N.J. Transit Automates Job Application Process - InformationWeek

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N.J. Transit Automates Job Application Process

Cardiff Software's forms processing software uses XML to translate handwritten text into readable computer fonts.

When Joseph Allen, New Jersey Transit's director of employee services, attended a technology expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York, he went in search of a database management system that would reduce the foot traffic in his department. You see, employee services workers for N.J. Transit, who process about 1,200 to 1,500 employment applications per month, had to "walk from one end of the room to the other," several times a day to retrieve applicant files, Allen says.

After researching a few forms-automation software packages, Allen chose Teleform, forms processing software from Cardiff Software Inc. Allen says he was won over by Teleform's ability to accurately recognize handwritten characters, since most of the applications N.J. Transit receives are handwritten. Teleform uses XML to translate handwritten text into readable computer fonts. Allen was also impressed by how much time he and his team could save by scanning the four-page applications into a database that could be searched and cross-referenced based on various key fields determined by him and his staff.

The entire installation process, which included purchasing new computers and scanning equipment, took about one year and cost between $50,000 and $70,000, Allen says. Pace Business Solutions, a Cardiff Software Channel Partner, combined Teleform, a customized workflow/rules database, a Fujitsu work-group-level scanner, and IMR Inc.'s Alchemy document storage and retrieval software for N.J. Transit. Allen says the return in investment is apparent in the advertising budget. Because N.J. Transit didn't have an accurate way to search its physical files for qualified applicants when a new job opened, it would advertise to fill the position.

The next step for N.J. Transit in its efforts to automate the hiring process is to program the database to correct pre-employment tests once they are scanned into the system. "Right now, manual correcting of tests takes three to five days," Allen says. "If we scan the answers into the database, we can let the person know their score before they leave, and set them up for the next phase in the hiring process the same day."

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