Building an Industry-Level Career Portal for msg systems | 2020

Tasked by msg systems, an IT solutions provider with over 8,500 employees, in 2020 we built a Joomla-based career portal for IT professionals. The portal features 350+ job vacancies and integrates with existing systems for seamless data import/export. The portal’s success was confirmed when msg ranked 3rd in a German study evaluating online career presences.

  • The Challenge

    In 2020 the IT solutions provider msg systems asked us to build an industry-level recruitment and career portal. Since many of their existing websites had been built with Joomla, this project should also be Joomla-based.

    The target audience was IT professionals, and the goal of the portal was to provide the chance for them to learn about msg as a potential employer, with information about career prospects, office locations, company values and personal statements from current employees.

    The portal would feature 300-400 current job vacancies – both working for msg and at their 20 subsidiary companies. Job listings should be added/removed on a daily basis, both manually, by the HR staff at their subsidiaries, and automatically, via an external feed from their existing SAP-based HR system.

    Visitors to the portal must be able to sort/filter job listings by location, entry-level, professional focus and company. Applicants should be able to submit their applications either via the portal directly, or via their existing external HR system.

    About the client

    msg systems ag is an independent, internationally active group of autonomous companies with more than 8.500 employees, based near Munich in Germany. Their core competency lies in intelligent IT and industry solutions.

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    The Solution

    Given the complexity and scope of the project, and the planned integrations with existing systems – both for data import and export, the initial phase was focused solely on finalised requirements.

    The main challenge of the design phase lay in creating something modern and visually appealing while adhering to strict corporate design guidelines. Finalising the design required close collaboration of our senior project manager with the client’s marketing department and several feedback/review cycles.

    We implemented a custom layout framework, which would later form a basis for further msg websites. Individual page content was implemented with a page builder, there were also several individual dynamic layouts e.g. to render job positions together with contextual info tiles drawn from elsewhere within the site.

    To store and manage job vacancy information our lead developer built a custom solution on the basis of an existing Joomla extension, working with a separate external database and a scheduled import workflow to combine local and external job data.

    Following launch of the portal we defined a month-long review period with regular updates from HR staff, during which we made several usage-driven adjustments to the upload/editing process to improve usability and reduce friction for HR staff who would access the portal daily.

    Lessons learned

    This project was one of our first chances to work for a multinational company of this size.

    The design process was a challenging combination of meeting standards while delivering innovation, and all of the code we delivered was audited extensively by the client’s own IT security team (which actually led to changes in the core code of Joomla).

    At times this collaboration stretched us to our professional limits, but we emerged from the project more capable and with a better understanding of what it takes to work for a client on this scale.

    Notable features

    Filtered, contextual job search

    The main job search allows website visitors to search and filter job openings by multiple overlapping criteria, read more about relevant vacancies and then finally submit a job application directly online. The site also features multiple context-dependent job feeds in the right-hand sidebar which are filtered to display relevant job openings in connection with that particular page.

    Data import & export

    Job data is both imported from an external source (SAP E-Recruiting) and entered directly by the client. This combined data pool forms the basis for the job search and feeds. We also created multiple feeds to export this data, for example for job vacancies to be listed on LinkedIn.

    Multiple login types

    The portal features three separate login areas:

    • The standard Joomla backend for website administrators
    • A login for msg subsidiaries and HR staff to add/edit job vacancy data
    • A login for job applicants to download employment documents.

    Measuring project success

    The client received overwhelmingly positive feedback for the career portal and shortly after the site was launched placed 3rd out of 100 companies in a national German study which ranked the online career presence of major German IT companies, carried out by Index Research.

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