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Employer Feedback @ SI

SI Careers is always looking to collect feedback from the wide range of employers that come to SI to do employer visits and interviews. We've collected a wide range of data from the last few months of recruiting that we're analyzing currently. We'll be getting this information out to you so that you can learn more about what SI students are doing right and what could be done just a little better. So keep an eye out for that information.

Below, you can find some qualitative information that we've collected from recent recruiters that visited SI earlier this winter (this feedback has been anonoymized as requested by the employer):

"SI was extraordinary this year. The employment fair, Exposition, and interviews were all well organized and run and the students we met and talked to were very impressive and talented.

· Employment fair. We were extremely busy at it - we talked to students continuously for the entire 2 hours and never had a minute of downtime. Students waited in line at our table to talk to us.
· Exposition. The projects at the Exposition were amazing. We were fully consumed, visiting students at their project booths for the entire time of the event. However, we were also using the Exposition as a valuable opportunity to meet with students on our interview list and have a discussion with them in the context of a project they had worked on.
· Interviews. We conducted interviews with students for our open positions. We found some strong candidates that could be a match for some of our open positions and are going to be following up with them.

Last year, we provided some feedback to you about students and the interview process in an effort to help you as well as students best accomplish your goals. This year, we noticed that some of that feedback had been acted on.

· Employment fair. Last year only 1 of the students on our interview list visited us at the employment fair. This year the opposite occurred - most of the students on our interview list visited us there.

· Interviews. Last year we found that some students whom we interviewed were not enthusiastic nor prepared to discuss the positions they were interviewing for. This year students demonstrated to us that they had done some thinking about the position beforehand, and were prepared and motivated to discuss it.

SI’s career services, professors, and students are already very successful. This year we would like to again provide some feedback to you in the spirit of helping you and students become even more successful and go above and beyond other schools’ programs. One core competency that is so important for user experience researchers in our industry is the drive for results. Our work in product development is very impact focused. It’s one thing to do solid research and creative and thoughtful design, but at our organization, if this work doesn’t have an impact on the end product, then the quality research and design is lost.

We have the impression that in most cases, students’ results of research are not finalized until the end of the semester, and thus this does not allow the student to follow up with whomever they gave their project results to see if/how they were used. This makes it all the more challenging for them to gain experience that would sharpen their impact skills, such as having to prioritize recommendations, argue and convince product team members to make design changes, and making difficult trade-off decisions. If courses could be set up so that students gave results of research before the end of the semester, it would allow time for them to focus on turning their results into impact. Maybe they could be paired with CS students, who they'd have to work with to implement the final project?

Again, SI is already setting up its students with invaluable learning experiences around conducting research and driving user-centered design. Providing opportunities, structure, and guidance to focus on the realities of having to make impact might take the program up a level compared to other schools’ programs in terms of preparing students to be highly successful in our industry."

Posted by kkowatch at April 16, 2008 11:02 AM

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