Shift Your Paradigm: Use Feelings-Led Experience Design to Land Your Dream Candidate or Your Dream Job

In Pursuit of Magic

Whether you’re a recruiter, headhunter, or talent acquisition pro; or a frustrated job seeker whose search has stalled out or failed to get off the ground; or an active professional who would rather talk politics with a drunk uncle after Thanksgiving dinner than log onto another Zoom meeting —Stop Everything and Read This!  It may save you from a most uncomfortable holiday dinner debate or at least spare you weeks or months of heartache operating under the false pretense that you can only feel satisfaction again after you landed that perfect new staff or new gig!

When you approach a seemingly unsolvable problem (finding the dream candidate or scoring the dream job), let feelings be your guide to a favorable outcome. Both the journey and the destination will be more fulfilling if you do.

There’s a different way to approach these tasks. Base your search on a feeling-led experience. Stop focusing solely on the outcomes, and start looking at your search, whether for a candidate or for a job, as something to enjoy at every stop along the way rather than only at its conclusion. Turn the process on its head.  Let your feelings be your guide to working a solution rather than solving the problem and watch how quickly you can begin living your dream experience with or without the dream solution anywhere in sight!

The Great Resignation

The Department of Labor\’s latest statistics show 10.3 million unfilled jobs in August of 2021.

In the past 18 months, people have reevaluated their feelings about where they work and what they do. For many, recent catastrophes—pandemics, wildfires, floods, and hurricanes—are awakening the fundamental truths that life can be unpredictable and that we’re not guaranteed anything more than the present moment. Uncontrollable factors are resulting in a reordering of peoples’ priorities, resulting in the highest unfilled jobs level in decades. Employees are resigning in record numbers due to dissatisfaction across an array of professional categories from toxic work cultures to lack of real or perceived employer appreciation, to jobs that have taken them far away from their real passions. They know at an intuitive level that the rational reasons for remaining in jobs they dislike no longer hold water.  They can just feel it!

This presents problems for human resource professionals, recruiting managers, and job seekers alike. Are the old approaches to publicizing job postings and submitting resumes even getting seen by the “right” people?

Toss Out Old Ideas

“The Microsoft Word templates that have been there for 30 or 40 years are the least readable templates out there.”

Robert H. Ruff, President, Sovren

Welcome to the world of ATS: applicant tracking systems—Sovren is just one of many software vendors that design and supply programs. A large part of the problem for both recruiters and job candidates seeking the “perfect applicant/opening” is because the algorithms built into these software packages reject millions of postings and applications before a human ever sees them.

Postings and resumes on job boards throw out your hard work. Anything with pics, graphics, columns, tables, or videos? Deleted by a computer within minutes. Thrown into the digital waste bin without ever being seen by human eyes. All that wasted effort; all that wasted time—even if you do write a customized cover letter. Toast.

It’s time to completely redesign—rethink!—the recruitment and the job search processes.

Discover How You Want to Feel First

Has it ever occurred to you that the candidate or job search processes could and SHOULD be enjoyable and fulfilling? Maybe even fun?

If that sounds like a pie-in-the-sky perspective, it’s time to shift your paradigm. Stop trying to solve the unsolvable problem (hiring the perfect candidate or finding the perfect job). Throw traditional methods out the window. Reflect. Identify and understand what hiring the ideal candidate or finding the ideal job would feel like. Start by identifying what you believe those dream feelings would be, disregarding entirely whether you’ll ever find the perfect candidate or the perfect job.  Only then will you set yourself on the most advantageous path. For example:

  • Recruiters: You hope that you (or your organization) will feel elated and enriched once you find the right candidate(s).
  • Job seekers: You hope you’ll feel excited, eager, or revitalized once you’ve found that ideal new job, the job that perfectly fits your personality, skill set, and lifestyle goals.

When you begin with feelings, you eliminate the powerlessness inherent in the mindset that you’ll only experience those feelings once you’ve hired the dynamo, or scored that six-figure, WFH dream job as a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream tester.  You accelerate success by solving for the creation of the feelings you desire now.  You shift your paradigm and achieves wins immediately by remolding what a win looks like.

Define the Dream Experience Differently Now

Create an honest and authentic first impression, one that draws in potential employees or employers and engages them in irresistible ways based on who you (organizationally or individually) actually are in all of your unicorn loving, suspender-wearing, Halloween movie glory (or whatever your it-factor can be described as).  Don\’t be the cool tech firm if you\’re the traditional museum team or you\’ll end up with a bunch of coders skateboarding around the impressionism wing trying to retrofit classic art into a new NFT exhibit, and don\’t be a suit-wearing number cruncher if you love comfy sweats and background jazz in your home office or you\’ll end up throwing a 10-key at Chad from legal during an unintentional meltdown. (Sorry, Chad.)

  • Recruiters: Define how you want the recruiting experience to feel and the touchpoints that comprise it (writing a job description, posting jobs on social media with feedback options, communicating with and interviewing candidates, preparing staff for interviews, etc.)
  • Job seekers: Define how you want the job-seeking experience to feel and the touchpoints that comprise it (writing a resume that reflects your personality and quirks rather than just your qualifications, identifying potential jobs organizations and contacts by focusing on human contacts within organizations, sending resumes to people and not machines, interviewing, etc.)

Don’t wait. Have Your Dream Experience Now.

Once you’ve discovered how you want the recruiting or job-seeking experience to feel and what some of each experience’s designable touchpoints are, you can begin designing them to maximize your dream feelings now.

  • Recruiters: Write a job description that excites you or craft an interview process that’s thorough and invigorating. Let go of the idea that upbeat, punchy job descriptions won’t land you a highly-skilled candidate. They can and do, and they’ll boast an upbeat, punchy vibe to boot!
  • Job seekers: Design your resume–both the look and feel and copy–so that it paints a smile on your face. And instead of posting it on one of the dozens of major algorithmically driven job boards, reach out – find contacts online or through your network and your network’s network, browse company websites, search @[] and see who’s actual, individual email address you can find and send them a personal message of introduction. Bypass the desert of the computer-led and let your uniqueness shine through first in personalized introductory communications and later in interviews. Let go of the idea that you can’t showcase your bold, quirky personality and land that dream gig. You can. In fact, it’s likely the only way you will.

Enjoy Designing What Works

The best recruiting and application design I ever saw was for a ghostwriting publishing company. While the thumbnail job description was posted on Indeed, you had to go to the company website to apply. Once there, you were asked to watch several company videos: by the CEO, a couple of department managers, and some freelance writers and editors. Between them all, you got an in-depth and personalized description of the work process, job responsibilities, and corporate culture. By the time you got to the application, you’d had an immersive view of what working there would be like.

And the application questions? Sure, attach a resume and also a video if you chose; questions focused more on personal preferences, work methods, and the creative process. That organization “got” it. Three years before pandemics, fires, and floods.

The old approaches worked before company and personal preferences, priorities, and needs evolved. We have stepped boldly into a new era, where new systems, new ideas, and new approaches—like G+A’s feelings-led 4D Experiential Design Thinking Framework – will revolutionize the way people approach all manner of experiences in their daily lives!

Until next time, dream boldly, dream beautifully,
Mallory Gott, Founder + Creative Director, G+A | An Experiential Design Firm

To learn more about the power of a feelings-led approach to experience design, and for an overview of G+A’s 4D Framework, read about Our Approach. Then, Join The 4D Community of experiential design enthusiasts for even more great content!