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LinkedIn Design Challenge


Design an experience that presents job opportunities to passive candidates.

LinkedIn uses the power of professional networking and profile data to connect individuals with relevant opportunities. Hiring managers and recruiters are frequently interested in people who are already employed or satisfied with their current positions.


The challenge was that I had to find a creative solution that gains the passive candidate's interest in a new position, and garners a response. Over the course of 5 days, I went through research, synthesis, wireframes and a high-fidelity concept.

Key Skills

UX Design, Visual Design, Design Research, Prototyping


Sketch, InVision

Project Length

5 days

Final Concept Video

An end-to-end flow of a passive candidate's experience exploring job opportunities via an email notification.


Passive candidates' motivations and goals vary greatly when thinking about new job opportunities.

I began my process with interviewing 7 different passive candidates. I screened candidates to validate that they had a LinkedIn account, were employed full-time, and were not actively looking for a new job. Types of questions asked during the interview were how they use LinkedIn, how they approach job hunting, what their career goals are, how social circles influence their careers, and what their experiences were with recruitment. I wanted to understand how LinkedIn, their social circles, and careers related with one another.

User Interviews

I also conducted secondary research and looked at LinkedIn's various talent reports, such as the 2016 US and Canada Talent Trends and other articles that LinkedIn has collected around effective recruiting methods with passive candidates in their Talent Blog. I wanted to see where quantitative data was pointing towards general behaviors of passive candidates and where industry trends were pointing towards recruitment of passive candidates. 


There are 3 different types of passive candidates: super passive, tippy toers, and ready to jump candidates.

After doing research, I started thinking about the user group I wanted to focus on. I realized that the 7 passive candidates I spoke with had different motivations and goals. I did a rapid persona exercise by writing out 10 different spectrums and plotted out my interviewees. I discovered that there were actually 3 different types of passive candidates, which I categorized as: super passive candidates, tippy toers, and ready to jump candidates.

From here I wanted to focus on tippy toe candidates. Based on my secondary research, the largest subset of passive candidates are tippy toers. Additionally, there would be less barriers of entry to get tippy toers to open up about new careers than the super passive candidates, as super candidates usually have a stringent criteria for new job opportunities. Also tippy toers are more challenging to target than the ready to jump candidates, who already are very open to talking about new job opportunities. 

Personas and Their Primary Goals

1) Super Passive Candidates

rarely opened LinkedIn unless they received an email notification and were usually motivated by one very specific career goal (e.g. more money or a promotion) before considering jobs.

2) Tippy Toe Candidates

used LinkedIn on an occasional basis (1-2x a week) and were open to hearing about careers if it aligned to some of their values or social influences.

3) Ready to Jump Candidates

used LinkedIn on an almost daily basis and spoke to any recruiters about new job opportunities.

Design Insights

Passive candidates want to feel a connection between a potential job opportunity and their social circles, personal career goals, or values.

Using the Roses, Buds, Thorns methodology, I wrote down positive aspects (pink), opportunity areas (purple), and negative aspects (blue) from the interviews. I began creating affinity clusters of research insights based on patterns of topics. There were 19 unique insights that I discovered about how passive candidates feel about their careers.


I narrowed down my scope to focus on 4 primary insights that were consistent across the majority of users. Additionally, these 4 insights would be the best for LinkedIn to capitalize on because as an organization, they already have a strong social network component and collect massive amounts of data that can be used for better content personalization.

Top 4 Insights

1) Social circles are huge influencers

whether professional or personal social circles, people like knowing more about other people

2) Personalization grabs attention

targeted messages or personalized content makes users feel more special

3) Job hunting is a private matter

people do not like sharing their career goals publicly for fear of retaliation

4) Email is the best communication

people like using email to see updates and to receive notifications

User Journey

The biggest opportunity for catching the attention of a tippy toe candidate is to start from their entry point into LinkedIn, which is when they are asked via email to connect with individuals in their network.

Using the candidate journey flow from the LinkedIn 2016 US and Canada Talent Trends and hearing from interviews where most people entered LinkedIn, I quickly discovered that the best opportunity to gain their attention starts from email. Most tippy toe candidates use LinkedIn on an occasional basis. However, they always entered LinkedIn when someone requested to connect with them via an email notification. From there, the two actions they would take were either viewing the profile of the requestor or accepting their invitation. 

Wireframes and User Feedback 

The right type of personalized information is crucial for engagement.

I started with Crazy Eights and generated as many different iterations of UI screens keeping in mind the 4 design insights. I wanted to leverage the power of data and social networks as often as possible.

I then took the best elements from my Crazy Eights and made some paper prototypes. I presented the paper prototypes to 3 different users. I learned from their feedback, two main things:

1. The type of data being shown was important. Users liked to see who they might know rather than who they already knew. The element of mystery of people who are not yet in their network, yet may be related to them, made them want to interact with the information more.

2. Information about companies and jobs had to feel related to what they were doing (e.g. previous search history, job title, etc.). If it felt like the content was better targeted to them, they would interact with it.

Final Concept

Applying the design principles from LinkedIn's brand guidelines and understanding my user goals, I developed a set of high-fidelity mockups and a click-through prototype.

Connected to Friend Page

Immediately after connecting with someone, I wanted to capitalize on engaging the passive candidate more. One module displays something interesting about the new connection's career and the second module displays information about your new connection's company. Both modules also extract additional data that reveal something potentially unknown that provokes curiosity

Further down the page, I incorporated advertisements from other companies that are trying to attract passive candidates. I was inspired by native advertising techniques and content targeting. In this example, Samsung would display because the passive candidate had either visited Samsung's page before or there is a relationship between one of their potential new connections and that company.

Profile Page

By using the column on the right side of the profile, I wanted to leverage the connection's present or past experience to introduce passive candidates to potential job opportunities. Also, I introduced badges that demonstrate if a company is highly rated. LinkedIn develops a deep set of reports on companies, so using that and bringing the data forward can encourage passive candidates to interact with that company. The jobs displayed would be based on your profile's skills, current job title, and past experiences.

I replaced the "People also viewed" with a list of "People you may know" at the promoted company to further reinforce the connection between people's social networks and companies.

Company Page

Once the passive candidate navigates to the company page, they are one step closer to looking at job opportunities. The primary area of improvement was how data is displayed in the Jobs tab. Most users I spoke with didn't understand why their face and name was presented in the previous design. I thought that this would be a great opportunity to pull data forward and show candidates potential jobs that match their skills. Using personalization, I wanted to encourage candidates to interact with that tab and invoke curiousity. 

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