Waterloo Works

Alexa Grittani - 3B Mechanical
Posted on: January 14, 2017

After many delays, WaterlooWorks is here. I have been at this school for almost four years now and I remember hearing conversations about WaterlooWorks replacing JobMine when I was in 1A. Like many other students I had started to think I would never see the new site before I graduated.

It is here just in time for my last round of co-op job hunting. So I went and searched to see the stages that WaterlooWorks has gone through. What I learned was, not only was there a two year delay in 2015, but WaterlooWorks was originally scrapped in early 2011.

So why did it take so long, and what can be expected of the much needed update to JobMine?

It’s a good thing the decision to cancel WaterlooWorks did not last. JobMine was not able to handle the volume of users at peak times. This meant long loading times for each new page you opened, and hoping for deadline extensions when you could not get your application in. However, restarting the project may have been just what WaterlooWorks needed. It is better to wait for a functioning system than be given something worse than JobMine.

The University of Waterloo’s architecture students have been using WaterlooWorks since spring 2014. Although they have been able to use it successfully, it has taken this long to have it ready for the large number of co-op students at the whole university (maybe they should have just given the task to a few eager co-op students).

All that testing was not for nothing. There are some desirable new features coming with WaterlooWorks.

For those out of the loop, with the switch to WaterlooWorks, comes the addition of one free ‘no rank’ per term. Other features coming with WaterlooWorks include specific job locations shown on Google Maps, personalized feedback during rankings, and an option to flag job postings as ‘not interested’.

The new ‘no rank’ feature is the most anticipated. Previously, if you got an offer or were ranked for a job that you had decided you did not want, you could still get matched with it. Even if you ranked that job a nine, (which is the worst you can rank it) there is still a possibility of getting that job. This still applies, except, once a term, you can select the option ‘no rank’ without going through the sign-off process.

The sign-off process must be done within 24 hours of an interview and is only done in extenuating circumstances. It is a different and much stricter process

The new ‘no rank’ feature will be available this term. A reason must be selected from a dropdown list and this reason can be shared with the employer. If one employer gets multiple students submit a ‘no rank’, hopefully they will take the hint, and improve the position.

However, it may be hard for this to occur as each student only gets one ‘no rank’ that, therefore, must be used carefully. Which begs the question, is one ‘no rank’ enough?

During the first round of interviews, all of your rankings are available at once. That way you have the ability to consider and compare the jobs, assuming that you get multiple ‘offers’ or ‘ranks’. For those students who manage to be employed during that first round of interviews, one ‘no rank’ is probably enough, because students can rank all of the jobs at the same time.

However, during the continuous round, the turnover time between job postings, applications, interviews, and rankings is greatly increased. Meaning that if you are still searching for a job in that time, you are likely to only be ranking one job at a time. Because of this it could be very hard to know when to use that single ‘no rank’.

In the continuous round, if you receive an offer for a job you know you don’t want, do you use your ‘no rank’? Or do you save it? What if the employer didn’t rank anyone other than the person they offer the job to?

There should be a limit on the number of ‘no rank’s a student can use so that it does not get abused. But, it should be more than one. That way students who actually want a job have a better chance of getting it, and employers are not stuck with a student who does not want to be there.

CECA has received a lot of positive feedback about this new system. Being able to say no to a job offer is more realistic to what happens outside of school.

So, there are some new features to look forward to, but there are also some signs that point to WaterlooWorks not being ready yet. The important dates for this term are much later than they usually are. The first rankings do not happen until March. Are they already experiencing difficulties changing over? Or are they allotting extra time for future unexpected technical difficulties?

In a message sent out on Friday the 13th , it is explained that there is a new application limit of 75. However, CECA states they don’t actually want students to apply to more than 50 job postings. The reason for this discrepancy is that if you want to adjust an application, you have to cancel it and reapply. Cancelling an application does not adjust your limit count, so instead of fixing this they changed the application limit to allow students to cancel applications and still apply to 50.

However, they can’t stop someone from applying to 75 jobs if they so desired. So, apply away, but remember there is only one ‘no rank’.

Overall, WaterlooWorks appears to be an improvement, but it has yet to been put through the test of its first full university recruiting term.

Still, the co-op process has come a long way from having to print each individual resume and put it physically in a drop-box to apply. Having to pay for nice paper and printing was something that could make students think twice about applying to as many jobs as they possibly could.