Friday, 8 May 2009

Job Advertising

I've always been in favour of openness and transparency when it comes to job advertisements. In the last millennium, when I was student representative at my university's faculty council, I managed to get through a motion that professors had to openly advertise any student RA jobs (there was money in those days for students to act as kind of personal assistants, doing a variety of jobs such as photocopying, putting together reading lists, or even, in my case, programming and systems admin). Until then, they would just approach some student they knew from their own seminars or lectures and would give them the job.

Advertising jobs openly is not only good for equal opportunities, it also broadens the reach, and you might get a better candidate. I happened to be in a seminar where the professor announced that he had some money for a student to work on a bibliography project, and asked if anybody was interested. I wasn't, but at the time I knew somebody with a first degree in documentation/library science stuff, so I recommended that person. Needless to say, the professor was very happy and in the faculty council enthusiastically supported my proposal.

Now I am in the same situation: I got some money from our Learning and Teaching fund for a project on using podcasts in teaching. Part of that grant includes 60 hrs of a PG student doing some research on best practices. I could just have approached a student from our department I know, and that would have made life very easy for me. But, remembering the experience from all those years ago, I decided to advertise it to all PG students in the college (I thought that would probably sufficient for outreach, though I could have of course included all PG students at the university, which might have been fairer).

So far (deadline for applications is tomorrow) I received 8 applications from a variety of students from different subject areas within the college. I haven't yet received CVs from all of them, but I can see that early next week I will have a very difficult task at hand, deciding which of those 8 will be the lucky one. What I have seen so far is really great, there are some very good applications, which I would not have come across had I simply gone for the easy way out. No pain, no gain... Ultimately it will be very hard on those 7 who I have to reject, because I have to. Not because I want to, as all of them would probably be suitable candidates. I will also have to think of a fair way to make that decision, as I know some applicants personally, and have never heard of others. Perhaps this would be a good opportunity to involve my co-applicant (Hello, Bill!), as he might bring some more detached objectivity into the equation.

1 comment:

  1. I think even if not chosen for this work, the candidates will see that the process is fair - and that's always a good thing. Just let me know when :-)