An online snafu that took down a widely used recruiting website over the weekend has caused dozens of employers to push back their deadlines for internship applications by a week.
Chicago Career Connection, a portal operated by Career Advising and Planning Services (CAPS), was inaccessible to users over the weekend before coming back online Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. Students rely on the site to submit résumés, cover letters, and the like for internships, fellowships, and “Chicago Careers In” grants.
According to CAPS Senior Associate Director Marthe Druska, all application deadlines listed on the site between February 10 and February 14—25, including several for Jeff Metcalf Fellowships—have been pushed back seven days.
“This will give students the time to make up applications that they weren’t able to complete,” Druska said.
Simplicity, a third-party company, operates Chicago Career Connection along with sites for numerous universities. It is unclear what caused the outage, although Shannon Delaney, CAPS’s associate director of administration, strategic programming and outreach, attributed the problem to a “breakdown in [Simplicity’s] servers.” CAPS has used the system since the 2007–2008 academic year.
Druska also assured users that materials students had uploaded to the site were safe, and that no student information had been lost.
The staff at CAPS learned of the system failure Friday afternoon and began working with Simplicity immediately to resolve the problem. However, CAPS did not make an official announcement until Sunday afternoon, posting a note on the home page of their website.
“We knew there was a problem on Friday—we didn’t know how widespread a problem,” she said.
Third-year Sookyun Park, whose deadline for an internship at Pacific Gas and Electric was at midnight on Friday, turned frantic when he realized that the site was down.
“On Friday, there was no communication from CAPS, so we didn’t know if the employer knew what was going on,” he said.
Park quickly called CAPS, where a receptionist told him that the situation was being handled.
“Obviously, they knew what was going on and were trying to figure it out,” he said, “but we didn’t know that they knew.”