OU Virtual Job Board Fills 20 Positions on the Spot, As Candidates Meet HR Directors Via Video Conf

08 Jun 2007


When they arrived at Orthodox Union headquarters in New York they were unemployed; when they left they had a job. Or, in other cases, they had a job when they arrived, and had a better job when they left.

In all, more than 20 men and women of the 200 who were interviewed that day – a remarkable success rate for hiring on the spot – secured employment earlier this week at the OU’s Virtual Job Fair, in which applicants for a wide variety of positions were interviewed via video conference by human resources professionals in the New York/New Jersey area who had the comfort of remaining in their own offices.

Referring to the new hires, Michael Rosner, Director of the OU Job Bank, which presented the Job Fair, declared: “These people are now on their way to economic stability and Shalom Bayit – peace in their households.”

The Job Fair was a first, not only for the Orthodox Union — which for more than two years has presented programs to assist the unemployed and under-employed in the Jewish community in New York and nationally to find meaningful work — but it is believed to be a first anywhere, using the techniques of video conferencing to bring employer and the candidate together for a first interview. The interviews in this case resulted in the 20-plus placements, with more expected after the follow-up meetings which will result from the initial contacts.

In recognition that not every human resources director is comfortable with the online approach to job interviewing, those who wanted to see the candidates in person were invited to come to the OU where they conducted the interviews live. In all, some 30 companies participated in the Job Fair.

The day began with two workshops on job search techniques, presented by the FEGS Health and Human Services System and the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. Then the interviews were conducted in a wide variety of fields: rabbis, teachers, school staff, IT specialists and technicians, web designers, doctors, dentists, social workers, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, finance managers/analysts, accountants, bookkeepers, sales and service people, case workers, administrative assistants, quality assurance specialists, data entry, maintenance, directors/assistant directors of not-for-profit organizations, human resources, and executive assistants – in other words, the kind of positions most likely to appeal to the highly educated Jewish community.

As one participant told Mr. Rosner, “The workshops were informative and appropriately paced. The interviewers I met were serious about hiring, and one company was following up with three entirely different leads before I could finish completing the intake paperwork.”

Recognizing the risk in utilizing technology, Mr. Rosner was gratified that all problems with the system were minor and were handled quickly by the OU technical staff. “The video connections were smooth and professionally done. We received kudos from practically every employer who participated.”

Mr. Rosner and the OU plan another Job Fair in New York in late August or September, prior to the Jewish High Holy Days, and then to take the program national, with fairs around the country.