Human Resources making it easier to 'Experience Emory'

It's no small task for the Human Resources (HR) employment staff to process paperwork for 25,000 applicants and to hire the 1,200 employees who become a part of Emory each year. The Emory Employment Re-Engineering Project, a joint University, Emory Hospital (EUH) and Crawford Long Hospital (CLH) human resources effort, will speed up referrals and improve the quality of applicants being referred to hiring officials in departments, according to Gretchen Patton, director of employment services.

The linchpin of the new system is "MatchMaker," a new computerized system that will link an applicant's skills with the requirements for a position.

"In the present system, a candidate applies for a specific position," said Patton, "and the hiring official receives only the resumes of those who specifically applied for that position. Beginning in early 1997, when applicants come into the employment office, they will fill out a skills inventory sheet, their information will be entered in the MatchMaker database and they will be eligible for any job for which they meet the requirements."

Patton noted that departmental hiring officials will continue to complete a requisition for each open position, but the revised form will mirror the skills inventory completed by the applicant. Data from the department and the applicant will be put into the MatchMaker database and applicants will be matched to openings across the Emory system. "Our philosophy is that applicants are coming to Emory for whatever type of position they're suited for; we hope they will consider opportunities at all three locations," Patton said. There are now joint advertisements for frequently recruited jobs with the theme "Experience Emory" as part of the ad copy.

"We expect to speed up the process," said Patton. "It will eliminate the need for the employment staff to wade through mounds of paper applications and to process the forms of repeat job seekers, some of whom return every week to the employment office. This will allow the employment specialists to spend more time with hiring officials, assisting them with advertising strategies, the requisiton process and interviewing."

In addition to streamlining the employment process, Patton says the new system will work on behalf of the hiring official. "The advantage to the department is that the hiring officials will have access to all the people in the database; it opens up a lot more doors for departments looking to fill jobs. Additionally, applicant information will remain in the database for six months, and candidates will only have to return to the employment office to update their skills inventory."

Some parts of the new system are already under way. Employment staff have begun to conduct interviews with candidates who look like they should be referred to departments with open positions. "Jeanne Thigpen, our HR recruitment person, has pre-screened candidates for animal care technicians for us and is now constantly interviewing and referring candidates to Yerkes," said John Magnotta, associate director for administration at Yerkes where pre-interviews have been used. "As I understand this new system, candidates will now apply to Emory rather than to a particular job. As part of that process, the recruitment specialist will pre-screen and refer the best candidates to departments. The idea is that it is no longer good enough to use strictly the paper history of someone; it's preferable for an HR representative to speak to a candidate; it's a good idea and is going back to a practice that had been in place before," said Magnotta.

During the past three weeks, EU/CLH/EUH human resources staff have offered 18 training sessions for hiring officials to learn about the new system. They expect to begin use of the MatchMaker system, which was developed in-house by Human Resources Information Services, in early 1997. A new telephone line with listings of available jobs, 727-JOBS, also has been put into place.

The effort to redesign the employment system began last fall when a consultant was brought in to evaluate the existing employment system. Since last Feb., 14 joint CLH/ EUH/EU teams of human resources professionals have looked at new ways to work together to improve the recruitment process.

"One of the major side effects we hope will come about with this new system is to emphasize the system-wide nature of the organizations that make up Emory," said Peggy Nemitz-Rogers, manager of employment services.

--Jan Gleason

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