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Posted July 15, 2020 by

Three Tips for Recruiting Entry-Level Positions, Internships Amid COVID-19

By Brianne Thomas, Head of Recruiting, Jobvite

There is no doubt that college graduates who are looking for employment are facing an interesting challenge.

Though once expected to enter into the strongest job market in 50 years, the millions of students who recently graduated from two- or four-year colleges are now beginning their careers in a market with a 13.3% unemployment rate. The encouraging news for job seekers is that recruiting efforts are not completely stopping, but rather shifting, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To find the best candidate for the position in the current job climate, recruiters must rethink their strategies for reaching entry-level talent. Below are three tips on how college recruiters can adapt their processes and tactics for reaching and attracting recent graduates for entry-level roles and internships.

Highlight Remote Work

A rising number of U.S. companies are now considering permanent remote and work-from-home options for non-essential workers. In fact, recent research by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that 17% of HR leaders in 2,284 U.S. companies report their organizations will move to permanent work-from-home policies in the future for their employees.

Not only do employers understand the advantages of remote work, but workers prefer this arrangement, too. According to the 2020 Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Report, 34% of U.S. workers would take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to work remotely. Additionally, the study finds that 65% of job seekers say remote work is ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ in their decision to accept a job offer.

To appeal to recent college graduates, recruiters should specify opportunities for working remotely on job descriptions and advertise open positions on social channels as “remote.” Be transparent about the level of location flexibility, whether it’s temporary or permanent, and specify what type of training plans and mentorship support will be available remotely to new grads or entry-level staff that will allow them to have hands-on teaching similar to what they would have received in the office. It’s also important to describe all technology, technical support or equipment stipends the company provides to virtual workers. Lastly, explain the internal platforms and tools the employer utilizes to create an inclusive environment for home-based workers.

Connect Via Text

The use of texting is second nature for college students and recent graduates. Recruiters looking to fill an entry-level position or internship should embrace texting to quickly and efficiently source prospective candidates. Jobvite has found that over 90% of organizations that have tried text recruiting stick with it. As a result, it is anticipated that text-based recruiting will only continue to increase as the workforce continues to meet candidates where they are.

In many cases, texting can be a more effective recruiting channel than email as it offers a number of advantages for recruiters and candidates alike. A text message, for instance, is typically responded to in 90 seconds, as opposed to an email, which has an average response time of 90 minutes. Statistics also show that while email has a 20% average open rate, texts have a 98% open rate. This accelerates the communication process, allows recruiters to find the right candidate faster to shorten the time-to-hire period, and improves the overall candidate experience, recent college graduates included.

When reaching out to a candidate via text, recruiters should clearly explain why they are reaching out and how they initially made the connection (i.e. “We met at a campus job fair.”). Creating relevancy for the candidate is the perfect place to start the chat—next, follow up with a question. In addition, use a library of questions available to access within talent acquisition software to navigate the most important screening queries before sharing the chat with the hiring manager. These initial texts help gauge which candidates are the most interested, so future efforts can focus on highly engaged applicants.

To engage entry-level job applicants, recruiters can use text to share deeper insights with candidates on what it’s like to work within the organization and how they might fit into the overall work environment. The Job Seeker Nation Report found that company values and culture are an important factor in evaluating a job offer with 52% of job seekers citing it as important. Consider sending employment branding materials via text to candidates, including job descriptions, a list of office perks, team photos, video tours of the office, and more.

Leverage Social Media for Referrals

According to the 2020 Job Seeker Nation Report, 42% of survey respondents say they find out about job openings on social media, a 10% jump from the previous year. Recruiters must include social media in the recruiting process to attract, engage, and connect with job candidates, especially the younger generation of talent. Afterall, Gen Z (ages 7 to 22), the first demographic group that has never known a world without the internet, spends 2 hours and 55 minutes per day on social media.

Amid the COVID-19 climate, one-third of workers today say they are ‘very likely’ or ‘pretty likely’ to share job openings at their companies via social media, compared to 26% before the current pandemic. In addition, 38% of workers say they are ‘pretty likely’ or ‘very likely’ to click on a job opportunity that someone in their network posts on social media. However, many workers who want to participate in referral programs can’t because the employer doesn’t offer one.

Talent acquisition teams have a great opportunity to create a culture and structure to support referrals.

Employees who are satisfied with their companies and jobs are eager to invite those in their network to join them, which makes social referrals an important component of the recruitment marketing process. It’s also an easier, faster, and cheaper way to source and hire candidates. Recruiters and employers need to make social referrals easy by placing social sourcing and referral tools right in employees’ hands. With these tools, employees can share open job opportunities with their social and professional networks through automatic social publishing.

As the world of work is shifting, there is a great opportunity for college recruiters to adjust their processes to reach and attract top entry-level talent. Recruiters and employers who adapt to these needs will be well-positioned to succeed as the economy improves.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR With 10 years of combined HR and Talent Acquisition experience, Brianne Thomas has spent her career involved with various aspects of full cycle recruiting focusing on Talent Acquisition and HR Leadership for high growth tech, SaaS, and consulting organizations.

Posted July 09, 2020 by

Will employers pay students working remotely differently depending on where they live?

In the early 1990s, I worked for Honeywell in its legal office that supported its human resources department. We addressed this same issue way back then.

The company decided, as corporate policy, that all employees nationwide would receive the same benefits regardless of where they lived. We implemented a blue skies policy, meaning that every employee received the most generous benefits package required by law, so if one state required employees to be paid in full for jury duty, then all employees would be paid in full for jury duty even if their state didn’t require any pay. On the other hand, wages were localized. We determined what the job would pay if performed in the city in which the headquarters was located and then adjusted for cost-of-living across the country. 

College Recruiter has taken a somewhat different approach. We also offer the same benefits nationwide but chose to offer the same wages also. If an employee chooses to live in a low- or high-cost area, that’s their choice and impacts the amount of money they have available for discretionary purposes. The wages that we pay may be excessive in some areas and insufficient in others and we’re fine with that. We understand that it makes it less likely that we’ll hire a software developer who chooses to live in the San Francisco Bay Area but very likely to hire a similarly skilled person who lives in a rural area in the middle of the country. Not only are we okay with that, we like it because we believe that the software developer in San Francisco is far more likely to jump ship far faster than the developer who lives in a more rural area and, therefore, has fewer employment options. 

Will some employers follow the Honeywell model and pay employees differently based on where in the U.S. those employees live? Yes, absolutely. And will other employers follow the College Recruiter model and pay employees based on the work they do instead of the zip code in which they reside? Yes, absolutely. I hope more follow the latter path, but I suspect many will follow the former.

Graphic courtesy of Shutterstock

Posted June 26, 2020 by

Employers should expect students to ask about COVID, racism, and other social justice issues this fall

I think that it is important for all of us to expect that, this fall, hard but fair interview questions won’t just come from employers to students. They will also come from students to employers.

I expect students to ask specific questions and expect specific answers to what employers did before, during, and after the COVID-19 shutdown to keep their employees safe, physically, mentally, and financially. I also expect students to ask specific questions and expect specific answers as to what employers did regarding Black Lives Matter as well as other racial and social justice issues.

Employers who, in hindsight, wish they could have done more shouldn’t be afraid to share what they did, acknowledge their shortcomings, and layout their vision for the future. This generation is so savvy at identifying a lack of candor or even lies and just as savvy as sharing their findings with thousands of their closest friends, but they also don’t expect perfection. Years ago, when employers were in control of their own brands, they could lie with impunity about their work environment, benefits, career paths, and more. Today, thankfully, they can’t. 

An employer who understands that they had room for improvement and is able to communicate how they’re improving and how the candidate can be a part of that will have a significant advantage this fall.

Posted June 25, 2020 by

How do you answer a recruiter when they ask what makes you unique?

Many employers who ask what makes you unique are likely probing to see if there is something about you or your background that would add to the diversity of their workforce.

Study after study demonstrate that the more diverse a workforce, the more productive is that workforce. Employers who have woken up to this fact are now embracing diversity, and not just racial but gender, military veterans, people with disabilities, generations, socioeconomic, and even geography.

If you’ve done your research and understand the team you would be a part of, then you should be able to identify attributes which are not well represented. If you can fill those gaps, that’s how you should answer that question.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Posted June 19, 2020 by

Tech that will help employers staff-up as the economy re-opens post-COVID

In many sectors, employers have laid off or furloughed many and often most of their employees. Many of these employers are counting on the vast majority of these workers returning when the employer staffs up but that seems unlikely. If an employee has been off work for weeks, months, or even a year, they’ll likely reevaluate whether they want to go back to the same job or look for a better one. Many will find better opportunities elsewhere, or at least employers who are hiring sooner. In short, we’re looking at a massive upheaval in the labor market, particularly for hourly workers. 

One of the most significant innovations ever in the employment marketing industry, programmatic job ad buying, was starting to take hold in the U.S. and, to a lesser extent, other countries before COVID but it will play a massive role in how employers staff-up as they and the rest of the economy re-open. A traditional job posting ad on a traditional job board should generate enough candidates that an employer should be able to hire one person. That’s fine as most employers when they advertise a job opening only want to hire one person. But, as the economy re-opens and employers discover that they need to replace a quarter, half, or even most of their employees, they’re often going to need to hire five, 25, or even 100 people into the same role. It just isn’t feasible for them to run five, 25, or 100 job posting ads to hire the people they need.

The answer is programmatic job ad buying coupled with performance-based pricing such as cost-per-click. An employer can advertise a job and an automated, job distribution system will then look at the ad and send it out to multiple job search sites like College Recruiter based on the kind of job. We’re an entry-level site and so won’t receive jobs requiring 4+ years of experience, but we would receive the hourly retail jobs, internships, and jobs for recent graduates. A healthcare site won’t receive construction jobs, but will receive jobs for registered nurses. So, programmatically, an employer can feasibly run a job on multiple sites based upon where the candidates they need are most likely to be searching. 

Now, you layer on cost-per-click (CPC). An employer who needs to hire five people over two months needs far fewer candidates than an employer who needs to hire 50 people this month. The former might pay $0.50 per click for candidates who see the posting on the job board and then click to the employer’s site to, hopefully, apply. The latter, because of a much more difficult hiring need, might pay $0.75 per click. The job posting for the employer paying a lot less per click will appear lower in the search results and, therefore, will attract far fewer candidates. The more an employer pays per click, the more motivated they are to hire.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted June 17, 2020 by

How will healthcare recruiting change post-COVID?

Every industry is undergoing massive disruption due to COVID-19. Some will bounce back sooner than others. Some will never bounce back. But one industry will surely bounce back because it is a human necessity: healthcare.

That said, the delivery of healthcare services post-COVID will likely be quite different than before, and so will the recruitment of healthcare workers. How will healthcare recruitment change? In many ways, but for this post let’s just focus on the areas that College Recruiter focuses on: the intersection between online, recruitment advertising and the hiring of students and recent graduates of one-, two-, and four-year colleges and universities.

Healthcare companies that hire at scale need to understand the significant difference between duration- and performance-based job posting ads. A typical job posting ad on a typical job board should deliver enough candidates to the employer that it can hire maybe one person. That’s fine as most employers who post a job ad only want to hire one person, so it would be a negative if they received enough applications to hire 10, 50, or 500 people. But if the healthcare company wants to hire 10, 50, or 500 people then they need the job posting ad to generate 10, 50, or 500 times as many applications. That’s feasible with a cost-per-click (CPC) job posting ad as you’re paying for the number of candidates who respond instead of how many ads you run.

Hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities are going to need to learn how to hire nurses and others at scale because so many have been furloughed due to the massive decline in elective surgeries. 
When those surgeries and related manpower needs come back, will those nurses and others also come back? Unlikely. The separation they’ve experienced from their previous employer will make it mentally and economically easier for them to return to work for another employer, which will lead to far greater vacancies than many healthcare providers probably anticipate. 

What evidence do I have for this? Every industry that has already started to re-open, from retailers to restaurants. Their initial hires have largely been from previous employees, but most of their hiring has been of candidates who used to work for other employers. There’s no reason why healthcare will be immune from this trend.

Posted June 17, 2020 by

The schools and students who will benefit from changes to on-campus recruiting caused by COVID

Many Fortune 1,000, government agency, and other employers who hire at scale are investigating and already investing in video interviewing as one of the many solutions they’ll need for this massive change to campus recruitment that they expect to see this fall and, probably, beyond.

What we’ve heard from some of the employers who advertise their jobs with us is a shift from a campus- to demographic-centric approach, meaning that fewer employers will target schools and, instead, will target students who fit their desired profile. For example, instead of going to 20 schools because those schools have a lot of women in STEM, they’ll instead just target women in STEM regardless of the school those students happen to attend. Employers will engage with emails, postings, banners, social, and other media and drive those candidates to a landing page. That landing page may be a posting on their ATS but many of them are planning on driving them to a candidate relationship manager (CRM) page where the candidate will be able to watch videos related to the roles of interest, take a virtual tour of the corporate office they’d work in, ask questions via chatbot, and opt-in to receive emailed or texted information.

Once the candidate applies, and sometimes even before that, they may be interviewed by video. Some of those will be asynchronous like Hirevue is known for and others will be bisynchronous like a more traditional, in-person or phone interview. Either way, video interviews allow employers to speak with far more candidates far faster and far less expensively. Instead of being able to interview candidates at 20 schools, they can interview candidates at thousands of schools. That’s great for their diversity and inclusion efforts, but a real challenge for candidates who aren’t comfortable talking into a screen. Mind you, for every candidate who isn’t comfortable talking into a screen there is probably a candidate who isn’t comfortable with an in-person interview.

In a nutshell, I suspect what we’re going to see this fall and beyond is a massive shift that we thought would take years instead taking just months. More and more employers will become school and even major agnostic. For the schools who struggled to attract employers to their campuses, this is great news. For the students whose majors weren’t the most sought after, this is great news. Far more schools and students will find it far easier to become part of the hiring process, but one cost to all will be a much lower touch process with far more candidates considered, far more interviewed via video, and far more extended offers without stepping foot in the facility they’ll work in.

Posted June 10, 2020 by

Wear pants to your next video or phone interview

When preparing for a phone or video interview it is first important to remember that the foundation and expected questions for the interview are the same as an in-person interview, and therefore you should be ready to answer a few common questions to include:

  • Tell me about yourself. A version of this question is almost always seen in an interview and a great way to answer the question is to frame it as who you are at present, 1-2 highlights from your past, and what you hope to do in the future (present, past, future).
  • Tell me about a time when...you worked on a team, overcame a challenge, etc. These behavioral situation questions are best answered using the STAR method (a situation, task, action, and result) and you should really practice several different versions to prepare.
  • Company and role-specific questions. These are there to test your research and commitment to the role, make sure you take the time to understand the opportunity and research the company!

To ensure an upcoming video interview goes well there are a few additional tips you can follow:

  1. Wear pants. This may seem obvious or conversely unnecessary as of course, in a video interview you are only seen from the waist up, but what research has found is that wearing the full professional uniform allows you to get into the mindset of a professional interview, and beyond that leaves you one less thing to worry about (what if you stand up? what if something happens?). One less thing to worry about will give you one less challenge you have to overcome so when choosing your professional video interview outfit, choose a complete look.
  2. Eliminate all background noise. This will be finding a room and space that you are able to shut out all distractions and focus solely on the interview. If using headphones do remember that wireless headphones tend to pick-up more back-up noise than you the direct user may be aware of, so you will want to trial the technology you use.
  3. Open the Meeting Platform prior to the Interview. While you may be well acquainted with common platforms such as Zoom or Google Meet, some companies have their own platform (Bluejeans, GotoMeeting, teams, and more) and that platform may require you to complete a download or adjust settings for your sound and video to work. Consequently, you will want to trial the platform prior to the interview to ensure nothing goes awry.

— Article courtesy of Jillian Low, Director of University Partnerships, CRCC Asia. New CRCC Asia Blog: Top Tips to Ace Working Remotely

Posted June 08, 2020 by

9 tips for a successful Zoom or other video interview

Obviously, prepare as if for an in-person interview. Meaning, review your successes so you can talk about them, do your research on the company/organization. 

Tip: Tape your resume on the wall or to a flipchart behind your computer so you can readily glance at it without looking down at your desk and studying it during the interview, which will be very visible to your interviewer and you’ll look like you don’t even know what’s on it. But also, be sure to do the following: 

  • Make sure your device’s camera is pointed at you and not at your ceiling or your keyboard!
  • Also be sure that there are no bright lights – like the sun! – coming in over your shoulder or it will not only be super bright and very annoying to them, you’ll come across as someone who doesn’t know how to use today’s technology. Also, with that bright light coming in from behind you, you will be seen only in silhouette so they won’t be able to see your face!
  • Just as I tell people doing in-person interviews, make it a practice to not touch your face or hair during an interview. By “face”, I mean anything that’s part of your face, like your nose, teeth/mouth, ears. This can be considered gross. And on camera, those movements are very, very obvious and therefore distracting.
  • Keep things behind you simple: don’t have distracting items behind you, either on the wall or even on the floor — they’ll see them. So make sure that your unmade/made bed are out of view. A tip: Zoom and other platforms offer digital backgrounds — try them out ahead of time to see if any work for you.
  • We call them laptops but do NOT keep your laptop on your lap during a video interview, if that’s the device you’re using. First, the camera will be pointing up at your chin (or your nose…), not a good angle. Next, any body movement on your part will cause the laptop to move, which is annoying to the other party. So find a solid (non-moving) surface for it, at a height that allows you to look straight into your computer camera lens; use books or boxes to raise it higher.
  • Practicing with a friend or your job search coach before The Real Thing will help you work out any bugs, and give you confidence. I’ve helped clients before their “real” video-based interviews by doing a test run, something I am happy to do with them.
  • While you’re using the video chat software, if the screen freezes or breaks up but you can still hear the interviewer, keep going. Sometimes temporary image issues happen, so be prepared, because it can be very distracting. If it gets so bad that sound is affected, the interviewer may ask you to turn off video (sometimes that works) or restart the session, or you may have to tell them you’re missing some of what they’re saying, “So can we restart?”, so as to get a better connection. Better that than to be wondering what question they just asked you!
  • Last step: As with an in-person interview, ask the interviewer what the next step is, and who you should follow up with. Send an email thank you (so you have space in the communication to point out how you match the job; little hand-written notes can’t do that) within 4 hours of the interview. Then follow up 3 days later, via phone or email. And keep your search going with other employers! 
  • If the interview is automated, such as with HireVue or similar software, your company contact (or an automated email!) will give you the link to use. Apps like this give you time to prepare to answer each question, time to answer it and be video recorded, and (often) time to revise it. Employers like using this so that each person on the hiring team, wherever they are, can see the same “performance”. As always, prep beforehand by reviewing your resume and your success stories.

— Courtesy of Joanne Meehl, MS, IJCDC, FAVAR®LinkedIn Certified
www.TheJobSearchQueen.com | Your Career is the Treasury of Your Life (c) 
Joanne@TheJobSearchQueen.com | Forbes.com Coaches Council
Linkedin.com/in/joannemeehl | Services and Booking Time With JoanneMonthly News and Archives | NOW: Group access to Joanne for only $7/month?!

Posted June 05, 2020 by

AT&T launches externship for 100,000 students whose summer internships fell through

Hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of college and university students and recent graduates were looking forward to gaining critical career-related experience and, hopefully, also making some money through internships this summer. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic turned the labor market upside down and led many employers to rescind their offers of employment or otherwise cancel their internship programs.

These students may be without a job, but they aren’t without opportunities to advance their careers. They can put their skills, education, and drive to work by volunteering in their communities. They can find employment with organizations who remain open as they provide essential services. And they can continue their education, either through their schools or third-parties.

AT&T recently announced the creation of its Summer Learning Academy. According to Dahna Hull, SVP-Human Resources, the Academy is “a free, unpaid self-paced online learning “externship” certificate program, designed to support college students looking for something to fill the void. This program is open to all college students and consists of 80 hours of virtual, on-demand 24×7 content. Registration is open now for college students through June 12 and the program runs from June 22-July 20.”

Continued Hull, AT&T’s “hope is that this program provides an environment where students can continue to grow and prepare for life after graduation.” It is a free, self-paced online learning certificate program powered by AT&T’s award-winning AT&T University curriculum. The unpaid “externship” is designed to support more than 100,000 students on the AT&T University platform. The content is in English but available to students located almost anywhere in the world.

The curriculum includes professional development and business acumen coursework. Students will have the opportunity to hear from speakers like Stedman Graham, Molly Bloom (author of Molly’s Game), and General Thomas Kolditz.

AT&T is working with a number of universities to provide graduating students with certificates that meet some of their professional experience requirements, so if your school requires you to successfully complete an internship prior to graduation, you’re going to want to speak with them about this program to see if they will accept this in lieu of a more traditional internship, the likes of which are far fewer this summer than any university could have anticipated.

To register, go to https://www.att.jobs/externship.