Pranav Dobhal●Matthew Huie●Neha Kaul●Saransh Panda
RecruitOn is a modern platform designed and catered for recruiters, universities, and students. RecruitOn incorporates digitalization of the current processes delivered at career fairs. As a result, much of these processes can be greatly enriched to provide a better experience for all parties involved.
For example, the Technical Opportunities Conference (TOC) at Carnegie Mellon University is a large career fair featuring many top-leading companies in the technology industry. Academic administration will ask students to mandatorily RSVP for the event ahead of time, and submit their digital resume, along with any supporting materials (i.e. a portfolio for design jobs) online. At the event, students will sign-in and a name tag will be printed for them. Name tags will now include a QR code that points to their digital content, which students provided during registration. At the career fair, companies will have a piece of software that connects to our platform. This software can scan an attendee's QR code. By doing this, the recruiter can see all of the attendee's digital content (resume, portfolio, etc) and also attach notes to the student's profile. As a result of being digital, students can now present enriched multimedia, such as websites or videos as their portfolio, and be able to instantly display them for the employer.
This platform also benefits academic administration as well by forcing all attendees to register beforehand. Also, it cuts down on paper and unnecessary physical overhead, making the entire process more orderly, organized, and efficient.
This is the page for a recruiter. Sorted by university and position. for every job applied on the site, a recruiter can see the candidates with their profile lins, some data on penetration over time by position, what are teh skillsets by candidates, and a breakdown of master's or undergraduates that applied for the job.
The sample student panel will allow the students to look at the progress of their job application, see how many people view them to test the success of thier job fair penetration, see the skillsets they are matched by and what companies are looking at thier profile.
Here, campus services can add maps of locations that will be pasted to all students and recruiters. They can have a realtime updates on booth times per students, number of students that have applied and to glimpse into how busy it is.
Log in Page
This is the log in page for students and recruiters. Students can log in to edit their profile, add portfolio items, and connect with recruiters. Recruiters can log in to view profiles and portfolio items of students whose QR code they have scanned.
Student - Edit Profile
Once a student logs in, the student will be able to edit his/her own profile. This includes adding education and work details, uploading portfolio items, and any other materials that might be relevant. This is generally done before attending an event.
Recruiter - Mobile Application
While at an event fair, students will be given a name tag, which includes a QR code associated to their profile. Recruiters will be equiped with mobile devices that can scan QR codes of students. A mobile application, developed for Android, is available for recruiters to use. When a recruiter scans a QR code, the student's profile is displayed.
Recruiter - Student's Profile
A recruiter from Hulu has just scanned Saransh Panda's QR code. Saransh's main profile will pop up on the recruiter's device, including his resume, portfilio items (publications and events), QR code, and any notes the recruiter may want to take note of. Universities will also use this page to generate Saransh's QR code for use on his name tag.
Recruiter - Student's Portfolio Items
With RecruitOn, the Hulu recruiter can easily view relevant multimedia content that Saransh has imported. Here, the recruiter is looking at past event videos that Saransh previously uploaded.
Considering the landscape of all of the stakeholders for RecruitOn, our team started with the analysis of the requirements from the stakeholder's perspective. We did not intend to build a product that is not desired once rolled out. RecruitOn is based on the following three main principles:
1. A product defined and built based on customer needs
2. Iterative feature rollout based on market needs
3. Integrated feedback from all stakeholders
In order to fulfill our first principle the team connected with University Recruitment body of CMU, students and understood recruiter's needs through university recruitment body. Our analysis and results of the interaction with students is presented in the next section.
Communication with University Recruitment Body
Our team met Janet M. Vojtash, Career Event Coordinator at CMU career center. The meeting was led in the open ended fashion where the team first listened to the concerns regarding the recruitment process from both university's and recruiter's perspective. Based on our discussion we validated and invalidated the following hypothesis.
Our team validated following hypothesis:
1. There is a strong need for digitizing a part of the recruitment process
2. Recruiters desire to see more than resume's. Students portfolio along with the resume is a desired feature
Our team invalidated following hypothesis:
1. The need to have personalized interactions. The team understood the importance of not digitizing the entire process because the in person interactions are valuable to recruiters
Our team identified following additional requirements:
1. Need to reduce paper usage by digitizing the conference area map that locates employers
2. Predict the headcount of the students joining the event beforehand to facilitate better arrangements and crowd distribution
To determine the market need for the application and highlight the pain points, opinions of prospective users of the application is being quantified using ongoing surveys. Preliminary results from the survey (so far) included graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University and are being considered as a representative sample of the student population attending career events. The results are expected to closer to being actually representative as more participants join the survey.
The survey outlined interesting results strongly supporting the need for an application to make the ends meet.
On an average a student attends two to three career events every year.
- More than half of the students interact with over ten recruiters.
- 29% students claim that less than one-fourth of the overall interactions with the recruiters are relevant.
- One-third of the students mentioned that only about half or three-quarter of their interactions are even relevant to their profile.
- 57% of the students feel that over 60% of their time spent in a career event is wasted in queues.
- 81% of the students feel that there is a "high scope of improvement" in the career event process.
Carnegie Mellon University has existing infrastructure that can be utilized to develop the application utilizing current student projects to develop individual components of the application. This way the cost of development can be reduced. On the other hand, Carnegie Mellon would be able to use the application without licensing fee for a certain period to be agreed with.
Market Entry Startegy
The customer research for the application included Career & Professional Development Center at Carnegie Mellon University (CPDC). Discussions with CPDC revealed the need for a cost-effective solution that can utilize existing data in the university systems and provide a medium between the recruitment teams and students. Carnegie Mellon University would be an innovator in terms of the application usage.
CPDC organizes multiple career events every year and based on their need, the web-application can be tested with both from user acceptance as well as beta-testing purposes.
Career Partners and Student Network
The application pertains to a multi-sided network (detailed later) including students and recruiting companies as part of the network. Carnegie Mellon University can provide the knowledge of the mobile app to a set of recruiting partner organizations who would also constitute the innovators segment (refer figure). Since CMU already has a database of all the students and their profiles, CMU can provide the application the input in terms of student profiles and create QR codes for all the students. These QR codes can then be used during the recruitment process with the selected career partners. These versions would be the beta versions free for use for a limited period.
Recruiting companies and universities form the premium customer base for the application. Once CMU is able to use the application successfully in the beta phase, the career partners who have used the application at CMU would be the proponents of using the application and can spread the convenience of using the application at career events. This would also be a tacit marketing strategy to include other universities to join the network. The new universities joining the network can further expand the network by using their student profile databases to generate QR codes and provisioning the application usage for other recruiting companies.
The application would be based on a freemium model in which eight months of usage would be free. Eight months period is selected since as per survey, universities organize at least one career event in any eight month period across the year. After the expiry of this period, the universities generating QR codes would be charged with licensing fee. Also, the organizations using the application for recruitments would be charged with a fee for the application license.
To attain the critical mass, the application would be provided with a longer period of free usage for innovators including Carnegie Mellon University which would have the longest period of free usage. The innovators would constitute both the universities and recruiting companies participating early on in the usage of the application. Once a critical mass is reached, the application can also be used for off-campus recruitment drives further enhancing the network.
The usage of the web application will be free for students.
The application pertains to a three sided network - Universities, Recruiting Companies and Students. The network interactions among these are as below.
↑ Universities ↑ Recruiters (STRONG POSITIVE)
Increase in the number of universities joining the network will pull more recruiting companies as the recruiters would have a source of knowledge of a free application that can reduce their recruiting overheads. Since universities have multiple recruiting companies visiting the career events, the network interaction would be strong.
↑ Recruiters ↑ Universities (STRONG POSITIVE)
Increase in the number of recruiters joining the network will pull more universities due to the intent of standardized usage by the recruiters. Since recruiters visit multiple universities for various career events, the network effect would be strong
↑ Universities ↑ Students (STRONG POSITIVE)
Increase in the number of universities joining the network will enable more students to join. Universities can standardize the application usage across students. Hence, the network impact in this case would also be strong.
↑ Students ↑ Recruiters (WEAK POSITIVE)
Increase in the number of students joining will pull more recruiters to join the network since the recruiters would then be able to use the application for off-campus drives too. As the recruiters would have limited incentive to use the application in case additional students join the network, the effect would positive but weak.
With any new or existing product, service, or platform, there are always risks and challenges that arise before, during, and after implementation. These risks can be both internal and external as well. For RecruitOn, we look at some of the major challenges that we could face when going to market.
As with any platform with a huge data repository, there is a risk of data privacy and security. First, RecruitOn will maintain policies to ensure that students and recruiters only see the information they are allowed to see. Second, we will be using modern web technologies to ensure that the platform is up-to-date with current data security threats.
Complexity with Data Input
RecruitOn allows users to add additional portfolio and multimedia items into their profile. This moves the platform away from standardization, and more into customization. Although this customization allows more flexibility, it also makes it more complex for users during the profile creation stage. An approach to mitigate this is to provide features to automatically fill in profile details from document uploads or social media sources.
User Integrity and Credibility
How do you know that the student or recruiter you are speaking to is really that person or company? User integrity poses a big issue to the RecruitOn platform and threatens the credibility of the platform. A possible mitigation technique is to perform background checks on recruiters and to work with universities to cross-check student profiles.
Replication by Competitors
As there are potential and existing competitors in the market, RecruitOn must maintain a distinct product differentiation from the others. This can be approached by feature addons, new version releases, and automatic upgrades. In addition, network externalities can be taken advantage of by incentivizing more students onto the platform, in order to strengthen this side of the network.
According to the Career Development Center at Carnegie Mellon University, a single career fair day processes over 20000 resumes. From this, we can extrapolate that the RecruitOn platform would have to handle at least 20000 transactions per career fair day, but also be able to deal with the various portfolio and multimedia items within a student's profile. This poses an issue of over-capacity during peak times. A mitigation approach to consider is to leverage services like Amazon Web Services and have additional instances on stand-by in case they are needed.
In a hyper competitive world and a world where there's an app for everything, product differentiation is not only a challenge, but also a success strategy. In the case of RecruitOn, the key differentiation is in the type of service provided.
|Digitalized Event Maps||YES||No||No|
|QR Code Integration||YES||No||No|
Based on the chart above, RecruitOn is competing in the employment landscape with behemoths line LinkedIn and Jobvite. From an economic perspective, the niche existence of RecruitOn lies in a vertically differentiated product. RecruitOn is an amalgamation of applicant tracking platform combined with a profile based job board dedicated to managing career fairs. LinkedIn provides its users profiles and a mechanism to connect them with recruiters and hosts a job board. Jobvite is a candidate management portal that tracks applications to a particular job and allows applicant management for an organization. In this context, RecruitOn specializes in connecting applicants to recruiters by means of a platform independent service in the rushed atmosphere of a career fair.
From a user perspective, the application has features to convey your digital portfolio and expertise by means of a QR code. Currently, the QR interchange approach is not utilized in this sector. From a recruiter perspective, the application not only contains user relevant information, it also allows the recruiters to make notes on the fly, setup appointments, index student skills and projects and ultimately provide analytics on recruiting for a company. From the perspective of a institution utilizing RecruitOn, the product allows transperant viewing into candidate data, maps for recruiting events with tracking mechanism for wait times, number of students attending the fair, and recruiter background information for security and safety.
The mobile application demo is just one component of the presented RecruitOn platform, and this section will detail a system build and explain why these choices were made.
User Interface (UI)
As the behind the scenes component of any application, the backend is often the most critical part of an application integration. This is where the front end interacts with different mechanism to show interactivity and data gathering. Our language of choice was Java due to its global acceptance, free development with plenty of support for troubleshooting. Using the Spring MVC and hibernate models that integrate with other java modules, we were able to build a highly scalable backend with enterprise level security, rapidly.
MySQL was chosen as the database of choice due to two critical factors. The first was cost and MySQL is free and allows production deployment at no cost on a hosted server. Being a fledgling startup, our budget is restricted often limiting accessible software due to monetary concerns. The second reason for MySQL is its ability to provide ACID transactions and highly available infrastructure. Our application will be used to fluctuations like peak run times during events and low run times post events requiring a consistent and available data source.
Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services is ideal for our product as it supports a pay-as-you-need infrastructure. We can allocate more resources during peak periods and less during troughs to effectively reduce infrastructure costs. The scalability of an application deployed on AWS also comes in handy when the product faces expansion and requires more resources.
The free webserver provided by the Apache web foundation is an ideal web application host tool due to its immense stability, user support, integration, and setup.
What started as a simple application in a disruptive technology class is on the path to become a comprehensive and intuitive platform for career fair management. Currently the application only supports profiles and recruiter management. In later versions, the plan is to integrate other features and upgrades as listed below.
The basic application is very stable and built on the mentioned technological stack. As the users increase and more features are added, the application requires code stabilization, QA testing, load management and scalable design. As a critical priority, the plan is to achieve this within 3-4 months of deployment.
Based on our experience at the career fairs, the recruiter booths are often jumbled and have no semblance to order. By integrating a map of the event floor with booth locations, we can build optimized path for a student and allow institutions better insight into crowded and vacant zones with real time updates on booth changes, closures, no-show and key waypoints. After platform stabilization, a dynamic map development would be next consuming an allocated time of 4-6 months.
Safety and Security Analytics
As all events are bound by fire safety code, the application can update university when an event floor is close to fire code threshold and avoid safety risks or accidents. From a management perspective, it can also allow the institution insight into recruiting hot zones, credibility of recruiters, and act as means to allow only authorized users with the name tags into the event. The plan to incorporate this is within a year after deployment but after maps incorporation.
Campus recruiting events are often disproportionate with hot zones where a single company will have a long lineup creating confusion and agitation. By implementing logistical optimization, we can approximate the wait time for a candidate for a particular recruiter by tracking the data of all other users in the vicinity and the processing speed and interaction of the recruiter. This can allow users to effectively manage their time and maximize their profile viewing with minimal line wait times. The algorithmic nature of the project and technical specifications involved will require a separate development team or longer development which will proceed after the safety integration consuming another 6 months to a year.
As a means to increase the customer growth while providing enterprise level support will require an intuitive approach to bringing customers on board.
Schools and Campuses
Our primary targets are educational institutions as they have several career fairs in a year and there is a need for disruption from the paper resume exchange and elevator pitch model. Given rising frustration with job hunting and the overcrowded and stressful event floor, our application would provide a better alternative to all parties involved. By providing it as a service on local campuses, we can gather enough traction to fuel a region and then nationwide expansion. By restricting growth to campuses, we are capitalizing on a market with customers awaiting better solution. As the product grows, the first production level of the application should require an end-to-end development time of 6-12 months.
As the campus and student market is penetrated, other interesting markets would be the career fairs organized by other institutions like government agencies, conference bodies, volunteer groups etc. by not restricting ourselves to just one customer segment, we diversify our product reach.