U.Va.'s Online Job System Gains Fans at Open House

Aug. 20, 2007 --  U.Va. job seekers flocked to the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia on Saturday for an introduction to the new Jobs@UVa online application system.

Two computer-equipped classrooms handled the steady stream of visitors, each of whom received one-on-one instruction from a University Human Resources counselor, who answered questions and walked them through the new system. Many attendees actually submitted new job applications online.

After being online for only three weeks, the system includes more than 200 unique job listings and has received more than 2,000 applications, said Lucinda Childs-White, director of staffing and recruitment.

"People have been very positive about the system," she said. "They like the fact that they can immediately see the status of their application."

“Community outreach is an essential component of the Jobs@UVa launch," said Susan Carkeek, vice president and chief human resources officer. "We rely on our staff to provide extraordinary customer service to our students, faculty and patients, and the new Jobs@UVa system is a way for us to extend that same level of extraordinary customer service to our applicants.”

Iris Dorsey came hoping to apply for one or two positions where she would be able to "keep learning new things," to interact with people and "not be stuck behind a desk." With help from Gary Helmuth, director of information management and technologies for UHR, Dorsey used the system to search for relevant openings, both temporary and full-time, and ended up applying for nine positions, since it was "so easy" to apply for multiple positions after entering all her personal information into the system.

Greg Freshour, deputy director of recruitment and staffing, assisted Sarah Bryan as she looked through openings for an administrative assistant. She noted that the new online system was "awesome" compared to the old paper application she had filled out. As she quickly applied for two positions, and made plans to apply for more from her computer at home, Freshour pointed out how to use a system option to e-mail a hyperlink to a specific job opening that a friend might be interested in. 

Alan Cohn, director of faculty and staff relations, stopped by the event with his 4-year-old daughter, Cameron, explaining that she had explored the system from their family computer. "If she can do it, I figure it's pretty intuitive," he said.

Perhaps too intuitive. UHR counselor Pat Daniele said that several applicants were a bit anxious that they had messed up something in the online application, "because they kept wondering, 'it can't be this easy.’"

Daniele said the new system offers benefits to both U.Va. and those seeking jobs. Job descriptions can now be written directly by the department trying to fill a position. (The position listing goes online after a final review by UHR.) With the new system making it easy to see all open positions that might be of interest, those posting the job position descriptions will need to make their job descriptions more distinctive and attractive to get the attention of applicants who may view numerous job openings from across the University.

"This was wonderful," said applicant Donna Stapley, adding that everyone she encountered "was great," from the greeters on the front steps of Darden, to those who welcomed her in the classroom foyer, to the UHR assistants helping her at the computer workstation. Three translators stood by to help Spanish-speaking applicants.

"I'm very pleased with the turnout," said Childs-White. "I love having the opportunity to have something available for the community. I'm very proud of the staff and their support that we've had on hand."