In our most recent InfoReady Review User Group session, administrators from across the country wanted to know how to effectively introduce the new system to reviewers. Because the review process depends upon faculty members to evaluate applications and provide feedback, it is imperative that they are comfortable with the tools they need to use. Having been through this transition before, several administrators chimed in fast, and we gathered their top strategies for a stress-free reviewer experience.
Introduce reviewers to the system ahead of time. One administrative team built the foundation for successful reviewer experiences by explaining the benefits of InfoReady Review before ever assigning reviews. After the reviewers had been primed, they changed the auto response message that is sent when a reviewer is notified of their reviewer assignment, giving them a few helpful hints for login and providing good feedback. "With communication up-front, reviewers paid attention more, so we make sure to give them as much as we could in these first few emails," said one team member.
Get to know common questions. We heard that the different reviewers who called with questions all seemed to have the same issues. By noticing patterns, you may be able to determine where to add more detailed directions to introductory emails and within the competition itself.
Provide a set of standard written instructions. Some administrators swear by their written guide as the primary resource for reviewers when using the system for the first time. Many mentioned using screenshots that show where to click or enter information. "When someone calls with a question, the first thing I tell them to do is get out their list of instructions," commented an administrator who manages over 50 reviewers each spring.
Make time for one-on-one instruction. Everyone in the session agreed that in-person and by phone instruction during the first use of the system was incredibly helpful for reviewers. With assistance on the front-end, the reviewers gained knowledge and confidence in the system and continued to review other applications without questions.
The most important take-away is preparing reviewers ahead of time. By explaining the value of InfoReady Review and then addressing questions up-front, reviewers became comfortable with both the system and their ability to use it before tackling multiple reviews and deadlines.