Although we frequently complain that the wheels of Harvard move too slowly to change, Harvard erred this time by moving too quickly. We fear the Office of Career Services (OCS) may have moved too fast in requiring all recruiting interactions take place online this year.
The new Crimson Solution Online Recruiting System, created last year by three Harvard seniors, is also being used by MIT and Boston College. The system provides 24-hour access and eliminates several financial constraints including expensive resume paper and the need to buy company fact sheets.
However efficient the new system seems, we are still wary.
Although OCS is providing information meetings to teach students how to use the new technology, some students are concerned that they do not have enough computer know-how to access information and present themselves well. Students who are less comfortable with information technology are at a disadvantage in an already competitive environment. This is unfair since students were unaware until this semester that recruiting would take place online.
Other students worry that the lack of paper puts Harvard at a disadvantage in comparison to other schools. The increased work that companies will have to perform to access students files and download them may hurt some students performances in this recruiting season. "I think its a bad idea," said Grace Holihan, recruiting coordinator for LEK/Alcar, a consulting firm. Harvard should have implemented the system more gradually to correct for any problems the online system might create.
A more pressing fear brought up at one of the information sessions was about security. Security over the Internet is an existing problem; we are concerned that unauthorized people may gain access to confidential information including transcripts and resumes.
OCS should have gradually implemented the new system instead effecting a sudden change. We hope that during the more hectic spring recruiting season OCS will allow paper as well as online recruiting services.