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Online tool eases search committees’ work

A new online service will streamline much of the work done by search committees seeking to fill professional positions on campus.

Applicants and search committees alike have long sought a way to handle application materials electronically, said Sylvia Hall, assistant vice president for human resources. The new i-Recruiting service will allow them to do just that.

“People want to apply like this. People expect to apply like this,” Hall said. “What’s the goal? The goal is to get excellent candidates.”

Hall expects the University will see more applicants from Greater Binghamton and beyond as a result of the change.

Alison Gierlach, personnel associate, and Jeffrey Hadley, associate director of personnel operations, proposed getting some search committee functions online about a year ago. They researched different software and services and developed a plan to use a Massachusetts-based company called Interview Exchange.

Professional applicants will now be able to apply online, completing a one-page questionnaire and uploading documents such as resumés and references as PDF, text or Word files.

Search committee members, who will receive user names and passwords, may then review the documents and can even sort the candidates into folders. The questionnaire can also be used to rank applicants; each question may be assigned a different weight. Candidates who meet all of the criteria in the job description can also be sorted into a separate folder.

“You’re still doing the same basic thing,” Gierlach said. “It’s just that instead of going through stacks of resumés, you’re going to use a different medium.”

The new process should save paper and time and improve off-campus access. As long as they have Internet access, search committee members who are away at a conference or working overseas will be able to access resumés much more easily than before. Affirmative Action reviews can also be done using the online service.

Applicants will receive an automatic reply confirming their materials have been received. Later, the search committee can use the online service to send e-mails requesting additional information or to advise candidates of their status.

The University’s deal with Interview Exchange includes up to 200 searches a year at a cost of $9,000, Hall said. At an average of $45 per search, the service is a bargain. There is no special software or hardware required.

Binghamton handles more than 100 professional searches a year for positions ranging from resident directors to architects. Faculty and support staff searches are counted separately.

The online service will not change or replace Jobline e-mail announcements; positions will also continue to be posted at the University’s Web site and on HigherEdJobs.com, among other places. Officials in Human Resources will be able to aggregate data based on where applicants saw advertisements to determine which venues are the most successful.

Other basic details of the hiring process are also unaffected. Budget, vice president and Affirmative Action approvals must happen before a position is advertised and the 10-day internal posting process will continue. Human Resources should have a better picture of internal applicants and their status because they can be flagged within the online system and receive appropriate consideration.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08