Minnesota online program speeds hiring turnaround

Workers at the Minnesota Employee Relations Department were wading in paper. All state job applicants had to fill out a six-page form, and it took about 50,000 applications'a minimum of 300,000 pages'to hire 6,000 new employees a year.

Cheri Hanson, strategic staffing supervisor for the department, said the staff captured each page with a scanner from Scantron Corp. of Irvine, Calif., linked to an MS-DOS document management system 'complete with black screens and green letters.'

The department published a biweekly paper bulletin with all state job openings. It was one employee's full-time job to see that the bulletin got printed and mailed every two weeks.

The lack of rapid communication made for some difficult situations, Hanson said. One year the department announced an exam for the position of employee specialist, even though it wasn't certain of having any vacancies.

Hanson and her staff scanned 300 six-page applications for the test. Then the scores had to be mailed back to the applicants. After all that work, it turned out there were no openings for employee specialists that year.

The department decided to implement the Yahoo Resumix online job application suite from Yahoo Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif. Now job seekers go to the My State Job Search site, https://statejobs.doer.state.mn.us/Portal/Home, to fill in an online resume.

Applicants choose their own user identification and password. Then, protected by Secure Sockets Layer encryption, they can build a resume from scratch or paste in an existing one. A resume builder tool prompts them for education, job experience and contact information.

Before adopting Resumix, it took an average of 108 days to fill a job, Hanson said. Now it takes 41 days. Between 80 percent and 85 percent of all state hires now apply via the Web.

Hanson said she couldn't set an exact figure for the money the state has saved, but labor, postage and printing costs are significantly lower.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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