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Product Management in Action: A Job Bank Case Study, Part 3 (DDN2-V32)


This video (part 3 of 5) features Mina Riad, product manager at Job Bank (, who describes how diverse user research techniques can help shape product vision and set work items.

Duration: 00:07:00
Published: November 6, 2023
Type: Video

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Product Management in Action: A Job Bank Case Study, Part 3



Transcript: Product Management in Action: A Job Bank Case Study, Part 3

[Title card: Product Management in Action: A Job Bank Case Study
Part 3 of 5: User research]

Now, I want to explain how user research helps us shape our product vision and set work items.

[A text appears on the screen: Mina Riad. Product Manager, Employment and Social Development Canada]

On a high level, we conduct continuous qualitative and quantitative user research and usability testing to find ways to keep improving our products. We use various tools such as personas integrated with journey maps and interviews, online surveys, card sorting, and other techniques to gather user research data.

I am going to walk you through some examples of where we used these different methods to improve our understanding of our target audience and how they interact with our product to make informed decisions.

[Title card: Personas]

We create aggregation of our users and simplify them into different personas, or segments of our target audience. Through personas we learned that various groups of job seekers such as youth, Indigenous Peoples, and people with disabilities have a higher unemployment rate than the national average. As a result, by discovering our user groups we were able to add more resources and features that cater to their needs. For example, personas analysis helped us add customizable job search filters for remote work options, apprenticeships and internship opportunities.

Also, through similar research on small family-owned businesses, we discovered that they have a harder time finding workers due to their lower budget for recruitment and sometimes not being able to compete with the salaries and benefits offered by larger companies. Job Bank offers to those employers the ability to post their jobs and reach thousands of job seekers with various profiles for free.

And as there is no one-size-fits-all solution, we keep gathering information about our users to keep catering to their different needs.

[Title card: Journey Maps]

We combine personas with journey maps or empathy maps to help us, for example, design features that allow job seekers who apply for Employment Insurance to be automatically enrolled in our Job Alerts system.

Through journey maps, we understand the process through which the user interact with our products, or in this case the touch points an Employment Insurance applicant goes through. We gather all  information users need to provide when they apply for the benefit, their goals, motivations, pain points, and behaviours to ensure that our products offer seamless experience, which allows them to subscribe and receive job alerts based on their latest occupation and location.

To give another example, we walked a sample of employer personas such as 1) small mom and pop shops, 2) mid-size companies and 3) third parties representing a number of employers through the journey of the job posting creation process by giving them specific tasks to complete.

While they perform the tasks, we observe and take notes on their reactions, behaviours, and thoughts. Each session was about 45 to 60 minutes long. Then, we analyse information that we gathered to find areas of improvement. More specifically, we gave these employers 8 subsequent tasks that result in creating a cashier job for their small clothing store. Each task was designed to learn and test how the employers use one or multiple features of the Job Bank for Employers module including how they select the job title, how they specify the salary and benefits, and how they interpret the different options available to them when they must select the method of application for the job. We found, for example, that some employers were having issues finding the different benefits they could offer to their employees and as a result we revamped that section to make it more visible and broke down the list of benefits into different groupings (health benefits vs financial benefits, etc..) to make the experience more intuitive and user-friendly.

[Title card: Online Surveys]

We also conduct online surveys to determine which factors career planners deem critical in selecting a field of study. ​This is part of our plan to reassess the effectiveness of the School to Work Transition tool. This is a tool at Job Bank that helps users explore a field of study and learn about what they usually lead in terms of labour market outcomes (for example, what occupation they work in, how much money they make, etc.). In that survey, we ask users to rank the different data points presented in the report generated by the tool in terms of their relevance and importance for them from a career decision making perspective.

[Title card: Card Sorting]

Another way to understand the journey that users undertake interacting with our products is through card sorting. Card sorting helps us see how users navigate the site and where they expect to find certain things in order to determine the most appropriate content architecture of the website and the design of its home page. In one of these tests, young job seekers were brought to the home page of Job Bank and asked to try to find a summer job. The goal was to assess whether the users would be able to find the correct resource to complete this task and which path they would take to do so.

In a parallel exercise, a hybrid card sorting technique was used to ask users where on the site they would expect to find the page educating employers about the importance of hiring a diverse workforce. Since it was a hybrid card sorting exercise, users were given options ranging from the existing sections available on the site's menu but also allowing them to suggest a new section where they see this topic fitting.

I find it very important for the product team to participate in user research and usability testing to create that shared understanding of a problem so that we all are on the same page working towards creating effective solutions.

[Title card: Product Visions]

Ok. How do we set product visions then? After identifying the problems from user research, we start with setting product vision statements for what we want to achieve with each of our 11 sub-products. All these sub-product visions collectively contribute to the overall Job Bank vision.

Here is an example:

The vision of the product group responsible for Job Seekers tools on Job Bank is:

"Provide job seekers tools to help them search, find, and apply to suitable employment opportunities across Canada."

On the other hand, the vision of the product group responsible for Employers tools is:

"Be a trusted platform on which employers are able to advertise and find qualified candidates to fill vacancies."

Both of these contribute to the overall Job Bank vision which is as follows:

"Job Bank facilitates the integration into the Canadian workforce of individuals who need assistance in competing in the labour market by providing information on employment opportunities to help workers find suitable employment and help employers find suitable workers."

[Title card: End of part 3 of 5]

[The CSPS logo appears onscreen. A text appears on the screen: The Government of Canada logo appears onscreen.]

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