New(ish) kid in town…Piazza Careers
New(ish) kid in town…Piazza Careers
EACE Blog contribution by Anne Marie Gercke, Associate Director of Career Services at University of Pennsylvania
When I think of social media, the first word that comes to mind is ENGAGEMENT. With the explosion of technology in this mobile age, it’s no wonder that tech companies all over are constantly trying to invent the latest and greatest social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn have all made names for themselves in their own respective ways and, at times, have served as proven methods to help facilitate students’ job searches. However, there is a new(ish) kid in town who goes by the name of Piazza Careers, an online portal launched in February. Let me guess – are you thinking, “Oh great – yet another social media platform that lacks the engagement factor needed for success!”? Well hold that thought – these guys may actually be on to something. Here’s why.
According to their website, “Piazza is the Q&A platform used by over 300,000 active students each term (over 90% of Computer Science majors and majority of STEM students at the top 20 US universities). They use the service for 2-3 hrs/night to interact with other students, TAs and professors.” That’s a lot of engagement that’s already happening. Now enter Piazza Careers – the portal that takes existing engagement regarding coursework and draws out that same engagement for the job search. Of the 300,000 student users, 25% of them log in daily and 50% log in weekly. While Piazza is primarily used by science-oriented students, the goal is to grow the database with students interested in other fields. Hundreds of universities are currently accessing Piazza as a tool and it’s only continuing to grow. Between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years the number of students increased from 236,000 to 762,000 – that a 223% growth spurt!
In short, the site that has successfully helped students succeed in classes now wants to help students succeed in their careers. Through the research I’ve done, Piazza Careers seems like an interesting option to connect students with employers. Will the $20k (per term) sticker price be worth it to employers? Well, that’s probably more difficult to determine. In terms of ROI, Piazza Careers claims that an earlier customer messaged 100 students for a particular opportunity, received 71 responses, scheduled 48 phone screenings and invited 10 students for onsite interviews. Efficiency it certainly does not lack! Regardless, it’s good to know the site exists and that more and more innovative, career-oriented networking tools are coming into fruition. I’ve highlighted a few key features below:
- Database Searching: The search tool is similar to LinkedIn and easy to use, but may be a better source for finding college students (since some tend to shy away from LinkedIn for some reason). Plus, the database stores what classes they have taken or where they have TA’d, not to mention their previous internships and other experience. Employers can download resumes from the database as well as message students directly.
- Employee Experiences: Current employees at a company can talk about their experiences with the company, whether it be the culture, why they choose to work there or what a basic day-to-day is like. These stories are then viewable by students. The stories can also be published to the student base and analytics can be run to determine what messaging is successful and what messaging is not.
- Campus Events: Employers can announce and advertise campus visits ahead of time. They can also publish the events and receive detailed RSVP reports on which students are responding and which ones are not. This allows students to get calendar reminders about events, as well.
Anne Marie Gercke has worked at University of Pennsylvania Career Services since early 2012 and is currently in the role of Associate Director. She counsels College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate students, as well as manages Career Services’ Simplicity databases PennLink and iNet. Anne Marie’s multidisciplinary background, which includes technical roles in recruiting, education and media arts, allows her to apply real life experience when advising students and while working in the field of higher education. Anne Marie received her B.A. in English and Communication from University of Delaware and will receive her M.S.Ed. in Higher Education from Penn’s Graduate School of Education in August 2014.