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

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? 

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 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?

LinkedIn head office

Posted February 23, 2019 by

1,000’s of colleges invested heavily to advocate for LinkedIn over the past decade. Did they do so wisely?

LinkedIn recently published a summary of the demographics of its users. The results were quite interesting.

I think that we can all agree that thousands of college career service offices and leaders have invested massively over the past decade in advocating and, in some cases, requiring their students to become members of LinkedIn. Quite frankly, I’m a fan and very active user of LinkedIn, as is the job search site company that I founded some 28 years ago. So I’m not writing this to denigrate LinkedIn nor the career service offices and leaders who have invested so much of their time, energy, and resources in promoting it to their students. What I’m wondering is whether all of that advocacy has been worthwhile and if, in hindsight, different decisions should have been made.

A few numbers that jumped out at me and which surely will provoke some thought and, hopefully, discussion amongst readers of this blog article:

  • 13 percent of young adults are members.
  • 44 percent of LinkedIn users are active on a monthly basis, from which I infer that about 5.7 percent of young adults use LinkedIn on a monthly basis.
  • 26.1 percent of LinkedIn users are in the U.S., from which I infer that about 1.5 percent of U.S., young adults use LinkedIn on a monthly basis.

There are approximately 20-million students who are currently enrolled in U.S. one-, two-, and four-year colleges and universities plus another 20-million recent graduates for a total of 40-million students and recent graduates. If 1.5 percent of them are active LinkedIn users, that’s about 600,000 users.

Now, I understand that some of my inferences may be off and I would be happy to be corrected as to the actual number of active users who are U.S. students and recent graduates, but if my numbers are correct, then they indicate to me that the tactics and strategies employed by thousands of colleges for years have not born the fruit they should have. So, I ask, should colleges continue to promote LinkedIn to their students — sometimes even to the point of requiring the students to register in order to graduate — and, if so, how should that promotion be different tomorrow than it was yesterday?

Posted January 14, 2019 by

Should college career service offices allow multi-level marketers to post jobs or recruit students on-campus?

 

A college career service office professional emailed me earlier this morning to ask my opinion about whether colleges and universities should allow multi-level marketing (MLM) organizations to post jobs to the career service office websites and interview students on-campus. My answer:

I wish that I had an easy answer for you, but MLM employment is a tricky one.

On the one hand, we’re talking about educated adults, some of which could thrive in that environment. Not everyone wants to go the traditional routes and I don’t think that we should pass judgment or dissuade them from doing so, even if the work isn’t our idea of attractive. There are some very legitimate MLM’s such as Avon and so, to me, the issue isn’t whether MLM’s are inherently bad or immoral. The issue is whether the specific employer is and that could apply to many government, corporate, and non-profit jobs. Is it the role of career services to evaluate every employer and put up roadblocks to students who disagree? Even if we said it is, how feasible is that?
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Aircraft engine in hanger

Posted July 11, 2018 by

What Delta Air Lines is doing to address talent gaps 

When Delta Air Lines looks into the future, they see a shortage of talent in a particular area. That is, they know many pilots will be retiring and there aren’t enough new pilots in the pipeline to replace them. Filling mechanic roles is also an area where Delta predicts a talent shortage. We spoke with John Patrick, who is Senior Manager of Academic Strategy at Delta. He told us more about how they are responding to this talent gap with unique recruiting and branding strategies.

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Posted June 06, 2018 by

How college students and grads can make the most out of their summer internship

 

If you are starting a summer internship you’re most likely very excited, but also nervous. Here we offer some expert advice from Dr. Robert Shindell, President & CEO of Intern Bridge and Pam Baker, Founder & CEO of Journeous. These experts want to help you get the most out of your internship. In our interview with them, we discussed how you should approach the program, how to overcome the trickiest parts of getting started, how to avoid some of the most common mistakes, and what you can learn from even a poor internship experience.

Watch the full half-hour interview with Shindell and Baker at https://youtu.be/WGS-1apIpCA

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Posted March 19, 2018 by

Redefining the role of the college and university relations recruiter

Recruiting and advertising for open positions has changed. Before industrialization, virtually every place of employment was a solo or small operation. Without power, it was difficult to scale anything. All of a sudden with electricity, you could have factories with production lines. Employers needed to quickly go from having a couple people working in their facility to maybe even hundreds or thousands.

Advertising for jobs nowadays is mostly done through social media, networking, and employee referrals. When you only need to hire a few people, chances are you already know them. In that case, no advertising is needed. Steven Rothberg, President and Founder of College Recruiter, explains that if you now have to suddenly start hiring dozens, hundreds or thousands, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to know enough people to fill those positions. Rothberg recently presented “Redefining the Role of the College and University Relations Recruiter,” and we share his takeaways here.   (more…)

Congratulations, you're hired! says manager to selected candidate. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted December 22, 2016 by

[Infographic] Ask Matt: 7 things college seniors should do now to land a job before graduation [video]

 

Dear Matt: I’m heading into the home stretch of my senior year of college, and have one semester left until graduation. A few classmates have already secured jobs that they will start soon after graduation. It made me realize that I too, should start the job search now. What tips do you have for college seniors who want to try and secure a job before graduation? What are those who get hired now doing to stand out and impress employers? Please share any tips and advice you can so I can start a job search and hopefully get hired before graduation! 

Matt: The senior year can be challenging for college students. And, for many, simply graduating is a major accomplishment. But the excitement of earning a college degree can quickly fade when there is no internship or job lined up after graduating. The reality is, most college seniors graduate without a job lined up. At the same time, there are also many who do graduate with a job lined up. (more…)

Posted October 05, 2016 by

How to market military experience on a resume and cover letter

Recent college grads and entry-level job seekers with military experience can set themselves apart from other job seekers because they have experience beyond the classroom that employers covet.

But the only way to do that is to create a resume and cover letter that highlights how military experience translates to the professional world.

It’s easier said than done, and takes practice, patience, and persistence. Recent college grads should reach out to their college career services department for resume and cover letter writing assistance, as they are skilled at helping veteran students and grads market their resume and cover letter. (more…)