believe in improving the candidate experience and it actually improves speed to hire because in the cases where more information is needed or candidates have dispute questions, background check companies can step in and answer those questions without troubling HR, who we know is already overwhelmed and probably has one of their performance metrics as speed to hire.

Make the Process Transparent

As stated above there are so many good reasons to keep the applicant updated and to communicate directly. But the main reason is you're creating a pathway to transparency and ultimately trust. It’s not only the right thing to do when someone is giving up their personal information to strangers, it can also help considerably if you find yourself in litigation and you are asked to demonstrate what you did to provide a reasonable level of disclosure. It’s really a win win for both you and applicants. So make sure you have the right technology and communication tools that lets you open up dialogue and help put trust into the background check process.

A background check, it is one of the fundamental steps in securing employment with the vast majority of large companies, and all companies who work within government or with classified material. It not only allows employers to check the factuality of one’s resume but provides valuable information regarding criminal records and employment history. However, those companies and programs that run background checks have seemingly forgotten one key element in their design, user experience.

User Experience, or UX for short, is simply how a person feels when interacting with a digital product. UX encompasses a number of factors including usability, accessibility, ergonomics, utility, performance, design/aesthetics, overall human interaction and marketing. However, one thing to remember is that these factors are either controllable by designers and developers, while others are simply environmental or user performance.

UX is not usability

One thing to remember is that UX is not the same as usability. Usability is the effectiveness of a site design, and how easy it is to navigate for users. UX is the experience, intuition, connection and emotion that the user feels when using the site. Usability is a major component of the overall UX. One key thing to take away is when it comes to digital products, UX can be just as important as visual identity and the two should be thought about in tandem.

Background check companies are notorious for having a terrible UX. Their sites are plain and enact little to no emotion. However, with a smartphone, computer screen and tablet, users are now opening a new experience that is unique to that device. Successful UX evoked engagement or purpose on any device, affects sentiment and influences behavior, and this is what many background check companies are missing.

Be a difference maker

We all have heard ‘the medium is the message’, but in today’s technical world the medium is now the experience. No longer can you only design for the medium, you need to design the experience where the medium becomes an enabler to the journey and the end as devised. Background companies have struggled for years with their engagement numbers. However, these companies have been running engagement as a campaign, this is incorrect. To be a true difference maker in the marketplace, a background check company will need to realise that engagement is a continuum where technology is merely an enabler for a greater vision, mission and purpose.

Take it seriously

Now is the time for background companies to start taking UX seriously. No longer will a boring site attract top clients, to be the best you will need to start to understand what will make a client want to interact with your product. The digital world continues to change, and with that comes a need for a revitalization of the background check industry. Be a true pathfinder, and find a way to not only focus on UX but excel at delivering a premium UX interaction.

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