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All About Employment in Victoria, BC

VI-Hire Revisited

Fast forward over three years and the Vancouver Island Health Authority – known as VIHA (pronounced VEE-HAH – kind of like HeeHaw) – has a new name, Island Health, but is still using the moniker VI-Hire for their job posting, alerting and application system. I have been away studying in Sweden (from June 2012 until late July 2014) and thought it would be a good idea to see if anything much has changed with the VI-Hire system. I’ve left the original review below the asterisks but have delinked/fixed any broken links. I’ve written this new review by going through the old one and seen if anything works differently and if the deficiencies I pinpointed earlier have been addressed in any way. On with the show.

First of all, not surprisingly since the system is now over 3 years from implementation, the video tutorial is gone. But is this really wise since new people will always be coming along who don’t know how to use the system and having a video as well as written instructions allows you to address different learning styles. Now the only option from the main VI-Hire page is to Search jobs now.

The strengths I noted are still there and you can now search on distance from your postal code although the distances are ridiculous with the lowest being 25km! In terms of weaknesses the video is gone so can’t critique that and the FAQ still has no subheadings and there is still no option to search by date of when the job was posted. Since I no longer work for VIHA … er excuse me, Island Health, I thought I would create a profile and see how that went. Keep in mind that since I am no longer an employee things I mentioned in the earlier review – like being able to search by collective agreement are not available in the ‘public user’ profile.

Creating a profile was quick and easy although it would have been helpful if there were clickable/hoverable information next to the boxes so that I would know the format for inputting phone numbers or how long a password should be. I also found it rather annoying that you were expected to submit a resume at the same time you registered – I just typed in the text that I had no resume to submit at the time but if you are using this profile ‘for real’ you’ll want to have a resume ready to go. I didn’t try out pasting in a real resume but I suspect that the deficiencies I pinpointed on my first time through – with pasting a beautifully formatted resume into a ‘dumb box’ and watching it get all distorted and nasty looking – are still present. I would suggest instead using the Attachment function and attaching a PDF of your resume.

I then set up a search agent which was extremely straightforward. Letters you receive will be archived and a record will be kept of jobs you applied for. Overall the system seems to be adequate and if you are interested in working for Island Health you should definitely get yourself signed up, get alerts happening for the search criteria that are important to you and work on creating your resume. Keep in mind that you can update your resume for different job opportunities which you may want to do.

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Original review from June 2011

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) is one of Victoria’s biggest employer with over 18,000 employees working within their authority boundaries. As you might expect a substantial number of these employees work in Victoria itself at either of the city’s two major acute care hospitals (Royal Jubilee Hospital and Victoria General Hospital) or in extended/residential care facilities, clinics and various other facilities. Very recently VIHA launched its new “online posting and application tracking system” called VI-Hire. This web-based application is available to both VIHA employees and members of the public. My impressions of this new system, its strengths and weaknesses as well as how Victoria job-seekers can use it most effectively, follow.

Want to jump to the skinny? Go directly¬†to the end where I’ll give you my nuggets of ‘wisdom’

 

At first glance VI-Hire is impressive and ticks the boxes that I think are essential to a really useful, relevant and up-to-date job listing and application site. Here are some of its strengths:

  • video is no longer available [August 2014] (a helpful video tutorial (that is not perfect – see weaknesses below))
  • a well-thought out FAQ (again – could use a little tweaking)
  • a fairly comprehensive set of criteria for searching job postings
  • the ability to set up alerts to notify you of new jobs that match your search criteria
  • allows you to create an online profile complete with resume, cover letter and attachments (like certificates)
  • keeps a list of jobs you’ve applied for at VIHA

Here are some of what I see as weaknesses – although these are just my opinions of course:

  • video is no longer available [August 2014] (the video is too long at 20 minutes – I would suggest breaking it down into more focused 3-5 minute segments each with an explanatory title)
  • the FAQ should have a list at the top of the major subheadings so that you can jump to them quickly as well as a mechanism for people to easily and quickly submit questions to add to the FAQ
  • the only criticism I have of the job search criteria is that it would be nice to include fields that allowed you to search by the date posted as well as the closing date of competitions

The rest of this post discusses my experience after creating a profile but I will come clean here and say that I work on a casual basis for VIHA so my mileage may differ from yours. I’d appreciate a heads up from a member of the public that creates a profile to let me know of any differences they notice from what I report.

Within the advanced job search it is great to be able to search by union, collective agreement and vacancy type (i.e. temporary, contract, length of vacancy). That last one is especially helpful. Setting up the Job Search Agent is easy and quick and allows you to not only be notified of openings that might appeal to you but also to auto apply for them. That sounds potentially scary so better make sure you get all your ducks in a row – like resumes and cover letters – before you choose that option.

You can input your resume either by pasting it into a window on the site (after you’ve logged in) or attaching a file in an acceptable format (MS Word, WordPerfect, PDF, RTF, plain text). It’s not immediately obvious how to distinguish resumes from cover letters and how to attach the latter. A possible problem I can see is that attachments are limited to 2.0MB in size – that could be a bit small for scanned items. It is also disappointing (but seemingly par for the course when it comes to these online HR applications) that you’re advised to not only attach your resume but also to cut and paste it into the editing window within the ‘profile’ section. My peeve with this is when I have a perfectly formatted and good looking resume that I’ve attached as a PDF why do I have to then paste it into a window – where it inevitably gets all mangled, loses formatting and looks cr*ppy? This deficiency is present on two other online apps I’ve used (brainhunter which is used for some provincial openings and the university of Victoria.

New VI-Hire gets two thumbs up from me

I am very impressed with VI-Hire. It’s a major step forward for both VIHA employees and members of the public who are looking for work. Is it perfect – no, of course not, but it’s pretty darn good. If you’re looking for a job with VIHA you’d be well advised to sign yourself up and create a job profile complete with resume and cover letters. You should also create search agents as well as login and check the site out regularly. Congrats to the team at VIHA.

Oh, and thanks for giving me the priceless opportunity to create a new acronym OPATS – stands for ‘online posting and application tracking system’.


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One Response to “VI-Hire Revisited”

  1. Caroline says:

    VIHA is a like a vault, and I’m not the only one who thinks this. I cannot believe how ridiculously difficult getting in there is.

    I attended a talk given by GT Not Hiring, where a senior VIHA HR guy explained how to apply and get noticed. “Keep applying” he said, and then gave an example of someone who had applied over 40 times before securing an interview. What??

    I don’t get it. I’ve got 25+ years of solid experience in hospital/research administration and I’ve been unable to get so much as an interview. It’s a little more than odd. I’ve gotten offers from Vancouver to Toronto but VIHA? It’s a closed shop. Something is very wrong with the system. I’d love to contribute but that’s clearly not happening.

    You might be interested in this article I came across recently (it’s spot on): http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20141105-angered-by-the-online-job-hunt

    All the best. Great site BTW – best I’ve come across in Victoria yet.

    Cheers,
    ‘C’

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