Archive for Monday, December 10, 2012

KU looking to replace ‘frustrating’ new online job-application system

December 10, 2012


About two months after launching a $125,000 new online job-application system, Kansas University is preparing to scrap it and find a new solution.

In his biweekly electronic newsletter to faculty and staff last week, KU Provost Jeff Vitter wrote that the new system, which the university licensed from Oracle Corp., had fallen short of expectations and led to a "frustrating" situation.

"It is clear that the Oracle talent acquisition management module (TAM) is not how we want to present KU to prospective faculty and staff," Vitter wrote.

A bit more than 10 percent of people who'd tried to apply for faculty or staff jobs during the system's first few weeks were unable to finish their applications, Vitter wrote.

Diane Goddard, KU's vice provost for administration and finance, said the system had proven confusing for people not familiar with the university. Applicants have had trouble locating the specific job listings they were interested in, she said, and some have also struggled to upload resumés and other application materials.

"This is sometimes the first interaction that somebody may have with the university," Goddard said, "and so you want that front door to be very intuitive, very welcoming. And this particular module just isn't doing it."

The new system went into place in early October, alongside a new electronic human resources and payroll system on campus. Both those changes were a few years in the making, she said. KU paid about $126,000 to license the system from Oracle.

Goddard said the hope was that the new Oracle system would make the online application process more intuitive and simple, but it has become clear that hasn't been the case.

"It's just not as easy to use as I would like," Goddard said.

The KU provost's office is taking steps to make sure that searches for faculty members in particular aren't harmed by the system's struggles, she said. The office has set up a separate online page ( listing all open faculty jobs, saving applicants the trouble of searching for positions using the Oracle system.

The office is also accepting faculty applications through email, as a way around the online system. And it's offering to pay for departments to re-advertise faculty jobs, though so far only one has accepted the offer, Goddard said.

Faculty recruitment tends to be in full swing this time of year, she said. KU is also seeking to fill 64 newly created faculty positions in its first wide-scale recruiting effort since the mid-2000s.

In his letter last week, Vitter said Goddard and others were working to put a "long-term solution" in place by the end of the academic year.

Goddard said her office had already begun looking for alternative systems. One vendor offered a system that appears promising, she said, and news on that front may be available within a few weeks.

"We obviously want to make a very good decision on this one," Goddard said.

She said university staff had worked hard to put the new system in place, but the lesson she'd taken away was that the staff would need to examine future application systems thoroughly from the perspective of future applicants, and not just from the perspective of the university.

"This one touches so many people who are not already a part of our community," Goddard said.


John Kyle 5 years, 2 months ago

Good! The old system was so much better. The new system is horrid. I had to call various people in HR to get an application submitted (by email).

KiferGhost 5 years, 2 months ago

It's not the only new system that is worthless, only the most visible to the outside world.

James Minor 5 years, 2 months ago

Hopefully, the new system will be easier to apply for positions requiring four degrees, twenty years experience, for $30K per year.

cowboy 5 years, 2 months ago

Good point ! also heard people pay checks were fouled up for weeks

Currahee 5 years, 2 months ago

I had no problems using this system. If people aren't smart enough to figure out how to navigate through an application, do you really want them working for you?

Call it a problem solving experience. Ha!

KU_cynic 5 years, 2 months ago

Who is responsible for this big mess at KU with the new HR/Payroll system? Did Oracle over-promise or underdeliver -- and if so what remedies does KU have -- or did KU's HR and IT bureaucrats get in over their heads and display a lack of competence -- and if so are some heads going to roll?

tomatogrower 5 years, 2 months ago

Good grief. My husband could probably have designed a better system for half that amount. They teach computer science there. Why not hire some grad students to design it? Let's just hire some company who could care less, but charges a lot.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 2 months ago

Who every made the decision to contract with Oracle should be fired. Where are they going to re-coop the $125K taxdollars wasted on this boogdoggle? Tomato grower is right... a grad student could have done a better job.

moveforward 5 years, 2 months ago

this is not an untypical purchase process up on the hill. Ego's, fiefdoms, buddy deals, and low bids... not the criteria to use for outsourcing folks. #mytaxdollarswastedagain

ksrover 5 years, 2 months ago

Hopefully the city will take note and change their horrid online application system as well!

melott 5 years, 2 months ago

So why didn't it occur to anyone to test the system before it went online?

This is only the latest in a series of screwups in ""upgrades"". Due to its visibility and its impact on job searches, something had to be said.

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