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Placement Center Brings Jobs Seekers and Employers Together at SIOP 2012

Finding just the right job or employee can be a difficult, time-consuming process, but SIOP’s Placement Center helps take some of the legwork out of the process by providing employers and job seekers a convenient way to connect at the annual conference.
Placement Center will be open at the 27th Annual Conference, to be held in San Diego April 26-28. Employers and job seekers can sign up for Placement during regular registration. Those already registered for the conference can still sign up through the Attendee Service Center.
“The primary function of Placement Center is to provide a common network and common space so organizations can interview a lot of very qualified candidates at once,” explained Adam Hilliard, Placement Center and JobNet Committee chair.*
Employers register their organization and job seekers register as individuals for the Center. Employers can then access the job seeker resume database and job seekers gain access to information on participating organizations. Employers and job seekers can then arrange an interview at the conference. An option is also available to those interested in accessing the job seeker or employer databases without participating in the Placement Center. More information can be found on the Placement Center page here.
Placement Center is divided into two sections: a waiting area with computers where the candidates will wait for their interview and then the open area with tables at which job seekers and employers can talk. Hilliard said last year Placement Center included 46 organizations with 86 open positions and that the Center is on pace to beat those numbers this year.
Placement Center saves valuable time for job seekers, who have access to organizations they know are hiring, Hilliard explained.
“One of the setbacks in job hunting is that you don’t always know who is hiring at what time,” Hilliard explained. “Yes, you can go through each company or organization and send resumes out, but that takes a lot of time and effort. With Placement Center, if you see an organization listed, you know they are hiring and you know what position they are hiring for. It also lets you know who the companies are and who you might want to spend time reaching out to and networking with outside of Placement Center. It puts the contacts at your fingertips.”
This also saves time and money for employers, he said.
“It’s extremely expensive to fly candidates in to your organizations and keep them there for the night to interview,” he explained. “The employer gets a lot of exposure for a little cost with Placement Center. There is a small window after the conference when employers can continue to look at employee resumes, but the big benefit is having them there at the conference.”
Although he said he couldn’t release specific success rates because of confidentiality agreements, Hilliard said he has seen Placement Center work first hand.
“One candidate last year interviewed with 7 different organizations, was very proactive in getting interviews early, and she did end up getting a job with a really good company,” he said.
There is no guarantee to job seekers or employers contingent on registering for Placement Center, but the feedback generally seems to be that the Center is extremely helpful, Hilliard said.
“Not only was I able to obtain a job by participating in the Placement Center, but I was able to network with other I-O psychology professionals,” said Brittany VanArkel, the former Placement Center participant of whom Hilliard spoke. “As a candidate who was finishing up graduate school, I did not have many professional connections. I think that it is safe to say that my professional network tripled because of my involvement in the Placement Center. I was able to interview with multiple organizations from all over the country without spending multiple days traveling back and forth while networking with a variety of professionals at various stages in their career.”
Hilliard said the earlier job seekers sign up for the Center, the better.
“The best value comes for the early registrants because the sooner you register the better chance you have of getting an interview,” he explained. “Most employers are going to be reviewing the resumes before the conference, they are going to try to prioritize their candidates with how many interview slots they want to hold, and a lot of organizations will arrange interviews at the conference.”
There is still a value to job seeker even if they sign up at the conference, however. Because job seekers still have access to all of the employers, they can network with those employers while they are at the conference, Hilliard explained. Placement Committee is also working on initiatives to make the Center even more of a value to those who sign up early or even at the conference, he added.
“A function of the recent conference retreat was that we have discussed where Placement Center adds value and continues to add value,” he said.
The committee is currently working on two large initiatives to help improve the Center’s services.
“There does seem to be some feedback from individuals, and I can see this from being in the Placement Center. Job seekers are extremely nervous about the process,” Hilliard explained. “This might be the first actual interview they have gone through.”
To help these individuals, Hilliard said he will be running a session in the exhibit hall at this year’s conference (Thursday 11a.m.-noon) to discuss tips and interviewing skills and what interviewees can do to maximize their presence as an interviewee.
Seating for this session is limited to those who are registered for Placement Center, Hilliard said, and if the interest is high this year the commerce will expand it next year.
The second initiative the committee is working on is an attempt to partner with the SIOP Mentoring Program to hold mock interviews, Hilliard said, although this initiative might not be launched until next year.
“We still want to make sure Placement Center is a value for those people who only get maybe one or two interviews, and so we think coaching those interviewees will give them that added benefit, “ Hilliard explained. “So even if they don’t get success with employers, they at least get that feedback and feel comfortable going into future interviews.”
Hilliard said the committee is continuing to focus on growing the value of Placement Center to members.
“As a job seeker, this is a lot of value coming for a little bit of cost,” he explained. “And we are continuing to grow this so it isn’t just an interview center but it is becoming more of a full-service career preparation facility.”
*Note: SIOP’s JobNet and the Placement Center are separate services. Registration in JobNet cannot be substituted for registration in the Placement Center. If you are currently registered in JobNet and want to utilize the Placement Center, you must register for this service through the conference Web site.