Pôle Emploi - Building a recruitment tool for an employment agency

April 2019

Pole Emploi is a French governmental agency which helps unemployed people to find jobs and provides them with financial aid. The agency also advises companies in their recruitment process and helps them to find the right candidates. In May 2019, we had the opportunity at school to work in partnership with this agency. The aim was to bring fresh ideas so as to help Pole Emploi improving their workflow with companies and job seekers. During this project, I had the chance to work with two amazing teammates, Lengliang Li, and Morgane Thomas. This project last 3 weeks.


The Pôle Emploi team came to us with a precise request: improving the company adviser workflow at Pôle Emploi. This French governmental agency is very famous in France, and also because their services are free, a lot of job seekers and companies request their help. With this huge amount of requests, it is more and more complicated for the advisers to manage every applicant's requests, as well as job offers from companies by respecting due date and constraints. Because of the large number of requests, clients' follow-up is more and more complicated to manage, thus Pôle Emploi realise that their perceived value is under their real value.

The main requests from Pôle Emploi were:

  • Focus and improve the company advisers workflow and care about the company follow-up
  • Build a tool as an intelligent assistant to help advisers in the recruitment phase
  • Help advisers to find the best job offers thanks to intelligent job offer suggestions
  • Help advisers to manage a large number of job offers and the company follow-up

Research & Understanding

First of all, we spent a great deal of time on-site to discuss with Pôle Emploi key workers to know how they used to work, understand their whole workflow to catch different pain points. The biggest challenge for us was to be immersed in a very different field than we were used to. We needed time to understand this new environment and the current user flow.

There are two different types of advisers at Pôle Emploi:

  • The job seeker adviser focuses on helping unemployed people to find a new job, orients this person to additional training or formations if needed, help him/her to get ready for an interview. This adviser also manages his/her follow-up after the hiring to be sure that everything is fine and the job is adapted.
  • The company adviser focuses on the recruitment process of a company that needs help to find candidates for a job offer. The adviser sometimes goes to check on-site if the job respect laws and regulations. His mission includes understanding the company's needs and requests, and to find candidates through the registered job seekers at Pole Emploi. The adviser also organises interviews when the company can't.

For this project, Pôle Emploi asked us to focus on the company's adviser workflow. We decided to focus our researches on both advisers because both of them use to work together, as they act as a conduit between the job seekers and the companies.

The recruitment process with Pôle Emploi - One of the very first things we had to think about was "How does the recruitment phase take place between job seekers, advisers, and companies at Pôle Emploi?" We've built this user flow and used it as support to draw insights.


Pôle Emploi recruitment process user flow

I won't go into details, so to conclude from this user flow, we've identified the following pain points:

  • Information between both advisers (the company's adviser & the applicant's adviser) was not good enough. Most of the time both of them communicate by email, and each of them works inside a siloed system. They didn't share information enough and this was a real issue.
  • Communication and information between the two advisers required more clarity. For example, via the user flow above, we noted that the company was not sufficiently clear with the advisor. The candidate, therefore, did not have enough clear information which can explain his departure from the company after 3 months of employment.
  • There's a lack of traceability and follow-up. Companies do not contact back advisers to tell them if they finally hired the applicants, and it was not easy for advisers to remember to call back each company.


  • The traceability - Did the company hire the candidate? If yes, is the candidate still employed at present? Why did the company hire this candidate and not the other? All this feedback from the company and the applicants was missed and advisers needed it to improve their recruitment phase and better understand today's people's needs.
  • A large number of requests and files. Pôle Emploi is a recognized French organization and certainly the best-known in the field of recruitment. These services are free, which makes Pôle Emploi attractive. The pain point here is that more and more people call on this agency, creating more and more requests and data to process, which was critical for advisers.
  • Waste of time on administrative tasks - Advisers felt like they spend to much time on administrative tasks (creating a file, email exchange, finding missing information, checking availability, checking data,...) instead of staying focused on the recruitment part.
  • Lack of information for advisers - The number of email exchanges shown that the information was missing or simply forgotten - how to remember someone's availabilities when you have 30 people to manage?

Goals / Challenges

  • Bring context to a job request - Bring hierarchy and highlight the right information needed in order to have a better overview of the situation and the advancement of the file.
  • Communication easing between the company's adviser and applicant's adviser. Build a common place where both of them can share information would be able to understand the needs of the other side (company or job seeker) and better know if it's an applicant match with a job offer or not.
  • Bring suggestions and help to the adviser - Because of the number of requests, advisers need suggestions, guides to prioritize requests, and applicants seeking.


Highlight & prioritize information

Most people who posted a job offer through Pôle Emploi are not professional recruiters. They have another job, so first of all, they do not have much time to spend in the recruitment phase (the reason why they request the help of Pôle Emploi) and they need tools to help them organise interviews and manage paperwork. Also, because of the large number of requests to manage, advisers needed clear information written somewhere, because without it, searching for the right information each time becomes painful and a lack of time.

  • One first thing would be the availability dates (company and job seekers) so that advisers can quickly find an interview date (in most cases, for a job offer, there could be about 10 applicants so 10 interviews to plan).
  • The due date for the job offer - Sometimes, hiring someone is urgent, for the seasonal jobs for instance.
  • The next events so that the adviser can anticipate, prepare each event despite the huge amount of job offers to manage (interviews, on-site visits, interview preparation, one-one appointments...)

In other terms, prioritize information would be also to help the adviser to answer the following question: which request should I work on first? Because there is a lot of job offers created every day on the platform, and some of them don't especially have a due date but last for a long time and should be highlighted also. So another goal here would be to suggest to the adviser which file to work on (the most urgent ones, the oldest ones, etc...).


All the process steps for a file

Help in the research phase

One of the tasks the company adviser spent time on would be the research of applicants for a job offer. Does this job offer match with this job seeker, are the job seeker and the recruiter needs the same? This is also one of the reasons there are two types of advisers at Pole Emploi. So, both advisers discuss the job offer and the potential applicant to see if it could match together. But time is limited and there is a lot of job offers to manage, so it would be good that needs from both sides (recruiter & job seeker) would be write down in a place that both advisers can access to.


As required, we focused our work on the company adviser workflow, while considering the applicant's adviser. Before starting screen design, I used to draw quick wireframes on the Ipad first to test if the user flow does work and also to start prioritising information.


User flow (1/3)


User flow (2/3)


User flow (3/3)

High Fidelity Screens

Inbox & Tasks Priorisation - The inbox allows advisers to prioritise and order job offers (sort by start date or due date). Those job offers to manage are also categorised according to the status, so that certain job offers already completed, but which nevertheless require follow-up, are highlighted.


Applicants Board

Applicant Board - Once the user selects a file to work on, he/she can find all the applicants involved in the recruitment process and check the job detail and requirements on the sidebar at the right.

Applicants Pool

Applicants Pool - Filters

Inside a job offer, advisers can access through the "pool" tab to a list of candidates who match with the job offer criterias. It is possible to edit those search criteria via the "filter" sidebar.

Applicant Profile


Edit Applicant Status

Applicant Status & File Activity - Once the situation of an applicant for the recruitment process needs to be updated, the adviser can easily change an applicant's status with a drag and drop from a board to another. Using the kanban view came to me as an interesting idea because it was like a more visual way rather than a table. Through the side sheet at the right, the adviser can also access the file activity: applicants status updates, new events, new notes created. This feature seems to be very important because usually, several advisers work on the same file and communication is important.


Planning Tab

Planning Tab - Inside this tab, advisers can create reminders, events and notes related to this job offer. The sidebar on the right is still there, and if advisers select the activity tab, they access to the activity history, so that they know updates made by their colleagues about the job offer.


Create a new note

Reminders - Advisers can create task reminders (call back the company to take some news, check the recruitment advancement, etc.), and they also have the possibility of adding a reminder inside a note.

User Testing

From our Figma prototype, we have used Maze to lead some user testing. We have tested our prototype with 5 different advisers who worked at Pole Emploi, and give them instructions. We tested 3 scenarios:

  • Mission 1 - How to find the most urgent job offers to work on (so check if the Inbox feature's efficiency)
  • Mission 2 - How to add an applicant to a job offer. The job offer is a partial-time contract.
  • Mission 3 - How to add a reminder to a job offer

We compared testers' paths with expected paths and analysed results we had after the tests.

Mission 1 - Inbox Heatmap

Mission 1 - One feature we wanted to test was the inbox. We discovered that a little more than half of the testers stayed in the inbox whereas the others went to the "job offers" page.

Mission 2 - Testers Paths

Mission 2 - To add an applicant to a job offer, 2 testers didn't use the filters to search for partial-time job applicants and directly clicked on some applicants' profiles to check the desired contracted type.

Mission 3 - Job Offer Screen Heatmap

Mission 3 -Through the test results, we realised that finding the reminder feature was not as obvious as we expected. Some testers didn't go directly to the "planning" tab, they sometimes looked at the "activity" tab in the sidebar.


In addition to the tests, we asked advisers some general feedbacks about our solution:

  • They found our interfaces generally readable and relevant
  • They were attracted by the kanban view for managing applicants in the recruitment process
  • They found the planning tab very relevant and would have liked emails to be added there

In a nutshell

This project made us grow as designers because we had the chance to meet real users and get a lot of contexts. That was such an important thing because we were not originally familiar with the subject. This difficulty pushed us to deepen our research phase as much as possible to better identify problems that advisers may encounter in their daily working time. In addition, I was also able to realize that working on the conception of professional software was something that I really liked.