Magnet pulls students to employers


Sheridan students looking to connect with potential employers can now add a new job-finding tool to their toolbox – a service that helps the employer find you.

Magnet was started at Ryerson University to help students and alumni connect with employers.

“Like a magnet, it pulls everything together,” said Joe Henry, associate dean of student success at Sheridan, who is helping to promote the service to students and employers. “Jobs chase you,” he said, quoting the tagline for Magnet.


The online tool lets students set up a free profile to advertise their skills and employers search for candidates with the skills they’re looking for, explained Henry.

Magnet is not only a job aggregator, but it allows employers to post job opportunities. Employers pay a $9 fee when they want to view the candidates for their job posting.

“The model is job seekers are found by the employer,” said Mark Patterson, director of research partnerships at Ryerson. “Magnet helps to cut down on confusion.

“Students are worried about what they are and are not qualified for but Magnet reverses the process.”

Instead of a student not applying for a job because they’re unsure if they’re capable, it’s the employer that’s making the judgment call based on the student’s skills.

“With this system it’s easier to present yourself,” said Patterson.

Magnet allows users to import information from their LinkedIn account and even upload their resume, Henry said.

Most employers try to recruit students out of post-secondary institutions, but it can be really hard for small business owners to do so, explained Patterson. Magnet can help connect them.

“It’s the power of being in a network,” he said.

Right now Magnet is only available in Ontario and is being advertised in schools, including Sheridan, partnered with the service, but is also open to any unemployed youth. Patterson hopes to bring it to each province should things keep working as smoothly as they have been.

“During our beta test, we have already landed jobs in the thousands.”

“Right now we’re in the middle of a lot of outreach,” said Kerri Zanata-Buehler, employment development specialist at Sheridan and the college’s liaison with Magnet.

“We’re promoting the program to current students and alumni,” said Zanata-Buehler. “We’re always looking for more resources . . . and Magnet is an additional tool in [a student’s] job search.”

As of early October, Magnet had more than 200,000 job postings and is growing by the day, Zanata-Buehler said in an email.

Magnet will also provide Sheridan with useful feedback, said Henry.

One goal is to use employer input to know where jobs are and what skills they need so that Sheridan can work around that to maximize employability.

“The data we can pull out of this can help inform the college where we should put emphasis in our programs,” said Henry. “[Magnet] can inform future generations what to focus on.”

Magnet still needs some work, said Christian Collins, an Advertising and Marketing student who previously used He tried out the online service last week.

“The process of narrowing down jobs works really well and I like that,” he said. “But it’s worrying that it has so many faulty links. I lost a lot of confidence.”

It took Collins eight attempts to find a job listing that was still active. He has never had the same problem with Monster. “However, I also have less ability to narrow down my searches on Monster as opposed to Magnet,” said Collins.

“I’m worried that by narrowing the list to fewer job postings, those postings won’t work,” said Collins.

“This is the first I’m hearing of it,” said Henry. “It might be a bug . . . it’s new, they’re still trying to fix up the issues.” If students encounter any more issues, Henry urges them to contact Sheridan’s career centre.

He finds Magnet simple and straightforward, but it’s not visually pretty.

There’s too much black and whites and not enough colours, “But it does the job,” said Collins. “All in all Magnet has more potential than Monster, but it hasn’t reached it yet.”