ARTICLES, BLOGS & VIDEOS

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

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 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 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.

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.

Posted May 13, 2019 by

I’m willing to do anything. Why can’t I get hired?

I founded the company out of which College Recruiter. We’ve been helping students and recent graduates find great careers for 28 years, which is about six years more than the typical college grad has been alive.

One of the most common questions that we 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. Few have the time and fewer still have the patience to coach candidates.

Corporate recruiters — those who work in-house for a specific employer — are typically evaluated based upon how many people they hire. If they take extra time to help you or work with you to figure out which of their openings you’re best suited for, chances are that they could have helped their employer hire multiple people in that same amount of time. Third-party recruiters (also known as headhunters or executive recruiters) are under even more time pressure as they’re typically paid a straight commission only when a candidate they refer to an employer is hired by that employer. For them, time truly is money.

Your skills are transferable to a wide variety of roles. I get it. You’re willing to just get your foot in the door and then work your way up. I get it. You’re happy to work for just about any sized organization, provided that it is a dynamic, growing company. I get it. You’d be happy living where you currently do but are also more than willing to relocate at your own expense. I get it. You just want a chance to prove yourself. I get that too and so do the employers that you’re contacting, but the sad truth is that most don’t really care.

Make their job easy. Commit to the type of organization for which you wish to work, maybe a few metro areas that you already have ties to, and a handful of roles and then pursue those with a vengeance. When you apply, be sure that they know that you’re really applying to the specific job by customizing your cover letter and resume to perfectly fit the job. You’re applying for a sales position and the job title the employer uses is “account manager”? Then be sure that your cover letter and resume use “account manager” to describe the work you’ve done and the work you want to do. Their job title states that they want a candidate with a major in computer science but your school calls that information technology? Then be sure that your resume states that your major was, “Computer Science (Information Technology)” or something along those lines.

Oh, and when you do start to engage with the recruiter, be sure that everything you talk about is for the benefit of the employer. They’re a multinational with offices in Chicago, Kansas City, Fort Lauderdale, and Barcelona? Great, but if the recruiter you’re talking with is filling a role for the Chicago office then don’t tell her that you’d love to work in Barcelona someday unless she asks you if you’d be open to starting with the firm in Chicago and a year or two from now working out of the Barcelona office. She’s trying to fill a seat in Chicago, not Barcelona.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia and author, Barnellbe.

Posted April 26, 2019 by

What are the consequences to students who renege on job offers?

I’ve been participating in an interesting discussion in a listserv managed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Most of the readers are talent acquisition leaders from Fortune 1,000 and other large employers and college career service office professionals. A small percentage of readers are like me in that they work for organizations which, in one way or another, help college and university students and recent graduates find great careers.

The discussion that prompted me to write this blog article is about whether employers should report to a career service office that a student who accepted a job offer later reneged on that offer. One employer volunteered that they do send lists of those reneges to the career service offices. I wonder if that employer and others like them are providing any context provided to the reasons for the student reneging on the offer or any opportunity provided to them to provide the context.

Let’s be honest, sometimes the student reneges on their employment-at-will relationship because they change their mind and we can point a finger at them as the party to blame, if there is a need to assign blame. But what if an objective, third-party would actually point to the employer? Reasons are numerous, such as when employers oversell the opportunity, materially change the compensation or position, the hiring manager is terminated or reassigned, a family emergency prevents the student from starting, the employer pivots or even eliminates the business unit that recruited the student, the economy very suddenly and very dramatically changes as it did in 2008, etc. 

Realistically, if an employer is going to report student reneges to the career service office, what do we expect the career service office to do with that information? Wouldn’t it make sense that there would be negative repercussions to the student, and are we trying to help that student or are we trying to punish them and dissuade future students from reneging, much like imprisoning criminals punish the perpetrator and, perhaps, dissuade others from committing the same crime. Do we want to model our college and university recruitment programs on the criminal justice system?

For the career service offices who are accepting the renege information from the employers and maybe even soliciting it, are you doing the same from the candidates? What about employers who renege on their offers? If you’re punishing the student in some way such as banning them from further use of your services, are you levying the same punishments against the employers? 

Courtesy of Shutterstock

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.

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?

Posted November 07, 2018 by

How do I find a great, paid internship?

College Recruiter believes that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. And a great stepping stone to a great career is often a great internship. But students are often frustrated by how to find an internship and, when they do find one of interest, how to apply, get interviewed, and get hired.

If you try to do everything all at once, it can be overwhelming. I like to break the process down into manageable, bite-sized pieces.

  1. Don’t procrastinate. To use another cliche, early bird gets the worm. While I trust that you’d rather land a great internship than a great worm, the cliche is too well known and understood for me to pass up. Some internships, particularly those with non-profits and governmental agencies, have strict and sometimes very early deadlines. Looking for next summer? You might need to apply in November. As of the writing of this blog article on November 5, 2018, College Recruiter already had 1,795 internships advertised on its site and it is still a couple of months from January when employers start to get aggressive with advertising their internship opportunities.
  2. Complete your CIV analysis. What’s a CIV, you ask? Competencies, interests, and values. Grab a piece of paper and draw two lines down it to divide the paper into three columns. Write competencies at the top of the first column, interests at the top of the second, and values at the top of the third. Now, under competencies, write down everything that other people would say you’re good at. In the second column, write down everything that you find to be interesting, In the third column, write down everything that you care about. Now look for themes. What are you good at that also interests you and which you care about? Those themes are where you should focus your career search.
  3. Network. Many and probably most people think that networking is all about asking other for help. Wrong. It is about asking them how you can help them. That will build good karma and inevitably you’ll find that some — not all — will reciprocate by asking how they can help you. Take them up on the offer. Tell them about your CIV, where you want your career to start, and ask them for the names of two people you should talk with. Keep repeating that. After a few rounds of people referring you to people who refer you to people, you’ll likely run across someone who will decline to give you the two names, not because they’re a jerk but because they want to hire you. Bingo.
  4. Job search sites. Almost every college career service office has a career website, but the vast majority of jobs which are of interest to students and recent graduates are never posted to those sites. Why? Most employers don’t know about them and they can be hard and time consuming to use. So, use those sites but don’t stop there. Also use job search sites like College Recruiter, which typically has about a million part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs advertised on its site. Did I tell you that College Recruiter already has 1,795 internships advertised on its site? Oh, yeah, I did. Did you search them yet?
  5. Attend career fairs. Quite frankly, I’m not a huge fan because the expectations of the employers are often poorly aligned with those of the students. Employer representatives typically attend career fairs because they’re coerced by their bosses, their career service office partners, or both. Their disinterest shows, and they make it worse by refusing to accept paper resumes and telling you to go to their career sites if you want to apply. You could have done that from home, right? But they’re great places to network (see #3) and learn what it is really like to work for a company if you happen to run across a representative who likes to talk and maybe isn’t as discrete as they should be.
  6. Search and apply to jobs. Seems kind of obvious, right? But you’d be amazed at how many candidates don’t apply to enough jobs, apply to the wrong ones, or do a terrible job of applying the ones they are qualified for. If you’re an elite student at an elite school or otherwise have some exceptional qualities, aim high by applying to the most sought-after internships, such as 20 top internships listed below. For everyone else, and that’s almost everyone, the hard truth is that you’re just going to have to try harder. But, if it helps, remember the joke about what you call a doctor who graduates at the bottom of their class from a third-rate medical school. The answer is doctor. Most employers for most jobs feel the same way about interns and new grads. They care far more that you went to college than your major. They care far more about your major than your school. And they care far more about your school than your grades or whether you had a sexy internship or just successfully completed an internship, preferably for them.
  7. Create a job. Whether it’s a gig employment opportunity driving folks around or doing their grocery shopping for them or starting a small business in college like I did, don’t discount this option. But if you find yourself uttering, “I just need a good idea”, move on. The good idea is the least of your problems. Executing that good idea is FAR harder and FAR less exciting.
  8. Get experience. The entire point of an internship program for the employer is to convert those interns into permanent hires upon graduation. If they don’t, their internship program is a failure. Similarly, the entire point of interning is to get an offer to become a permanent employee upon graduation and then to accept that offer. If you don’t, your internship was a failure. Well, maybe not a complete failure, but not as much of a success as it should have been.

So, back to the top internship programs. What are they? I thought you’d never ask:

1. Google
2. Apple
3. Microsoft
4. Tesla
5. Facebook
6. Goldman Sachs
7. Amazon
8. J.P. Morgan
9. SpaceX
10. The Walt Disney Company
11. Nike
12. Morgan Stanley
13. IBM
14. Deloitte
15. Berkshire Hathaway
16. Intel
17. ESPN
18. Mercedes-Benz
19. The Boston Consulting Group
20. Spotify

— Source: Vault