The Faces of EVE University are colorful and intriguing. With this interview series we want to bring to light some of the personalities that make up the staff of our alma mater, who tirelessly work to the advancement of learning.
For this installment of our series we sat down to talk to our Director of Human Resources: Jilokari Kurvora. He enlightens us about how he became a director, what his work entails and how the departments he oversees work together.
Hideo Date: For those who don’t know you, who are you and what do you do in New Eden and in EVE University in particular?
Jilokari Kurvora: I am Jilokari Kurvora, Jilo to my friends (pronounced GeeLo). I’ve been alive since 8th November 2014, I am a Wormhole Dweller, and love to do solo exploration especially because I never know where I’ll end up. In EVE University I am the Director of Human Resources overseeing and setting policies for the the Recruitment, Orientation, Mentor, and Titles Departments.
Hideo: How did you start off playing EVE and how did you become part of the Uni?
Jilokari: Well I did try to get into EVE earlier, but my PC wasn’t really up to the challenge. I was always really inspired by the videos for EVE Online, the whole pioneer spirit of the game and I was especially drawn to the sandbox element. All those unscripted player generated actions and impacts fascinated me. So when I finally got myself a decent gaming PC in November 2014, I downloaded EVE online and chose a Caldari character (Who doesn’t love a bit of space capitalism). Off I went into the cold hard space only to get blown up in a ball of fire 3 jumps from the starter system. After a few days in game I came across EVE Uni, thought this is the place for me and never looked back.
Hideo: Could you tell us a bit about how you managed to climb the ranks to the heights of Director of HR?
Jilokari: I’m a highly qualified assassin and I got better shoes out of it.
But seriously, since you asked nicely Hideo, I actually started off my EVE Career by becoming a Personnel Officer. I mainly did it because I was fascinated on the inner workings of Corporations in EVE, specifically how they reflected real life, just with more spreadsheets. From there I became a Senior Personnel Officer, I’m told in the fastest time ever for a promotion, so I must have done something right. A few months passed and the opportunity arose for me to move into Personnel Management. First as Assistant Manager then Personnel Manager, which I thoroughly enjoyed because my PO’s and SPO’s are awesome guys and gals. In 2018 I was honored to be asked to become Director of Personnel, a role which I only held for a few months before stepping into Director of HR when our last Director of HR, Dune Barphsaq, stepped down.
Hideo: So as you are newly inducted into the role of HR Director you must have a pretty fresh view on things. Could you give us a glimpse into your daily workload?
Jilokari: Well at the moment it’s quite busy, as Director of Personnel I had two departments under me, Personnel and Orientation. At the moment I haven’t backfilled the Managers in those departments so I’m doing the daily manager tasks, such as monitoring the queue levels, answering questions of officers and members, and keeping the departments records up to date. I also check into all the slacks to see what the conversation is across the Uni and try to keep up to date. You can also usually find me trawling through the forum, keeping up to date on developments there. In addition to that I’m getting to know my other departments, Titles and Mentors, reviewing feedback and looking for ways that we can make the service we offer better for our members.
Hideo: Your Directorate in particular seems to have a lot of varied departments under it, how does it all fit together in your mind?
Jilokari: A great question! I think the simplest way to look at it is my Directorate inducts, orientates, supports, and marks progression of Members in the University. We are the first people they interact with when joining and a constant presence as they progress.
Hideo: How is the relationship between the departments?
Jilokari: It’s all about the relationship for me! I’m a massive people person, and I think that some of our best work gets done when we all work together as a single unit. Each of my departments impacts on the other in some way, whether that be Personnel creating work for Orientation, Orientation driving titles or mentor applications, it’s all interconnected. Do I think we have it nailed just yet? No, but I do know that the folks of the HR directorate are awesome and we have begun to make small changes to improve communication between the departments, which can only serve to improve the members experience.
Hideo: How do you keep track of the different departments?
Jilokari: Well lucky for me I have a great team of Managers and Assistant Managers who keep me updated with what’s happening in their respective areas. Besides that I have the slack channels to keep up to date with the day to day information as well as the awesome portal that our Director of Web Services has been building and I have a tonne of spreadsheets. Seriously I have so many spreadsheets…
Hideo: How did you handle the change over from Manager to Director? I assume the time you need to put in now is much increased?
Jilokari: There is certainly a lot more to be aware of, and an increased sense of responsibility. I’ve definitely seen an increase in the amount of time I spend looking through the forum, discussions on slack, actions like removing inactive members, and applying in game titles etc. It can sometimes feel like a second job, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! One of the more interesting things for me is trying to become more visible to members. Gone are the days when I could just not log on for a few days because I felt like it, or stick purely to exploration. As a Director I think there is an expectation from our members that I be seen participating, which is great, but just as an advanced warning to our members and FC’s: beware my PvP foo is not strong.
Hideo: You’ve already made a few internal changes as well as introduce a significant change to the titles within EVE Uni. You also were quite busy with the recent introduction of the new EVE Uni Portal. Would you care to elaborate on what has happened so far during your tenure?
Jilokari: Oh I think you pretty much covered it there. We are still in the process of rolling out our new University Portal which is looking awesome and will make life so much easier. I stepped into the role fresh off the back of the Uni wide survey, and it was clear that there were areas that our members felt we could evolve and I agreed! I’d say the biggest changes were allowing alpha clones to apply for the Freshman progression title, and allowing members who returned to the Uni or swapped their character to transfer any progression title they held over. We have lots of good ideas on where we can take the HR Departments in the future so watch this space.
Hideo: Is there pressure from students, prospective members, or upper management to shift the bureaucratic nature of EVE Uni’s recruitment either way? If so, how do you balance your own goals and vision for the department with those outside perspectives?
Jilokari: Internally I don’t see there being any pressure really, we can get a bad rep externally sometimes though. I think EVE Uni’s recruitment process is a bit like marmite. (the food – if you can even call it that, not the alliance) Some people love it, some people hate it. Ultimately it is there to ensure that someone is right for us and we are right for them. When I first joined the Uni it was almost a 2 week wait, now on average it takes 4 days from application to accept for an applicant with an average wait time of 4 hours in our queue. Do I think we can improve on the process? Sure and it’s something that I will be looking at closely. I’d also point out that while people are waiting to join they can still take advantage of our Wiki, and our classes which are both publicly available.
Hideo: The introduction of officers dedicated to orientation is a relatively recent addition to HR. Has the program been as successful as management hoped?
Jilokari: I wouldn’t call Orientation new really, it is the youngest of our Departments and I would say they have done an amazing job! The challenge we have as a teaching corp is that we share so much information it is too easy for our new members to get lost. Orientation helps to focus a player on some specifics that may be useful for them based on the play style and interaction they have had with our community at 7 and 28 days, making it a little bit easier to assimilate into Uni life. I think it’s also important that we balance that out though, because EVE is a harsh game, and people need to learn how to be somewhat self sufficient. To quote my bio “Education is not the training of facts but the training of the mind to think!”
Hideo: How do you personally see the importance of mentors for the experience new players in EVE University get?
Jilokari: Oh I think mentors are really important for newer players. EVE is such a complex and varied game, I regularly come across applicants who want to learn everything. Mentors can help hone their knowledge and help them get more out of this wonderful game. I think that Mentors contribute highly to people sticking around and not getting burnt out or frustrated. I wish we had more Mentors.
Hideo: What would you say is the biggest hurdle EVE University, and your directorate in particular, will have to overcome in the next year?
Jilokari: Honestly, the biggest hurdle for the HR Directorate is staffing. We have some amazing people who do great work but people move on, find other interests which means we are always recruiting. I am passionate about keeping our wait times for interview and titles low, as well as having mentors to spare. I also want the HR Staff to actually enjoy EVE and not have to spend all their time doing space admin, so yeah, we need to keep a good flow of new staff.
Hideo: Well that’s it for my questions so far. Do you have anything else you want to talk about or any closing statements?
Jilokari: Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the HR Directorate, I would say that my door is always open so if anyone needs or want to raise anything about the HR Directorate they can contact me wether in Slack or via forum message.