December 07, 2016 by Anna Peters
Congratulations to the Bozzuto Group for being a “Top Workplace” in 2016! I had the pleasure of speaking with Allison Lane, Director – Corporate Communications & Marketing at Bozzuto Group, a real estate services organization. She shared how their company makes it a great place to work.
Above all, Allison says, “we put employees first.” That seems so simple. It means, however, that employees are more important than anything else. It takes empathy and patience, Allison says. It also takes time to listen to your people.
Bozzuto Group takes that time, and goes beyond their employees. They make sure that all stakeholders feel connected to the company. That includes job candidates, partners, and the residents of their properties. That level of engagement requires an investment, but when I asked Allison about how they measure ROI, she said they don’t have to. “Investing in our people is just part of our DNA.”
It sure seems that way. Their founder, Tom Bozzuto , does regular site visits and meets with people in their environment. He believes in “managing by walking around.”
The company offers Bozzuto Voices, where any employee anywhere can comment, make a suggestion, praise someone else, etc. This sort of transparent communication can help build mutual trust with employees.
As for engaging Millennials, Allison brushes off the generational differences. Just engage people as individuals, she says. Don’t assume you know something about them because of their age.
Bozzuto hires for recent grads on an ongoing basis. Openings include construction, real estate development, marketing and accounting. While they recruit for the right skills, they also look for cultural fit. Allison says, “If you’re not nice… you gotta be nice.” Veterans take note: their founder is a military veteran and has set the tone for hiring and including veterans in their staff.
Allison just about proved their fun work culture while I spoke with her. She interrupted our call to attend to her coworker. They had what sounded to me like very friendly banter and it did, indeed sound like a fun place to work.
December 06, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
References – job seekers submitting them – and employers checking them – seems like a simple process. Unfortunately for the recent college grad embarking on that first or second job, the reference checking process is anything but simple, and clear.
Why? Because just because a job seeker submits a list of references, it doesn’t mean those are the references employers will contact. In fact, the days of providing three references to employers and expecting those to be the only sources employers check with are long gone, says Chris Dardis, VP of HR Search and Consulting for Versique, a Minneapolis-based search firm. Many employers may not even check the references job seekers submit, and it’s perfectly legal, because a prospective employer does not require permission to check any references. Employers are also relying on new tools and tactics to research potential candidates’ backgrounds.
“Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are the first place hiring managers tend to explore candidate information,” says Dardis. “Whether you think it’s right or wrong, potential candidates need to be aware of the brand they are displaying on the Internet.”
“Don’t assume that employers will only check with human resources or your former supervisor for reference purposes,” says Shane. “Employers are increasingly scrutinizing less-traditional references such as peers and co-workers.”
Employers also use tools like Checkster, to conduct the legwork on reference check gathering, says Dardis. Checkster is a tool that provides hiring managers with quantifiable data on the hire-ability of the potential candidate. Employers also use their own network and conduct what is known as “backdoor reference checks.” Hiring managers learn about the candidate’s previous employers, identify where they have connections and call around within their network to simply inquire about their reputation – all of this being done without the candidates knowledge.
“These days, it doesn’t necessarily matter what your official references are saying,” says Dardis. “What matters is the kind of reputation you are leaving in the marketplace.”
So how can recent college grads be sure they are providing references the right way, and that backdoor reference checks won’t hurt them? Follow these tips from Lynne Martin, Executive Director of San Francisco-based Students Rising Above, an award-winning nonprofit that helps low-income, first-generation students get into – and more importantly graduate – college The organization also offers their free, online College2Careers Hub which offers personalized assistance via online advisors that provide real-time answers and support on such themes as reference advice.
December 05, 2016 by Anna Peters
Contributing writer Ted Bauer
Recently, we have heard a lot of arguments that the college degree is essentially the new high school degree. (Some even believe that, within 5-10 years, a graduate degree will be the new college degree.) As more people pursue four-year degrees, they’re accruing debt. As they do so, they enter a job market where wages aren’t rising that much.
Student loans have become a crisis in some respects, and this is happening at a time when many wages are stagnant or falling. As such, there’s been an increased focus on the value of vocational and technical degrees. In fact, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner appeared at a ReCode event in late November and said the U.S. cares too much about four-year degrees. He adds: Continue Reading
December 02, 2016 by Anna Peters
Guest writer Jacob Merkley
Work can sometimes be stressful, challenging, or perhaps even downright boring. For some, it is hard to find reasons to get up in the morning and go to work. For others, being at work means long hours of doing something you just don’t “love”.
You don’t need to feel depressed about work when you wake up in the mornings, nor do you need to just work to get a paycheck. No matter how you feel about your current situation, keep these three ideas in mind to find greater meaning and job satisfaction, no matter what it is.
Change Your Attitude
If you are comparing your current job to the imaginary one that satisfies everything you ever dreamed of, you may need a change in attitude. When things aren’t perfect, try to keep your cynicism in check. Remember the last time your job made you feel satisfied and empowered. Embrace moments like these. Be grateful for the job you do have. Many people don’t have a job at all or are underemployed, and might love to be in your spot.
Think Less About Yourself
Sometimes it’s hard to not get caught up in what the job can do for you. We all need a job. We need the paycheck. But maybe it is time to consider what you can do for your job or your company. Think about the impact you are making on a daily basis. Are you helping others? Are you helping your team members or the community? Are you making a difference somehow? If you prioritize helping others, you might see your immediate environment become more positive and in turn affect your own outlook.
Look Outside Work to Find Meaning
If you really can’t make your work meaningful, then consider other ways that you can find meaning in your life. Continue Reading
December 01, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
Employers are constantly looking for new ways to recruit and assess new talent and hires. The standard method of asking candidates to submit a resume and go through an interview process works for some employers – but not for others.
Because of that employers are now using gamification to recruit and assess recent college grads.
“Today’s employers face the challenge of recruiting and hiring recent college grads and Millennials, the largest generational demographic in the American workforce,” says John Findlay, co-founder of Launchfire, a digital engagement shop that turns boring content and mandatory training materials into a fun, easy-to-digest, game-based learning experience. “Many companies are finding that using game-based learning and gamification, which integrate points, badges, competition and role-playing, can be used to effectively attract and assess candidates.”
When using “games” as a recruitment tool, employers are looking to assess problem solving, creative and critical thinking skills, says John Reed, senior executive director for Robert Half Technology. Although they are meant to be engaging and somewhat entertaining, recent college grads must treat these games as carefully as one would any actual professional assignment.
Large employers such as Google, Microsoft, Deloitte, PwC, Cisco, Domino’s Pizza, and Marriott International are among the many employers using gamification as part of their recruiting strategies.
“If you’re hoping to gain employment with the organization, you should take all gamification exercises seriously and remember that this is all part of the interview process,” says Reed. “Don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s a professional reflection of you and this is, most times, your first impression with hiring managers and you want to put your best work out there.”
Some colleges and universities are already introducing gamification to its students in hopes of better preparing them for the job search, and for real-life gamification-focused recruitment processes. Kaplan University uses gamification as a way to better prepare students and recent college graduates for the job market. Kaplan University has a main campus in Davenport, Iowa and headquarters in Chicago, and serves 42,000 online and campus-based students.
“Career Development doesn’t just happen, it’s an ongoing process of building skills and abilities and we’re utilizing gamification as a way to reinforce and reward career development with our students,” says Jennifer Lasaster, Vice President of Employer and Career Services at Kaplan University.
Kaplan University students are invited to participate in an internal CareerNetwork that was built with a video game developer and includes badges and quests for students who build and receive critiques on resumes and social media profiles, read field-related and career related articles, practice interviewing, review, and apply for jobs. Students are introduced to Kaplan’s CareerNetwork through classroom interactions and begin to accumulate points and badges throughout their time as a student, and can continue to do so after graduation.
The team at Kaplan has also built a feature for students to compete against each other in a resume showdown that will premier in 2017. In that scenario, Kaplan partners with an employer who shares a job description. Students are then encouraged to submit their resumes for that job. Five resumes are then selected for competition. Personal information is blocked out and the recruiter provides feedback to students on how and why one resume is declared the winner.
“This teaches students the importance of customizing their resume for each job, and that a quality job search is much more valuable than just taking one resume and sending it to various employers,” says Lasaster. “It’s also a great way for employers to receive resumes and feel like they are making a difference by teaching students what they need to do to apply for jobs at their company.”
“We’re using gamification as a way to better prepare our students for the real world,” added Lasaster.
The reality is, whether or not one is involved in a gamification-based recruiting process, recent college grads should still treat the job search like a game, says John-Paul Hatala, Ph.D., Director, Research and Development for SnagPad, a tool that enables career professionals and the job seekers they support to learn about and manage job search activity in a visual and strategic way.
“The most important challenge job seekers face today is conducting a strategic job search,” says Hatala. “In order to win this game, the idea is to think of it as going from step-to-step in the typical hiring cycle. The length of the cycle depends on the type of job/industry.”
For example, if a recent college grad is looking at an entry-level position, the cycle might be eight weeks until interview or job offer, says Hatala. So if a job seeker has applied to a job but hasn’t heard back in four weeks, move on to focus on the next opportunity.
“The more cycles you get involved in, the greater your chances of getting an interview or hired,” says Hatala. “This way you can stay realistic about your chances of a getting a particular job and move on to the next. This will help maintain a level of motivation that is necessary for a job search.”
Many projects that can be used during the gamification process are based on actual business issues or reflect what a new hires responsibilities will entail. Findlay points out two ways recent college grads can use gamification to their advantage in the recruiting process:
- Experience a “Real” Work Culture: Do you ever wish you could experience a company’s culture before you even take the time to apply for the position? Many companies are using simulations to allow prospects to live a week in the job. This not only allows the candidate to better understand the role and their job responsibilities, but helps sets realistic expectations about what they could expect in the position. That way if candidates don’t like the experience, they don’t have to apply, saving everyone time.
- Is this position for me? New college grads often think they are interested and qualified for one position when in reality, another type of position may be a better fit. Game simulations can be used to introduce candidates to positions that they may not have otherwise considered. This not only shows candidates the wide variety positions that could fit their skill set but gives applicants a realistic preview of what the work really looks.
“Use this opportunity to analyze the kinds of projects you’ll potentially be working on and be honest with yourself about whether or not these are aligned with your goals, strengths and desired career path,” says Reed. “While you should be presenting your best work, you should also evaluate whether or not the work is something you’d enjoy long term.”
While you’re the one being assessed for a role, this is also your chance to get deeper insights into the organization.
“Before you get to the in-person interview, the gamification process will let you choose whether or not you’d like to move forward with the process,” says Reed. “Take the time to get a feel for the culture and organizational goals of the company and use this opportunity to make a sound decision about next steps.”
Are you ready to take the next step in your job search? Register with College Recruiter to get the latest jobs emailed to you! And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.
November 30, 2016 by Anna Peters
Guest writer Lisa Smith
The cliché holds a lot of truth: the first impression really counts. This is why most people suggest that you dress up prim and proper for an interview. It should come as no surprise that your prospective employer starts gauging you from the time you step into the interview room.
Many people botch up their interview just because they are unaware of the importance of interview dress code. There are a few common mistakes that you can avoid. Check out out some of the common interview dressing mistakes to ensure you don’t fall prey to these. Here is some advice to get ready for the big day:
Fit is king:
Before going for an interview, you spend a long time and effort in picking that perfect outfit. But what about the fit? The way your outfit fits can make a whole difference to your appearance. And this is what will gain you some precious points. If your clothes are too loose, you end up looking drab and careless. On the other hand, clothes that are too tight can make you look uncomfortable which can be misconstrued as nervousness or lack of self-confidence. So, first things first, make sure that the clothes you pick for your interview are fit you perfectly. If they don’t, take them to the tailor.
Tone down the colors:
Make sure you select the shades carefully. Bright colors like yellow or shocking pink are a total no-no as these tend to distract people’s gaze and are considered inappropriate. If you are thinking of going with prints and patterns, go for the subtle variety. Large prints and patterns give you a casual semblance which may not appeal to your interviewers.
Rein in your hair:
This can be tricky because hairstyle can be an important part of your culture. It is your choice how you want to balance professional conservatism with your personal expression. However, be aware that when it comes to an interview, your interviewer may consider some hairstyles to be a hint of non-seriousness, whether or not that is true.
Shoes are important too:
If you thought that you only need to pay attention to your clothes when getting ready for an interview, think again. Your shoes matter too. Though you may sit down across the table when interacting with your interviewer, he or she is bound to notice as you walk up to take your seat. Pick shoes that spell out a formal air. Men should go for leather oxfords or slip-ons. Women should stick to pumps or conservative platform heels.
Take it easy with the perfume:
There is no doubt that your choice of perfume speaks volumes about you. However, you don’t want to overwhelm your interviewer with its heady aroma. So, make sure that you spray only a couple of whiffs of your favorite perfume on your clothes, or skip it entirely. Heavy perfume wearers are usually frowned upon in the professional world.
On the job: Balancing between personal and professional
If you dress perfectly for your interview, you are bound to make a great first impression. This coupled with your smartness is sure to get you that much-coveted job. (Make sure to send a thank you email after an interview to the company, displaying your gratitude for the chance given to you.)
However, once you get that job and join the company, you have to continue to strike that balance between your personal expression and professional dress code that you so carefully created for the interview. Not doing so may give out wrong messages and get you into the bad books of your employers.
Understand the Dress Code:
Each company has its own dress code. So, the smartest thing you can do is to understand the dress code that your organization follows. This could be quite different from the one that you are accustomed to. However, taking to this wholeheartedly is what will portray you as a smart and a quick learner. This will also be proof enough for your easy adaptability to changes.
Creating your Own Style:
While you need to follow the company dress code, you don’t have to be a clone of the other employees. Experiment with the dress code to create new looks which are perfect for the work environment. This is a great way to prove that you are brave enough to experiment and innovate without questioning the company policies.
Keep your work style minimalistic yet smart. This is what will make your bosses and super bosses notice you. Your style speaks volumes about your thoughts and helps you to stand out in the crowd. So, take down this mantra and try to live up to it.
Lisa is a designer by profession and writer by choice, she writes for almost all topics but design and Fashion are her favorites. Apart from these she also Volunteers at few Animal rescue centers. Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn.
November 29, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
Google. Microsoft. Deloitte. PwC. Cisco. Domino’s Pizza. Marriott International.
Those are just some of the employers using gamification in recruiting. What is gamification?
According to recruiterbox.com, Gamification is the concept which uses game theory, mechanics and game designs to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. According to this Society of Human Resources Management article, “Recruiting experts say gamification can stir people’s interest in job openings, project an innovative image of an employer, and deliver accurate previews of applicants’ future job performance.”
John Findlay, co-founder of Launchfire, a digital engagement shop that turns boring content and mandatory training materials into a fun, easy-to-digest, game-based learning experience, agrees. Recent college grads are a tech-focused generation and the use of mobile, video, virtual reality and gamification go a long way in recruiting and assessing recent college grads and entry-level job seekers, he says.
“Today’s employers face the challenge of recruiting and hiring recent college grads and Millennials, the largest generational demographic in the American workforce,” said Findlay. “Many companies are finding that using game-based learning and gamification, which integrate points, badges, competition and role-playing, can be used to effectively attract and assess candidates.”
“It was all the rage, especially in the IT industry, where technical skills change fast and traditional resumes don’t always tell the depth of job seekers skills,” says Kirk.
Gamification is commonly used in IT. Want to recruit a top coder? Run a competition to find them, says Kirk. But it’s also being used in many other industries, like hospitality. Marriott International created a recruiting game to attract Millennials called My Marriott Hotel. This game was delivered through Facebook, and according to the SHRM, allows candidates to experience what it’s like to manage a hotel restaurant kitchen before moving on to other areas of hotel operations. Players create their own virtual restaurant, where they buy equipment and ingredients on a budget, hire and train employees, and serve guests. Participants earn points for happy customers and lose points for poor service. They also are rewarded when their operation turns a profit. Continue Reading
November 25, 2016 by Anna Peters
Congratulations to the 50 winners of the Candidate Experience Awards! Among those winners is LEGO Group. Lego has this to say on their LinkedIn page and their website:
At the LEGO Group®, our mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. True to our spirit “Only the best is good enough”, we are a great company to work for – fun , fulfilling and always challenging in a fast moving market and industry. The great thing about the LEGO Group is everyone seems to have their own story to tell about their LEGO experience, which highlights our belief in a People Promise – Succeed together.”
LEGO Group’s “People Promise”:
At the heart of the LEGO Group is our People Promise – ‘Succeed together’. We strive to inspire and develop children to think creatively, reason systematically and release their potential to shape their own future – experiencing the endless human possibility. Our culture is based on openness, trust and our core values: Creativity, Imagination, Fun, Learning, Quality and Care – which are reflected in everything we do. The role of the LEGO People Promise is to enable execution of the business strategy and build the long-term health of the company, It defines why people should choose and commit the best of themselves to the organization, clarifies the “give” and the “get of the employee relationship and provides a common point of reference for employee management.
November 24, 2016 by Anna Peters
Congratulations to the 50 winners of the Candidate Experience Awards! Among those winners is Spectrum Health. Here’s what they have to say on their LinkedIn page:
Why West Michigan?
Our partner Hello West Michigan describes the region best: Alluring sunsets, cities bursting with outdoor sculpture, intriguing architecture, dozens of schools and universities, festivals, award-winning orchestras, theater, ballet and entertainment districts teeming with nightlife. West Michigan’s zest for living and learning results a winning combination of cultures, age groups and beliefs that make up the kind of culturally diverse opportunities you’ll find in only one place: here.
November 23, 2016 by Anna Peters
Isn’t it great that today we can find employers from across the world online? Our parents would have had to scour the newspapers and ask everyone they knew and still found only a fraction of the opportunities available. If you are like many job seekers, however, all this information doesn’t make the the job application process any less frustrating.
One company is dedicated to hearing your complaints and calling for change. Potentialpark conducts an annual global survey that aims to make it easier for job seekers to interact with companies, find career information and apply to the right jobs. Their survey recently opened in the U.S., and you can participate here. (Bonus for participating: you can win prizes!)
Potentialpark goes through thousands of career websites, job ads, online applications, and social media channels. They check what we find against the survey results. Finally, they make a powerful case to employers to make things clearer and more accessible for their applicants. Continue Reading