AMA Interview Scheduling Software

Special thanks to Susan Dobscha for contributing this guide.
Note: this post is relevant to search committees (more so than candidates).

 

The Problem

Probably the most onerous task related to the job market for interviewers and interviewees alike is the scheduling of interviews during Summer AMA.

Think about it: you have hundreds of schools interviewing hundreds of candidates all during a 48 to 60 hour period. Before email, this task was accomplished by diligent administrative assistants or the interviewers themselves who would call every candidate and schedule each interview. Email made this task less burdensome on both constituencies, yet, is still not ideal. Last year, I utilized an online scheduling tool, named SignUp Genius (www.signupgenius.com). I was exposed to this tool through my childrens’ schools, where teachers would use it to organize volunteers for activities. I quickly realized that this tool could be used to simplify the AMA interview scheduling process. SignUp Genius includes a calendar, accessible by all interviewers and interviewees, that is updated in real time. Interview slots could be modified and customized. Lunch and breaks could be built in (and eliminated if the schedule got too full), and it made communicating with interviewees very simple.

But, I think the greatest benefit of using SignUp Genius is that it empowers the interviewee. Each candidate invited to interview could choose from the complete set of available time slots. This small gesture went a long way to giving the candidate a small bit of agency in an otherwise daunting process. Almost every one of the 40 or so candidates we interviewed last year gave the system positive feedback, and during interviews, candidates brought up how easy it was to use and wondered why everyone didn’t employ it.

 

A Few Things to be Aware of Up Front

1. The tool isn’t specifically designed for scheduling interviews so you do have to modify the existing structure to make it do what you want.
2. ALL NAMES ARE ANONYMOUS TO INTERVIEWEES. This is a setting that can be chosen.
3. You can update SignUp Genius with information, and it will send an email to the interviewees letting them know that there has been a change to the calendar. Uses include letting interviewees know who will be interviewing them and providing room numbers to interviewees once you check into the hotel.
4. After the preliminary setup, it basically runs itself.
5. Interviewees can change their interview time and day. Not many did this but if they have to juggle many interviews, they like having this flexibility. You can close the site so no more changes can be made.
6. SignUp Genius sends you an email when an interviewee signs up for a time slot.
7. If for some reason, you type in an email incorrectly, SignUp Genius will alert you that an email sent from their system did not get delivered. I learned that the hard way last year!
8. You can always add slots after the fact. Last year, we sent our invites out on July 21st, and already 4 of our interviewees were fully booked on Friday and Saturday. We squeezed them the night before, early mornings, or the day after the conference ended. We just added those times and dates to SignUp Genius to accommodate them and remind us.
9. There were a couple of interviewees who couldn’t figure out how to use it. But you can add those people yourself, if need be. It was a rare occurrence.
10. This recommendation is provided without compensation. It's something that worked well for me and seemed like it might be of interest to the broader community.

 

How to Use SignUp Genius

1. Create an account with SignUp Genius.
2. Click on "Build a Signup" and follow the seven step process. It's fairly straightforward, and the non-obvious points for each step are outlined below.
-- Step 1: Type "AMA Interview" for the group name. Title your Signup: "AMA Interview with [University Name]". Leave the "Description" field blank.
-- Step 2: Select "Colors" from the "Choose Category" field. This is the most basic option. Use the optional "custom image" setting (at the bottom) if you would like to upload your university logo.
-- Step 3: Select "Time Slots" as the type of event. For "Location" enter: "AMA Hotel (Room TBD)". The default is 30 minute slots. Update to 60 minutes if you will be conducting interviews on the hour.
-- Step 4: Enter "Interview Slot" as the title. IMPORTANT: under "Optional Advanced Settings" check the box "Use the original SignUpGenius layout format where people can only sign up for one item at a time."
-- Step 5: IMPORTANT: in the "Contact Info" section, check the box "Also hide the names from group members" to make your list anonymous to interviewees. This text is light gray and easy to miss. Use the "Optional Advanced Settings" to restrict sign ups. I recommend selecting "Reject sign ups from emails other than the ones in my group".
-- Step 6: The button to proceed is at the top of the page (above the preview).
-- Step 7: You will need to enter at least one e-mail address before clicking "Save as a Draft for Later". Simply enter your own e-mail. You can update the list when you are ready to publish and invite interviewees.
3. Once you have identified who to interview at AMA, send an e-mail to invited candidates with instructions on how to sign up for an interview slot. This alerts the candidate that s/he has been invited to interview at AMA and insures against the possibility that e-mails from SignUp Genius will be directed to the interviewee's spam folder. Sample text for this e-mail is provided below. Edit to fit your circumstances.
4. Enter interviewee e-mails and complete the "Invite/Publish" process (Step 7) on the SignUp Genius website.
5. Update SignUp Genius with final details (who will be interviewing, interview room number) when the info becomes available. SignUp Genius will automatically e-mail candidates to inform them of the update.

 

E-mail to Interviewees

Hello,

My name is Susan Dobscha and I am chair of the recruiting committee at Bentley University. On behalf of the committee, I would like to invite you for an interview at the upcoming AMA conference in San Francisco, CA on August 1st - 3rd.

We are very excited at the prospect of learning more about you and sharing with you what we think are the best qualities of Bentley University and the Marketing Department. You will be interviewing with two tenured faculty members for 30 minutes. The two teams of interviewers will be comprised of Andy Aylesworth, Associate Professor of Marketing and Chair of the Marketing Department, Nada Nasr, Associate Professor of Marketing, Lan Xia, Associate Professor of Marketing, and Susan Dobscha, Professor of Marketing.

To help facilitate interview scheduling, we are utilizing SignUp Genius, a website that is designed to simplify the scheduling process.
Here is the simple procedure you should follow to ensure a time slot that is convenient for you:

1. Soon you will receive an email from SignUp Genius. Check your spam folder to make sure it doesn’t end up there.
2. Click on the link provided.
3. This should take you to a sign up system that will show 30 minute slots on Friday, August 1st and Saturday, August 2nd.
4. Choose a time slot that is convenient for you and enter your name and e-mail. Be sure to use the same e-mail address the message was sent to (the system will not be able to recognize other addresses). You may also enter a message that will get forwarded to me.

If you have any trouble using SignUp Genius, please don’t hesitate to email me at sdobscha@bentley.edu and I’ll help you with it.

I look forward to meeting you at AMA.

Sincerely,

Susan Dobscha, Search Committee Chair
Bentley University Marketing Department