The old method to find a job within UCLA H&HS involved multiple websites and a complicated database of open opportunities for the entire campus. It was difficult for our Human Resources manager to refer potential candidates to specific jobs. These candidates often gave up trying to apply because of the tedious process. Clearly, we needed to clean up the presentation of the jobs and simplify the application process. However, this solution would have to be done quickly within a matter of months.
I started mocking up designs for a complete website dedicated to career information for UCLA H&HS. The website would feature open opportunities, benefits information, everything you needed to know about working at UCLA H&HS. We would have the chance to feature large photos of our own staff members, to help candidates visualize the environment they would be applying to work in. We could also feature a whole page on maps and directions - an important piece of information for candidates since the campus can be confusing to navigate.
The most challenging part of the project was finding a way to simplify the application process. Candidates were getting lost in trying to find the positions they were recommended for. I needed to create direct links to our open positions on the homepage and the Careers page. All applications would still have to go through the central jobs system, but at least I could directly link candidates to these job postings.
My solution was to use a set of scripts using the cloud power of Google Spreadsheets. Google Spreadsheets allows information to be updated by multiple people in an easy-to-use way. It is secure and lightweight, and used simply, it can substitute a traditional database. Through this method, non-technical people in HR could update a "feed" of positions as new jobs were made available and others were closed. It would also drastically cut down development time, as I wouldn't need to develop my own user dashboard and GUI or fully flesh out a database backend.
This project is the biggest programming project I've taken up so far. It's gotten me really interested in cloud technology and the potential for using Google Docs as a lightweight, pseudo-database for small businesses or individuals who cannot afford larger-scale web development. The scripts I used and would like to eventually help develop are: Tabletop to DataTables by Chris Keller, Tabletop.js and Flatware by Jonathan Soma, and the original, magnificent DataTables plugin.
Google Spreadsheet Serving as a Database
Home Page of the UCLA H&HS Careers Portal