Applications have closed… so what happens next?

Photo: 'Clean' by JD Hancock CC-BY 2.0

Photo: ‘Clean’ by JD Hancock CC-BY 2.0

We sometimes get asked what happens behind the scenes at the ILN so we wanted to shared with you what we will be busy doing for the next couple of weeks.  There’s a few different steps involved in getting a round up and running. They include:

  • Cleaning: We need to throughly check and clean the data provided by our applicants. We need to make sure the right information is in the right place and ensure that everything is ready for matching. We also need to ensure there are no duplicates – or someone could end up a perfect match for themselves!
  • Matching: This is a hybrid task – part human – part robot.  We pre-match a little by hand any tricky matches then run our special matching algorithm to create the rest of our matches. Next we check the matches and ensure that everything has run smoothly. Occasionally we need to manually tweak some matches again and then re-run the algorithm to ensure everyone gets their best possible match.
  • Communication administration: communicating with 700 applicants at once is no mean feat, let along doing it every two weeks – so we spend a bit of time at this stage loading everyone into a Google Group. This allows us to ensure that all our participants receive our discussion topics at the same time. This also allows us to test the email addresses to ensure they work ahead of launching the partners.
  • Preparing the discussion topics: Concurrent to all the matching, we are also busily planning the discussion topics for the round – we try not to plan too far in advance so we can try to be topical. We have covered so many things in the past and have an online archive of past discussion topics  if you want to check them out.
  • Send out the matches: The last step of launching a round is sending out everyone’s matches. This is one of the most nerve wracking steps – mail merging all the details and crossing our fingers that all goes well. However next is the fun bit – watching all of the excitement on social media as our partners discover each other.

So if you’ve applied, hang in there – just as soon as we’ve finished all of this we’ll be in touch with your match. If you missed out, you can leave your details in our expression of interest form and we’ll let you know when applications open for our next round.

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