Common Questions About Talent Acquisition@Iowa

This page addresses common questions about the Talent Acquisition@Iowa project. The page is an evolving resource—check back for additional questions and more detailed responses as the project proceeds.

Project overview

How do you define talent acquisition?

Talent acquisition describes the process of finding and hiring personnel to meet organizational needs. The Talent Acquisition@Iowa project aims to offer a comprehensive, coordinated approach that:

  • Better markets the university as an employer
  • Proactively engages promising candidates
  • Makes recruitment and hiring more efficient
  • Introduces modernized systems and services

What does the university’s focus on talent acquisition entail?

Talent Acqusition@Iowa addresses both strategy and systems. Project leads started by identifying factors involved in finding, hiring, and retaining top talent, then grouped those factors into three areas:

  • Attract: Employer brand identity, recruitment marketing, community engagement
  • Engage: Talent pipelines, job postings, career advancement for current employees, referral incentives
  • Recruit: Application processes, interviews, candidate screening, selection

Strategy committees will develop specific strategies to enhance select areas associated with these factors, focusing on topics like outreach, pipelines, and recruiter training. (See additional information on strategy.)

When it comes to systems, replacing Jobs@UIowa is perhaps the project’s most visible component. A new talent acquisition system utilizing Oracle’s Talent Acquisition Cloud will provide tools for posting and promoting job openings, identifying potential candidates, submitting applications, tracking applicants, assuring regulatory compliance, conducting background checks, and onboarding new hires.

What specific strategies will help the university attract and engage candidates, and when will work in those areas begin?

Teams focusing on attract, engage, and recruit strategies began work in January and February 2018. Some planning and research are well under way—for example, one group has focused on the defining the university’s employer brand, researching how faculty and staff describe the UI as a place to work. Engage strategies initially will focus on developing talent pipelines.

Why pursue this project now?

Talented faculty and staff are central to the University of Iowa’s missions, and the university needs to compete for talent at the local, regional, and national levels. Campus HR professionals, hiring departments, and university leaders commonly identify talent acquisition as their top human resources priority.

This project adopts proven talent acquisition solutions that fit the university’s needs and culture. These include promoting the university as a great place to work, actively seeking out candidates, and completing hires with efficiency, fairness, and respect.

The project builds on other initiatives that have established a stronger focus for HR. Today’s UI HR professionals are better connected and better positioned to serve as strategic partners with campus leaders. Their help makes this project possible.

What will the project mean for the university’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals?

A more strategic approach to identifying and developing talent pools will help the university recruit faculty and staff who reflect the communities and missions we serve. Specific areas of focus include:

  • Outreach to diverse communities and professional organizations
  • Automated posting to job boards serving diverse audiences
  • Coordinated advertising plans
  • Stronger referral networks

Talent Acquisition@Iowa teams and committees include dozens of individuals representing diverse professional perspectives and personal backgrounds. All are instrumental in shaping project goals, processes, and assessment criteria.

Roles and responsibilities

What will this project mean for hiring departments?

Talent Acquisition@Iowa should help departments improve the number of quality candidates in their pools. We expect the project to offer:

  • New tools that help promote open positions
  • Easier-to-use processes for managing requisitions and applications
  • Centrally led focus on promoting the UI as an employer of choice
  • Specialized recruiter services that help find potential candidates and manage searches

Departments will remain responsible for hiring decisions, choosing candidates that best fit the needs of each position.

How about job candidates—what will it mean for them?

Improving the candidate experience is a central goal for the project, informing overall strategy and every aspect of system design. We want to help candidates match their skills to organizational needs rather than leaving it up to them to identify opportunities using only current job postings.

Faculty, staff, and health care tracks

Will new strategies and systems be used in faculty searches?

Yes, although we’ll tailor processes and tools to fit specific needs and best practices for faculty searches. For example, we will provide tools to help manage candidates identified through networking events and will build in specific faculty application requirements. When it comes to both strategy and systems, we’ll account for differences between faculty, staff, and health care recruitment.

What about searches that use outside firms?

Outside firms are a critical resource for specific search needs. New processes and systems will continue to accommodate outside firms.

Define the project’s three tracks—staff, faculty, and health care.

We’ve established the three tracks to acknowledge the university’s distinct recruiting needs. System development for each track will reflect slight variations in processes and candidate application steps. We expect the staff and health care tracks to launch first, followed by the faculty track.

The staff track will integrate existing P&S and Merit processes, establishing a common recruitment process for all staff positions. The faculty track will accommodate specific needs for faculty searches described above. Health care will follow basic staff processes with adjustments for approvals and other functions defined by organizational needs. 

Will the project be extended to include other types of positions (for example, temporary or graduate student appointments)?

We’ll evaluate potential for expansion during future phases.

Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud

How does a cloud system differ from an on-premise system?

Cloud systems, like Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud (OTAC), are considered “software as a service” (SaaS). SaaS applications are hosted, managed, and maintained by vendors on remote servers. They’re entirely developed and supported by their vendors, who are responsible for applying upgrades and security patches to servers, databases, and applications. Unlike on-site systems, they require no direct investment in server hardware or local system maintenance.

Adopting fully developed, cloud-based systems lets us take advantage of industry-tested best practices, quickly implement new online solutions, and minimize operational burdens and costs.

Talent Aquisition@Iowa project teams are configuring OTAC to meet UI specific needs. We have extensive options for system configuration, but custom development and modifications aren’t possible. We’re configuring a complete vended system to work for the whole university.

How secure is this system? 

All new software purchased by the university goes through security and accessibility assessment as part of the technology review process. Oracle Talent Acquisition Cloud meets requirements on these and other fronts. Oracle provides extensive documentation regarding cloud security, including white papers and web pages.

As we configure our system, we’ll establish user types and permissions to manage access to system processes and information. Individual users will be able to access only the information they need and are authorized to view.

How accessible will it be?

The system’s job search, application tools, and other functions will be fully accessible to users with disabilities.

What’s the plan for training?

Training is a key part of the project—we expect it to start in summer 2018.

Will it be possible to advertise on job boards not included in the aggregator?

A job aggregator add-on to OTAC will automate distribution of UI postings to online job boards that reach underrepresented populations, veterans, and other job-seekers. We’ll develop processes for requesting additional job boards.