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Posted February 25, 2020 by

How to negotiate a better salary during a job search

At College Recruiter, we recommend that candidates first get the job offer and then negotiate their compensation. To reverse that upsets many employers who forget that the primary reason that people work is to get money so they can live. Once you have the job offer, ask the recruiter what they are offering. The recruiter will likely want the candidate to first talk about their salary expectations but, when negotiating, it is almost always better for the other party to make the first offer.

If the candidate says they want $20 per hour, the employer will then know that they can hire the candidate for that amount or less. The employer may have been willing to pay $22, but few will tell the candidate that $20 isn’t enough and the employer instead will take the $20. That’s a form of wage theft, because the employer knows that the fair value for the candidate is $22 as that’s what the employer was prepared to pay, and yet the employer is going to pay them less than the fair value. 

Whether the candidate or employer makes the initial offer, College Recruiter recommends that the candidate finalize the hard compensation discussions, so they know what they will be paid on an hourly or salary basis, 401k matching, medical insurance, etc. At that point, then start to negotiate what we call soft benefits such as the ability to work at home one day a week; work four, 10-hour days during the summer;  a week of unpaid time-off between your current job and the new job; an extra week of vacation; etc.

To many employees, the idea of getting any of these soft benefits is worth a lot to them, and the employer can provide a lot of extra value to you by agreeing to these soft benefits, but you don’t want to give up your hard benefits like wages in order to get the soft benefits like extra vacation days. You want both.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted February 25, 2020 by

Ask the Experts: I’m trying to find a job for after graduation in another state but my career service office isn’t being helpful.

Question:

Graduation is fast approaching and I’m stressing out as I don’t have a job yet. My career service office is focused on jobs from local employers and so isn’t of much help as I attend an out-of-state school and want to move home after graduation to be close to friends and family. I’ve applied to dozens of jobs but after weeks I’ve heard back from only a few and those were automated responses confirming my applications. No interviews. No emails from recruiters. No job offers. Help! I love my parents, but I don’t want to share a room with my little sister again.

First Answer:

Maybe it’s time to expand the way you are searching for a job. It sounds like you’ve been applying online to various companies and you’ve also visited career services. Those are two great starts. But I would consider adding a third type of job search–asking your parents, their friends, their contacts, and anyone else you know in your hometown that can help. The best way to find a job is through old-fashioned “word of mouth.” Start with your parents. Do they know anyone in the field of your dreams? If so, reach out to that person and ask him or her to meet you for an informational interview–to learn more about the field. While you’re there, ask for 5 additional contacts in the field. Reach out to them and ask to meet for coffee. Tell them you will be in town from such-and-such a date till such-and-such a date. Go on the informational interviews (promise each person you will only use 15 minutes of his or her time). In this way you begin to have a true network of people who are thinking about you and looking for opportunities for you. It’s called the “hidden job market.” This job market knows of jobs before they are advertised online. Using this approach helps you avoid competing against hundreds of grads for the same position. It also gives you an advantage because you hear about the job earlier. I hope this helps, and good luck!

Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks, 2005) and Power Sales Words: How to Write It, Say It, and Sell It with Sizzle (Sourcebooks, 2006)

Second Answer:

 Keep in mind that most job openings aren’t advertised because a lot of businesses prefer to hire from within the company or through word of mouth. If you’re coming in from off the street, you could be out of luck.  Instead of working harder, work smarter. Use online resources and business trade publications, such as The Wall Street JournalForbes, and Fast Company to target desirable companies in your home area. Then, prepare to infiltrate these companies by making the transition from outsider to insider. Here’s how:

  • Get to know individuals already employed at your target company who are in a position to hire you. 
  • Apply for an internship position that will land you inside the company and provide you with an opportunity to build your skill portfolio.
  • Secure referrals from anyone you know in your chosen field—either people with years of experience behind them, such as old professors and your parents’ friends, or recent graduates who will have sympathy for your plight and might also be more familiar with a company’s lower-level job openings.

Using a combination of these approaches, you are much more likely to gain access to unadvertised job openings in the companies you desire. However, it probably won’t happen overnight. Be persistent and don’t resort to laziness, even if you’re not seeing immediate results. Keep your expectations realistic and remind yourself of the end goal every day. Above all, don’t doubt your own abilities. Ignore all of the folks who tell you that the market sucks and that you should take any available job, even if it’s not what you want or need. Learn to take rejection with a grain of salt—it’s all part of the process. If you take the right action patiently and efficiently, an opportunity will come along that’s a good fit for your skillset.

— Alexandra Levit, author of They Don’t Teach Corporate in College.

Third Answer:

While it likely doesn’t feel like it, this may be a great opportunity. Chances are this will by no means be the last time you’re looking for a job – according to the US Department of Labor, on average college grads will hold 10-14 different jobs between the time they’re 18-38. Right now you have the benefit of resources in your midst that can help. So use them and learn how the process works. Start out by getting clear on what you’re looking for:

  • What skills do you want to use, which do you want to learn? 
  • What are the values important to you and that you’ll be looking for in an employer? 
  • What types of things do you love to do – and what about them do you enjoy? If you love playing video games you might be hard-pressed to find someone to pay you to play but when you identify that you’re drawn to the graphics or to the storytelling, now you’ve got some ideas to work with. 

Just because career services doesn’t have lots of prospects in your geography, it makes sense to consult them on your resume, your cover letter and your applications. They are likely to help you on improving your chances of getting a response to blind outreach. While you’re there, ask to get connected to alumni in the area you’re going to. Having an internal referral makes it anywhere from 3-14 times more likely to get the job, so tap into this group – whether for networking to learn more about an industry and organizations within it, or once you’ve earned it, for help in getting an interview. 

Then tap into your own network – if you’re going back to your home town, chances are you know folks who can help. Do you know people who you volunteered with or through a past summer job? Can friends’ parents provide some useful insight into opportunities? Remember – networking is a two-way street. When people help you, commit to paying it forward. You might not know how right away but actively working to help those who help you is the best way to build a lasting network that not only grows over time, will be there when you need it, but will also be your champion if they’re asked about you. 

Remember that you’re likely to do the job search again, and again, and again. Take note of what helps you and what doesn’t. And remember to make the most of the journey and stay curious along the way. You may be awfully surprised at what you’ll find.

— Pam Baker, CEO of Journeous

Fourth Answer:

Here are some things you can do, without delay, to find a great job “back home”, if your college is remote:

  • Resume: Make sure your resume focuses on job or internship accomplishments related to your major
  • LinkedIn: Get help doing your profile. If you college is not helping with this, get a career coach; you can work remotely with most. LinkedIn is THE way most companies and organizations find talent like you. Use your home city — since that’s where you want to be starting your career — not your college city, so local companies there can find you more easily. – On LinkedIn, follow companies in your target city and sign up for job alerts from them.
  • Create Google alerts for news about job titles your after and company names you’re after.
  • Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, others: Follow target companies here so you’ll see any news and job postings they put here.
  • Create a job search business card: Your name, phone number, email address, LinkedIn address, possible titles or major-related work topics. You don’t yet have an official title nor a company you’re working for but having a card is a serious sign of professionalism. Keep it simple, and get them printed for you; don’t print them on your home printer on that flimsy paper. Few things make you feel more like a professional than giving someone your business card!
  • Network! About 60%-80% of jobs are found this way, a statistic I see proven true over and over again with my clients of all ages. Ask about your desired companies when you talk with friends, family, neighbors in your home city, fellow students, Internship supervisors, faculty, and business people at any business gatherings in your home city. Ask them who they know in your target companies, and ask if you can speak with these people — not to ask about immediate openings, but to learn more about what they do and who they know. If they detect your interest is in THEM, they will help you! So start developing a database of contacts and keep it fresh.
  • Subscribe to the online business publications in your home city to see which companies are growing, which ones are fading, who’s expanding, who’s adding buildings (and thus, people).
  • Google “Best Companies to Work For” in the local business press there, and learn what you can about these companies and organizations. Why not work for a great company!
  • Join professional organizations in your major, in your target city. There are engineering societies, biology clubs, Public Relations groups, Sales and Marketing groups, Operations…you name it. College senior memberships / new grad memberships are usually much less expensive than a full membership yet you get all the membership privileges.
  • Join professional groups on LinkedIn to see what people in your future career are discussing today.
  • Keep checking in with people on your networking database or they will forget you.
  • Do practice interviews on campus or with a coach, in person or via video conferencing.
  • Check with your college’s Alumni Office for earlier graduates who are in your target city. They’ll enjoy meeting you and will want to help.

— Joanne Meehl, founder of TheJobSearchQueen.com.

Fifth Answer:

The strategy of pushing out mass mailings is a very passive and never ends with a positive result. SO you must become more proactive quickly.  First, don’t make assumptions about career service offices.  Unless you are going to a regional state university the majority of career professionals have connections beyond the immediate area of the institution.  So first get an appointment with career staff and go over your job search strategy – it is not focused.  Second use the resources available to you.  First really check your institution’s employment portal – this will require some research skills.  You will find opportunities back in your home region – but you cannot simply drop them a resume.  You need to reach out to them – best to ditch the spring break plans and head home for some informational interviews. Next, since you are probably not the only student from your home region to come to this institution, use your institution’s LinkedIn  alumni site (or People Grove or whatever alumni software they have) and see who from your institution resides in the area.  Make connections with alums who are doing the kinds of things you are interested in.  Again use information interview to collect the information you need to target prospective employers.  Nest, you should have friends from high school who still live in the area or are returning from college themselves.  Connect with them in LinkedIn or Facebook or however and learn from them who they are connecting with.  Finally, ask your parents, relatives and mentors at home to suggest folks you can talk to.

As you make these connections, research, research, research.  Find out what companies are growing the fastest,  What sectors of the economy in your home region have been expanding.  Go to the local Chamber of Commerce webpage, the regional economic development office – groups like these have information on hiring.  Through these sites you may find special career/employment events, information sessions.   Finally check to see if there is a young professional  club or a SHRM chapter in the area – go meet people, learn what they are doing.

In short, your current strategy will not work.  Employers do not come courting you even though you think they.  They want candidates with initiative – and the job search is one way to demonstrate this.  The job search is hard, requires planning, and solid research.   Best thing about doing this – when the economy eventually weakens and you have to find yourself looking for a new job – you will have the skill to do so.  Your class mates who seemed to have an easy time – career fair, interview, job – now have to really dig deep and hustle to find their next job.

Have fun, smile – patience.

Dr. Phil Gardner, Director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University

Posted February 18, 2020 by

Can I trust a company that promises to find me an international internship?

A number of organizations help students find international internships, mostly for a fee. The business models vary, as do the fees, and there are many stories about fantastic experiences, but also some whose experiences were, at best, disappointing.

One of the best known international internship vendors is CRCC Asia. I recently reached out to director of university partnerships, Jillian Low, to ask her how students, career service offices, and others should go about evaluating a potential international internship provider. She provided a well-thought-out, step-by-step outline and, fortunately, was willing to allow us to share it here:

There are many different avenues that a student can take to complete an international internship. I always note four basic sources of international internships (although not an exhaustive list): 

  • Student Sourced
    • Pluses: Great option for a very independent student or a student looking for a specific internship with a specific company. It may also be a more affordable option.
    • Minuses: Time intensive, can be difficult for the university to track, health/safety/risk management concerns, likely no on-site support, and lack of local network.
  • University Sourced
    • Pluses: A lot of on-campus resources, ample opportunity for in-person pre-departure/orientation. Students may be required to take courses or complete workshops prior to departure. It gives the university/department a lot of control in how well-prepared their interns will be in their experience abroad.
    • Minuses: Placement responsibility falls on university shoulders, time and staff intensive. There may be little to no on-site support.
  • Alumni Sourced
    • Pluses: Alumni have a vested interest in supporting the student as well as understand their curriculum and educational experience. Furthermore, the university will have to do less vetting of the company, as they know and trust the alumni. 
    • Minuses: Placement responsibility and support falls on the Alumni engagement team within the university and is still time and staff intensive, as well as little to no on-site support.
  • Provider Sourced
    • Pluses: Student is fully supported by pre-departure, arrival, and throughout the program. The internship is vetted in-person with ability to troubleshoot and support while on the ground. Local expertise is given by the provider. 
    • Minuses: Higher cost of participation. University relinquishes some control and oversight to the provider.

Knowing that international internships are a great opportunity for students, but not all will want to arrive in a country with no support, create their own social network, manage the travel logistics independently, or take on the health and safety risk of living in another country by themselves, I think it is imperative that all universities have a mixed portfolio of options to include student or university sourced as well as provider sourced. 

For universities just adding providers to their portfolio this can be a daunting process, and knowing what and how to vet can be a long procedure. I do know that the Forum on Education Abroad will be hosting a 1 day International Internship Taskforce this March prior to their annual conference which will begin the process of creating and setting standards for international internship programs. Hopefully, after the taskforce, next steps will be shared and additional buy-in requested. 

Finally for any student searching for an international internship on their own, there are some great research steps to take in order to find a great fit. In terms of looking at opportunities I would first:

  1. Review if the country of choice has a culture of internship or if there will be challenges in finding the opportunity through direct outreach to different companies. It is also good to look into how higher education courses for their degree are handled in the country and if they are tied to an apprenticeship or co-op experience which can be very common in Europe as this may limit opportunities for international candidates or set a duration minimum.
  2. Look into what opportunities are there for non-native or non-fluent speakers of the country. In Japan, for example, many placements require a certain level of language and a test to prove it. For France, they may be happy to determine the language level through the interview process.
  3. Consider what level of support the student will need in-country including language, emergency support, and housing. Going alone and sourcing your own experience can be the less expensive option but utilizing an international internship provider can readily provide language support, accommodation with a built-in social network of other interns and overall emergency support if needed. 

Once those three things are reviewed I would then source opportunities:

  1. Connect with the study abroad office to see if they know of any opportunities
  2. Look into alumni connections within the country to see if they have any leads
  3. Review international job boards for opportunities
  4. See about international internship providers who work within the location, vetting them based on:
    1. Alumni feedback
    2. Placement opportunities – especially for engineering
    3. Fees and what is included
  5. Review what local universities are offering in terms of internship for their students
  6. Look into expat boards or communities in the locale who may be able to provide resources or background information.

CRCC Asia specializes in connecting students with applied work experience in dynamic international settings. With over 13 years experience working in Asia, we have led internship programs for over 9,000+ students and graduates from more than 100 countries. We offer a range of program models built to satisfy the interests of each of our partner institutions, including a wide range of unique custom and faculty-led programming.  

Posted February 13, 2020 by

How employers should communicate their social justice and progressive values to job seekers

The conventional wisdom is that the older you get, the more conservative you get. But better analysis shows that how progressive or conservative your generation is has more to do with when they came of age than your current age. Generations that came of age when conservativism was fashionable, such as during the Reagan Administration, tend to stay conservative as they age. And generations that came of age when progressiveness was fashionable, such as during the Obama Administration, tend to stay progressive as they age.

Today’s youngest job seekers — members of Gen Z — came of age during Obama’s presidency, and tend to be more progressive than previous generations. They have a greater interest in working with companies that place a high value on gender pay equity, salary transparency, diversity, equity, and inclusion. How should employers communicate these values to job candidates in an authentic way?

Authenticity by employers is important to all candidates, not just the youngest members of the workforce. But the youngest members also tend to be amongst the savviest in finding accurate information, so employers may be able to more easily fool older than younger candidates, but all deserve accurate information.

At College Recruiter, we remind employers of the expression that a picture is worth 1,000 words but then build on that to tell them that if a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video is worth 1,000 pictures. Use video to communicate your corporate values and do so using short stories by actual employees. 

Do you encourage the creation and active participation in employee resource groups such as those for members of LGBTQ communities? If so, record a very short video and then share that on your YouTube channel and elsewhere. 

Have you undergone an audit to ensure that your compensation is equitable across gender and other lines? If so, record a very short video and then share that too.

Today’s grads, as compared to past generations, are more inclined to care about concepts like diversity, inclusion, equal pay for women, instead of just what their own salary and benefits will be. College Recruiter has been helping students and recent graduates find part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs since 1994 and so we’ve seen a lot of changes. One of those changes is the heightened desire by those mostly younger candidates to do work that benefits society rather than just their bank accounts. The reasons are numerous, but their education and the economy are two of the most important. Regarding education, today’s young people are taught more about diversity, climate change, and other societal issues when they’re in primary and secondary schools and so they know and care more about these issues than previous generations. Regarding the economy, it is pretty easy for them to find a job and so they’re better able to be choosy. If you graduate into a recession, you’re going to feel fortunate to be able to get any job and so you take it even if the employer’s values don’t align well with yours. But if you have the choice of five jobs, you’re able to weigh factors like salary against social good and many will take less salary in return for doing work that benefits society as a whole.

More companies are being transparent around salary and hiring decisions to address these issues and young workers are reacting as you would expect: they’re more inclined to seek and accept employment from employers who are more transparent about their compensation and hiring practices. Fortunately, more companies are being more transparent around salary and hiring decisions and we’re advocates for that, but “more” does not mean most. A quick look at the job posting ads on just about any job search site will reveal that the vast majority of job ads do not disclose the salary, which we feel is counterproductive both to the candidate and the employer. Job search sites see a higher quantity and quality of applications to jobs that disclose salary ranges. The only justification for an employer not disclosing salary is their desire to underpay a candidate. If the employer wants to pay fairly for a role, then they should know before advertising it what a fair range would be and they should publish that as part of the job listing ad. If a candidate meets the basic criteria but not all, then the hiring manager should be able to explain that to the candidate when offering them a salary toward the bottom of the range and the hiring manager should be able to explain what the candidate needs to do in order to be paid more, such as accumulating X years of experience with a particular piece of technology. 

It is one thing for an employer to value diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is another thing for their recruiters and hiring managers to discuss such topics during the hiring process. Many employers have made great strides in diversifying their applicant pool, yet still overwhelmingly hire candidates who are not diverse. Why? Because many of the hiring managers are still reluctant to hire people whose backgrounds, thought process, etc. differ from their own. But study after study demonstrate that the more diverse a workforce, the more productive that workforce is and so hiring manager who consciously or unconsciously resist diversity are undermining the efforts of their organizations to improve the productive of their workforce and no employer should employ a manager who does that. Hiring managers need to be educated about the productivity benefits of diversity and embrace those. If they’re unwilling or unable to do so, then their employers should bring in hiring managers who are able and willing to recruit and retain workforces which are as productive as possible. 

As the United States workforce becomes increasingly diverse, it is becoming increasingly important for employers to expand their talent pools so that they have access to more diverse candidates. Employers who look at their top performers and then want to hire more people with similar attributes are condemning themselves to a non-diverse workforce as everyone in that workforce starts to look more and more alike. If all of your top salespeople come from the same fraternity, it is tempting to only hire people from that fraternity. That begs the question, however, as to whether top salespeople — perhaps even better than the ones you have now — might be found elsewhere. Could they be women? Could they be people who aren’t members of fraternities or sororities? Might they attend schools from which you’ve never hired people? From majors different from those you’ve targeted? Just because candidates with certain backgrounds have worked well for you in the past does not mean that those are the only backgrounds that will work well for you in the future, or even will be the backgrounds that will work the best for you in the future.

Faith Rothberg, CEO of College Recruiter

Posted February 11, 2020 by

What has changed in the job board industry since College Recruiter went live in 1996?

College Recruiter’s chief executive officer, Faith Rothberg, was recently interviewed by a learning and development company. One of the questions they asked was how the job board industry has changed since our site went live way back in 1996.

Two of the biggest things that have changed are how employers treat candidates and the technology used to bring the two together. 

Employers treat candidates with far more respect now than they did in the mid-90s. Some of that has to do with the economy because it is far harder to hire well-qualified people today than it was 25 years ago. But some of that has to do with efforts by groups like The Talent Board, which runs the Candidate Experience Awards. We were very active in helping that organization get off the ground and continue to advocate for it. It uses a carrot instead of stick approach by praising employers for treating candidates well instead shaming those who don’t. 

On the technology side, we can use College Recruiter as an example of how much and how fast it has changed. We have had seven versions of our website in 23 years. That might sound like a lot, but that’s an average of one roughly every three years.

When we launched in 1996, only 50 of the Fortune 500 had websites and none of those had a searchable database of jobs that allowed candidates to apply on-line. Instead, you could sometimes search but usually there would just be a generic page that described at a high level the kinds of candidates the employer was seeking and you’d be asked to mail, fax, or maybe email your resume instead of applying online to a specific posting. Today, virtually every company with more than a few hundred employees has an applicant tracking system and, therefore, searchable job postings that allow you to apply to specific postings. Many of those integrate assessments so you sometimes aren’t even able to apply if you’re unqualified. In short, as compared to 25 years ago, candidates and employers spend far less time today trying to find each other and candidates spend far less time applying to jobs. That allows them far more time to make sure that they are a good fit for each other.  Are there any trends you’re following for 2020? In terms of technology or otherwise?  

A trend we’re following for 2020 is something that we’ve invested a tremendous amount of time and money preparing for. College Recruiter is one of the only niche job boards in the world to have successfully migrated our employer customers from duration- to performance-based pricing. Duration-based pricing was like buying an ad in the newspaper: you paid $X to run your ad for Y days. We still offer $75 postings for 30-days because many employers prefer to buy that way, but most of our customers now pay for every candidate that we send to them, usually by click. If we run an ad and don’t send candidates to the employer then we don’t get paid. Our interests, therefore, are better aligned and the employer no longer has to post-and-pray.

At the same time as pay-for-performance is rolling over some of our out-of-date competitors like a tsunami, automated systems are determining where job ads run. This is called programmatic job ad distribution and the sites which get to run an ad, for how many days, and for how much money will be the ads which get the best results. In the mid-1990’s, the sites that got the ads were those which had the funniest Superbowl ads. If your job board delivers quality candidates in the quantity desired by the employer, then you’re going to continue to receive similar ads from that and other employers and the amount you get paid for the candidates you deliver to the employer will increase, so you’re making more money and your customers are happy about that.

In addition the changes taking place on the tech side, there’s also been a lot of changes on the candidate side. In the mid-1990’s, the candidates entering the workforce were the youngest members of Gen X and oldest Millennials. Now, the oldest Millennials are approaching 40 and the generation entering the workforce is Gen Z. With the rise of Gen Z has also come a lot of talk about the future of work. Will there be work or will AI displace all of us? If there is no work or not enough for the vast majority of people, will we all receive a universal basic income (UBI) and, if not, how will we survive?

There’s been a long term trend moving away from living to work toward working to living. What I mean by that is far more than Baby Boomers, Gen Z wants to make a positive impact on the world. They place greater value on their personal relationships and understand that they cannot count on an employer to be loyal to them during difficult times. They value working hard and seek financial security but, sadly, they don’t expect to find it. 

Regarding the future of work, look for more freelancing and gig work not because the people want it but because corporations are demanding it. Look for more flexible working relationships including project-based work and remote work. 

Employers should be prepared: the gig economy will make recruitment easier but retention harder. Employers will be able to staff up and down faster but their workforce will be less experienced and be less efficient. 

In our college recruiting niche, we’re seeing a rapidly increasing minority of employers becoming school- and even major-agnostic. Employers are starting to use productivity data to determine where their best hires come from and they are finding that its more about the person and less about the school or major. We’re excited about that, because we believe that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career, not just those from the elite schools. 

We’re sometimes asked if there is one thing that we would advise talent acquisition teams to do differently with these Gen Z candidates. The answer is no different than if we were to advise them as to what to do differently with a Boomer, Gen Xer, or Millennial because we all want the same thing from prospective employers: do a better job of communicating to the candidates about the positive impact they can have on the world around them by working for your organization. Gen Zers get the attention around this issue because it appears to matter more to them at the age they’re at than it did to previous generations, but who doesn’t want to make the world a better place, both while they’re at work and on their own time?

Some of the advise we give to candidates has changed over the years, because the underlying issues have changed. For example, we talk a lot more now about starting salary because that has become so critical. Employers tend to increase pay by percentages rather than the value you deliver, so if you start off being paid too little you’ll likely always be paid too little. If your boss doesn’t value your work as shown by underpaying you, try to find a different job within the same company where your work will be better valued as shown by your compensation. And if that doesn’t work, find a new employer. 

Hopefully, candidates understand that we are NOT telling them to quit their jobs to get paid better. That strategy can work, but it is far better to find a way to get paid better by your current employer. A key to making that happen is for the employee to understand that the vast majority of employers want to compensate their employees fairly. Unfortunately, some hiring managers don’t know what fair compensation is. The reality is that employees can find this information as easily as employers and employees should use that information to negotiate a fair starting salary. This has become even more crucial for Gen Z candidates than generations before because Gen Z employees are carrying so much more student debt when they finish school than previous generations.

The last couple of questions for Faith were about industry jargon. She was asked for her favorite and least favorite terms. Her favorite was CPC (cost-per-click) because our successful migration from duration- to performance-based pricing such as CPC is driving fantastic growth at College Recruiter.

On the flip side of that jargon coin, she said her least favorite was matching technology, simply because it doesn’t work. It would be great if it did work but the reality is that it needs massive amounts of great data to work well. The data partially comes from the resume which is a backward-looking document and Gen Z candidates are so early in their careers that their resumes simply don’t have much data on them.

The data also comes from job postings which are forward-looking documents and tend to be very poorly written. For example job postings almost always talk about the employers requirements, many of which are actually preferences, and typically talk little about job duties. So you’ve got this situation where the Gen Z candidate can’t show much yet but the employer will only be matched with them if they’ve accomplished a lot professionally. That might work well for an engineer with ten years of experience but it fails miserably for a young adult who has had a couple of part-time jobs and maybe one internship.

Faith Rothberg, CEO of College Recruiter

Posted February 04, 2020 by

What was the original idea for College Recruiter and what problems were we trying to solve?

College Recruiter’s chief executive officer, Faith Rothberg, was recently interviewed by a learning and development company. One of the questions they asked was about the history of our company, including what problems we were attempting to solve.

The company out of which College Recruiter grew was founded in November 1991. We were publishing maps and employment magazines for college campuses for the first few years.

In 1995, a couple of us were in a career service office at the University of Minnesota when the director said to us, “There’s this thing called the Internet”. She said that she didn’t know what it was but that some of her students were using it to research companies they were about to interview with. In those days, the best way to do that research was to go into the career service office and go through their collection of annual, corporate reports until you found the one for the company you were researching or, just as often, found that it was missing.

We paid a high school student who was working for us $3,000 to build the first version of our website. We launched in November 1996. Looking back, it was incredibly rudimentary but not at all uncommon for the era. Job seekers could either search by category or location, but not both. So you could run a search for engineering jobs or jobs in Illinois but not engineering jobs in Illinois.

The problem we were trying to solve was to try to find a way to help every student and recent graduate find a great career. It was — and remains — important to us that we didn’t just serve some students and hardly any recent graduates or just students from some schools. We wanted to be inclusive and not exclude students simply because they happened to attend the “wrong” school. Unfortunately, we still see that approach a lot amongst some of our indirect competitors.

We’re currently in the middle of launching the seventh version of our software. True to our desires way back in 1996, our site is built from the ground-up to be inclusive. About 2.5 million job seekers use our site a year and every one of them has full access to every part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level job advertised on our site as they search by their desired location and keywords. The keywords can be job title, major, military occupation code (MOC), and in just about any language.

So, if you grew up in Philadelphia, are attending a school in Los Angeles, and want to find a job in Houston, you’re going to able to do that on College Recruiter. It is very, very unlikely that your career service office website will have any jobs listed in Houston and, if it does, it will likely only be a very, very small number. At College Recruiter, we typically have about 750,000 jobs advertised on our site at any given time.

Posted January 28, 2020 by

Do unpaid internships hurt society?

The Augusta (Virginia) Free Press recently published an article that caught my eye. College Recruiter has published a number of articles about how unpaid internships are illegal and how unpaid internships harm students, but we haven’t focused as much on the damage that unpaid internships do to society. The article by the Free Press does that, and does that well.

College Recruiter believes that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. As a result, we are pretty passionate about how unfair unpaid internships are to students, especially when they’re offered by for-profit corporations as those organizations are essentially saying that their business operations and shareholders should be subsidized by mostly young adults who are often going to graduate with student debt that can’t be discharged by bankruptcy (the only form of debt that can’t be) and is as large as many mortgages.

Some might argue that employers shouldn’t have to pay interns because the interns get training and experience from the work. Yes, they get training and experience, but doesn’t that apply to all work? Should we all work for free?

Others might argue that non-profits and government agencies shouldn’t have to pay interns. That’s already the law federally, but we disagree there too. Just because you’re a non-profit does not mean you’re struggling financially. It just means you don’t have shareholders and so excess cash is reinvested into the operations instead of being distributed to owners. As for government agencies, the U.S. government literally has the power to print money so any argument that federal agencies don’t have the ability to pay just doesn’t fly. They may choose not to pay, but the federal government has more ability to pay its workers a reasonable wage than any other entity in the world.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted January 25, 2020 by

Ask the Experts: Should I apply to only paid internships or also unpaid internships?

First Answer:

If you can afford to take an unpaid internship, I would definitely apply to both paid and unpaid. With an internship, the primary criterion you should look for is the experience it offers you. Will that experience translate into a shinier resume for you, or even better, a job down the road? Secondly, look for an internship that can help you build skills. These skills will be transferable to other jobs down the line. At this point, you should be seeking internships that will help position you for your first job.

If the internship relates to either your current area of study or your career aspirations, apply! It’s always better to get an offer and turn it down if something more lucrative comes along.
Don’t discount perks, such as free lunches or help with transportation. If you live at home during the time of your internship, your out-of-pocket costs hopefully won’t be too severe.

All that said, only you can decide what you can live with — and without. 

— Vicky Oliver, author, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks 2005) and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots (Sourcebooks, 2008)

Second Answer:

Students should consider applying to any internships, paid or unpaid, that will give them the opportunity to expand their skills/knowledge or make a contribution. Either will add a lot of weight on a resume.

— Jeff Dunn, Campus Relations Manager, Intel Corporation

Third Answer:

This depends. Are you in an industry that mostly offers unpaid opportunities? Do you need the money to support yourself, and if so, would it be possible to work another job at the same time as the internship? You also want to ensure an unpaid internship is fair and legal, because ideally an internship  is a gateway into the full-time job that will launch your career, and engaging with a company that isn’t doing right by its interns is probably not the best idea. One additional thing you might try? Ask your school about grants that support students pursuing unpaid internships.

— Alexandra Levit, author of They Don’t Teach Corporate in College. 

Fourth Answer:

Skipping past internships, I can only begin to describe the elation and excitement you will have when you sign your employment contract for your first full-time role after graduation. Furthermore, that excitement will only increase after you successfully leverage your experience and outcomes for a raise the following year. Finally, if and when you leave your first role and successfully negotiate a higher salary (according to Bloomberg those who switched jobs on average enjoyed compensation growth of 5.3%), you will know you have made it. 

The above describes stepping stones to career management and growth. If you look at the stepping stones before that first full-time role you will find internships. For me, my internships stepping stones were landing an unpaid internship my sophomore year, that I leveraged for an internship with a monthly stipend, and then my senior year, I used my previous experience to edge out the competition and land an internship that was paying much more than my average peer’s internship. These stepping stones were crucial to my career management, and if I had never taken my first unpaid internship, I may never have landed the next role. 

That said, unpaid internships can be a contentious topic, with some wanting nothing to do with them, and others questioning their quality. At the end of the day, the end goal of an internship is to walk away with tangible first-hand work experience, industry and professional knowledge, and a set of transferable skills that you can apply to any future career path, not a specific amount of money in the bank. 

When reviewing internship opportunities, I would first look at the experience offered, the projects and tasks you will tackle, and the supervision and mentorship that will be available to you. If the opportunity offers strong experience aligned to your studies and career management, with clearly defined tasks and a strong supervisor, then you can go to the second review of paid or unpaid. 

If the opportunity is unpaid but still offering a high-quality experience look into why it is unpaid. Perhaps it is for a non-profit or small start-up, who absolutely needs the support, will offer you killer access to meetings, leadership, and networks, but couldn’t possibly find the budget to pay. Conversely, if looking internationally, many international internships are unable to offer pay, as no visa supports this, but nevertheless you will get great access to global connections and cross-cultural understanding.

If there is a valid reason for the unpaid status, and you have vetted the opportunity for quality, I would say that you are doing yourself a disservice by not applying. During the application process you can also find opportunities to see if there are other ways they can financially support you such as offering: coffee, breakfast or lunch at the workplace, covered or discounted transit, a small stipend, or an end of internship bonus. 

Finally, remember that when applying work experience to your resume, it does not matter if it was volunteer, unpaid, or paid, it is still important work experience that should be clearly noted with three to four strong bullet points explaining your role and key outcomes with quantifiable examples (ex. Supported customer support and retention through increased touchpoints and external communications, increasing contract renewals by 10% over six months).

— Jillian Low, Director of University Partnerships, CRCC Asia

Fifth Answer:

You should not do any internship. It puts you in a position where people assume you know nothing. 

Instead, launch a company, or a marketing campaign for someone else’s company. Spend three weeks selling services you will pay someone else to deliver. You Learn fastest by taking on big projects you have no idea how to do. Guess. Make mistakes. Try again. It’s ok because no one is paying you or firing you or telling you to do small jobs that are too easy to make errors. 
After you do this for two summers, you won’t be entry-level. You will have lots of experience. You might have some wins. You’ll have lots of failures.

You are middle management now. Because you can guide someone else through a high learning curve and fear of failure. 

You could never achieve that so fast in an internship. 

— Penelope Trunk, CEO, Quistic

Visit College Recruiter’s About Us page for more information about any of the above contributors or the other members of our Content Expert Board.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted January 21, 2020 by

How do I get student loan forgiveness?

Student loan forgiveness simply means that you’re not required to re-pay the forgiven portion of your student loans. Let’s say that you borrowed $100,000 to pay for college. If $60,000 of that is forgiven, then you’re only going to need to repay $40,000.

A few ways of getting your college student loans forgiven:

  • Enlist in the military. Each branch offers a variety of programs with varying amounts available depending on factors such as your skillset and desired occupational field. As you can imagine, the Navy is going to cover more of your educational costs if you’re a nuclear propulsion specialist than if you’re mechanic.
  • Work for 10 years for a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program forgives the remaining balance on your direct loans.
  • Work for a corporation that offers a tuition reimbursement program. Even some small companies like College Recruiter offer such programs because they’re essentially ways to provide employees with tax-free income. If we provide an employee with $1,500 toward college each year, that’s worth over $2,000 to those employees as it is tax-free. So, from the perspective of the employer, they can effectively give their employees $2,000 more in compensation but have it only cost $1,500. These programs are also great for recruitment and retention.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted January 15, 2020 by

More employers are including in their college recruiting programs community college and other non-traditional students

There are millions of employers just in the U.S., but the vast majority of them have between one and three employees. Tens of thousands are large enough to hire at least one intern, but almost all of the attention is paid to the hundreds who hire dozens to hundreds. 

I’m excited about the shift amongst employers to using productivity as their key metric of recruiting success instead of more traditional and less meaningful metrics such as hires per school or even cost-per-hire. Getting butts in seats is not a business goal, but building a productive workforce is. 

That said, a rapidly increasing minority of employers are shifting from an on-campus, school-by-school approach where they’re only willing to consider juniors and seniors from a small number of elite schools to a more diverse and inclusive early careers approach which welcomes those who have the demonstrated ability to do the work. These employers are very likely to welcome into their applicant pool and workforce students who are enrolled in community colleges, are transitioning out of the military, or otherwise are what many employers refer to as “non-traditional”. 

Rather than trying to generalize about whether employers as a whole are willing to include community college students in their early careers programs and then marketing your students to all of them in the same way, I would encourage a more nuanced approach where you target those employers who are ready, willing, and able to hire the kinds of students who attend your school.