Editors Note: The following article was written by Paul Glasser and published by the Frankfort State Journal on Dec. 27, 2007. The article is republished here with permission (link to original article.)
State staffing managers say the new online job application system has been good for both agencies and prospective candidates.
"It's a huge step ahead," said Honor Barker, personnel administrator for the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Career Opportunities System has been online since Nov. 26 and more than 5,900 have used it to apply for state jobs. There are currently more than 200 jobs posted on the system and so far 14 positions have been filled using the new software.
The system is similar to programs used by careerbuilder.com or monster.com and job seekers can apply online 24 hours a day. Applicants can upload resumes, complete an application and search for jobs using a variety of criteria.
Candidates who completed a paper application and were placed on the register will still be listed for another three months. After March, anyone seeking a state job will need to visit the Personnel Cabinet Web site at personnel.ky.gov and log in to the Career Opportunities Web site.
"Time is of the essence," said Personnel Administration Commissioner Carla Hawkins. "We want everyone to update their application in the new system."
Barker and other personnel administrators said the new system has reduced paper work and helped streamline the application process.
Since the new program became available last month, only 24 people have submitted a paper application. Paper applications will still be accepted after March, but Hawkins said it should only be a last resort.
Prior to Thanksgiving, more than 140 drove from all over the state every day to apply for a job at the renovated State Office Building on Mero Street. Now, fewer than 20 are coming in each day.
Counseling Branch Manager Karen Neeley said she hopes the new online system will make it easier for more to apply for state jobs. It was not convenient from applicants to come to Frankfort from the far reaches of Kentucky to hand-deliver an application, she said.
"We want to reach a new audience," Neeley said.
The new system will also help streamline the hiring process, Barker said. The register of qualified candidates for a common job classification like administrative specialist sometimes contains more than 2,000 names.
Barker said about two-thirds of those names are usually useless because people have either moved or are no longer interested in a job. In the future, agencies will only get the names of candidates who are interested in a specific job and apply using the Career Opportunities System.
"It will definitely cut down a lot of dead wood," Barker said.
The new system also allows applicants to set up search agents that will automatically check for specific jobs on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. So far, 2,700 applicants have used the tool to regularly check for new job openings.
Applicants also receive an e-mail update notifying them their application has been received, if his or her name has been added to the register and when the register is certified. Hawkins said the feature is popular with applicants because under the old system they often waited for days or weeks without knowing where they stood.
"It's honestly one of the features we get the biggest feedback on," Hawkins said. "Applicants are excited to get the confirmation."
There have only been a few problems with the system so far and Hawkins said most people are able to navigate the software. There's online tech support for those who need assistance and personnel at the State Office Building provide demonstrations.