Applying Through Different School Districts

AASPA Blog ,

By: Sydney Mattia, student at the University of Central Florida and HR Intern for Auburn-Washburn USD 437

My name is Sydney Mattia and I am a current student at the University of Central Florida, as well as a Human Resources Intern for Auburn-Washburn USD 437 school district. As part of my internship I worked on a project involving applying through different school districts and application systems to evaluate the overall application process.  In a competitive labor market, the application process can determine how a candidate feels about your district, how much you value them, and sometimes whether or not they finish your application altogether.

When applying to different school districts there are many different application tracking systems that may be used. When comparing these different systems, I evaluated them based on ease of application, time to complete, personalization by job type, clear job expectations,  acknowledgement that application was received, candidate feedback offered, and if pay and benefits were listed.

When comparing what I liked about each application system, I found that the most user friendly, and visually easy to read applications were ones that had the clearest  job expectations and qualifications listed. The applications that list these expectations make you feel as if the application is personalized to you and the specific job you are applying for. Having the pay and benefits listed on the specific application that you are filling out helps answer questions before the hiring process begins. The more user friendly each application was, the less time it took to complete. Having visually easy to read headings, and subsections for personal information, education experience, and professional experience made it easier when uploading resumes and certifications. One thing that I found most application systems had when applying is confirmation the application was received, which is important for a candidate to know their application status.

Comparing what I disliked about each application system, I found that many applications do not have an area for candidate feedback. With each application system I used, a confirmation email was sent, letting me know that my application was received, but there was not a chance to leave any comments or questions I had about my application experience. I would have liked an opportunity to ask questions or provide feedback as part of the application early on in the hiring process. When looking through different job positions that are open, not having a filtered search tool made finding the specific job I wanted to apply to more time consuming.

Overall, I found that the more job expectations and qualifications that were listed, the more personalized each application felt. Listing the location, specific hiring contact and having pay and benefits listed are important questions candidates have when applying.  Rather than starting an application with behavioral assessments, I preferred having the application experience be more focused on creating an opportunity to list educational and professional experience as well as a personal comments section.  Having candidates complete assessments later in the hiring process would streamline the application to value the candidate’s time.  This also would allow candidates to feel like they are progressing to a next step in the process. 

Receiving a confirmation email  and being updated on where you stand in the hiring process, helps to ensure that your application has been received and can help to answer the question of what comes next.  An opportunity to receive candidate feedback is something I felt was missing on each application system, which could be used to help answer questions during the application process.

In conclusion, it is important to have an application that is easy to complete during the initial candidate screening process. Not including time consuming steps such as behavior assessments, and waiting to add these assessments later in the hiring process, will allow candidates to feel successful when moving forward. Candidates feel most valued when they are able to filter their search and receive specific information relevant to the positions that they are interested in.