• Does underlining text mess up a resume when applying through an applicant tracking system?

    January 23, 2019 by
    There are thousands of ATS, but only a small percentage dominate the market. Some of the most popular ATS such as Oracle’s Taleo are widely used by many of the largest organizations and have changed little over the years. Others are sold by start-ups and tend to be far more modern in their approach. And, of course, some fall somewhere in the middle. My point here is that we must not generalize. What works well for one ATS is a disaster for another. In fact, because employers often customize their ATS, what works well for one employer may be a disaster for another even though they’re using the same ATS company.
    It is true that the formatting in a PDF is typically passed onto the recruiter if the ATS allows the candidate to upload a PDF (some don’t) and if that ATS passes that PDF to the recruiter (some only use the PDF to extract or parse the data) and if the recruiter chooses to look at the PDF (some don’t). The reality is that candidates can spend a ton of time formatting their PDF only for it to never be seen by the recruiter or hiring manager because the ATS may simply parse the resume in an attempt to complete required and optional fields such as first name, last name, email, street address, city, state, zip, most recent work experience, etc.

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  • Is matching technology the silver bullet that employers (and some vendors) want it to be?

    January 21, 2019 by

    Merriam-Webster defines a “silver bullet” as something that acts as a magical weapon, especially if it instantly solves a long-standing problem. Sounds to me like the promises that a lot of vendors make to potential customers, including promises made by some HR tech vendors to employers. 

    A recent episode of The Chad & Cheese Podcast (note the capitalized The, as in The Ohio State University, but I digress) caused me to ruminate about this subject, and if there’s one thing about rumination that I don’t like, is that it often ends up as vomit. The guest was the bright and likeable Claire McTaggart, chief executive officer of SquarePeg. During the episode, Claire described her company’s mission, product, customers, pricing, and value proposition and then the hosts, Joel Cheesman and Chad Sowash, passed judgment. In short, they liked her but not her business model. There were a number of aspects of her business to like but also some deal killers, chief among them the reliance on matching technology. Joel listed examples of sites which had claimed to have superb matching technology but essentially no longer exist including JobFox, Jobster, and Climber. What the hosts did not take the time to dive into, nor was that episode the appropriate time to do so, was why none of these sites have been able to make matching technology work and why that may be an impossible task, at least for certain roles.

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  • We need to stop blaming hourly, service industry workers for being poor when we pay them crap and treat them worse

    January 15, 2019 by

    More than 10,000 talent acquisition and other human resource professionals are avid readers of Hung Lee‘s excellent, weekly, e-newsletter, Recruiting Brainfood. If you’re in TA, HR, or an affiliated industry like I am, then you need to subscribe if you care about staying current with new technology, trends, and ways of looking at the world of recruitment.

    Hung recently shared an article published by Huffington Post by Lauren Hough. The article, “I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America”, was a fascinating, first-person view into the life of a lesbian (her sexual identification was quite relevant to the article) cable installer for a telecommunications company.  She made — and admitted to making — some mistakes and some ethical lapses, but for those of us whose jobs require far more muscle between our ears than on our arms, legs, and backs, it provided an incredibly powerful reminder of how hard service industry people work, how poorly they’re paid, and how awfully they’re treated. I shared the article to the new, Recruiting Brainfood group on Facebook, and that sparked an interesting discussion. Continue Reading

  • Should college career service offices allow multi-level marketers to post jobs or recruit students on-campus?

    January 14, 2019 by

     

    A college career service office professional emailed me earlier this morning to ask my opinion about whether colleges and universities should allow multi-level marketing (MLM) organizations to post jobs to the career service office websites and interview students on-campus. My answer:

    I wish that I had an easy answer for you, but MLM employment is a tricky one.

    On the one hand, we’re talking about educated adults, some of which could thrive in that environment. Not everyone wants to go the traditional routes and I don’t think that we should pass judgment or dissuade them from doing so, even if the work isn’t our idea of attractive. There are some very legitimate MLM’s such as Avon and so, to me, the issue isn’t whether MLM’s are inherently bad or immoral. The issue is whether the specific employer is and that could apply to many government, corporate, and non-profit jobs. Is it the role of career services to evaluate every employer and put up roadblocks to students who disagree? Even if we said it is, how feasible is that?
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  • The Do’s and Don’ts of Hiring Part-Time, Temporary and Seasonal Workers

    January 10, 2019 by

     

    Whether a company needs seasonal workers to handle summer tourism, part-time help to meet increased demand during the holidays, or temporary employees to cover a short-term vacancy, acquiring additional support can be both a blessing and a curse. Part-time, temporary and seasonal employees can alleviate stress on full-time employees, improve productivity and keep customers satisfied. However, these hires can also be a headache for companies due to additional liabilities for payroll and HR departments – and if not handled correctly, can negatively impact your company. How can you make this process more productive than painful?

    UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCES

    The first issue to consider is the proper classification of employees. There are requirements under the law on how different types of employees should be treated, so it’s important to understand how each employment status is defined.

    Part-time Employees – Most states define part-time employees as those who work less than 35 hours per week, compared to full-time employees who typically work at least 40 hours per week. Part-time employees are usually paid on an hourly basis. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), part-time employees are treated the same as full-time employees when it comes to minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor. They are also covered under OSHA’s safety and health policies concerning work-related injuries, illnesses and occupational fatalities. Additionally, part-time employees who work 1,000 hours or more during a calendar year may be eligible for retirement benefits under the Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA).

    While part-time employees must comply with company rules and policies, they generally receive limited or no company benefits, such as health benefits, vacation and sick days, paid holidays and unemployment compensation, among others, unless required by state labor laws and/or individual company policies. In today’s more competitive environment, many companies are extending benefits such as paid sick days and holidays to part-time employees to attract and retain qualified employees.

    Temporary Employees – Temporary employees, sometimes referred to as “temps,” are typically hired to cover for absent employees (such as those who are on maternity or disability leave) and temporary vacancies, or to fill gaps in a company’s workforce. Temporary employees may be hired directly or through a temporary staffing agency, in which case the temp is “on lease” with the staffing company and not an employee of the company that uses its services. Temporary agencies typically charge clients 15 to 30% more than the amount of compensation given to the temporary employee, though some temp employees may wish to negotiate their hourly rate.

    In some cases, temporary jobs may lead to permanent employment, in which case the agency may charge a fee. More often, companies hire temporary workers for a specific purpose while avoiding the cost of hiring regular employees.

    Temporary employees may work full or part-time. Although they are not usually eligible for company benefits, some agencies offer health care and other benefits to their temps.

    Depending on the state, temporary employees may have rights regarding federal discrimination and harassment claims, as well as other claims. In some circumstances, temporary employees may claim rights under the Family Medical Leave Act, which provides the right to take a leave of absence while taking care of a child, sick spouse, or elderly parent.

    Seasonal Employees – When companies need extra help during a particular time period, such as the holidays, they rely on seasonal employees. Seasonal employees are usually hired on a part-time basis, but some may work full-time.

    Like part-time employees, seasonal workers must be treated equally under FLSA regarding minimum wage, overtime, recordkeeping, workplace safety and health policies.

    While this provides a general overview of employment status, there are laws concerning employee treatment, benefits, and policies of part-time, temporary, or seasonal employees that vary by each state. Therefore, it’s advisable to check your state’s specific employment laws before making these hires. (add link to DOL – https://www.dol.gov/whd/state/state.htm)

    The employer needs to ensure that each employee is classified correctly and placed on the appropriate payroll. It’s important to complete paperwork correctly the first time in order to avoid problems down the road. For example, if you don’t withhold the correct amount of taxes the company will be responsible for refunding 100% of the owed taxes, plus additional fees and interest on the owed amount. The employer is also responsible for including temporary and seasonal employees’ wages in payroll taxes and filings. Filing correctly will save you from extra paperwork and penalties.

    PROVIDE PROPER ONBOARDING AND TRAINING

    Let’s begin with the tale of two hospitality companies. Company A views hiring seasonal employees as a necessary evil during the height of their tourist season. They usually wait until the last minute to start the hiring process, and because things are so hectic during this time of year, they scrimp on onboarding and training to save time. The result is high turnover, low productivity and an increase in customer service complaints.

    Meanwhile, Company B gears up for the busy season by planning ahead and scooping up the best candidates. They have formal onboarding and training procedures that have been fine-tuned over the years with feedback from seasonal employees and their managers. These hires do not start working in any capacity, especially interacting with customers, before finishing the required training course. The result is low turnover, higher productivity, repeat hires that reduces recruitment efforts and time bringing them up to speed, and satisfied customers.

    The moral of these stories is that part-time, temporary or seasonal employees deserve the same level of commitment and training as full-time employees. After all, you never know when one of these hires will become a full-time member of your team. Even if that never happens, these employees can have a big impact on your business in terms of productivity, culture, customer service and company reputation.

    Employers can set them up for success with an onboarding process that includes:

    • A full orientation that covers all company policies and procedures, as well as your expectations regarding their performance and accountability.
    • Training that provides the knowledge an employee needs to do a good job and make valuable contributions. Training should also encompass any safety issues that apply to the position.
    • Matching the new hire with a peer buddy, who can help them build a social network, encourage open dialogue and help with questions/issues in a timely manner. Having a buddy to keep a close eye on a new hire can also head off potential problems before they occur.
    • Regular check-ins with a manager/supervisor.
    • A formal introduction to the entire team, when possible.

    If part-time, temporary or seasonal workers do not feel like part of the team or become frustrated by the lack of knowledge and necessary tools to get the job done, it’s highly likely they will leave after a few days, putting you back to square one. During their short tenure with your company, they may cause more harm than good by interacting negatively with other employees and/or customers. Finally, in today’s world of social media, dissatisfied hires can tarnish your company’s reputation with a single scathing tweet.
     

    Top 5 Reasons Seasonal and Temporary Employees Quit

    While full-time employees typically cite reasons such as “lack of opportunity for advancement” or “a poor relationship with my boss” for leaving a company, seasonal hires and temps aren’t with a company long enough for these issues to come into play. With these employees, the most common reasons for quitting a job (usually after a very short time period) are:

    1. I don’t understand what I need to do (lack of training).
    2. There is no one available to help me or answer questions (lack of supervision).
    3. The work is boring or meaningless.
    4. The pay is not worth the amount of work required.
    5. I found a better job.

    IMMERSE HIRES IN YOUR COMPANY CULTURE

    Company culture can not only help you retain talented full-time employees, but also attract and keep part-time, temporary and seasonal hires. Numerous studies show that employees at every level become more invested and engaged with a company when there is a positive culture. What exactly does this mean? Culture can be defined as “a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time.”

    In other words, culture is the company’s personality. It might include the company’s mission, expectations, work environment, management style and community involvement. No matter how you define it, there is a strong link between culture and employee turnover, which affects productivity and success.

    A Columbia University study shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with a rich company culture is just 13.9 percent, compared to 48.4 percent in companies with poor cultures. The reason for this is simple: unhappy employees don’t tend to do more than the minimum, great workers who don’t feel appreciated quit, and poor managers negatively affect workers and productivity.

    In his Harvard Business Review blog post, “Transform Your Employees Into Passionate Advocates,” Rob Markey states: “Loyal, passionate employees bring a company as much benefit as loyal, passionate customers. They stay longer, work harder, work more creatively and find ways to go the extra mile. They bring you more great employees. And that spreads even more happiness for employees, for customers and for shareholders.”

    In fact, it literally pays to keep employees happy! The Department of Economics at the University of Warwick found that happy workers are 12 percent more productive than the average worker and unhappy workers are 10 percent less productive.

    Therefore, it’s important to make sure all employees, including part-time, temporary and seasonal hires, are happy and engaged by immersing them into your company’s culture. A positive company culture can also help you with your recruiting efforts by making you stand out from the crowd.

    AVOID COMMON MISTAKES

    One of the most frequent mistakes companies make when hiring seasonal employees is waiting too long to begin the recruitment process. Ideally, you want to make sure there is adequate staff in place before a busy period starts or a temporary vacancy begins. This gives the company time to onboard and train employees properly. Don’t assume that you’ll be able to fill positions quickly, even if you’ve had success in past years. It’s best to have a detailed plan in place that includes when the process will start, as well as where and how you’ll recruit – which brings us to another common mistake…

    Don’t rely solely on one or two recruiting methods. This limits the quality and diversity of your applicant pool and could increase the time it takes to fill positions. Consider recruitment methods that target your “ideal applicants,” such as college students. Try cultivating relationships with local universities so they feel inclined to refer top candidates. Also, remember that employee referrals are the gold standard! Ask people in your organization if they know anyone who may be interested.

    Finally, avoid relaxing your hiring standards for seasonal or temporary employees. While their tenure may be short, the impact they have your company can be lasting. Employ the same methods you use to ensure a great full-time hire, including a well-written job description, careful review of applications and/or resumes, thorough interviews, references and background checks. Think of this extra effort as an investment in your company and its future.

    THINK LONG-TERM

    Speaking of the future, hiring quality workers for a temporary vacancy or busy season can give you a pool of qualified candidates to call upon when you need them. Similarly, hiring talented part-time employees increases the likelihood of them becoming valuable full-time team members when the need arises. In fact, companies can reduce the costs and efforts of recruiting by encouraging good seasonal or temp workers to return during the following season or the next time a vacancy needs to be filled. To ensure that employees leave on a positive note, don’t forget to:

    Provide feedback – Like regular employees, part-timers, temps and seasonal hires need regular feedback. You may also want to consider offering incentives, such as a small bonus or pay raise for employees who exceed expectations.

    Conduct an exit interview – Just because an employee is only with you for a short time doesn’t mean he or she can’t provide valuable insights. Exit interviews give you a chance to learn about potential problems and fix them or reinforce positive policies and procedures. Exit interviews can also help avoid a negative review about your company: If an employee had a bad experience, allowing them to “be heard” may negate their desire to vent their frustration online.

    Some questions to consider include:

    1. What did you like most and least about your job?
    2. What would you change about your job, your team or the company as a whole?
    3. Were you trained properly and given the direction you needed to do your job?
    4. Were you comfortable talking to your manager or supervisor about issues?
    5. Did you feel like a valued part of the team/company?
    6. Would you recommend the company to a friend looking for a job? If not, why?

    From proper planning and recruiting efforts, to thoughtful onboarding, training and management, it pays to devote the time and resources to finding and retaining quality part-time, temporary and seasonal employees. These folks can have a positive impact on your company’s performance, culture and reputation, both now and in the future.
     

    Sources:

    “Guidelines for Hiring Part Time, Seasonal and Temporary Employees,” Optimum HRIS.
    “It Really Pays to Have a Rich Company Culture,” Entrepreneur, 2016.
    “Part time, temporary, and seasonal employees,” FindLaw, 2018.
    “The Importance of Seasonal Exit Interviews,” by Christin Nein, Coal March Productions, 2017.
    The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, 2018.

     

  • What colleges don’t want high school students and parents to consider during the application process

    January 09, 2019 by

    A friend of mine recently posted to Facebook that the guidance counselor at the high school her kids attend recently indicated that “most” colleges require at least three years of a second language in order to consider the student for possible admission. I called b.s. on that statement and then outlined some additional information that high school guidance counselors and college admissions representatives often either don’t know or, for whatever reason, often fail to communicate:

    I know you and I are on the same page, but the guidance counselor is providing terrible guidance and needs to be more careful about accurately guiding her students. 

    There are 8 Ivy League schools. There are 3,000, four-year colleges. There are another 4,300 one- and two-year colleges. 

    Ivys represent 0.267 percent of four-year colleges. Hardly representative.

    More important words of advice: Talk openly and honestly with your kids about the financial impact of college. 

    Here is the reality: if a family is wealthy and can pay out of pocket — including savings — then the cost isn’t as important.  Continue Reading

  • Identifying talent through internships and co-ops ranked as most important by employers of students and recent grads

    by

    A pretty common question that we get at College Recruiter is, “What do employers care about?” Sometimes, candidates are asking because they want to know how they can become better qualified or better communication their existing skillset. And sometimes we’re asked by other employers who are considering creating or improving their college and university relations programs.

    A recent survey of employer members of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicated that those mostly large employers are most concerned with their early identification of candidates and their branding efforts. “Identifying talent early through internships and co-ops was rated the highest, with 94.9 percent of respondents indicating it is “very” or “extremely” important. Trailing slightly was branding their organization to campuses, as 90.2 percent indicated it is “very” or “extremely” important. Other factors of high importance were diversity (87.4 percent) and measuring the results of their university relations and recruiting program (83.5 percent).”

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  • Video, slides, and recap of College Recruiting Bootcamp on AI at Google

    December 13, 2018 by

     

    Wow, did we ever receive great feedback from Monday’s College Recruiting Bootcamp on AI at Google. I thought I should share some highlights:

    • All 200 available tickets sold-out almost a week ahead of the event thanks, in part, to promotional efforts by the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals, CareerXroads, Recruiting Brainfood, and Jibe.
    • A handful let us know that they couldn’t attend. We gave their tickets to people on the waitlist.
    • Attendees at the Sunday evening reception, sponsored by TalentNet Inc., enjoyed crab, steak, grilled vegetables, adult beverages, and more than a few laughs.
    • Whitney Selfridge, Google’s Product Marketing Manager, and Faith Rothberg, College Recruiter’s Chief Executive Officer, warmly welcomed the hundreds who attended in-person and via the live stream, which was sponsored by AllyO.
    • I delivered an overview of how AI is already being used in the recruitment industry.
    • Tarquin Clark, Director of Partnerships and Go To Market for Google’s Cloud Talent Solutions, delivered the opening keynote on how AI can better our education, businesses, and careers. He then moderated a panel discussion featuring Roopesh Nair, President and Chief Executive Officer of Symphony Talent; Jayne Kettles, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer for gr8 People; Joe Essenfeld, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Jibe; and Justin Lumby, Vice President of Technology Strategy for TalentNet Inc.
    • Alexandra Levit of PeopleResults and author of Humanity Works delivered the featured presentation on how technology and people will merge in future workforces. She then moderated a panel discussion featuring Jennifer Sethre, CEO and Founder of Intry; Wahab Owolabi, Recruiting Manager for Rubrik; Jared Bazzell, Talent Acquisition Manager – Campus for CDW; and Doug Berg, Founder of ZAPinfo. Thanks to ZAPinfo, 100 attendees received a copy of Alexandra’s excellent, new book.
    • After a delicious lunch sponsored by our partner, Google, we were treated to the closing keynote by John Sumser of HR Examiner on AI, the algorithms, and who owns the outcomes. He then moderated a spirited discussion with panelists Jeff Dunn, Campus Relations Manager for Intel; Derek Zeller, Director of Recruiting Solutions and Channels for ENGAGE Talent; Richard Rosenow, Workforce Planning Analyst for Facebook; and Heather Bussing of the Law Offices of Heather Bussing.

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  • Salary statistics and what they mean to you

    December 07, 2018 by

     

     

    Guest article by Spry Ideas

    First, the good news: The unemployment rate in the U.S. is the lowest it’s been since 2001, and the percentage of prime working age adults who are employed is the highest it’s been since 2008.1 Though this improvement in the job market hasn’t been consistent across all industries, job functions and regions, there appears to be an overall improvement.

    While this is undoubtedly positive for both graduates seeking jobs and the economy, it presents a few challenges for agencies and employers. Many positions are getting harder to fill and candidates now have more choices, and therefore, increased bargaining power.

    Though location, benefits, flexible hours and work environment are important factors in a career decision, salary is still ranked as the most important influence. A recent survey by Glassdoor shows that 67 percent of job seekers pay attention to salary when scanning job ads, more than any other piece of information on a position. Continue Reading

  • Symphony Talent now using Google Cloud Talent Solution to power career site job search, just like College Recruiter does

    December 05, 2018 by

    Ever have one of those, “Aha!”, moments where suddenly a puzzle that seemed to be missing a piece to became complete? That’s how I felt a little earlier today.

    Peter Clayton of TotalPicture forwarded to me a press release that he received from our friends over at Symphony Talent. They were announcing that they are now live as a Google Cloud Talent Solution partner, under which Symphony Talent will use Google’s search technology — the best in the world — to power the job search on the websites of its employer clients. Ah, now I get why Symphony Talent’s chief executive officer Roopesh Nair will be a panelist at our College Recruiting Bootcamp on AI at Google. We were very happy to have him fly across the country from New York City to San Francisco to be a panelist at our event. And the event looks to be a tremendous hit with about 200, senior, talent acquisition leaders as attendees, presenters, and panelists combined with a superb venue and Peter’s recording and live streaming, but that’s still a long way for Roopesh to travel. Given today’s announcement from Symphony Talent, however, it now makes perfect sense. Our event will be a great opportunity for him to talk about how and why Symphony Talent decided to use Google’s AI-powered search technology, which College Recruiter believes delivers more relevant search results at a lower cost than anything else on the planet.

    College Recruiter’s site is powered by the same technology, and we couldn’t be happier with the technology or the service that we’ve received from Google. To our friends at Symphony Talent, we say, “Welcome aboard and congratulations on making yet another wise decision on behalf of your employer clients”.

    Here is the press release:

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