A New Proposition for a Leading Specialist Recruitment Business

We tested the new proposition and related ideas with target customers to help the client make better-informed business decisions and refine their plans accordingly.

The Challenge

Understand customers' experiences, wants, and needs around flexible and outsourced support, distributing work, tracking work progress, and logging/ tracking time spent.

To test the new proposition and the self-service offering.

  • How well is the proposition understood, and why?
  • What do participants like and value about the proposition, and why?
  • How appealing is the proposition?
  • What's missing from the proposition?
  • What questions do participants have about the proposition?
  • How could the proposition be improved?
  • Would participants compel other external partners to use the platform, and how would external partners feel about that?
  • How would staff feel about using such a platform?


This research was undertaken on laptop and desktop computers, reflecting the dominance of these devices using the current site.



These were remote, moderated user tests over Zoom. Each session lasted about 1 hour.



Six board-level customers who lead the departments and specialisms targeted by the client.

The Research Plan

Opening Discussion

In the opening discussion, participants were encouraged to talk about the challenges faced by their department, their experiences of using flexible external resources and the software and applications currently used by their department.

We discussed the essential factors when participants selected a solution or partner to supply flexible external resources.

The New Proposition - Home Page

Participants were sent a link to the prototype home page for the new proposition and allowed to explore it as they ordinarily would.

We probed first impressions, understanding of the proposition, and reaction to the proposition. We discussed the relevance and assessed the effectiveness of all messaging and content.

We understood what was working well, what wasn’t, what was missing, and anything participants could not find.

New Self Service Feature - Prototype

Participants were sent a link to the prototype landing page for a new self-service feature and allowed to explore it as they ordinarily would.

We probed first impressions, how well participants understood the feature and assessed all messaging and content for relevance and effectiveness.

We understood what was working well, what wasn’t, what was missing, and anything participants could not find.

Potential Competitor Products

We asked participants to visit the website of any product they were aware of that had any similar features to the new proposition.

Participants were asked to browse the website whilst providing a commentary on aspects such as what appealed to them, any uncertainty they felt and any questions they had.

Participants were asked to compare and contrast the products with the new proposition.

Closing Discussion

We asked participants to summarise how they felt about what they had seen, and for their closing comments on how companies may offer improved and new ways of providing flexible resources.

Participants were given a chance to mention anything else before the session ended.

Selected Findings and Recommendations

Customer Wants, Needs and Experiences

Resource management: Managing peaks and troughs was a major challenge for in-house teams, and efficient processes and workflow were difficult to establish.

External resource suppliers: In-house teams turned to external resource suppliers for specialist expertise, high-risk projects, and capacity issues and were aware of several companies in the sector.

Flexible resource providers: Companies offering flexible resourcing were seen as broadly similar but could differentiate by specialising in certain roles and levels of seniority and demonstrating thought leadership.

Cost-effectiveness: Customers expected the cost of using flexible resource providers to be less than using a niche specialist consultancy, and access to temporary resources was seen as expensive.

Quality control and recruitment: Quality control and recruitment were important elements, even in urgent situations, and digital CVs or candidate videos could streamline the process.

Work allocation and time recording: Work allocation was still largely a manual process, and time recording was seen as something that happens in consultancies for billing purposes.

The Prototype Landing Page

Clarify the proposition: Make it immediately clear what is being offered and that it is not just a platform for finding people.

Reframe “Manage your budget”: Rename or clarify this feature so that participants understand it is not related to the pricing of the product or service.

Clarify “Understand how much different pieces of work cost”: Make it clear that this is not a prediction tool but rather a way to track spending with external providers accurately.

Clarify “Route work to the most cost-effective resource”: Explain how this feature works and what factors are considered in routing work to the most cost-effective resource. Additionally, emphasize that “cost-effective” is not the only factor in decision-making.

Explain “Identify extra capacity”: Provide more information on how this feature works and how extra capacity is identified. Participants want to know if this is done manually or through an automated process.

Clarify “Optimise your team”: Explain how time logging works and why it is beneficial. Additionally, provide more information on how this feature helps with career progression and planning for absence and peak periods.

Clarify “Automatically route work to the best person to handle it”: Explain how this feature works and what factors are considered in routing work to the best person. Additionally, address any scepticism that participants may have about this feature.

Provide more information on how the platform works: Participants need to know the ‘how’ behind many of the claims made on the prototype to take them more seriously. Provide more detailed explanations or demonstrations of how the platform works.

Reaction to the Proposition

Address resistance to added software platforms: Emphasise the platform's benefits and how it can improve efficiency and productivity.

Address non-existent or low-priority problems: Highlight the key features and benefits of the platform that address real problems and pain points.

Narrow the focus of the proposition: Instead of offering an all-encompassing solution, consider focusing on specific pain points and providing targeted solutions.

Provide the option for time logging: Consider providing the option for time logging for departments that would benefit from it while allowing others to opt out.

Emphasise efficiency for commoditised work: Highlight the cost-saving benefits of efficiency for commoditised work.

Attract flexible resource providers and niche consultancies: Emphasise the platform's benefits for these types of providers, highlighting the potential for increased visibility and access to new clients.

Avoid overall cost increases: Ensure that the platform delivers value and cost savings to users and avoid introducing new costs.

Deliver on promises: Ensure that the platform delivers on the promises made in the proposition to gain and maintain user trust.

Address urgent capacity issues: Highlight the platform's ability to provide quick solutions to urgent capacity issues and emphasise the value of flexibility and agility.

Consider compatibility with existing tech products: Address the platform's compatibility with existing tech products to avoid resistance to adoption.

Target smaller businesses: Consider targeting slightly smaller businesses that may be more receptive to the platform's benefits.

Provide real-time overviews: Emphasise the value of real-time overviews for Directors to provide them with better insights and decision-making capabilities.

The Self-Service Proposition

Address similarities to previous approaches: Differentiate the platform and its features from similar approaches that participants may have seen before.

Ensure efficiency of the self-service model: Emphasise the efficiency of the self-service model and highlight how it can save time and streamline the recruitment process for clients.

Emphasise the benefits of self-service: Highlight the benefits of self-service and how it is a natural direction of travel in other areas of participants' lives.

Provide options for searching and posting jobs: Provide options for both searching and posting jobs to cater to different participant preferences.

Provide real-time availability of candidates: Provide real-time availability of candidates to facilitate efficient and effective recruitment.

Information on fees: Provide information on fees to help participants make informed decisions and understand recruitment costs.

Provide options for communication with candidates: Provide options for communication with candidates to cater to the nature of the work required and participant preferences.

Provide a rating, review, or testimonial feature: Consider including a rating, review, or testimonial feature to provide feedback and enhance the credibility of candidates.

Consider a fully self-service model for lower-level work: Consider a fully self-service model for lower-level work to enhance efficiency and reduce costs.

Streamline the recruitment process: Streamline the recruitment process to make it more efficient and attractive to participants.

Cater to personal relationships with external resource suppliers: Provide options for pre-vetting of the pool candidates by the supplier to maintain personal relationships and cater to participant preferences.

Project Deliverables

Project Deliverables

Full session recordings uploaded for you to view immediately after each session.

A findings and recommendations report including selected video examples.

A video call to answer any questions.

Ongoing support and advice where required.

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