Modernizing processes at Southeastern Community College
Laurie Hempen, Human Resources Director at Southeastern Community College in West Burlington, Iowa, has been working with PeopleAdmin’s Applicant Tracking System since she joined SCC six years ago.
“Everything was paper and pencil before,” Laurie told us. “The HR Generalist was the point of contact, so all information needed to be presented to her via email or snail mail. She kept track of it all in file folders, making multiple copies of everything for search committees and for records. With any given opening, a search committee could have from 3-12 members, so we were killing a lot of trees.”
Thankfully, Laurie’s role—and the entire hiring process—were made a lot less manual and much more efficient with the implementation of Applicant Tracking System. One of the most significant benefits for Southeastern Community College has been completely upgrading the search committee process.
Search Committees in the Digital Age
While the search committee process used to be confined to certain times of day and was dependent on the HR generalist to put together and share out documents, SCC’s digitized process has been a game changer.
“What I’ve found—and what the search committee members have found—is that it’s much more seamless to have a digital repository of information and documents,” says Laurie. “In HR, we can control who can see it and when. Search committees have a certain time frame to rank and rate applicants as we move them from the applicant stage to the interview stage, but that no longer has to be from 8:30-4:30 on campus on the weekdays. Committee members can access it from their devices whenever they have the time, and it makes the whole process faster and smoother. We also rely on ATS to assign search committee members to each opening, so they’re notified and do their work all in one system.”
Laurie notes that search committees seem to appreciate the ease of a fully digital system. “Whenever the search committees are assigned, members ask for access immediately,” she says.
Another piece of Applicant Tracking System that Laurie’s team gets a lot of use out of is applicant questions. With ATS, it’s easy to create and customize unique and specific questions for different positions. Laurie’s team uses additional applicant questions for nearly every role so that they can dig deeper than a resume.
“We us extra applicant questions to get all of our candidates on the same page regarding certain topics or requirements that are specific to the position and to the college,” says Laurie. “Having relevant and specific information beyond the resume helps us more easily rank the candidates, and lets search committees get a better feel for a person before they spend time and money interviewing them.”
Laurie recommends ATS users think of the additional applicant questions as a preliminary interview—the important step between a cover letter and resume submission and an official interview.
Continuing to Digitize
Laurie and her team at SCC recently finished implementing Employee Records, PeopleAdmin’s digital onboarding and records management solution, to continue eliminating manual processes and paper records from their processes.
“Until recently, we’ve been mailing out stacks of paper to people all over the place,” says Laurie. “We hire more online instructors than we used to, and they don’t have to be in southeast Iowa, so it’s gotten more complicated to get everything to people all over the world. New generations of workers also expect everything to be online—they expect to do the whole process on their phones, and to do it quickly. A digital system will allow us to hire more people seamlessly.”