Friday, May 09, 2008

Online Application at Kaiser Permanente

As part of my research about Electronic Resumes, I investigated Kaiser Permanente’s online application process. For this post, I’ll refer to Kaiser Permanente simply as Kaiser.

Notes from my interview: I spoke on the phone with a Kaiser Permanente employee, who kindly answered questions about how Kaiser uses the recruitment system on their Careers webpage to handle job applications. Following are my notes from that conversation.

Each applicant (whether a current and prospective employee) creates a profile in Kaiser’s online recruiting system and manages his or her Kaiser job search using that system. Once a profile is created, the applicant can enter her resume and cover letter manually line-by-line or copy and paste her resume into the profile.

If someone doesn’t have access to a computer or the Internet, she can walk into a Kaiser Permanente recruitment center, which is manned by a receptionist who will scan the applicant’s hardcopy resume. (The scan is a snapshot of the hardcopy – which has not been processed by Optical Character Recognition software .)The receptionist will also help the applicant create an online profile and attach the scanned resume to the profile.

It’s up to each applicant to check job postings at Kaiser and apply for desired positions, using the online recruitment system. Multiple job applications are allowed simultaneously. However, only one resume and cover letter can be in an applicant’s profile at a time. The applicant can edit her resume, cover letter, and profile at any time. In her profile, the applicant can create a list of preferences and indicate that she would like to receive email alerts when a new job opening matches her list of preferences. She can then apply for ones that interest her.

Part of managing one’s profile includes ensuring accuracy and appearance of content. In other words, there are no data entry people at Kaiser cleaning up resumes so a job seeker must take responsibility for proper spelling, grammar, spacing, etc. When a resume is copied and pasted into the system, features such as horizontal lines and borders are stripped from the document, but overall the resume formatting is not changed much. The system preserves most symbols, including bullet points. However, the applicant should carefully review the text and formatting before clicking Submit. There may be some changes needed for the resume to look appealing and easy to read. As the saying goes, “What you see is what you get.” In other words, what the applicant sees on her screen is what the Kaiser recruiter or manager will see on his screen.

Speaking of Kaiser recruiters: Each recruiter is seeking to fill a particular set of jobs. Once an applicant applies for a job, the appropriate recruiter is automatically notified to look at the applicant’s online profile and resume. The applicant can apply for more than one job at a time, in which case the same resume and cover letter will be pulled up (as part of her profile) by more than one recruiter.

My online experience: I went to the Kaiser Career site, where I created a profile as if I were applying for a job. It was incredibly easy to create a profile in which I copied and pasted a cover note and resume directly from my MS Word document. The system accepted all my characters perfectly, except it did not keep my italics. In the copy-and-paste window itself, the resume looked like a mess. But when I clicked “Done” and went back to View the resume, it looked almost perfect. The only thing I had to do was delete an extra space that had replaced one of my horizontal decorative lines on my original MS Word resume. It kept all my bullet points, quotes, spaces -- everything except the italics! All my text was left justified (even lines that had previously been indented or right justified) and the font was changed from my original Palatino (a serif font) to a sans serif font (probably Geneva or Helvetica) – similar to what happens when a document is converted to Plain Text.

Here’s what my resume looked like in MS Word before I entered it into my online profile:

Here’s what my cover letter and resume looked like once I copied and pasted them into the online profile:

Dear Hiring Manager,
I am a freelance writer who would like some part-time assignments creating technical or marketing copy for your organization.

Thank you for considering my application.
Susan Ireland

Susan Ireland, Resume Professional
(510) 524-5238 • •

• Author of four job search books and resume writing software.
• Manager of professional resume team that has served thousands of clients since 1989.
• Featured on TV and in major publications.

1989-pres. Author and Resume Professional

Publications and TV
• Authored four books, each about 300 pages. (Alpha Books)
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect Resume (now in 4th edition)
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect Cover Letter
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cool Jobs for Teens
Get a Better Job the Lazy Way

• Created Resumes That Work, a CD-ROM featuring interactive resume, cover letter, interview, and salary negotiation coaching. (Macmillan Digital)

• Self-published Ready-Made Resumes and Cover Letters, which is sold to job seekers as downloadable software and licensed to organizations.

• Former editor of Resume Pro Newsletter, published by Yana Parker for career development professionals.

• Featured in segments of "Career Advantage," a 26-part telecourse distributed by PBS and syndicated to colleges nationwide.

• Interviewed for national and regional TV, radio, and print media.

Resume Writing
• Worked individually with more than 1,000 clients in three-hour sessions to create personalized resumes — not boiler-plate forms.

• Wrote resumes for diverse careers and levels of employment: executive and middle management, academic, technical, and trade.

• Manage Susan Ireland's Resume Team (also called The Damn Good Resume Team), a national resume writing service.

• Presented hundreds of resume writing workshops and lectures at career centers, universities, professional conferences, and corporations.

• Former resume instructor and counselor at Alumnae Resources Career Center, which received more than 100,000 client-visits a year.

• Led train-the-trainer resume workshops for federally funded One-Stop Centers and as part of professional seminars by Yana Parker.

Graduate, Yana Parker's Resume Apprenticeship Program
Liberal Arts, Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio

I was truly impressed with how friendly the Kaiser career site is and how it empowers the job seeker to conduct a Kaiser job search. I want to thank my interviewee at Kaiser Permanente (who did not want her name disclosed) for sharing her insight with me.


Anonymous said...

Hi, That's a very accurate (and detailied!) description. As a someone who has been a hiring manager at Kaiser Permanente, I would only add that, if at all possible, sleuth the department and hiring manager and contact them directly as well. I may be in the minority here, but my best employee finds have been through supplemental contact efforts.

Love to work said...

Hi Anonymous, you are absolutely right! Supplemental contact efforts is the only way to get hired. I've been trying every possible way with every position that I am qualified for but without assistance resume don't even exist. However, hiring manager look into the best interview outcomes and hire. Just to add on... that many of this candidate who can do better at interview but has poor job performance or credibility.

I wish that any hiring manager within Kaiser will read this.

Anonymous said...

I am very much interested for a finance and accounting career at Kaiser Permamente. Would you know the contact info of the hiring manager in the Sacramento area? Would appreciate any response.

Susan Ireland said...

I don't have any contacts at Kaiser to share. I think you'd do better to look inside your network to find someone who knows you and can recommend you.
Good luck with you search!

Anonymous said...

That's fine. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

You may want to check out the KP jobs site again. It has changed for the better since you've last applied. There is now a segment where you specific in detail which geographic location you're willing to work for.

Dianna said...

I have submitted for so many positions at Kaiser and I have never heard back from anyone. It is very frustrating as you can not get a number to call and talk to anyone.