Reviewing the Co-op Schedule
It is important to remember that The Computer Science Degree Program is four years in length and that the yearly schedule for the Co-op Program is:
- January to April - Work Term I
Students participating in this work term will have completed two and one-half years of studies and will have been accepted into the Co-op Program based on their success in mandatory Computer Science courses and GPA.
- May to August - Work Term III
Students participating in this work term will have successfully completed two work terms and three and one-half years of studies. Most of these students will be graduating with their Major or Honours Computer Science Degree (Co-op Option) in December of this year upon completion of their last half of fourth year courses.
- September to December - Work Term II
Students participating in this work term will have successfully completed one work term and three years of studies.
Provide a Job Description
Approximately four months prior to a work term, employers are invited to submit job postings. Employers interested in our program are more than welcome to contact us by e-mail or phone for any additional information that may be helpful. Computer Science Co-op positions are posted directly by accessing the University of Manitoba's careerCONNECT portal.
Employers who are not currently in the Computer Science Co-op Database, should:
Create an account in careerCONNECT ensuring that "Co-op Hiring" is indicated. Once the registration has been submitted, an email to one of the Computer Science Co-op Team Members would be appreciated as this could speed up the registration process. A Co-op Team Member will approve the registration and take all of the necessary steps to allow for Computer Science Job Postings to be submitted.
Registrants will receive an email from a Co-op Team Member with login and password information.
Once login information has been received, return to careerCONNECT and login. Click on Computer Science Co-op and Post a New Job.
Employers who have an account in careerCONNECT with access to the Computer Science Co-op portal simply need to login and Post a New Job.
If difficulty is encountered with any of the process, a quick call to the Computer Science Co-op office will be welcome.
Approximate deadlines for submissions:
- Work Term I (January to April) - third week in October
- Work Term II (September to December) - third week in June
- Work Term III (May to August) - third week in February
Employers should note that it is in their best interest to adapt job qualifications slightly depending upon the work term. Work Term I students are much likelier to apply for a position if the job description indicates that there will be an opportunity to develop skills in a particular area rather than listing specific technical requirements.
Once submissions to the Computer Science Co-op Job Posting Board are approved by Co-op Program Staff, they will become visible to all Co-op students seeking placements for the upcoming work term. Although remuneration information is expected with the position details, it is withheld from students until after offers have been accepted. This is done in an attempt to encourage students to accept jobs on the merit of the experience rather than the salary.
"Pending Budget Approval"
Many employers are restricted by budget timelines. Rather than not submitting a job description and risking the chance of not recruiting a student for the upcoming work term, employers are encouraged to submit a job posting with the above disclaimer. Once budget details have been finalized, the disclaimer can be removed from the job postings.
For employers to successfully attract and hire Co-op students with the right skill sets and attitudes for a position, it is important that the candidates get a realistic sense of the requirements of the job and the corporate culture from a concise and clearly written job description. Employers can create excitement within the Co-op community by promoting their employment opportunity in an appealing way.
When creating a job description for Work Term I students, it is important for employers to adapt corporate jargon into language that students with little or no experience will understand. Work Term I students are often dependant on transferable skills gained from classroom learning and other experience to prove that they are suitable for the position. Submitting job descriptions filled with unfamiliar terminology may discourage them from applying.
When developing a job description, CAFCE (Canadian Association for Co-operative Education suggests breaking it down into three segments: Tasks, Talents and Trimmings. See CAFCE's How to create a Win-Win-Win Job Description.
Tasks (Duties & Responsibilities)
- Indicate what students will actually do, their responsibilities and tasks. Use specific language and stick to the basics. Prioritise the list of tasks so students understand the key focus of the role.
Talents (Attributes, Knowledge, and Skills)
Indicate any specific course requirements in addition to specific technical skills. Keep the "must haves" to a minimum, especially for Work Term I and II students.
- Some employers have experienced success with listing the technologies the students will have the opportunity to learn or use rather than a set of requirements.
- Provide details of what attributes, knowledge, and skills typically produce an excellent performance in the job. It is important for students to quickly identify which of their transferable skills could be put to work.
Company / Department description: Provide enough information to promote excitement about the opportunity while leaving the door open for students to do some additional research. Recruitment is a two-way process, employers should be trying as hard as students to make a good impression.
- Some mention of previous Co-op involvement (if applicable) is welcome.
- Providing a url for the company / department website is helpful.
- Residency requirements: Government positions place restrictions on hiring non-Canadians - ensure this is clearly articulated in order not to unduly frustrate international students who may be ineligible.
- Hours per week: Co-op positions must be a minimum of 35 hours per week. Students are interested in the hours per week expected and whether or not employers offer flexible work hours.
- Location of position: This can be particularly helpful for students who use public transit.
It is our recommendation that employers request feedback regarding the job description from current Co-op students (if applicable), and perhaps invite current students to assist in the development of future job descriptions.
Once all job postings have been received, students submit an application package for each job for which they wish to apply. Each application package consists of:
- cover letter
Application packages will not be released to employers on an ongoing basis. Students will have a set deadline date to apply for jobs after which point application packages will be bundled and emailed to employers in a PDF. The date for application packages to be released to employers will be specified in the recruitment email sent out by the Co-op Office at the beginning of each term.
Employers are expected to screen all applications and submit their list of interview candidates prior to the beginning of the interview period. Interviews are conducted on campus during a two week period in March, July, and November. Employers are encouraged to advise the Co-op Office of their desired interview date as early as possible to ensure there are rooms available. All interview rooms are arranged by the Co-op Office.
It is our recommendation that employers interview not less than six students and that interviews be not less than 30 minutes in duration. Although we know this is time consuming, it is in the best interest of both employers and students. Many employers interview eight or ten students, especially if they are in a position to hire more than one student. Interviewing a small number of students decreases the chance of employers recruiting a suitable candidate for their position.
Computer Science students are keen learners. Even though they may not have experience with a particular technology, a few hours or days with some manuals and tutorials will usually be enough for them to become productive in the workplace.
All first round interviews for in-town positions are conducted on campus during a two week period in March, July, and November.
Once employers have screened all applications and completed an Interview Arrangement Web Form, the Co-op Office posts Interview Sign-Up Forms for the students selected to be interviewed. These forms include the dates and location of interviews, the list of interview candidates, and the interview time slots. The Co-op Office e-mails this information to the employers ance the interview schedule is finalized and all interview time slots have been filled.
The interview period is an exciting time for the students, employers, and Co-op staff. It is an excellent opportunity for students to interact with professionals in the IT industry and for employers to check out new upcoming talent.
In an attempt to improve communication, Interview Feedback Forms will be made available for all employers. Employers are encouraged to complete them during the interview and submit them to the Co-op Office at the end of the day.
Location of Interviews
Most interviews are held in the meeting rooms on the fourth floor of building E2 of the Engineering and Information Technology Complex. These rooms are available from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Other rooms in University Centre are also used. Directions will be provided.
Parking is available in the U of M Parkade. University Centre is accessible through the parkade without going outside. Customers of the parkade will need to pick up a parking ticket on their way to conduct interviews from an automated pay station and pay at the end of their stay.
There are various various eating establishments in University Centre (including a Tim Hortons and Starbucks for those who arrive early).
When interviews are complete, employers submit their rankings to the Co-op Office via the Employer Rankings for Students Web Form. Rankings should include the employer's first choice as well as all other candidates they would be willing to hire. Employers who have multiple positions should provide the equivalent number of #1 rankings as positions they have to fill. The due date for submitting rankings is outlined in the recruitment email sent to employers at the beginning of each term.
Employers are welcome to provide students with their contact information if they would like students to contact them for further details prior to making a placement decision. In an effort to keep the process fair to all parties, the Co-op Office discourages employers from making contact with students regarding rankings and offers. All contact from employers should be made through the Co-op Office.
The Matching Process
Once all rankings are received and recorded, the Co-op Coordinator begins the matching process and students are presented with their options.
Matching is conducted with the best interest of all parties in mind. For that reason, students are advised only of their #1 rankings. All other rankings (both employer and student) remain confidential. Once students have chosen what they feel is the best position for them, the Co-op Coordinator contacts employers to accept the offer on the students behalf. At this point the match is deemed final.
Students email the employers within 24 hours to further formalize the matches.
If employers receive an email indicating that students they ranked #1 have accepted positions elsewhere, it serves as an indication that the Co-op Coordinator will be moving down the ranking list to make offers to other students who the employer ranked.
Employers are required to forward "letters of offer" to students once placements have been finalized. The letters are normally forwarded to home addresses of students, and should include hiring details such as:
- request for orientation meeting or tour prior to start date, if required
- start date of work term
- hours of work
- who the student will report to
- work site address
- parking or transportation details
- information on confidentiality agreements or criminal record checks, if applicable
The Co-op Office makes every attempt to finalize all placements by the last week of March, July, and November.