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

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Posted October 14, 2019 by

How mobile-friendly is your application process?

By Robin Porter

Tom, a 38-year-old long haul truck driver, spends most of his time on the road—often going weeks at a time without seeing his wife and two young children. He’s worked hard to earn his degree online, so he can find a job that lets him be at home with his family.

Now Tom’s in job-search mode. Given the nomadic nature of a trucking job, he has to submit applications when and where he can. That’s why he’s thankful for smartphones—even if it’s sometimes a pain to fill out applications on a small screen (so many questions, and why does he have to re-enter his job history when he’s already uploaded his resume?). However, with limited access to secure computers, it’s all he’s got.

A couple of job applications have been user-friendly. More often, though, the frustration of trying to get through the tedious and detailed online application process on a phone, combined with his tight schedule, forces Tom to abandon his applications to get back on the road. It’s not his choice, but he has schedules to meet. Sometimes, he wonders if he’ll ever be able to settle into a job that will allow him to watch his kids grow up…

Someone who’s as industrious and goal-oriented as Tom, our fictional truck driver, would be an asset to any company. If he applied to your company, would he be interviewing with you right now, or would he be lost in the system because he applied on a mobile device?

Before you wave away the idea that the devices applicants use make a difference in his or her employment prospects, consider that, according to the Pew Research Center, 81% of adults in the U.S. now own smartphones, with the breakdown in ownership by age as follows:

  • Age 18-29: 96%
  • Age 30-49: 92%
  • Age 50-64: 79%

And consider another recent study by Glassdoor, the employer and salary review site, which found that 58% of their users look for jobs on smartphones—and in fact prefer to apply that way.

That’s a lot of job seekers you could be missing out on, if your online application process isn’t mobile-friendly.

Who Applies via Mobile?

Most mobile applicants tend to be in the mid-phase of their careers, with 55% in the 35-44 age range. The largest group—52%—are women, and in general, mobile applicants tend come from industries and occupations where their work doesn’t keep them within range of a computer. Think restaurant, health care, retail, construction, manufacturing or transportation workers like our friend Tom.

Even if you don’t specifically hire in those industries, how many good candidates who have decided to transition to your industry might you be overlooking—without even realizing it?

The Effects of Mobile-Friendly Application

Glassdoor’s study found that mobile job seekers complete 53% fewer applications and take 80% longer to complete each application. The difficulty of completing applications—a CareerBuilder study found that 60% of jobseekers quit in the middle of an online application due to length, complexity or even formatting issues—is not only discouraging for the applicants, it could eventually become a negative for your company as jobseekers abandon your site for more user-friendly postings.

Now, if we’re being honest, in an employer’s market it might not be a significant issue. However, when the market favors job seekers and you have to compete for talent, your applicant pool could shrink considerably—especially as the capabilities of mobile devices continue to expand.

And if you think that a challenging online application process separates the serious applicant from the less-serious ones, think again. The top-notch candidates you’re searching for know what their time is worth, and their patience for an unnecessarily complicated process is as low as anyone else’s.

The Costs of Mobile-Unfriendly Application

Appcast, a developer of programmatic job advertising technology, did a benchmark study that examined the U.S. hiring market in 2018. Among their findings was a 24.5% increase in mobile device clicks from 2017 to 2018. Nearly half of all applies, 47.10%, came from a mobile device in 2018, up drastically from 30.05% in 2017—a 54.93% increase in mobile applications.

The Appcast study further found that recruiters who use more streamlined platforms that shorten the length of the application process cut their cost per applicant almost 250% by reducing the time to complete an application from 15 minutes to just five. Consider that in the cost-per-click pricing model, recruiters pay per click—whatever the candidate does beyond that initial click. When unwieldly application forms translate into abandoned applications, you’re still paying for those clicks even if they don’t result in a job candidate.

As Tom, our trucker friend, and other job seekers rely more and more on mobile devices to search and apply for jobs, it’s vital for employers to adapt their online application processes to reflect the latest technology and application practices. Glassdoor’s study showed that when a job was promoted as mobile-friendly, the number of job applicants increased as much as 11.6%. How many more promising applicants would you have to choose missing out on if you made your online application process mobile-friendly?

Today might be the best day to make that calculation. And the first day of a new era in your recruitment process.

Sources:

Being away from home for weeks on end can put truckers’ mental health at risk, and there’s no solution in sight,” by Rachel Premack, businessinsider.com, June 18, 2018.

Mobile Fact Sheet,” by Pew Research Center, pewinternet.org, June 12, 2019.

The Rise of Mobile Devices in Job Search: Challenges and Opportunities for Employers,” by Daniel Zhao, glassdoor.com, June 2, 2019.

Study: Most Job Seekers Abandon Online Job Applications,” by Dave Zielinski, shrm.org, March 8, 2016.

Is Poor UX Hurting Your Chances of Finding Good Employees?” by Samuel Harper, uxdesign.cc, July 14, 2019.

2019 Recruitment Media Benchmark Report,” by Appcast, info.appcase.io, 2019. (Note: link opens to a download form)

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.

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Posted October 08, 2019 by

Can recruiters build relationships with candidates they reject?

By far, the most common complaint that we hear from the 2.5 million Gen Z and Millennial students and recent graduates who use College Recruiter a year to find part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs is the lack of basic courtesy demonstrated by recruiters and other human resource professionals. Candidates understand that they should not expect to receive a personalized response to every job they apply to, but they do expect to receive a personalized response to every job they interview for. 

If an employer interviews 10 candidates and hires one, that employer can in about 10 minutes send a personalized email to the nine candidates who the employer was interested enough in to interview but who weren’t as well qualified as the candidate who was hired. The email need not be long or detailed. It need only thank the candidate for their interest and time, let them know that they were not selected for the job, and let them know why. 

Many recruiters are uncomfortable about the “why” portion and will use, as an excuse, the possibility that the why might generate litigation. But the data shows otherwise. The recruiter can easily paint a picture of the successful candidate by summarizing her work experience, education, and other qualifications that caused that person to be hired over all of the others.

Once the recruiter has drafted the email for the first unsuccessful interviewee, it should only take seconds to copy, paste, and send to the other eight. Also, if those other eight remain of interest, the recruiter should say so directly and what steps, if any, the candidates should follow to increase their chances.

If the candidate has interviewed two, three, or even more times, then even more time should be spent to courteously decline them. A great way of doing that would be to recommend, briefly, what the candidate can do over the coming months or years to better their odds of being hired. Maybe they should complete an internship or degree. Tell them. You’ll turn them from disappointed candidates into powerful advocates.

Lily Rose-Wilson

Posted June 04, 2019 by

Employers shouldn’t — but still do — stalk candidates on Facebook

One of my favorite podcasts that sits at the intersection of human resources and technology a/k/a HRtech is The Chad and Cheese Podcast. The hosts are friends Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman, each of whom have been in the industry for two decades and regularly compete with each other to see who can out-snark the other. Shows are usually about 40-minutes long, easy to listen to, and informative.

Toward the end of the May 31st episode, Chad and Joel got into a discussion about an employer in Australia or New Zealand — they couldn’t remember where — who left a voice message for a candidate that was a little more revealing than the employer planned. Apparently, the employer didn’t realize they were still being recorded and started to discuss the candidate’s fake tan, tattoos, and other items which weren’t at all relevant to the candidate’s ability to do the work. Big thumbs down to the employer.

I did a little Googling and found the story on news.com.au. So, it was an Australian employer. Perth to be exact. The employer was Michelle Lines from STS Health and the candidate was Lily Rose-Wilson. In the recording, Lines can be heard discussing Rose-Wilson’s Facebook photos with a male colleague.

According to news.com.au, the conversation went as follows: “Not answering the phone now,” Ms Lines says. Her colleague suggests she’s “probably getting another tattoo”, to which Ms Lines responds, “She’s probably doing her fake tan.” The male asks, “Did you really like, Facebook stalk?”, and Ms Lines says, “That’s what you got to do, babe”. “Yeah, well it’s very thorough, good on you,” he replies.

Ugh. I’ve been speaking about how employers wrongfully use Facebook and other social media sites since Facebook was only accessible to students, staff, and faculty at dozens of colleges and universities. I really, really thought that employers had grown up and realized that sites like Facebook are great sourcing tools if they’re used to help the employer be more inclusive when hiring and should never be used to exclude candidates from the hiring pool. Yet, here we are again. Ugh.

To the candidates reading this blog, beware. Understand that every organization is made up of individuals and individuals all make mistakes. And some make more mistakes than others. But even if an individual within an organization to which you’ve applied makes a mistake and looks at your Facebook profile to see if they can find a reason to eliminate you from the candidate pool does not mean that you should cross that employer off of your list. Chances are, the person will be in HR and unless you’re applying to work in HR you’ll likely never interact with that person after you’re hired.

Don’t leave yourself open to the irrational, mistaken whims of some idiot who decides that looking at your tan or tattoos is a good idea when deciding whether you’re qualified for a job. If that matters to you as it does to many candidates, then lock down your privacy so that the prospective employer cannot see those photos. And if they’re the kind of photos that you’d be embarrassed to show your favorite grandmother, get them off of your profile altogether.

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Posted May 20, 2019 by

2019 job market best for college grads since 2017

Want more evidence that the job market facing this year’s college grads is the best in years? Actually, the best in 12 years, if you want to get technical.

According to the Class of 2019 Student Survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, graduating college seniors who had applied for full-time jobs received an average of 1.10 job offers, the highest rate of average job offers in 12 years.

That students who are merely applying for jobs are, on average, receiving more than one job offer is consistent with NACE’s Job Outlook 2019 Spring Update, which reported that U.S. employers plan to hire 10.7 percent more graduates from the class of 2019 than they did from the class of 2018.

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Posted April 25, 2019 by

Should you change jobs, even if you don’t 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.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted April 14, 2019 by

Is it too late to find a great internship or entry-level job?

In a word, no.

They say that with age comes wisdom. Well, I’m certainly a lot older than I used to be and, hopefully, a lot wiser. When I was in college and then graduate school and then when I graduated, my vision of how the job market worked was fundamentally flawed. And being a typical, young adult, no person who had gone through a similar circumstance before me was going to convince me otherwise. They couldn’t understand. They didn’t go through what I was going through. They just don’t get it. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

The reality is that the vast majority of students and recent graduates of high schools, one-year technical and vocational schools, two-year community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and graduate schools are not employed before they graduate. Never have been and probably never will. It is absolutely true that there are a very, very small number of very, very elite schools where the vast majority of the graduating class is either employed before graduation or have accepted offers to continue their education, but those schools and therefore those graduates are outliers. If you’re in that group, fantastic. Stop reading as this article is not for you.

Still with me? Great. Let’s talk frankly about the road in front of you and, perhaps, alleviate some anxiety and wasted time. First, and to emphasize, your situation is the norm. The vast majority of employers hire reactively. They only start looking when they have an opening, and openings occur all of the time and often quite randomly. The employers you’ve seen who interview on campus are the one percent of the one percent in that they plan months and even years ahead of time how many they’re going to hire, from where, and what skill set they need. But the vast majority of employers operate more like, “Oh? Maggie in accounting just quit after being here for only three months? Damn. Well, post a few ads, let’s get some resumes over the next few weeks, and we’ll hire the first good person who we find.”

Let’s break that down a bit. The employer didn’t know they had a hiring need until Maggie created that need by quitting. The response? Look at the candidates who applied three months ago for Maggie’s job, were well-qualified, but weren’t hired because Maggie was better qualified? Nope. To most employers, those candidates cease to exist when they decide to hire someone else. Stupid? Absolutely.

Another component of the response was to post a few ads. Note that the response was not to contact the career service offices, schedule on-campus interviews, conduct those interviews, and then hire. Why not? Because you can’t do that reactively. You can’t just call up a school and show up in a couple of days. They plan months ahead of time. So unless you’re that one percent of one percent employer, career services aren’t an option.

Notice that the employer didn’t specify where to post the ads. As much as this founder of job search site College Recruiter would like to think otherwise, the reality is that most employers have very little loyalty to their media partners. If they have a hiring need and they’ve had good results from you in the past and you somehow come to mind, they’ll be likely to advertise with you again. But they’re also just as likely to advertise with a site whose sales rep happened to call them five minutes after Maggie quit. So where you find the job posting is also less than logical, but that’s not a big deal because the vast majority of job search sites share their postings to ensure that just about every candidate who visits their site has a lot of well-targeted jobs to choose from, which makes for a better candidate experience and also generates more revenue for the job boards.

Another item of note: the employer plans to hire the first, well-qualified candidate who applies. Well, actually not. They said “good”, as in meet the basic qualifications. Most employers fill most jobs with a “got to put butts in seats” philosophy. If you’re qualified and you applied before other qualified candidates, the job is yours. So applying as soon as a job is posted greatly increases your chances of success, as is making it easy for the employer to quickly understand that you’re qualified. If they have to read your resume and start making inferences and guesses as to your qualifications for and legitimate interest in their job then they’re likely to add your resume to the “maybe” pile and move on. And when they move on and then next candidate does a better job of marketing themselves, it will be that next candidate who gets hired instead of you.

At this point, you may be thinking that isn’t fair. That you don’t have the time to start customizing cover letters and resumes for every job you’re applying to. And I will call b.s. on that. When I hear that and scratch the surface, I almost always find that the candidate doesn’t have the time because they’re applying to five, 10, 20, or even more jobs A DAY. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

As a member of the Career Advisory Board, a think tank sponsored by DeVry University, I learned of research that showed that candidates who applied to a TOTAL of five jobs were far more likely to get hired far more quickly than those who applied to 10, 20, or even more jobs PERIOD. Not a day. Period. By applying to only five jobs, you’re able to spend the time you need to customize your cover letter and your resume so that both use the language used by the employer and draw to their attention that you either meet every requirement and preference they’ve stated in their job posting ad or you have other qualifications which should overcome your deficiencies.

As I write this article, the grass is struggling to poke its way through a few inches of snow left over from a spring snowstorm that us Minnesotans have to suffer through. High school grads are inching toward their last classes and then finals. Students in post-secondary schools are typically preparing for and writing their finals. And most will be unemployed. If you’re in that group, you’re in good company. But you need not be for long.

Grab a sheet of paper and draw three lines down it. At the top, write these headings: competencies, interests, values, compensation. Under competencies, write a word or phrase that describes every single thing that others would say you’re good at. Don’t worry if they’re not related to your career. Write ’em down. Under interests, write everything that motivates you or causes you to take interest in it. Under values, write down everything that matters to you. And under compensation, write down what you need to make in hard benefits like wages or salary, medical insurance, and retirement plans and soft benefits like flexible working hours and the ability to occasionally telecommute.

Look for common themes on the sheet of paper. Hopefully, you’ll discover that there are some things for which you’re competent, interested in, and value. Which of those will provide to you the compensation you need? Now you’ve got a list of jobs or career paths to guide your search. Go to our home page and enter two or three keywords to describe those and the location in which you want to work. Review the jobs that come up in the search results and modify your search as necessary until you’ve narrowed down the list to a manageable size. For some, that might be a few dozen jobs. For others, that might be ten jobs.

Zero in on three to five of the jobs and apply to them. Be sure to include a customized cover letter that helps the employer understand what you want to do in the future and how their job fits into that. What you want to do in the future will, of course, be partly guided by what you’ve done in the past so your cover letter will inevitably discuss some of your educational and work backgrounds. Your cover letter should provide to them enough information that they can see that you’re qualified for the work that they want you to do. No need to include jobs or other experiences that are irrelevant to the job advertised by the employer. Send the application. Follow-up with the employer in a few work days using the contact information that is in the ad, which rarely happens, or on the employer’s website, which is almost always there.

Best of luck!!

Posted March 19, 2019 by

It’s crummy to search for a job based upon its distance. Now you can search by commute time.

Minneapolis, MN (March 19, 2019) — It has only taken 410 years, but help wanted and other recruitment advertising is finally catching up to what job seekers have always wanted to know: how long will it take me to get to this job?

The movable type, printing press was invented in 1609 and within decades employers were placing help wanted ads in them. George Washington’s Continental Army posted recruitment ads in local newspapers. But for that entire time, employers, newspapers, online job boards, and other sources of classified advertising have shifted the effort of determining how long it will take to get to a job to the candidate by publishing the location of the job and, even then, often only publishing the city in which it was located. As a candidate, you can guess at how long it will take to get from your apartment to a job, but wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to guess but instead would just see a list of jobs that match your interests along with the commute time to each of them by driving, transit, cycling, and walking and both during peak and non-peak times? Now, you can.

College Recruiter was an early, early partner of Google’s with its Cloud Talent Solution product. A little over a year ago in January 2018, we replaced our job search engine with their search technology. The jobs you see on College Recruiter were posted to College Recruiter so you aren’t searching the entire web as you are when you’re on Google.com. Since before we even signed our licensing agreement with them, they’ve been superb partners in helping improve the discoverability of the hundreds of thousands of part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs advertised at any given time on our site, as well as matching those jobs with the right candidates. For employers, reaching a larger talent pool is consistently top of mind, and we and our partners at Google also hear from — and listen to — job seekers about their unique job search and employment needs.

College Recruiter and Google are always working to add new features and functionality to connect employers and job seekers. Last year, Google added job search by U.S. military occupational specialty code for College Recruiter and other Cloud Talent Solution customers in the United States. Today and together, we’re announcing that College Recruiter now supports commute search by driving, transit, cycling, and walking AND candidates can search our site using any of 100+ languages, so if their primary language is Spanish and secondary language is English, they can search in Spanish, we’ll display the job posting ads in English, and the employer who receives their application will be well on their way to hiring a well matched candidate who has the highly sought after skill of being bilingual.

“At College Recruiter, we’re very excited about the enhancement to the Cloud Talent Solutions commute search option,” said Steven Rothberg, President and Founder of College Recruiter. “Many of the job seekers who use our site are looking for part-time, seasonal, and internship opportunities while they’re in school, and many of them would strongly prefer to work within walking or cycling distance so they can avoid the cost and hassle of driving or using public transportation. Now, they can search for a part-time, retail job within a 10-minute walk from their apartment instead of having to weed through dozens or even hundreds of part-time, retail jobs which are listed within their city.”

Listen to today’s episode of The Chad and Cheese Podcast for more information about the background of why College Recruiter chose to replace its search technology with that it licenses from Google, the impact of that decision, or the latest features that we’ve rolled out as a result of that partnership. During the podcast, hosts Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman discuss all of these issues and more with guest, Steven Rothberg, the founder of College Recruiter.

Posted March 18, 2019 by

How does the rapid adoption of AI by recruitment technology providers impact the advice college career service offices provide to students?

Last week, I had the good fortune to be a panelist for an event hosted by Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois. The roughly two dozen attendees were mostly college career service office professionals who were members of the Chicago Career Professionals Network (CCPN).

The topic of conversation for this meeting was artificial intelligence and the impact it is having and will have on how students and recent graduates find employment. The career service office leaders wanted to know whether the advice they’ve been giving to students for years and sometimes even decades needed to be updated.

John Sumser of HR Examiner delivered the opening presentation after which attendees asked questions of the panelists: Elena Sigacheva, product manager for Entelo; Jason Trotter, human resources business partner for Allstate; and me. Watch the video below to learn:

  • What is artificial intelligence and machine-learning and its relationship to recruiting?
  • How are employers / recruiters currently using AI and how they may use the technology in the future?
  • How should college career service office and career coaches advise students to effectively navigate the new recruiting landscape?

College admissions building. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted March 13, 2019 by

How does the admissions cheating scandal impact students deciding on what college to attend?

One of the biggest stories of the week is the alleged college admissions scheme apparently perpetrated by dozens of wealthy and well-connected Americans which, if true, are guilty of defrauding the schools and perhaps the federal government.

According to CNN, actress Lori Loughlin — who starred in the hit sitcom Full House, “surrendered Wednesday morning to federal authorities in Los Angeles, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said, as fallout from the college admissions scandal continues to spread. Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to designate their two daughters as recruits to the University of Southern California crew team, even though they did not participate in crew, according to court documents released Tuesday.”

“Fifty people — from Hollywood stars and top industry CEOs to college coaches and standardized test administrators — stand accused of participating in a scheme to cheat on admissions tests and admit to students to leading institutions as athletes regardless of their abilities, prosecutors revealed Tuesday in a federal indictment. The scandal is being called the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted.”

If true, the scam brings to light the dirty, dark, not-so-secret truth that America has never been a meritocracy and has always suffered from crony capitalism, which devalues the hard work and effort expended by the vast majority of the population.

Although Americans have been brought up to believe that if you work hard and play by the rules that you can be anything you want to be, that has only been the case for some and not for most. Until JFK, all presidents were white, male, land-owning, Protestants. Until Barack Obama, all were male, land-owning, Christians. A look at the C-suite of the Fortune 1,000 reveals that the lack of diversity and inclusion is not limited to the White House. In short, meritocracy existed only for a small minority of the population.

Parents and students remain obsessed with getting into the “best” college or university largely for status reasons but also for rational, economic reasons. Somehow, if your kid gets into an elite university, that makes you a better parent in the eyes of some, but that’s truly unfortunate has allowed the banks and higher education industries to redistribute to themselves and their shareholders enormous amounts of wealth from the middle class. 

However, there are good, rational, economic reasons to enroll in and graduate from an elite college: your chances are higher of landing a well-paying job with a well known and respected employer. Most of the best known and respected employers recruit the bulk of their professional, entry-level talent from colleges and universities and for decades they’ve done so largely by sending recruiters and hiring managers to interview on college campuses.

Fortunately, an increasing minority of employers are looking at their outcomes data — which employees are the most productive — and are finding that there is a weak and sometimes negative correlation between the perceived quality of the school and productivity of the employee. That is leading these employees to become school agnostic, meaning that they are being more inclusive in their hiring by reducing or eliminating their on-campus hiring efforts in favor of hiring through job boards such as College Recruiter and other Internet sites.