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

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Posted July 28, 2020 by

How college students can ace their Zoom video interviews for internships and entry-level jobs

For years, employers of college and university students and recent graduates have gradually shifted their recruiting strategies away from almost exclusively on-campus information sessions, career fairs, and interviews.

The shift didn’t result in fewer students receiving offers or being hired. The shift did, however, result in a change in tactics and strategies, including how employers allocated their budgets. The cost of recruiting a student through on-campus interviewing is about $6,275. Employers who shifted their emphasis even partially toward using more sources like social media and job boards like College Recruiter discovered that the average cost of hiring students online is about $460 for professional and often below $100 for hourly roles. It is little wonder, then, that many of the largest employers of students and recent graduates were already in the process of shifting more of their recruiting efforts online even before COVID-19 forced all of them to massively and, perhaps, permanently change their approach.

To successfully source candidates through online recruiting, employers typically advertise their job openings on leading job boards such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and College Recruiter. The ads may take the form of traditional, duration-based postings such as the $75 for 30-days that College Recruiter charges or performance-based postings, such as paying something like $0.25 to $0.75 every time a candidate sees a posting on the job board and clicks to go to the employer’s career site to, hopefully, apply. College Recruiter calls its cost-per-click (CPC) product, JobsThatScale.

One or more interviews are typically then scheduled once the student or recent graduate has seen the job posting, clicked to the employer’s career site to apply through its applicant tracking system (ATS) software, and heard back from the employer. Before COVID, those interviews often consisted of an in-person interview at the employer’s office. Now, in-person interviews are rare and have largely been replaced by interviews using Zoom, HireVue, Modern Hire, Google Meet, Skype, or other video service.

For the recruiter, a video interview is likely something that they have a lot of experience doing. Even a new recruiter has likely conducted dozens and more experienced have hundreds or even thousands under their belts. For the student or recent graduate, many are experiencing their first video interviews now, or perhaps have only completed a few. None of us are born knowing how to successfully interview by Zoom or other video platform, but there are some ways that will help ensure that the video interviews are successful:

First, at least 30- and preferably 60-minutes before your interview, completely power down (not just re-start) your computer, router, and modem. Almost all connectivity issues can be prevented by taking the few minutes necessary to do this. Almost nothing could be worse than your video or audio being garbled. Realistically, the recruiter or hiring manager will be interviewing multiple, well-qualified candidates. If your technology makes it hard for them, they’re probably going to hire someone else.

Second, consider purchasing an external camera, microphone, or both. I use a 2019 iMac at work and it has an excellent camera, but the microphone is lacking so I purchased a used, Blue Yeti USB microphone. They’re just under $300 new on Amazon but I snagged one for $50 on Facebook Marketplace. The sound quality is FAR superior to the built-in microphone on my desktop computer and so much easier for the person I’m talking with to understand what I’m saying.

Third, make your bed. Seriously, employers want to hire people who are thoughtful and well-prepared. If the room you’re in is a mess and they see that, that’s going to turn them off. Virtual backgrounds are often available through the video services, but they don’t always work well. An option is to simply hang a solid colored bed sheet behind you. Oh, and don’t sit with your back toward a bright light like a window. That silhouettes you and makes it hard for the other person to see your facial expressions. You want the light to be on your face, not the back of your head.

Fourth, and this is really hard for many people, don’t look at the video on your screen. Computers typically have a little light beside the camera to serve both as a visual cue that the camera is on AND a place to focus on while talking with someone else. If you find yourself looking away from the light (and the camera beside it) and to the video, then close the video so the only thing to look at is the light. When I’m talking to someone on video and need to look them in the eye (look into the camera), what I typically do is shrink the size of the video so that I can barely see them and move that window to the very top center of my screen. That way, it is immediately under the camera. When I’m sitting a few feet back, it looks to the other person like I’m looking right into the camera and, therefore, into their eyes. Eye contact is very important to establishing trust. If you can’t (or won’t) look someone in the eye, they will often infer that you’re hiding something. That’s the kiss of death in just about any job interview.

Posted July 20, 2020 by

How do I find an internship, part-time, or summer job despite the COVID-19 pandemic?

Question:

Due to COVID-19, it looks like my college campus will either be closed entirely with all learning on-line through virtual tools like Zoom or will be so shutdown that employers won’t be able to host information events, attend campus career events, or interview in-person. I am entering my junior year and so would like to line-up an internship or at least a part-time or seasonal job during the school year and next summer. I plan to search and apply to jobs that are advertised on-line with sites like College Recruiter, but what else should I be doing?

First Answer:

I would check in with your college career services office. Just because your college is closed for in-person classes does not necessarily mean that its administrative offices are closed. The admin offices could be open, and if so, your diligence in contacting them could pay off because other students might not think to contact them.

Whether they are open or closed, now is the time to polish your LinkedIn profile. Make it shine.

Join LinkedIn groups that are associated with the industry where you seek an internship. Does your college have a LinkedIn or Facebook group?

Can you find alumni in your chosen field? Realize that while finding an internship right now is challenging, everyone has a wellspring of sympathy for college students right now, due to the Covid19 predicament. So if you can find alumni, they are likely to stretch further for you than ever before.

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

Second Answer:

It is difficult times indeed ahead but the important thing to remember is that you are not alone and tens of thousands of students are going through the same exact situation.

I would recommend using this time to keep applying to new opportunities and to continue your hard skill development. Take e-courses and try to develop a stronger skill set for these internships you are applying for.

I always recommend college students who are looking for internship roles to try and make themselves indispensable by going above and beyond the minimum skill set required for the internship. 

— Lorenz V. Esposito, Digital Marketing Specialist, Potentialpark

Posted July 17, 2020 by

Now’s the time for job seekers to shift their thinking to “what’s the kind of role I want, what’s the culture I want to be in, and where do I see areas of growth in this economy”

By Bryan Lipiner, Babson College

Every day, Babson College students located around the world are accessing real-time career advice and one-on-one discussions, right from their computer.

Take the week of July 13 for example. Students used the school’s career resources to learn how to personalize connection requests on LinkedIn, how to pose interview questions about the coronavirus outbreak, and how to succeed in a virtual internship.

Making these opportunities available is a weekly routine at the virtual office of Undergraduate Center for Career Development (CCD) Director Donna Sosnowski and her team, which strives to continuously innovate to serve students in this ever-changing landscape. “Everything we do is new and different,” she says.

Landing on Their Feet

When colleges and universities across the country rapidly pivoted online in March, Babson’s CCD office too transitioned, a move Sosnowski described as simple as “flipping a switch” due to the team’s long-term approach to virtual programming.

“It was seamless for us,” Sosnowski said.

Part of what also made the transition so easy was the students themselves, who are both technically sound and socially-oriented. These qualities have led to favorable results for recent Babson graduates, despite difficulties peers in their age bracket have faced.

“Our students have had strong landings,” Sosnowski said. “The career outcomes for the Class of 2020 look very good this year and are on par with previous years, with an impact by COVID.”

Getting Accustomed to the Next Normal

While the pandemic has caused pockets of deep economic impact in retail and hospitality, it’s also unearthed new opportunities in educational technology and in the commerce supply chain. “There are a lot of forward-thinking companies that are hiring talent,” Sosnowski said. “Now’s the time for undergraduates and graduates to shift their thinking to ‘what’s the kind of role I want, what’s the culture I want to be in, and where do I see areas of growth in this economy.’”

Bryan Lipiner is a journalist with Babson College and multimedia storyteller who engages audiences through content.

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.

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.

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.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted May 28, 2020 by

What 2020 college grads should expect as they enter the job market

As recent graduates enter the job market, they should expect employers to be slow in responding, interviewing, extending offers, and scheduling start dates. The vast majority of human resource professionals for medium- and large-organizations are working from home due to COVID-19. Although those and others working from home proved, on average, to be more productive, that productivity will likely wane over time as people inevitably settle into bad habits. Even if the people you’re interacting with are very productive, it is likely that at least one of the people involved in the hiring process won’t be and that will slow down the entire process. 

Also, there are huge variations industry-to-industry and even metro-to-metro in terms of the job market. We’re 2.5 months into the shutdown and a typical job posting ad on a typical job board or employer’s career site automatically expires after 30- to 60-days and so very few job postings that you might run across are now leftover from the pre-pandemic days. If you see a job advertised, there’s an excellent chance that employer is actively hiring for that role. 

What recent graduates can do to prepare themselves for the job market is to be more proactive and less reactive. Focus on the quality instead of quantity of your interactions, meaning that you’re more likely to get hired if you focus your efforts on five to 10 employers within one industry than 100 to 200 employers across several industries. Just as you would do your research prior to writing a paper in school or taking an exam, do the same when getting ready to apply. Research the industries of interest to you and focus on the one that best aligns with your competencies, interests, values, and needed compensation.

From there, look for five to 10 employers who are hiring people like you and get to know those employers well, including who are their customers, vendors, and partners and what their products or services are. Apply to their advertised jobs and network with the people in the departments you would work in to build a relationship with them. Use your research to demonstrate to them that you really know who they are and what they do, as very few candidates do that and so you’ll really stand out. After you contact them and after you apply, follow-up in three to five business days, as your occasional but repeated affirmation of interest will also stand out in a positive way. You need to convince first the human resource recruiter that you meet the requirements and, hopefully, preferences for the role and then the hiring manager. Do so by directly addressing each of those in your cover letter and resume. Convince them that you’re the lowest risk candidate to hire as you’ve done the same or very similar work before. 

What underclassmen should consider for the future due to the current changes in the labor market is that their graduating class is going to struggle throughout their careers against underemployment and underpay. Students who graduated during the 2008-09 Great Recession and took any job they could find at any hourly wage found it very, very difficult to migrate from those jobs into career-related roles with good compensation. If you’re an engineer working as a minimum wage barista, it is going to be hard for an engineering firm in a couple of years to see you more as an engineer and less as a barista. Also, when they’re looking at what to pay you, too many employers look at what you were paid in your most recent role and then try to pay you close to that, so if you were making $12 an hour but should have been making $25 given your degree, then it is going to be hard to convince your career-related employer to increase your pay more than 100 percent, even though what you were paid for a job you’re no longer doing shouldn’t matter.

To get back to the level of compensation you deserve, you will likely need to move from job-to-job more frequently than those who graduated a year or two ahead of you. That doesn’t mean that you’ll need to hop from employer-to-employer. Maybe within a couple of years you start in a call center for a large firm, hop to a better paying and more career-related customer service role within that same organization, and then hop to a sales engineer role with that same organization.