University implements new on-campus hiring policy

A new on-campus hiring policy will centralize all on-campus positions onto the Augie Opportunities website and make the job search process more streamlined for students, though it has received mixed reactions from employers on campus.

The primary goal in creating the new hiring process is maintaining equity among all Augustana students who are searching for jobs, according to Liz Soukup, an employment specialist at Augustana.

“We’re trying to centralize [the hiring process] so that all students have fair opportunity to apply for open positions,” said Deanna Versteeg, the vice president for human resources.

All campus jobs will now have to be posted on Augie Opportunities with accompanying job descriptions. Specialized positions on campus will have to adhere to the same standards as more general positions.

By having all campus job opportunities posted on Augie Opportunities, Soukup hopes students will be more aware of what positions are available and be able to go through a more formal application process.

Soukup expects that there will be more clarity regarding which on-campus jobs are work study and which are not in the new system. Soukup said Augie Opportunities will now clearly mark positions as “work study,” “campus employment” or both.

The new hiring process was a collaboration between the International Programs Office, the Student Success Center, Human Resources and Financial Aid.

Cole Tessendorf, the president of the Augustana Student Association (ASA), hopes the new system will help students find work-study and non-work-study jobs as well as better understand what positions they are qualified for.

For Tessendorf, the goal of the new process was “to help students understand where they sit and why” when it comes to work-study and non-work-study position eligibility. He said some jobs may feel limited, but that “in the end it comes down to government funding.”

Augie Opportunities is meant to help students understand what jobs are available to them and encourage students to apply for jobs that allow other students who qualify differently to work as well, according to Tessendorf.

The new hiring process was announced to Augustana faculty on April 12, “to allow for an acclimation period prior to the new academic year,” said Soukup. However, the announcement came in the middle of some employers’ hiring processes.

The new hiring process will require that employers prepare a Student Request to Recruit form that outlines the position, title, compensation, hours and duration if it is a non-work-study position. A job description must also be included with the job posting on Augie Opportunities. All qualified applicants must now be granted an interview. Once a position has been filled, the employer must notify all other applicants a position has been filled. In interviews, candidates now  must address a question related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Employers have received the new hiring process with mixed reviews. Some think the new system is a more centralized version of what they have already been doing, while others feel the new process disrupts their hiring process and adds unnecessary extra steps.

Bill Swart, the civitas director and chair of the sociology department, hires one student for a position in Civitas.

Swart said he believes that positions on campus that are generally available to the majority of the student body should be advertised, but that more specialized positions that are not open to many students do not fit into the new hiring system.

Swart also had concerns about lack of faculty and department chair consultation as the new hiring system was implemented.

“I don’t think it’s a bad policy bottom line,” Swart said. “I just think that it’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all policy, and I wish we would have had the chance to talk through the consequences. […] I think that it is going to make the process of hiring students, particularly for positions where students in the past have been hand-selected, take longer and be more cumbersome.”

Mark Hecht, who hires for the Elmen Center and is the director of Recreational Services, said the new hiring process will not greatly impact how the Elmen Center hires students. The Elmen Center already advertises jobs and conducts interviews. Their process will now just become more streamlined and more paperwork heavy.

“It’s a process that we’ve been doing, so I don’t know that it will have that much of an impact in regards to students working with rec services,” Hecht said. “I do think campus-wide it is going to provide some clarity in regard to what all is available, and I think a positive is the initiative students will need to take to seek the jobs out.”

Hecht was not surprised by the announcement and had been in communication with the Student Success Center throughout the fall and spring semesters about the development of the new hiring system.

English professor Daniel Gerling hires for the Writing Center and said the new hiring process won’t change how he hires very much.

Gerling said he conducts interviews with qualified candidates and sends out emails once all Writing Center jobs have been filled.

Gerling said he historically had already been advertising open positions although with irregular mediums. He said he thinks a centralized advertising location will be nice.

Next year Gerling expects more applicants with the increased visibility of the job opening on Augie Opportunities. He also expressed concern over the time it may take next year to conduct more interviews and fill out more paperwork for each applicant.

“It’s nice to interview the students and to talk to the students, the potential tutors, but it is definitely a time consuming thing so that might be an issue next spring,” Gerling said.

Paul Egland, who is involved in the hiring process for biology teaching assistants (TAs), said he is hopeful Augie Opportunities will increase job advertising and bring in more applicants.

“It’s always hard to get enough TAs. We don’t really have the luxury of interviewing a whole bunch of people and choosing the best person for the job. We have to hope that we have enough people to hire,” said Egland.

Soukup said human resources will be collecting feedback from employers with continuous communication and adjusting the new hiring program as needed.