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Don’t Skip the Placement Center: The Best Marketplace for I-O Talent

Lorin Mueller and Kathakali Sircar

The SIOP Placement Center has been a popular resource at the annual conference since 1993. Although it initially started as a service connecting employers to prospective candidates, the Placement Center has quickly evolved into offering many additional supporting services for job seekers and employers alike. This year’s Placement Center is no exception, with several innovative events designed to help job seekers and employers maximize their conference experience.


Lorin Mueller and Kathakali (Kat) Sircar, the current cochairs of the Placement Center, had initially met through the Placement Center in 2012 when Lorin, Managing Director of Assessment at Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT), interviewed Kat for a Research Associate position. Lorin had posted two job openings through the Placement Center and Kat was one of the two FSBPT recruits that year, both of whom had recently graduated from I-O training programs and were seeking employment. Lorin states “One of the most overlooked aspects of the Placement Center is the ability for smaller employers to promote their opportunities and employer brand. I would have never met Kat if it weren’t for the Placement Center.” In fact, in addition to larger companies that use the Placement Center for recruitment, the service is extremely helpful for many smaller employers in accessing a large I-O audience to promote various opportunities.


Over the years, the Placement Center has grown to offer many unique services that assist job seekers in preparing for and seeking employment opportunities. The Mock Interview Program offers an opportunity for interested candidates to undergo practice interviews where they receive customized performance feedback from seasoned professionals.  David O’Connell, former Placement Center participant, states “After scheduling interviews for the conference weekend, I elected to sign up for the Placement Center’s Mock Interview Program. I was able to meet with a professor at the conference who provided feedback and encouragement in preparation for the real interviews.”


Additional Placement Center events taking place at the Annual Conference include the Open House and Internship Event. The Placement Center Open House provides an opportunity for job seekers and employers to network outside of the formal interview setting. During this upcoming SIOP conference, the Placement Center, in collaboration with the Education and Training Committee, will also host an Internship Event: a unique hybrid event consisting of a panel discussion regarding the ins and outs of internships, that is, how to secure such positions and how to make it a successful experience for both the intern and company. The discussion will be followed by the “guided” networking event to allow for one-on-one interactions with audience members. All three such additional Placement Center initiatives have received extremely positive feedback from job seekers and employers alike in the value such services bring to the conference and I-O community. The following information provides dates, times, and location of the additional services for the April 2017 SIOP Conference.


Mock Interview Service: To be set up prior to Annual Conference.


Placement Center Open House:

Date: Thursday, April 27, 2017

Time: 10am-11am

Location: Mockingbird (Swan Hotel)


Placement Center/Education and Training Committee Internship Event

Date: Thursday, April 27, 2017

Time: 12-2pm

Location: Mockingbird (Swan Hotel)


The main draw to the Placement Center is still the ability for employers and job seekers to meet face-to-face after connecting through the online job board. Several employers make regular use of the SIOP Placement Center as a cornerstone of their recruiting efforts. “SIOP’s Placement Center is an instrumental part of our process,” says Cheryl Hendrickson, Managing Research Director at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), “We know we can find high quality applicants at SIOP. Each year we structure our hiring around the opportunity to meet applicants in person at the Placement Center.” Pam Danas of DDI notes the Placement Center can be a great opportunity to allow job seekers to get to know employers, “It’s always productive time well spent, getting to know the talented individuals that participate, sharing more about DDI and exploring possible alignment with our business, our culture, and our current needs.” Both DDI and AIR have been participating in the Placement Center for over 10 years.


One might think that the Placement Center is a better value for employers who hire a lot of people, and job seekers who what to work for big consulting firms. That’s not entirely true; it can be a great opportunity for employers who have intermittent staffing needs to gain access to a high quality applicant pool for a minimal recruitment cost. “It’s a bargain,” says Alex Alonso, SHRM's Senior Vice President for Knowledge Development & Certification. “As an employer, I am grateful that SIOP has always put its mission of serving members above all other factors.”


Job seekers also speak highly about the Placement Center, with its top benefits including opportunities to receive direct exposure and contact to employers, networking opportunities, and mock interviews. Former Placement Center participant, Kaitlyn Mikush attests to the networking benefits of the Placement Center, “While in graduate school, I was limited to networking with my alumni network and cohort. The Placement Center enabled me to gain access to opportunities outside of my small professional network. I was able to obtain my first job out of graduate school utilizing the Placement Center. Aside from gaining my first professional I-O job, I was also able to network with additional mentors with whom I still remain in contact. The Placement Center process was efficient, convenient, and very beneficial.”


What is the best advice for job-seekers looking to participate in the Placement Center during the upcoming conference? Former participants often state the importance of being proactive and initiating contact with employers to schedule interviews beforehand.  A recent survey showed that 40% of organizations had already begun conducting interviews prior to the conference. Because most employers search for candidates prior to the conference, candidates should sign up early and post their resumé on the web site.  The Placement Center registration can either be added at the time of conference registration, or candidates and employers can add the registration afterwards.


For more information the Placement Center registration, fees, and hours of operation, please visit: http://www.siop.org/Conferences/17con/regbk/placement.aspx


Please contact Placement@siop.org for general assistance.

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