University of Arizona recruiter busts some myths about getting a job at city's largest employer

2013-04-28T00:00:00Z University of Arizona recruiter busts some myths about getting a job at city's largest employerCarol Ann Alaimo Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

As a local recruiter for Tucson's largest employer, Chris Wolf sees himself as a myth buster.

Misconceptions abound over what it takes to find work at the University of Arizona, said Wolf, a project manager for recruitment with the UA's talent management team.

The UA often is viewed as a tough place to get a job, but the school typically hires about 100 people a month for benefits-eligible positions - those with 20 or more hours a week lasting six months or longer, Wolf said.

While faculty and executive posts tend to be filled through national searches, about 7,700 UA jobs are held by locals, he said.

They range in pay from $7.65 an hour for the folks who set up bleachers at Wildcats games to salaried jobs around the $100,000 mark for positions such as UA police chief.

Some common myths about UA employment, according to Wolf:

• You need a Ph.D. to work there.

In fact, UA staffers have a wide range of skills and backgrounds. The workforce includes trades and maintenance people, office specialists, academic advisers, technology staff, health-care workers, restaurant employees and retail clerks.

"There's a Starbucks coffee shop in the Student Union, and the people who work there are UA employees," Wolf said.

"Just getting job seekers to know that we have such a broad range of opportunities is one of the challenges we face in recruiting."

• You have to be a UA graduate.

"There is no policy or practice to give preference to graduates. It's open to the community at large," Wolf said.

The UA does allow degrees to count toward work experience in some cases, he said.

"The general equation is that a bachelor's degree equals four years of work experience. That allows some people who are new to the job market to get their foot in the door."

• You have to know someone who works there. "Certainly not. That's another myth we try to bust. I didn't know anybody here when I got my job," said Wolf, who was hired six years ago.

• There's a hiring freeze.

Wolf said hiring freezes typically affect a small percentage of jobs. The UA still hires normally to fill many vacant posts, even when freezes are in place.

The university doesn't accept paper job applications. They must be submitted electronically at the www.uacareertrack.com website, which also lists available positions.

The UA's hiring is decentralized - more than 300 departments each do their own - and there's little contact between hiring managers in different areas, Wolf said. That means someone seeking office work, for example, must submit a separate application to each UA department seeking office help.

Information technology positions are the hardest for the UA to fill, Wolf said. Administrative support jobs are easier, as they tend to draw more applicants.

Wolf's general advice to UA job seekers is to polish their people skills and stay current on basic technology.

Many positions require familiarity with online calendar and email systems and electronic record-keeping, he said.

And the ability to work well with others is always a plus.

"We look for people who can collaborate with students, parents, colleagues and the community."

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at calaimo@azstarnet.com or at 573-4138.

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