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The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

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Posted November 12, 2019 by

Why do so many college grads live with their parents?

The average college grad earns about $46,000 a year. That sounds quite high to most Americans, because it is also the average income earned by most families.

But if you dig into the college grad’s finances, you’ll quickly see that they’re likely to live in poverty. Why? Because the student debt of a graduate from a first or second tier, four-year college or university can easily exceed $100,000 and often approaches $200,000. It is common for tuition to be at least $25,000 and often more than $50,000 a year. Add to that room, board, books, travel to/from the city your family lives in and you’re looking at $40,000 to $65,000 a year. Multiply that by four years and you’re at $160,000 to $220,000 in debt.

If your student loans are payable in 20 years, which is common, and your interest rate is eight percent, which is also common, you’re looking at $2,000 per month for student loan payments. Over 12 months, that’s $24,000.

So, suddenly, that $46,000 a year gives you the earning power of someone making $22,000 a year, which is less than the average, full-time, Uber driver nets.

Posted November 05, 2019 by

Do this year’s college grads face the likelihood of crippling debt and delinquent repayments?

The student debt that Millennials and now Gen Z have and are incurring is crippling and, long-term, could financially devastate an entire generation. Those who went to college in the 1980s or earlier simply can’t relate as the cost to attend college then could be covered by working part-time as a waiter or bartender and any debt they graduated with could be repaid within a handful of years working at a job that paid well but not even great.

Today’s students are often attending schools that charge $25,000 or more per year plus another $15,000 in related costs such as traveling to and from school each semester, rent, food, and books. A four-year degree, therefore, often costs $160,000. Part-time jobs typically pay about $10 per hour. At 20-hours a week, that’s $41,600 over four years, so about $120,000 needs to be financed. Student loans often carry interest rates of eight percent or more, so over 20-years the average student is going to see about half of their gross wages disappear to repay the principal plus interest on their student debt.

The end results is that the average graduate of a four-year college or university is effectively being asked to live on about $25,000 per year. If they run into any unexpected, significant expenses like the need to replace a car or have surgery, then there is a very real possibility of them falling into delinquency. Many of the student loans then charge huge penalties, including significantly higher interest rates. So if you miss a payment one or two times, your already exorbitant interest rate of eight can easily escalate to 16 percent and then 24 percent. Before you know it, you’re paying 24 percent interest on a six-figure loan that is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. If that’s not a recipe for financial disaster, I don’t know what is.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted October 29, 2019 by

Why should you consider switching jobs even if you don’t necessarily want to?

Changing jobs, even when you don’t want to, is one of the best ways to get a pay raise and improve the hard and soft benefits you receive.

Unfortunately, many employers give raises to existing employees only when forced to, but they’re typically willing to pay new employees the going wage for the same work. So it isn’t unusual for an employee to advance into a more senior role but still be paid like they’re doing their old job. But if they move to a new employer, that new employer is more apt to pay them for the work they’re now doing.

Also, it is easier to win better hard and soft benefits when you move jobs. Hard benefits are those which aren’t negotiable such as 401k and medical plans, but they differ significantly employer-to-employer. If your current employer’s medical plan is terrible, you’re not going to be able to get them to provide a better one to you but you can apply to work for employers with good medical plans. 

Similarly, soft benefits are often easier to obtain from a new employer. These are typically negotiable, such as flexible working hours. If you’ve worked for the same employer for five years from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, it will likely be difficult to convince them to allow you to work from 8am to 6pm, Monday through Thursday and then 8am to noon on Friday. But it should be easier to convince a new employer to allow that.

Posted October 24, 2019 by

Chipotle now covering 100% of tuition costs, even for part-time employees

It isn’t hard to admit: I’ve been a fan of Chipotle’s food since it opened a restaurant near my home about a decade ago.

If you’ve never been, think Subway but for burritos, tacos, and tortilla-less meals served in a bowl. Think concrete floors and lots of stainless steel. Think freshly cooked, savory meats. Think fresh, yummy guacamole. But I digress into a hunger causing diatribe.

Working in a restaurant — any restaurant — is not for the faint of heart. The work is usually fast-paced, customers can be jerks, and the hours often very early or very late. But it is good, honest, hard work. Every minute of every day your work is appreciated by customers who want a little treat, either in the sense of rewarding themselves or rewarding their taste buds. Or both.

Keeping workers happy and retaining them is an incredible challenge for almost all restaurants, especially those whose pay is at the lower end of the scale, which includes almost all fast-food restaurants. Let’s face it, you’re not going to get rich working in a fast-food restaurant, but you’ll earn your pay, you won’t get bored, and you’ll almost certainly make some great friends amongst your co-workers.

But now there’s another benefit to working at a fast-food restaurant. To be clear, not just any fast-food restaurant. Just Chipotle. At least for now. Chipotle, consistent with its mission to Cultivate a Better World, just announced an incredible tuition reimbursement program. Together with Guild Education, Chipotle will cover 100 percent of college tuition costs for all eligible employees, including hourly (crew) members. When I read that, I skeptically thought, “Yeah, but who will be eligible?” I’m often wrong, and this was one of the many times when I was very happy to be wrong.

The news here isn’t that Chipotle has a tuition reimbursement program. Yawn. Lots of employers, including College Recruiter, do. And the news isn’t even that the program covers 100 percent of the tuition costs. That’s a higher bar than most but, at best, evolutionary and not revolutionary. The news here is that to be eligible you need only have worked at Chipotle for four months (120-days, to be exact) AND work at least 15 hours a week. That’s right. Those working only 15-hours a week will get 100 percent of their college education paid for by Chipotle. That’s revolutionary. Kind of like their one-pound, barbacoa, burritos. But I digress again.

There are some limitations, but they’re VERY reasonable. Only certain degrees qualify, but there are 75 of them and range from high school diplomas to bachelor’s degrees in business or technology. The courses are online, but include VERY well respected schools like Denver University. Not satisfied with their schools? No problem. Chipotle will continue to offer its tuition reimbursement program, which allows eligible employees to be reimbursed for tuition up to $5,250 a year at the school of their choice. That’s not going to come close to covering the full cost of a typical, elite, four-year university, but it could easily cover a third or even a half at many state colleges and perhaps all of the costs of a community college. Or, slap that baby together with a nice scholarship or two and now you’re back into the free zone. Where you can enjoy a pork carnitas taco. With green chili. Mmmm.

College Recruiter, we believe that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. That guiding principle leads us to push some employers to treat their employees better, sometimes by paying them better, sometimes by creating better working conditions, and sometimes by helping those employees achieve their life goals. With this new program, Chipotle is setting a new bar for other employers and, I hope, many others will follow their lead. Kudos, Chipotle.

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Posted October 22, 2019 by

How to boost your pay aside from your current salary

How do you increase your takehome pay if you can’t get your employer to increase your current hourly wage or salary?

One option is to stay in the same job but also look for a second.

A second is to work overtime hours. Beware that if you’re salaried, then you probably won’t be paid for those overtime hours, but some employees will negotiate a change to their status from exempt (paid salary) to non-exempt (paid hourly) so that they can be paid extra when they work overtime. ,

A third is to negotiate a commuting reimbursement or a perk that’s essentially money in your pocket. Even if your salary or hourly wage don’t increase, if your employer is paying you more money overall, that’s the same as getting a raise.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of employers want to pay their employees fairly, but few employers and employees know exactly what “fair” translates into when talking about wages. Employees who want a pay raise should do that research and then present their findings in writing to their manager.

If you’re a customer service representative without a high school degree but with three years of experience and you work in Long Island, look at sites like Payscale and Glassdoor for people with the same qualifications as you and what they’re earning. Look on sites like Indeed and CollegeRecruiter.com for job postings for positions like what you have and what they’re paying. Present that information to your manager to substantiate your claim that you should receive a raise. 

What you want to get paid or what you feel you need to be paid in order to pay your bills aren’t nearly as impactful as what you would be paid if you were to leave your employer and be hired by another organization that is basically across the street and for the same role.

Posted October 15, 2019 by

Why are apprenticeship programs so much more popular in Europe than the U.S.?

One reason that apprenticeship programs are far more popular in Europe than they are in the United States is because employers in Europe tend to take a far more long-term view of their employees than do employers in the U.S. In Europe, it is more a part of their culture to hire people with some but not every single desired skill and then train them until they have all of the desired skills. In the U.S., employers expect employees to hit the ground running and, therefore, train them only when necessary. Apprentices, by definition, require substantial training.

Another reason that apprenticeships are far more popular in Europe is that it is far harder to terminate an employee in Europe than it is in the United States. In Europe, you can often only terminate an employee for cause and, even then, often need to provide severance. In the U.S., employment is typically at will and you can be fired for any reason or no reason, as long as it isn’t a bad (illegal) reason.

Apprenticeships require a long-term commitment by both parties that, sadly, isn’t as much a part of our culture as it is in Europe.

Posted October 15, 2019 by

Are college majors becoming a thing of the past?

Many colleges seem to be encouraging multidisciplinary concentrations and combinations of minors. Some institutions are phasing out the strict adherence to picking one single major. But why?

Until very recently, very, very few employers who hired more than a handful of people a year really knew where their applicants were coming from, let alone their hires let alone their most productive employees. Over the past couple of years, however, a rapidly increasing minority of medium- and large-employers are not just claiming to use data to drive their hiring decisions but are actually doing so. And some of these employers are using workforce productivity data instead of cost-per-application or cost-per-hire data to drive the decisions as to where to source their candidates.

What many of these employers are finding is that their most productive employees did not come from the sources that the employers always took for granted were their best sources of hire. Employers who hire a lot of interns and recent grads, for example, typically chased after the candidates with the most sought after majors and who were enrolled at the most elite schools. These candidates, however, rarely stay with an employer longer than for a couple of years, whereas candidates from less sexy majors, schools, or both tend to stay for five, 10, or even more years and that makes them far more productive.

Posted October 08, 2019 by

Lists you need to make when you start your job search

Many job seekers, especially those who are more toward the beginning than end of their careers, struggle to decide what kind of a job they want to do. For those, we recommend pulling out a legal pad and dividing it into four columns:

  1. Competencies
  2. Interests
  3. Values
  4. Compensation

Under competencies, list in a few words everything you’re good at, whether it is career-related or not.

Under interests, list everything that catches your attention, whether it is career-related or not. 

Under values, list everything that matters to you, whether it is career-related or not. 

Under compensation, list all of the things that you want and need to do which cost money and estimate how much each costs per month or year.

Now, look for commonalities in the first three columns. Are there items which are in the competencies, interests, and values columns? Circle those. Now look at the items which are circled and consider those along with your compensation needs. Can you do any of the circled items for work — even part-time — and meet your compensation needs? If so, you’ve just found at least one career path.

Posted October 07, 2019 by

Believe it or Not, Employers Don’t Want People Who are Willing to Do Anything

One of the most common questions that career coaches get asked by students and recent graduates is why they can’t get hired by an employer despite being willing to do any work asked by that employer. The response is almost always a variation of, “Well, that’s the reason.” Employers don’t want to hire people who are willing to do anything, because few have the time or patience to coach candidates. They want candidates to fill a specific role and be qualified to do so.

But, I Just Want to Get My Foot in the Door!

Hey, we get it. You’re willing to do any task just to get your foot in the door and then work your way into your dream job. You probably have skills that are transferable to a wide variety of roles, and that’s great. You may be happy to work for any organization, as long as it’s a dynamic and growing company. You might even be willing to start in the mailroom (assuming the company still has a mailroom) if that’s what it takes. The bottom line: you just want a chance to prove yourself.

Unfortunately, most employers aren’t impressed by all that “willingness” and flexibility. They want you to make their job easy. You see, corporate recruiters, those who work in-house for a specific employer, are typically evaluated on how many people they hire. If they take extra time to help you or work with you to figure out which of their job openings you’re best suited for, chances are they could have helped their employer hire multiple people in that same amount of time. Additionally, third-party recruiters (aka headhunters or executive recruiters) are under even more time pressure because they’re usually paid a straight commission only when a candidate they refer to an employer is hired by that employer. For them, time truly is money.

Make their Job Easy

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s much more effective to be very specific in your job search. Commit to the type of organization you want to work for and a shortlist of roles that you want to fill, and then pursue those diligently. It may also be helpful to narrow your search to a few metro areas, instead of “anywhere in the world.” To do this effectively, you must do your homework on the industry and the company before applying. (For tips on researching companies, read “Things You Should Know About a Company Before Applying.”

Then, when you apply, customize your cover letter and resume to highlight the skills and accomplishments that fit the job description. This includes using the exact job title the employer uses. For instance, if you’re applying for a sales position and the job title the employer uses in the description is “account manager,” then be sure your cover letter and resume also uses “account manager” when describing what work you’ve done and what work you want to do. Even if your school calls your major “information technology,” if the employer states that they are looking for a computer science major, then be sure your resume and cover letter refer to your major as “computer science.” This lets the employer know that you understand what they’re looking for and have both the interest and skills to fill the role.

It’s also important to keep in mind that applicant tracking software (ATS) looks for matches by searching for keywords in your resume. This is yet another reason to use exact words from the job description. While it may be more work to customize each resume you send out, it’s better than being rejected by a robot!

Say the Right Things

When you start to engage with the recruiter or land that interview, be sure that everything you talk about is geared toward the benefit of the employer. You may be proud of your involvement in several clubs at school, which shows a wide range of interests. However, unless you can turn this experience into an asset that the company is looking for, such as “effective time management” it’s better to focus on the skills the employer has clearly stated in the job description. You may be dreaming of relocating to the company’s European offices one day, but if the recruiter is trying to fill a position in Minneapolis, don’t tell her you’d love to work in Paris, unless she asks you if you’d be open to relocating at some point.

In other words, just as you customize your cover letter and resume, be sure to tailor your responses to the specific position for which you are interviewing. By doing some upfront research and being intentional in your job search, your chance of getting your foot in the door (and getting the job you really want) will increase dramatically.

Related posts:

  1. How do I Decide What Kind of Job to Look For?
  2. Preparation is Key to a Successful Job Search

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted October 04, 2019 by

How to convince your boss to let you work from home

All of College Recruiter’s employees work remotely from home-based offices, but that hasn’t always been the case. Before we moved to a fully work-from-home, distributed team model, only some of our employees worked from home. How did we decide who would work from home? Not only did the employee need to want to work from home, but we also needed to see that they had demonstrated an ability to work from home successfully. 

Some of our home-based employees had done so successfully for other employers. Others had not yet had that experience. For those who had not yet tried working from home, we started off by allowing them to work from home occasionally, such as a half a day or a day a week. If that went well, then they might work from home four days a week and be in the office a day a week. If that went well, then they’d start working from home all of the time and only coming into the office when in-person meetings were imperative, such as all-team meetings.

There were employees who wanted to work from home, whose home office seemed well suited to success (not just a desk in their bedroom), and who seemed to have the discipline and self-starter skill set that we found were necessary. Yet they floundered. Sometimes, pilots that everyone expects to succeed instead fail, including employees trying to work from home. 

Why did the work-from-home pilots fail? A variety of reasons, but the primary reason was the lack of a suitable workspace. One employee who had worked from home with great success bought a dog who barked non-stop unless sitting on the lap of our employee, which prevented her from being productive in her customer service job as she needed to be on the phone a lot. Another employee didn’t make childcare arrangements for his three young kids and so they interrupted him multiple times an hour with a variety of requests such as for snacks. 

Home-based employment can be a wonderful thing for both employee and employer, but those who have never worked from home may be surprised at how hard it is to do successfully.