Problem Definition

Despite massive changes to the labor market, the process of applying for a job has remained rather stagnant. Applicants consistently report impersonal and time intensive experiences void of proper instructions and flexibility.


As a startup competing for talent, a mundane application process does little to attract in-demand candidates


A standardized application process results in homogenized applications. It’s harder for candidates to stand out.


Conversely, a traditional application processes lends itself to uncreative hiring decision.

User Research

In conversations with over 500 job seekers over the course of three years, it became clear that nobody likes applying to jobs.

Ultimately, there are two types of job seekers.

Active Job Seekers

The group of job seekers who are actively looking for a career change. They are regularly looking for and applying to jobs.

Passive Job Seekers

This group of job seekers is open to hearing about new opportunities from recruiters or their network. They occasionally click on job postings, but tend not to apply unless the job is exactly what they’re looking for, or the company is doing interesting work.

Active Job Seekers make up the majority of the users we expect to encounter a Hirefrom. This group can be further subdivided into three user categories.

Great Fit

Job seekers who are a near perfect match for the requirements and skills listed in the job posting.

Good Fit

Job seekers who have 60-70% of the required experience and skills listed in the job description.

Future Fit

Job seekers who don’t have the required experience, but have been working to obtain the requisite skills.

The traditional job application form caters to the people with the best resumes, the Great Fits. This is also the group of job seekers who are likely to be identified by headhunters and recruiters who are proactively sourcing talent.

A better application process should therefore focus on improving the job hunting experience for the underdogs, the Good Fits and Future Fits. In order to do this, it’s essential to shift the review process away from the resume and towards other important predictors of performance.

The Solution

From decades of hiring expertise and conversations with SMB leaders, we knew it was important to decrease the role of the resume in preliminary hiring decisions. It would have been interesting to eliminate the resume altogether, but that kind of drastic change would have resulted in confused users. We needed to disguise a culture-driven selection process in a run-of-the-mill applicant tracking system.


Applying for a job should be an engaging experience. To appeal to a person’s inherent self-centredness, Hirefully asks applicants to talk about themselves, to share their stories.


A Hireform application is much more conversational. It eliminates the stress of applying and offers applicants an opportunity to share information about themselves that isn’t visible on the resume.


How is this Different?

A handful of companies have started asking applicants to answer a question like “why do you want to work for us?” or, “what do you feel you can contribute to our team?” While candidates should be prepared to answer such questions during an interview, this line of questioning serves the employer, not the applicant. Asking these questions too early runs the risk of turning off potential candidates who aren’t willing to do some research before being acknowledged by the employer. Moreover, these questions tend to stifle self-expression and homogenize the applicants.

To promote creativity and honesty, we outfitted the application form with open-ended questions. These questions are designed to highlight an individual’s thinking, approach to problem solving, their values, preferences, role models, passions, and motivations.

To keep the process from being too rigid, our questions are offered in groupings – allowing applicants to choose which question(s) to answer. Applicants are invited to answer a maximum of three questions, depending on the seniority of the position (where more senior positions have fewer questions).

We also invite applicants to ask the employer a question. In many ways, this is the easiest way to assess whether or not a candidate researched the job and company, what they value, and how they’re approaching their job search.

Lastly, we included a quick salary survey to ensure there are no surprises when it comes time to make an offer.

The most common objection to our approach is that it’s labour intensive; that it will turn-off potential candidates. Our experience and research show otherwise – applicants appreciate how Hirefully accommodates their individuality. When you look at who actually applies for jobs, it’s often not the people with perfect resumes – those people are being contacted by headhunters and recruiters directly. Most applicants are the people who have 60-70% of the requisite skill set. This group wants an opportunity to plead their case, to tell their story, and to be given a chance despite a less than perfect background.

In the case when a candidate is confident in their resume, he or she can simply skip the majority of the application process. If an applicant only wants to provide their contact information and a link to their LinkedIn profile, then so be it! The key here is that the Hireform is designed to offer the average job seeker an opportunity to stand out.