Help I Need a Doctor! (and a better onsite search)

It’s not just the NHS that has a shortage of health care professionals.  Other countries, in this case Austria, need to recruit a wide range of professionals into the various surgeries, clinics and hospitals that make up the system.

In the olden days this was done in print and published by the Verlagshaus der Ärzte (VDÄ).  The VDÄ moved with the times and created a searchable database of jobs.  However, there was a problem. Whilst jobs could be in multiple categories a job seeker could only search by one category.  That meant you could search for a job in Vienna or a job in surgery but you could not search for a surgery job in Vienna.

An initial search for a solution turned up the WordPress Job Manager (WPJM) plugin.  The plugin supports keyword, location and some categorisation.  But there was a further problem.  The categories used by health professionals are too specialised and the UX of WPJM couldn’t support the variety or number.  Our challenge was to implement a highly specialised set of categories with a focus on user experience that was fast and didn’t break the upgrade path of WP Job Manager.


We have long experience of on-site search from our days at Yell, the searchable business directory.  In addition we’ve deployed Elastic Search for a customer using our knowledge of synonyms, word stems, Java and Nginix.  We set to work understanding how WPJM is put together, how we could intervene to make non-breaking changes and style the result to meet the VDÄ’s aspirations.  Their designer was unaware (rightly you might argue) a plugin had been selected as the basis and consequently she provided a bespoke look and feel that took no account of the plugin as a starting point.  As well as creating custom taxonomies and a bespoke search plugin we spent a lot of time writing CSS to get that bespoke look.

The basic approach for the search plugin was to build a bespoke UI on top of WPJM and then intercept the search in the back-end.  From there we could parse out our own categories, build a custom search query and return the results over AJAX.


The site went live early August as part of a soft launch and the client is clearly delighted with the results.  Next!

If you need a bespoke on-site search perhaps using categorisation, stemming, auto-suggest or specifically a job search, please call us on 01235 521909.

Have a difficult question or a technical problem?

We’ll solve your biggest challenges, so contact us now, or call 01235 521909, outside UK +44 1235 521909.

© Copyright 2022 - Akriga Ltd Registered in England and Wales No. 4138178. Vat No. 792 6759 69.