• Why and how diversity in the workplace matters [video and slides]

    May 31, 2017 by

    Last week, College Recruiter presented at an in-person and live stream event, “Eye Opening Tactics for Better Diversity Recruiting,” co-organized by WCN and Stinson Leonard Street. Presenters spoke about four topics: why and how diversity matters, combating bias, big data, and non-discrimination employment law. This blog post shares what was presented in part 1. Scroll down to watch the presentation and download the slide deck.

    The claim: diversity in the workplace leads to greater profit and innovation

    “Workplace diversity is among the most important predictors of a business’ sales revenue, customer numbers and profitability” (Herring study).

    There has been plenty of research done that support this claim. But in addition to illustrating the potential impact of diversity, it’s important to recognize that some employers experience something different. It helps to understand how diversity makes an impact, so employers can reconcile any discrepancies between what their experience tells you, and what they think they’re supposed to be experiencing.

    According to the Herring study out of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the most racially diverse companies brought in nearly 15 times more sales revenue than the least racially diverse companies. Gender diversity accounted for $599.1 million in average sales revenue. In fact, they even saw an incremental impact, so any improvement in diversity is worth it. For every percentage increase in the rate of racial or gender diversity, there was an increase in sales revenues of about 9 and 3 percent, respectively. Additionally, even the smallest incremental increase in levels of racial or gender diversity resulted in more than 400 and 200 additional customers, respectively.

    This study found racial diversity to be a better determinant of sales revenue and customer numbers than company size, the company’s age or the number of employees.

    A McKinsey study is worth highlighting as well. They report that gender diverse organizations are 15% more likely to outperform, and ethnically diverse organizations are 35% more likely to outperform. Conversely, companies in the bottom quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are less likely to achieve above-average returns.

    The McKinsey study also shows a linear relationship between diversity and financial performance. So again, there is no bar or tipping point you have to hit before you start seeing results. They found that for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes rose 0.8 percent.

    These studies measure gender and racial diversity, which are fairly easy to measure. For practical purposes, it should be assumed that other dimensions of diversity—sexual orientation, personal experience, personality—probably have similar effects.

    If your experience does not match the claims

    Many employers may say they see a different picture. Some have succeeded in hiring diverse staff and then start to see interpersonal issues crop up. Group dynamics may go south, or communication suffers. Some see legal problems related to discrimination claims.

    This isn’t necessarily an illusion. Interacting with people from different backgrounds or with others who we perceive as different can be a source of discomfort. It can be a source of mistrust, or even resentment. Frankly speaking, diversity can cause conflict.

    The research does apply, and it is valid. It helps to understand what is going on when you get diversity in the door.

    How exactly diversity is effective

    Simply put, diversity is a catalyst for creativity and deep thinking. Diversity promotes higher quality decision-making, spurs deeper information processing and more complex thinking. This happens because a diverse group has access to a greater variety of perspectives. So everyone in the group, both minority and majority individuals, must consider more information and process that information more deeply and accurately. A 2006 study placed participants onto mock juries. When Black participants were part of the jury, the White jurors processed the case facts more carefully, and deliberated more effectively. The White jurors who were on a diverse jury cited more case facts, made fewer errors, and were more amenable to discussion of racism, compared to the White jurors who were on an all-White jury.

    Here’s why all of this is still so hard for most of us. Homogenous teams just feel easier. So people, inside and outside the group, assume they are more effective. The Fluency Hueristic says we prefer to process information that is familiar and easy. We just don’t want to have to think very hard. People on diverse teams feel they have to work harder, and they judge their own effectiveness as less. From the research, we know that diverse teams are not actually less effective, but the perception is there. A study published by Organization Science had participants read through transcripts and watch videos of team discussions, then allocate resources to the teams based on how they judged their effectiveness. People who read transcripts of diverse teams judged them as having more conflict, and they allocated fewer resources to those diverse teams. What they didn’t know was, the conversations and transcripts for each group—both diverse and homogenous—were identical. So here we see a representation of how our biases and perceptions have a real economic impact.

    We overly trust people who seem like us. A study from the University of Texas showed that disrupting conformity prompts people to scrutinize facts, think more deeply and develop their own opinions. They asked participants to calculate accurate prices for simulated stocks. They collected individual answers, then participants had the opportunity to buy and sell those stocks to others. They used real money so they wanted to get it right.  When participants were in diverse company, their answers were 58% more accurate. The stock prices they guessed were much closer to the true values of the stocks. As they spent more time interacting in diverse groups, their performance improved.

    When participants were surrounded by others of the same ethnicity or race, however, they were more likely to those around them, in the wrong direction. They made all kinds of mistakes because they put undue trust in others’ answers, mindlessly imitating them. In the diverse groups, people were more likely to distinguish between wrong and accurate answers. So here we see how diversity brings some cognitive friction that makes us deliberate more. We overly trust those that are “like us.”

    Conflict is normal. The key is managing it.

    “If companies want their young, diverse talent to become the next generation of leaders, they need to create a culture that truly embraces diverse opinions, perspectives, and lifestyles.”

    We make much more effort now than we ever have on building a pipeline of diversity. That’s the good news, but we even as we see an increase in entry-level diversity, organizations aren’t promoting the diversity up to leadership levels. This is a sign that organizations are not focusing on inclusion. Without managing inclusion, diversity can have negative effects. The communication issues mentioned above—even they are just a perception—and legal issues, for example. To harness the power of diversity—and increase deeper thought, more creativity, better decision making—you can’t ignore inclusion because your diverse talent will walk right out the door.

    One key to managing conflict due to cultural clashing is “perspective taking.” Imagining the world from another person’s point of view decreases bias and can smooth out interpersonal interactions. When team members are asked to consider each another’s perspectives, that potential for more creativity and innovation can be released.

    Only when people feel welcome and respected will their teams be able to benefit from their unique perspective and experience. The secret here is NOT to take a kumbaya approach, or teach colorblindness. If your organization’s culture acknowledges differences, as opposed to pretending we are all the same, the more people will feel free to express their different opinions. If your mentality is, “I love everyone; I don’t care if you are green, blue, pink, red, or gray”, that doesn’t help. You want to get to a place where you can say, “I like this about some green people, I like what some blue people bring to the table, and I like that some pink people offer this.” That’s embracing, not ignoring, difference, and that is an essential step toward an inclusive environment.

    Watch the presentation  of this content from “Eye-Opening Tactics for Better Diversity Recruiting”:

     

    Download the presentation slide deck here

    Keep informed of recruiting best practices by staying connected with College Recruiter on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube. Hiring soon? Would it make sense to have a brief conversation about your hiring needs? Consider College Recruiter’s advertising solutions, or email [email protected]

  • 8 resume writing tips for that second job search out of college

    May 30, 2017 by

    If you’re in an entry-level job and want resume writing tips for your next job, read on.

    The resume format that you used for that first job out of college is going to vary greatly for your second job. It’s not about what you did in college anymore, it’s about what you did in that first job. More specifically – it’s about results, achievements, development, and growth. And directed specifically for each job.

    We asked several experts who weighed in with their resume writing tips: Continue Reading

  • 5 ways STEM/technical grads can develop soft skills employers covet

    May 25, 2017 by

     

    Good news for STEM grads: Those with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math can expect to earn the highest starting salaries among 2017 grads. That’s according to the Winter 2017 Salary Survey report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). According to the NACE report, the top three starting salaries for recent college grads with bachelor’s degrees are in these STEM fields:

    • Engineering – $66,097
    • Computer science – $65,540
    • Math and Science – $55,087

    While STEM grads are currently hitting the job market at full force, another group of job seekers are also starting their career: The graduate from the two-year technical college. Like STEM jobs, hot jobs for those with two-year technical backgrounds include air traffic controller, nuclear technician, computer programmer, and electronic engineering technician.

    Translation: Skilled workers with both two and four year degrees are in demand.

    But skilled workers with the education, and the right soft skills, are the one’s getting hired. With thousands of STEM or technical school grads now in the workforce, employers hiring recent college grads or entry-level employees are looking for more than just the right educational background.

    “A degree isn’t what’s going to set you apart from other candidates,” says Jena Brown, Talent Acquisition Marketing and Brand Leader at Kerry, a leader in the food, beverage, and pharma industries, with 23,000 staff and 100+ innovation and manufacturing centers across six continents. “It’s usually required for technical positions, so you can’t stand on that alone.”

    In fact, those who get hired often stand out because of the soft skills they are able to articulate in an interview. This may be why chief information officers (CIOs) surveyed by staffing firm Robert Half Technology named communication skills (28 percent) and problem-solving abilities (21 percent) as the top areas where skilled and technical professionals could improve.

    To stand out, according to Robert Half, skilled workers need to show employers:

    • You are an effective communicator
    • You have a strong understanding of business (even better if you have specific knowledge of the potential employer’s company or industry)
    • You have a history of coming up with creative solutions to problems

    Brown agrees. Recruiters are looking for the job seeker who has something extra to bring to the team, whether it’s a personality that fits corporate culture, or the ability to make an impact beyond a basic job description: Someone who is a team player, willing to help out even if it isn’t part of the daily routine, or someone who shines bright and empowers those around them.

    “We want to hear what you did to hone your business skills during the time you were earning your degree,” says Brown. “We want to see that you are looking ahead, seeing the larger picture and preparing yourself to maximize the career opportunities that await you.”

    What are the top soft skills Brown and her team look for when recruiting recent college grads with technical backgrounds? Brown referred to these key skills:

    1. Communication Skills: Regardless of the type of organization one works for, effective communication across all levels is a critical soft skill for technical new grads. This is especially important in larger organizations, like Kerry for example, which have a complex matrix organizational structure. What is a matrix organization? According to study.com: A matrix organizational structure is a company structure in which the reporting relationships are set up as a grid, or matrix, rather than in the traditional hierarchy. In other words, employees have dual reporting relationships – generally to both a functional manager and a product manager.

    Can you do your work – and communicate technical information in a non-technical manner to others on the team, or across the organization? That’s important.

    2. Teamwork: The ability to work in diverse, cross functional teams is important. “This goes hand in hand with flexibility,” says Brown. “Be malleable and teachable while contributing your valuable knowledge within teams.”

    Large organizations have teams, reporting structures, and chains of command to follow. Being a part of that team, and working with others outside your team, and understanding how to fit in goes a long way towards success.

    3. Professionalism: The ability to navigate a corporate environment, meet deadlines, conduct meetings, and contribute helps give recent college grads credibility in any role. Show up on time, do your job, ask appropriate questions, don’t make excuses. That’s a good start.

    4. Leadership: Those who are able to lead and influence without the authority that comes with a title go the furthest, says Brown. Many entry-level employees don’t focus on developing leadership skills early in their career. But finding a mentor can assist with the leadership development process.

    5. Consultative and presentation skills: These skills “can take you far regardless of level (or career path),” says Brown. Consultative skills focus on behaviors that deliver consultative value to internal customers and external clients.

    Brown looks for recent college grad with those types of unique skills when recruiting and hiring those with technical backgrounds. She was once one of those consultative employees with a technical background, needing to succeed with non-technical co-workers and teams. She recruited employees for a company that provided customized technical services and platforms to huge companies around the globe.

    “This was challenging because we were subject matter experts in designing and building customized MS solutions, which took very specific technical skills, but much of what we did was onsite at the customer site which required soft skills like a sales person might have,” says Brown.

    How can recent college grads develop consultative or presentation skills? Joining industry associations or networking groups, and becoming an active member is one way. Volunteering at industry events is another way.

    “If you can communicate in a consultative manner and present effectively it will get you more opportunities as you advance in your career,” says Brown. “While daunting at first, if given the opportunity to present and get visibility, do it.”

    For many college students, there is nothing more daunting than earning a STEM degree, or completing a technical degree. Now that you are graduated, you need to take it to the next level. Start by mastering these soft skills to stand out, get noticed, and get hired.

    When you do, a great salary, and great career opportunity awaits.

    Want more tips and advice on the important skills recruiters covet? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Onboarding best practices: from pre-boarding to the bottom line

    May 24, 2017 by

    Without a strong onboarding program, retention and employee churn become significant, cost-averse problems at most companies. But research has shown only about 1 in 4 companies even have formal onboarding programs.

    So what exactly is onboarding, and what are some onboarding best practices?

    Onboarding Best Practices: The “pre-boarding” period

    This is the period between offer letter acceptance and official first day.

    From the time a new hire accepts a job, up until the first day on the job, top employers work diligently to make new hires feel wanted, welcome and part of the team. Onboarding doesn’t start the first day on the job; it starts as soon as the new hire accepts the job. That’s why these members of the team should be in touch with the new hire (assigning a point person is a best practice top employers follow). These are people within an organization who can assist with onboarding a new hire:

    • The hiring manager
    • Someone from human resources
    • A member of the team the employee is joining
    • A cultural ambassador from another department

    Ideally the pre-boarding period sees a mix of those communicating to the new hire. Imagine starting on day one without having heard from the company for a month. Now imagine starting on day one where you already know three-four people in addition to your boss. The latter is far less nerve-wracking.

    The other important aspect of the pre-boarding stage is technology. Most onboarding portals now have a pre-boarding tool, so new hires can access the portal even though they haven’t officially started. Many “first days” on a new job contain lots of paperwork, and if the paperwork can be slid to a pre-boarding portal, this allows the company to make the first day more special and less transactional. Forms such as tax information, NDAs, health care information, the code of conduct, and more can be put into the portal. They can still be discussed on day/week 1, of course, but it will still save time and reduce the crush of paperwork often associated with a new job.

    Ah, the first day

    There is a good deal to unpack about the onboarding best practices for the first day. Continue Reading

  • Spotlight on success: How AmeriCorps helps develop career skills

    by

    College students and recent college grads seeking service-oriented opportunities that also help build unique career skills can do so through AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.

    Career development opportunities through AmeriCorps

    That’s the type of career development Melissa Doodan is pursuing. Doodan wants to pursue a career in forestry and is working towards that goal as a Crew Leader through the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), a non-profit youth, leadership, service, conservation, and education organization that is a partner under the AmeriCorps umbrella of organizations.

    “Before I joined VYCC, I craved to learn practical skills and to obtain hands-on experience in the field,” said Doodan. “I knew that I wanted to work outdoors, but felt that I simply did not have the skills to do so.”

    Doodan credits her experience at VYCC with developing and advancing those skills, and with helping her learn “about the outdoors and how to work constructively with others,” she said, calling it an “incredible experience.”

    The skills someone gains through AmeriCorps depends entirely upon the organization with which they work, says Naomi Galimidi, Development Director, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.

    There is more to gain than just experience, however. Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps, strategic initiatives of ServeMinnesota, place AmeriCorps tutors in school settings to help children become proficient in reading by the end of third grade, and in math by the end of eighth grade. Lisa Winkler, Vice President of External Relations at ServeMinnesota, says one of the benefits of joining AmeriCorps is an education award. In addition to receiving a stipend throughout the year, “after completing your term of service, you receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to repay qualified student loans or pay tuition. New grads who serve can invest in their future by putting their award toward higher education, increasing potential earnings and lowering their risk for unemployment. The education award makes it possible for AmeriCorps alums to pursue their passion or repay student loans faster.”

    Real world work environment

    AmeriCorps members benefit from gaining real experience in the professional world.  Winkler of Reading Corps and Math Corps says that in the case of their tutors, the real-world experience of being in a school and working directly with students can be very beneficial to someone going into a career in teaching or education.

    VYCC, headquartered on historic Vermont farmland, gives its service members a taste for a 9-5 workday. During the day, corps members are immersed in learning by doing projects that range from pulling invasive species along floodplains to the custom design and construction of composting toilets in state parks. This ensures opportunities that can accommodate a range of skill levels, says Galimidi.

    Serving with an AmeriCorps program “is far more than a service experience,” says Galimidi. Corps Members receive training and practice in a real world skill, for example with VYCC, “technical project skills such as carpentry or forestry, and interpersonal skills such as leadership and communication.”

    Career skills developed through AmeriCorps

    Service with AmeriCorps helps new grads build skills transferrable to any future workplace. Winkler points to skills like “adaptability, time management, and an ability to incorporate feedback to improve.” AmeriCorps members also have many opportunities to connect to their community and build their professional network, which is essential for any entry level professional. “They learn to communicate,” says Winkler, “and build relationships with people of diverse backgrounds.”

    In addition, Galimidi said that past AmeriCorps members have reported the development of these important career skills:

    • How to build something from the ground up
    • How to manage stress
    • How to find joy in work
    • How to put in extra effort
    • How to take initiative
    • How to understand others’ needs, experiences, and feelings
    • How to appreciate different viewpoints
    • How to see themselves as leaders and teachers
    • How to be less impulsive
    • How to maintain a positive attitude
    • How to listen
    • How to work closely with others
    • How to help others resolve conflict
    • How to understand that effective leaders inspire and create an environment where others can grow.
    • How to build confidence in sharing ideas, solving problems, adapting to new situations.
    • How to demonstrate confidence through eye contact, a strong handshake, and initiating conversations.

    Report: Employers covet problem solving skills

    These are all important, and crucial skills valuable in today’s workplace – no matter what type of job or career one pursues. In fact, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2017 report, a college grads ability to work as part of a team is the top skill employers covet (78 percent of survey respondents indicated as the No. 1 skill). Other top skills were problem solving, communication (both written and verbal), and a strong work ethic. These are all gained through the various AmeriCorps experiences available to pursue.

    “Supportive relationships create conditions for all members to try new things, rely on one another, share power, and expose one another to new ideas and experiences,” says Galimidi.

    STEM opportunities through AmeriCorps

    One of the misconceptions of AmeriCorps is that opportunities are only available for those seeking outdoors-related careers. However in 2016 the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, announced major expansions of STEM AmeriCorps that will support STEM mentoring opportunities for young people. STEM jobs – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, are in-demand, and job seekers with those skills will be sought-after by employers seeking skilled/trained workers.

    Minnesota Math Corps tutors, for example, work toward filling that skills gap. Math tutors work with students grades four through eight who are falling behind in math.

    In addition, some non-profit organizations in Silicon Valley have partnered with AmeriCorps for technology-driven service opportunities. In the article How AmeriCorps Works to Get You the JobBen Duda, Co-Executive Director at AmeriCorps Alums, a community of engaged citizens and civic leaders who either work or previously worked with AmeriCorps, said working with AmeriCorps helped develop career skills such as project management, facilitation, and community engagement. Most important, working with AmeriCorps develops transferable skills for any career path.

    “There are hundreds of jobs out there, and it’s incredibly exciting to see how AmeriCorps alums are utilizing their service experiences to succeed in a diverse array of careers,” said Duda.

    Serving with AmeriCorps helps people work in challenging and structured, informal experiential learning opportunities, be that outdoor physical work, a school or other setting. Clear expectations are set, and participants gain a sense of accomplishment, while having a safe place to try new things and learn from mistakes.

    After AmeriCorps: Professional opportunities await

    “AmeriCorps is an investment of your time and passion, but it’s also an investment in yourself,” says Winkler. Discovering your true calling and being pointed in the right direction can be the greatest benefit.

    An AmeriCorps service position can provide a foot in the right door. For example, members of VYCC work closely with representatives from state and federal agencies including the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and Vermont Agency of Transportation.

    Ken Brown worked for VYCC in 2007 as a park manager at North Hero State Park. Today, Ken applies his passion for recreational management as Regional Trails Coordinator for Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation.

    Tutors with Reading Corps and Math Corps have said that their service helped them land a job in the same school district after their service, according to Winkler. For tutors who don’t pursue a teaching career, the skills they gain can benefit them no matter what career they choose. “Tutors who use service as a gap year between undergraduate and grad school have furthered their education in medicine, science, education, social work and counseling, among other fields.” Winkler says they find Reading Corps and Math Corps tutors in a wide variety of professions after their service.

    Doodan hopes to launch her forestry career, using VYCC as a first step. She – and thousands of other young, aspiring professionals – are on the right path, thanks to skills learned through the many diverse AmeriCorps programs.

    Ready to search for AmeriCorps positions? Search on CollegeRecruier.com today! Want more career advice and job search tips? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Spotlight on Success: diversity recruitment and retention at CIA

    May 22, 2017 by

    College Recruiter spoke with CIA spokesperson Heather Fritz Horniak, who shared how CIA has succeeded in recruiting and retaining diverse hires. Given the seemingly fierce competition for diverse talent, CIA’s practices are worth considering at any organization that values and recognizes the benefits of diversity.


    To meet the challenge of recruiting diversity, CIA focuses on the positives

    The competition for exceptional diversity talent is fierce.  CIA’s diverse cadre of recruiters underscore to applicants the positive elements of working at CIA.  This includes highlighting the importance of CIA’s mission by sharing their testimonies about how they have made a difference in contributing to national security.  In addition, recruiters strongly emphasize the extensive benefits the CIA offers.

    CIA faces some additional challenges including  lengthy application and security clearance processes. Also, there is only one primary geographic location in the Washington, DC metro area where employees can begin their careers.

    To achieve CIA’s mission, recruiters  must seek qualified talent in diverse communities

    Diversity and inclusion at CIA is essential to achieve the organization’s  mission. The business case for diversity and inclusion is undeniable: it helps avoid groupthink and it gives any global employer the cultural understanding it needs to operate in any region of the globe.

    There is another reason to reach a diverse pool of talent. CIA knows to look for special people who may not come from the same communities that are heavily recruited by everyone else.

    Director of the CIA Michael Pompeo said, “The Agency has a fabulous history, remarkable people.  And those are the kinds of people that we’re looking for: smart people, agile people, people who are willing to sacrifice an enormous amount of their lives to go do really hard things on behalf of the American people.  And we’ll find them and take them from wherever we can.”

    You must be proactive. Diverse talent won’t just arrive at your doorstep.  

    CIA doesn’t just wait for diverse talent to arrive at its doorstep; officers go to where the diverse candidates are. They make sure their diversity recruitment strategy stays mission-focused and that diversity is integrated and considered throughout recruitment activities.

    Partnerships are key too. CIA focuses on deepening their diversity sponsorships and partnerships with key organizations and universities to gain sustained access to diverse candidates nationwide.  One example of this is the CIA Signature Schools program, where CIA’s Talent Acquisition Group is focusing on outreach and building sustainable relationships with universities and professional organizations that have a large population of diverse talent.  The University of New Mexico and Florida International University are the first two schools in the program.

    Diversity initiatives on universities and professional organizations that have high diversity populations must focus on relationships. Building sustainable relationships with key influencers can assist in spotting qualified diverse talent.

    Retaining diverse talent impacts how well you attract new recruits.

    The diverse candidates are out there. They might be harder to attract, however, because they may have numerous opportunities from which they can choose.  Where CIA distinguishes itself is in building a welcoming culture. It is not enough to just recruit diverse talent. Employees must feel welcome, appreciated and want to stay.

    To help create an inclusive culture, CIA relies on Agency officers who are alumni of universities as Campus Ambassadors to their alma maters.  These officers are responsible in assisting recruiters with branding the CIA as an employer of choice on the college campus.  Students have the opportunity to see people who were once in their shoes happy with their choice of working with the CIA.  This provides a sense of ease or comfort in seeing themselves considering the same employment journey.

    Everyone, from all walks of life and from all backgrounds, should be able to be successful.  To foster that goal, CIA has numerous resources available, including the Diversity and Inclusion Office (DIO) that ensures CIA maintains a diverse, inclusive, equitable, and accessible workplace where differences are valued, conflict is managed constructively, and all officers are willing to engage in open dialogue.  DIO also sponsors Agency Resource Groups (ARGs) that contribute to a positive and inclusive workplace where employees with different backgrounds, cultures, and talents are respected and given the opportunity to succeed. The ARGs are critical to the present and future effectiveness of CIA through their support and advancement of diversity and inclusion. They highlight and help the CIA work through challenges tied to recruitment, development and retention.  ARGs and mentoring programs can help enable all new recruits to make the transition to employment at CIA successfully.

  • Apprenticeships: A new way for corporate employers to attract talent

    May 18, 2017 by

    An apprenticeship is three things:

    • It’s a job
    • It’s education
    • It’s a great opportunity

    That’s according to Apprentice Washington, a Division of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. While apprenticeships are common in the trades, apprenticeships are also valuable ways for college students and recent college grads to add and learn new skills in just about any profession, including jobs in the corporate world.

    Apprentice Washington says: “There are apprenticeships for nearly any job you can imagine: From high-tech manufacturing to health care.”

    And that’s why employers looking to attract, recruit and retain talented workers, should consider the benefits of implementing an apprenticeship program, or hiring apprentices.

    Apprenticeships are making a worldwide comeback

    Apprenticeships are suddenly popular in the United Kingdom because the government recently implemented a new tax on corporations which requires corporations to pay a “use it or lose it” tax that can be used to train apprentices, therefore incentivizing corporations to hire apprentices, or to turn current employees into apprentices through learning and development contracts.

    “I believe this is one of the largest changes to workforce planning in many years in the UK,” says Ilona Jurkiewicz, head of the Early Careers Program at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm. In her role with the Early Careers Program at Thomson Reuters, Jurkiewicz leads internal and external strategy for how Thomson Reuters attracts, assesses, develops, engages, and retains early career talent, including those completing apprenticeships. “And, although this feels like a seismic shift, apprentice strategies are in place in a number of countries already and commonly used, for example, in Germany, France, and Australia.”

    In May, Government Canada announced plans to invest $85 million in apprenticeship programs. And now, United States business leaders are starting to take note. On May 16, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $4.2 Million in federal funding was secured to expand New York’s apprenticeship program. Forbes’ recently wrote that it’s time for America to expand the modern Apprenticeship, stating that “calls for the U.S. to expand apprenticeship programs seem to be gaining more traction daily.” This is backed by news that the Trump Administration has plans to adopt a nationwide target to hire five million apprenticeships in five years. Hertz, Sears, CVS Health, WalMart, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car are among five large U.S. employers who already have apprenticeship programs in place.

    John Ladd, Administrator at the USDOL/ETA Office of Apprenticeship, is fired up about the role apprenticeships can play in today’s workforce, saying “apprenticeship is big-tent business, and the tent continues to expand. It’s drawing in new champions from the business and philanthropic communities every day, linking their resources to those of state and local workforce agencies, education partners like community colleges and school districts, industry associations, unions and other apprenticeship sponsors.”

    The approach is aggressive. And that should be a welcomed approach for employers seeking alternative methods to finding skilled workers in both the trades, and corporate world.

    “We need more pathways for job seekers, and as the world realizes that diversity of background and approach is important, I believe apprenticeships will become a more viable and available opportunity for students,” says Jurkiewicz.

    How one employer benefits from an apprenticeship program

    Growing Leaders is a global nonprofit that encourages and equips young adults to take on real-life opportunities and challenges in the classroom, in their careers, and in the community. The company implemented an apprenticeship program for recent college grads, citing the opportunity to live out the company’s internal values to train up the next generation of leaders.

    “Some view this next generation as a problem, we view them as a solution,” says Tim Elmore, President of Growing Leaders, and author of Marching Off The Map, which provides understanding and how to practically apply the latest research on Generation Z.

    Apprentices gain a chance to invest further in a set of skills (project management, selling, customer service) or in a function (marketing, operations, sales), said Elmore.

    “Depending on the apprenticeship, it can also give the student quantifiable results that he or she contributed to,” added Elmore.

    It also gives the employer a chance to train the employee their way, and also, try before they buy – similar to an internship – where they can determine if an apprentice is the right fit for a full-time job.

    “An apprenticeship allows more time to train a new graduate before they enter a full time position, and allows a trial period to see if he or she would be a good fit on our team,” says Elmore.

    What exactly is an apprenticeship?

    In simple terms, an apprentice is someone learning a skill, says Jurkiewicz. An apprentice can be someone just starting their career, or learning a trade, or someone like a recent college grad at the beginning of their career and entering the world of work. An apprentice can even be an experienced professional working towards an advanced degree or certification.

    What employers need to know about apprenticeships

    • Apprenticeships are often paid
    • Apprenticeships vary in length, so it tends to be driven by type of apprenticeship you are implementing and then the way the person is learning.
    • Employers often implement one off apprenticeships (hiring an individual for a specific role), as well as more programmatic approaches (a full apprenticeship program, with set criteria, similar to an internship program).

    An apprenticeship is unique and different from an internship or internship program. During an apprenticeship, there is a formal or informal contract between the apprentice, an employer, and sometimes a certifying body (a university or education body) through which the apprenticeship is attaining skills, says Jurkiewicz. At Growing Leaders the apprentice commits to an eight to 12 month apprenticeship, versus say a summer internship, which may be three or four months.

    “At the end of an apprenticeship, a student will have a more in-depth understanding of a certain function of business and clearer picture of how an organization operates,” says Elmore.

    The long-term benefits of apprenticeships for employers

    The reality is, not every college graduate is equipped with the right skills needed to succeed in the real world. Whether it’s soft skills, technical skills, communication skills, or the ability work with a diverse workforce that spans across generations. When an employer hires an apprentice, they are dedicated to providing further on-the-job training, while being able to mold the employee to fit their needs. While that seems to benefit the job seeker, it also benefits the employer, because it helps them create a pipeline of talent that could eventually be hired into a full-time role. If hired, these college grads are already familiar with the company, business, products, services, clients, and colleagues. They can move right into a full-time role, saving time on training and reducing time spent recruiting.

    “Businesses gain by having an on-boarding pathway to find stellar graduates who can offer up their gifts and talents to help an organization succeed,” says Elmore. “Millennials are the largest generation in the workplace and those organizations who can succeed in leading them well will have the upper hand. Apprenticeships literally give an organization a chance to observe a new, young professional at little cost.”

    Want more information on apprenticeships? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Summer internship 2017: improve your search and find what you want

    May 17, 2017 by

     

    For students and recent grads who are looking for a summer internship, College Recruiter’s Panel of Experts has some great advice. We spoke with Vicky Oliver, Author of “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions,” and Joanne Meehl, president and primary Job Coach & Career Consultant at Joanne Meehl Career Services.  They shared excellent tips for finding a summer internship in 2017.

    What is the first thing students should do to start searching for a summer internship?

    Vicky Oliver career consultantVicky Oliver: I would go to your career counselor at college. Give yourself a deadline for drafting your resume. Encourage feedback. Realize it’s a working document. You may have to go through a few drafts of it before it’s perfect. Also, students should make sure to polish up their LinkedIn profiles. Get a nice, professional online profile up that expresses your interests. Start following groups that you feel may include some people who work at the companies where you want to work. If one of them posts an article, comment on it. Be a part of the conversation.

     

    Joanne Meehl career consultantJoanne Meehl: Don’t put it off. First, some self-assessment. Ask yourself: “What do I want, and why? What experience would add to my expertise? What are the 3-5 things I want to get out of an internship, aside from on-the-job experience for a potential future career?

    What you find out there in an internship may not be a perfect fit but you will learn from any internship. Even learning “this kind of role and this industry is NOT for me” is a valuable lesson.

    Search online. For example, use CollegeRecruiter.com or search Google for “internships and [city name]”. Search your LinkedIn connections for knowledge about internships or potential internships.

    Then, turn to your network: Tap your network for who they know, including your friends, their parents, your parents’ friends, professors, administrators on campus, former summer employers, you name it. The personal appeal — via phone call or email — is powerful. Be specific about what you want, for example: “Ten weeks, 30+ hours a week, would like to offer my technical knowledge while being able to participate in decisions …”  Don’t mistake flexibility for indecision: the answer “anything” when someone asks what you want does not help them help you, makes you sound unfocused and even desperate.

    What if I live in a small town, where there are no internship opportunities?

    Joanne Meehl: If your hometown is small and there’s little opportunity, you could 1) commute to the nearest larger city for an internship (not always easy), or 2) create one where you are IF it can give you solid challenge and experience. An employer may not know that interns are available, or may never have created an internship before. Show the owner/president of the company or organization what the structure would look like, based on internships you’ve done before or on your college’s publications about internships. You will need to work with internship directors on campus to show them why your self-created internship is worthy of credits but do so; they will have ideas for you AND for the employer that can help you make the experience more substantive.

    Should I consider unpaid internships? Or is an unpaid internship a bad sign about an organization? Continue Reading

  • 5 internship recruitment solutions for government agencies

    May 16, 2017 by

     

    Federal agencies seeking to hire interns or implement internship programs should take a cue from their private sector counterparts, says Mel Hennigan, VP of People at Symplicity Corporation, an Arlington, Virginia-based company that specializes in enterprise technology and information systems management for higher education, government, and businesses.

    In other words, they should evaluate, research, and learn the value of implementing a robust internship program as a way to attract college students and recent college grads to their organization. Don’t expect today’s student or grad to find you – federal employers have to find them through creative methods involving technology, social media, and the right advertising approach.

    “A one-size-fits-all approach does not work, so employers, even at the federal level, need to be creative,” says Hennigan, who has spent nearly a decade of her career in roles that support the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and intelligence agencies. Hennigan is also a member of the Society For Human Resource Management Talent Acquisition Panel. “Don’t expect interns to find you,” says Hennigan. “Employers have to go where the talent is, and become visible to the college student or college grad.

    Kyle Hartwig, ­­­­­­Senior Human Resource Specialist with the National Institute of Health (NIH), agrees. The NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is the nation’s medical research agency. To be a successful in federal government recruiting, employers need deep knowledge of staffing systems and federal hiring practices and laws. However, employers must also be willing to use innovative technologies and alternatives to posting on USAJOBS. Hartwig discussed that and more in the College Recruiter article and video 7 steps for successful federal government recruiting.

    “Student marketing in parallel with federal government hiring is never easy,” says Hartwig. “The first challenge, however, is engaging with the talent you seek.”

    Hennigan and Hartwig provide these tips for government agencies seeking new internship recruiting solutions:

    1. Understand the new student landscape

    Many students and recent college grads first find out about internship programs/opportunities, campus hiring fairs, or how to connect with recruiters at federal agencies through commonly used online tools – social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).

    “Skip the usual power point and start using social media conversations,” says Hartwig. “Throw out the calendar of events and list digital outreach tactics you plan to use before you show up on campus.”

    2. Form partnerships

    Government agencies can benefit from forming partnerships with colleges and universities. Develop relationships with campus career counselors, department leaders, professors, and alumni. Seek out opportunities for employees of your organization to speak at their alma mater, even narrowing it down to a specific set of students, grads or by department. Also consider participating in university employer summits or planning activities at university career centers. Find what approach works best for your organization and develop that approach. Federal employers should also read research reports from Corporate Leadership Council or Partnership for Public Service, says Hartwig, to stay on top of trends and issues.

    There’s additional partnership options too, like thinking outside the box and partnering with College Recruiter. How so?

    Government clients who want to hire hundreds or even thousands are typically going to look at packages which integrate targeted email campaigns, targeted display ad campaigns, and targeted mobile banner advertising campaigns, each of which allow College Recruiter the opportunity to deliver to the career sites of those employers thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of candidates targeted by geography, school, major, year of graduation, diversity, military veterans, occupational field, and more.

    3. Don’t wait for interns to come to you

    The first step, for federal agencies to take, says Hennigan, is to identify the type of talent they need to hire for an internship position. Do they need a STEM graduate, a marketing professional, an IT professional, administrative, technical expert, or other?

    Then employers must find out where those students and grads are, and meet them where they are at. By forming those partnerships, they can quickly identify where they can best find qualified students to apply for internship opportunities.

    “The landscape has changed, and employers need to figure out how to get talent interested in their opportunities,” says Hennigan.

    4. Identify talent

    Once the employer has identified the type of talent they need to find, they need to create a plan for attracting that type of talent. Federal employers need to look beyond just being a federal agency to attract employers. “Personalize the engagement,” says Hennigan. “Today’s college student and grad is looking to be wowed, and wants to know why working for your company is the right choice for them.”

    Federal agencies compete against the private sector, and that includes Silicon Valley firms, Fortune 500, and hot new technology startups. Leave the boring behind when working to attract interns.

    “It’s very easy for a federal agency to sell the message of how working for the government is contributing to the mission of the country, and patriotic, but today’s students and grads want more than that.”

    That’s why federal internship programs or internship opportunities need to clearly outline a value proposition, says Hennigan. It needs to clearly outline what the organization can offer the intern (real world training and experience, working on real world projects, solving problems, contributing), and the outcome (invaluable skills that helps them become more marketable for the next step in their career, or if possible, an opportunity to apply and interview for a full-time job with the organization).

    “Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes,” says Hennigan. “They want to be able to contribute and make an impact, show them how they can do that as an intern.”

    5. Learn from other successful internship programs

    An internship should add value to the intern, not the company, says Hennigan. But through that internship, the intern can add value to the company by working on real projects, solving everyday business problems, and making a contribution from day one.

    Building an internship program takes dedication – many private employers hire people solely to manage and develop an internship program. It would be helpful for federal agency’s to consult with industry professionals or colleagues who work on building internship programs to get advice. What works for them? What do private sector employers do that can be implemented in a federal organization (they are more similar than most think). Partner with organizations like SHRM, or participate in industry panels or summits to learn more, and build a network of resources who can provide cost-effective solutions for creating an internship program.

    A typical internship should last from eight to 12 weeks says Hennigan, and in the end, the goal should be to keep that intern or group of interns interested in pursuing employment opportunities with the federal organization they are interning with.

    “Every internship should have the end goal of funneling fresh talent into the organization,” said Hennigan.

    According to Hartwig, government agencies are afraid of doing active outreach because they are concerned about ethics. There are very stringent laws associated with hiring. Thus, HR specialists for government agencies often shy away from taking real steps to find talent for unique roles. More often than not, many federal agencies don’t feel they have the freedom to recruit and find their own talent. With strict or even confusing federal staffing regulations, recruiters often opt for simply posting an opening on USAJOBS, or a few other places.

    That approach doesn’t always work. There are other options available.

    Working for a government agency holds prestige for many students and college grads. But that’s not enough these days.

    “It’s no longer a world where the candidates don’t have options,” said Hennigan. “The organizations who communicate the best value and opportunity to the student or graduate are going to attract top talent.”

    Want more tips and strategies on how government agencies can connect with interns? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Summer intern onboarding: good and bad practices

    May 15, 2017 by

     

    Onboarding should be a positive and productive experience for interns. Employers who build a successful onboarding program benefit in the short-term with satisfied interns, and in the long-term when they convert to full-time employees who can help achieve company goals. However, if intern onboarding is done incorrectly, new hires won’t likely be effective.

    College Recruiter heard from Saïd Radhouani, , Ph.D., co-founder of Nextal, a collaborative applicant tracking system, and Wes Higby, President of Full City Tech Co. They shared best and worst practices for summer intern onboarding.

    8 essential elements to successful intern onboarding

    Saïd Radhouani spells out below seven steps for ensuring interns are set up for success:

    1. Before anything else, your onboarding program needs to begin prior to day one — even before work begins.
    2. A personal welcome. It is very important to schedule a real moment for your new interns to be personally welcomed. Interns lack experience and might need a special treatment to facilitate their integration within the professional environment. Their first day’s experience can have a big impact on their integration within the work environment.
    3. Site visit and org culture. After welcoming them, it’s important to organize a site visit and give them an introduction about the workspace culture and the business background. This will help your them to be included in the day to day life of your organization.
    4. Introduce them to the team. Once the intern feels familiar with the environment, it’s important to present them to the team that they will be working with. This will lay the foundation for their sense of belonging.
    5. Appoint both a manager and a mentor. While the manager will manage the work of the intern and ensure projects stay on focus, the mentor will have a role of a facilitator. The mentor will be in charge of providing any information (not necessarily related to the intern’s project) that will help the intern in their role.
    6. Clarify expectations. The manager has to clarify expectations from both sides: what the intern is expecting to get from the internship, and what the manager is expecting to get from the intern. To do so, it’s very important to provide a real work assignment and define the success criteria.
    7. Assign challenging and relevant work. Allowing to your intern to work on challenging and relevant tasks that are recognized by your company is one of the best ways to ensure the success of the internship. Once the work assignment has been done, the intern should be given the necessary documents and tools to allow them to get the necessary information. Ideally, the manager or the mentor should provide a reference checklist that the intern can follow to make sure that they are getting all what they need.
    8. Define communication plan. The manager should define the communication plan with the intern. Every intern should send a written report to their manager at the end of each week. This will help the intern to work on their communication skills and write down their work progress. It will also help them to raise flags whenever they hit a roadblock. If they need to write a report at the end of the internship, they will have a lot of materials from these communications. This also will help the manager to track the progress and appreciate the work or raise flags on time.

    Intern onboarding gone wrong: Common mistakes employers make

    Wesley Higbee, President of Full City Tech Co., shares five common onboarding mistakes made by employers.

    1. Treating everybody the same.It’s important to have a process or checklist. Just don’t standardize it too much. Tailor the plan to the candidates you’re hiring. If new hires have accolades in sales, for example, don’t put them through a sales training program.
    2. Waiting periods for benefits.There’s nothing to gain by withholding vacation days, health care, etc. Waiting periods connote cheapskate and can create mistrust. If you don’t trust new employees enough to give thembenefits on day one, why are you hiring them?
    3. Not making expectations clear. If you throw them to the wolves without ensuring everyone is on the same page, of course you will find that they don’t perform up to your expectations.
    4. Not including new hires in the process of assessing what they want to learn.You cannot force feedinga training without also learning what motivates them and where they want to grow.
    5. Not learning from new hires.Learning is not a one-way road. There are plenty of candidates you might hire that have more to teach you, than you have to teach them.

    Signs the internship is going well

    “Two things,” says Radhouani, will tell you whether things are on the right track. “Clear communication and measurable progress.”

    If the onboarding was done successfully, then the intern will have clear objectives and all the necessary information to achieve them. During the weekly meetings with the manager, it should be clear how much progress is being made. Another good indicator is how well the intern has integrated within the team.

    Keep informed of recruiting best practices by staying connected with College Recruiter on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube. Hiring soon? Would it make sense to have a brief conversation about your hiring needs? Consider College Recruiter’s advertising solutions, or email [email protected]

     

    Said Radhouani of Nextal, an applicant tracking systemAbout Saïd Radhouani: Saïd is tech entrepreneur passionate about Big Data, Search and Digital Marketing. He built teams from scratch and put in place strategies and platforms that serve some of the largest Web and mobile properties in Canada. He founded Big Wisdom to help organizations to leverage their data and make optimal decisions in their digital journey. Big Wisdom provides services from strategy to implementation to support in content management, search, knowledge management and analytics.

     

    Wes HigbeeAbout Wes Higbee: Wes helps organizations make the leap from today to tomorrow. He started out in software development helping organizations tackle business opportunities. In working closely with customers as a consultant, he realized there are many needs beyond the software itself that nobody was taking care of. Those are the needs he addresses today, whether or not technology is involved. Wes has a passion for sharing knowledge. He speaks professionally on webinars and conferences to help organizations improve.