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Matchmaking at SIOP


by SIOP Administrative Office

The Placement Center Helps Employers Job Seekers, and Interns Find Their Match

When the Placement Center was instituted at the 1993 SIOP Conference, it was warmly received. 132 registrants and 24 employers used the service, which has been a regular feature of the conference ever since. An average of 300 job seekers and 53 employers have used the service at each conference over the last two decades. 2016 Placement Center registration is open for both job seekers and employers, and participants are urged to sign up now, so that their materials are available for review before the conference.

There have been changes and improvements to the Placement Center program over time. What began as a paper-based system is now online. A few years ago, the Placement Center Committee, which works under the direction of the Membership Services Officer, added a Mock Interview option for job seekers. What hasn’t changed, however, is the value the Placement Center offers to participants and its connection to the mission of SIOP. 

Responses to the 2015 Placement Center Survey indicate high levels of satisfaction from participants on both sides of the equation. 94% of employers would consider using the Placement Center to fill future job openings, while 60% of job seekers would use the center again.

Placement Center Committee Co-chair Kathakali Sircar has been involved with the center for the past three years and has led the coordination of the Mock Interview Program.  She says it was very well received after its start in 2013. “Job-seekers mentioned that it gave them the opportunity to receive valuable feedback regarding their interview performance and many of them scheduled this before actual Placement Center interviews.”

The committee is currently seeking professional members who will attend the conference to volunteer to conduct mock interviews. The interviews are intended to last approximately 30 minutes. Additionally, the volunteer interviewer will need to coordinate the interview schedule with their assigned job seeker, and should also plan on reading the job seeker’s resume in advance and providing detailed feedback to the candidate. Click here to email the volunteer coordinators.

The Placement Center is held in conjunction with the annual conference, but it is not a job fair. It’s more accurate to think of it as a virtual job board, and the program continues for an additional 10 weeks after the end of the conference. Postings will remain active through June 30, 2016.

While the job postings are online, there are live components of the program at the Annual Conference, including the Mock Interview program. Space is set aside at the Anaheim Hilton for employers and job seekers to meet, and where they can use computer stations dedicated to Placement Center functions.  This space is open to registrants Wednesday April 13 through Saturday, April 16. See page 5 of the conference program for more details about Placement Center hours.

The Placement Center Committee has also coordinated two open house events, where job and internship seekers can mingle with employers. The Placement Center Open House is 10-11 am on Thursday, April 14. This event is only intended for Placement Center registrants. “The Open House provides a meet-and-greet opportunity for employers and job seekers in a less formal setting than an interview,” said Sircar. “Job seekers can learn more about the opportunities available, and employers can connect with I-O job seekers who may be a great fit for their organization.”

The Internship Open House immediately follows the Placement Center Open house, from 11-12:30 on Thursday, April 14. All students, professionals, and academics who are interested in internships, whether for immediate or future action, are welcome to attend.

The organizers see it as an opportunity for students to get specific advice on internships, and a unique opportunity to meet other students and professionals in a non-threatening, fun, and guided networking setting. Students planning to attend should block out the whole 90 minutes for the event. It includes a 30 minute panel with advice and insights from professionals who hire interns, 40 minutes of guided networking time, and a 20 minute closing presentation about how to turn an internship into a job and how to fit an internship into one’s grad program.

Sara Perry, one of the event coordinators, shares this advice on how to prepare. “Students - bring business cards and know your own 30-second elevator pitch so you can eloquently describe yourself and your goals to the people you meet.” She also suggests that professionals bring their business cards, “And come with any insights you’ve gained over the years and/or any information you have about internships currently available.”