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

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Posted April 01, 2020 by

Despite Covid-19, these employers are hiring students and recent grads

Coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, is shutting down the U.S. economy. Federal and state governments are essentially creating a parallel economy by providing individuals and businesses with enough income that, hopefully, economic disaster for them and for all of us may be avoided.

What is particularly stressful about this public health crisis is that no one knows when it will relent and the business world will get back to full speed. What magnifies that for college students and recent graduates is the timing: spring is when most students begin part-time, seasonal, and internship jobs and recent graduates begin their entry-level careers. At College Recruiter, we fear that this could quickly become the worst hiring season for new college graduates since the 2008–2009 Great Recession.

As we emerged from the Great Recession, employment numbers for students and recent graduates slowly improved until they became amongst the best in modern history. It was starting to become unusual when a student or recent graduate who networked and applied to advertised jobs well (two different things) had difficulty finding an opportunity in their chosen career paths. To be clear, many were unable to find those opportunities, even if they searched well, but the percentage who were unable to find opportunities in their chosen career paths had declined from being commonplace in 2008 and 2009 to unusual in 2019 and the beginning of 2020.

Today, however, we’re only three months into the Covid-19 pandemic and the employment numbers are devastating. Employers are scrambling to try to figure out how to adapt their internship and recent graduate hiring programs to remote (virtual) work when possible.

The news, quite frankly, is mostly bad for most employers and employees, but that does not mean that there is a complete lack of good news. Some employers are hiring and some of those have greatly ramped up hiring. Some noteworthy examples, in no particular order, are:

Posted March 31, 2020 by

Ask the Experts: Start date for employment delayed due to Covid-19

Question:

I was about to start a new job but my employer is telling me that I can’t until after COVID-19 is resolved. Do I wait around for them? What if it takes them a lot longer to bring me on than I can afford? What if they never bring me on and terminate my employment before I even start? What if I go to work for someone else and then this employer wants me to start?

First Answer:

Congratulations on your new job.

My initial question is: what is the rest of their employee population doing? Presumably, most people are working remotely. I would approach the hiring manager and ask if you can do the same.

Layout a specific strategy for how you will ramp up, taking the responsibility for introducing yourself to people, learning the organization’s technical tools, and understanding what and how your boss would like to receive in terms of work product. If there’s an onboarding system you can access online, so much the better. 

It’s unlikely that anyone new will hire you until the COVID crisis subsides, so I would do your best to work with your new employer. Even if you didn’t already sign a contract with a specific start date (which gives you more leverage), hopefully, the organization will be sensitive to your situation.

— Alexandra Levit, author of They Don’t Teach Corporate in College

Second Answer:

To all of these questions I would ask one in return: What do we know for certain about how COVID-19 will impact us next week?

The answer to that is simple, nothing is certain when it comes to COVID-19. With this uncertainty looming over, when starting a new job you need to try to get as much clarity as possible on the current opportunity while creating a contingency plan.

To get clarity, reach out to the employer and ask if there is an opportunity to begin work remotely, or part-time while the company navigates COVID-19. This will allow you to potentially begin work and show flexibility with the downside of it being at partial hours or pay. As COVID-19 could continue on for many more weeks also establish a set a timeline, either bi-weekly or monthly, for employment status check-ins with HR or management.

What I can say with certainty is that you want to keep this employment option open as COVID-19 is effecting employment rates and making the market extremely competitive. While you are maintaining regular check-ins and showcasing adaptability to your potential new job, continue to build your virtual network, apply for new roles, and build new skills. This will ensure that if you have to pivot due to the employer ultimately terminating the offer or taking too long to officially hire you, that you will be ahead of the game.

If you are a university student and this opportunity was for your summer job, begin thinking of a back-up plan now, as there are only so many summers you get during your university career. Back-ups can include online summer courses, pursuing a remote internship, and if the internship market is saturated looking to international internships completed remotely, or, developing a new skill by completing an online course in project management, foreign language, software system or more.  

Jillian Low, Director of University Partnerships for CRCC Asia

Third Answer:

This is a difficult response in a challenging time for anyone to receive. No doubt disappointing, deflating and demotivating. That said, the employer may be saving you some disappointment down the line when you’ve got less opportunity to pivot. Most of the ‘what if’s’ won’t be able to be answered for some time so now is a good time to add to the eggs in your basket. 

Since this employer thinks highly enough of you to want to employ you, consider following up to see what projects you might be able to work on remotely in the near term. If they don’t have any at the ready, suggest some that might be of interest to them based on what you already know of the industry. It’s also a good time for back-up options to pursue jobs with other employers. That might mean reaching out to career services to set up interviews, or doing so on your own, with the employers who are still recruiting. It might mean finding some micro-internships on sites like Parker Dewey. It may also be a good time to take a step back and read some of the many prognosticators out there talking about what COVID 19 is likely to mean for the job market 3, 6, 9 months from now and see which industries are expected to benefit. Do any new interests or ideas emerge?

Of course, it’s never a bad time to network and letting folks know of your current status would make sense. Remember that everyone is going through a lot of uncertainty so starting off your network outreach with a ‘how are things for you’ rather than ‘here’s what I need from you’ is likely to get a far better response.

Pam Baker, Founder and CEO of Journeous

Fourth Answer:

Do I wait around for them? What if it takes them a lot longer to bring me on than I can afford? Considering the current situation, having any opportunity at a possible job is a chance many people would love to have.

In my opinion, I would definitely weigh my options. It depends on your current situation and if you can afford to have your future employer turn you down after weeks or months of waiting.

If this employer terminates your contract before you even begin, then they made a more decision to even begin the hiring process when they didn’t have the resources to follow through. 

In my last thoughts, I would encourage you too always have multiple job offers and opportunities on the table so you remain the power position. It’s frustrating as a job seeker when you put all your eggs in one basket and that basket doesn’t turn out successful.

Lorenz Esposito, Digital Marketer at Potentialpark

Fifth Answer:

In my opinion, the best course of action is to try to get an assurance from your new employer that your job offer is solid and won’t be rescinded.  I would try to get it in writing. Be polite about your request, and simply explain that you are a bit anxious due to the outbreak of covid 19 and you’re dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s.

If your employer writes you that the job offer is solid, I would take him at his word. If your employer won’t put it in writing, then I think it’s fair for you to try to secure another job.

These are uncertain times, and we are all navigating through them. If you go work for someone else, the best way to possibly keep the door open at the first employer is to write a heartfelt note that due to financial circumstances, you felt it prudent to take another job and that you hope he understands.

— Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks, 2005) and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots (Sourcebooks 2008).

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Posted March 10, 2020 by

Why are community college enrollment numbers declining?

Community college enrollments declined last year by approximately 3.4 percent, which is a staggeringly high number if repeated year after year after year. Why? The reasons are numerous. Allow me to address just a few.

Yes, birthrate 18 years ago was smaller than 19 years ago and that was smaller than 20 years ago. However, those differences were relatively minor at 4,060,000 then 4,030,000 then 4,020,000.

Tuition continues to increase, although some states and schools are now offering free tuition. But the vast majority of schools still charge and charge substantially more than they did 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Some students are simply being priced out. 

The Trump Administration’s immigration policies have greatly reduced the number of visitors, students, workers, and immigrants to the country and not just those whose status is illegal. At College Recruiter, we’ve heard story after story after story of students who received student visas in 2015 and 2016 in a few months and are now waiting more than a year to get their visas so they can complete their education. And these are people who have already been in the country. The wait times for those who have not yet been a student here can be even longer. An MBA admissions director for one of the premiere schools in the country told me that the average wait time for her international students is 14-months, which is more than four times what it was under previous administrations. 

Not often discussed is increased competition for higher education dollars. Until a few years ago, if you wanted to go into software development, your typical choices were to try to find a job without a degree, invest two years in getting an Associate’s degree from a community college, or invest four-years in getting a Bachelor’s degree. In the past few years, enrollment in bootcamps has skyrocketed with hundreds of thousands attending these schools and graduating with certificates and jobs within weeks. The cost per day is far higher, but the total cost is far lower and the placement rates are often excellent.

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Posted February 28, 2020 by

Why are students demanding paid internships and higher wages for entry-level jobs?

A week doesn’t go by without an employer that College Recruiter works with or who I’m connected with in some way questioning why students aren’t interested in their unpaid internships, or their entry-level jobs that pay $12.00 an hour. Invariably, the conversation includes the phrase, “back in my day”.

The reason, quite simply, is that the 99 percent of students who weren’t fortunate enough to be born into wealth simply need the money to eat, pay rent, and afford other necessities. Yes, I get that when you went to school in 1979 that you worked hard (and part-time) as a waiter and paid for your own college and living expenses and graduated with no debt. But do you get that the same job now pays only a fraction of what it did four decades ago and the cost of housing, health care, transportation, and college are exponentially larger than they were when Carter was still president?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCE), a student working as a part-time waiter today needs to earn $34.20 an hour based on a 30-hour workweek in order to have the same spending power as you did in 1979 if you were making about $10 per hour. As eyebrow-raising as that may be, the reality is actually worse.

Using the CPI and PCE essentially assumes that what someone would buy in 2020 is the same as what a similarly situated person would buy in 1979. But spending habits, like our tastes in fashion, change. If you attended the University of Minnesota (go Gophers!) in 1979 and your lifestyle was that of an average student, the $10 per hour you made in wages plus tips might have been sufficient to cover your costs. But an average student today lives in a nicer apartment, has to cover more of their healthcare costs, is more likely to use cars as their primary means of transportation because mass transit hasn’t kept up with the growth of the Twin Cities metro, and college, well, don’t even get me started (yet) on the horrendously increased cost of college.

Now, I can hear some objections. “But I was poor and didn’t have all the luxuries these pampered kids have today! They’re choosing to go expensive schools and have fancy toys. That’s their problem!” Well, to an extent, that’s true. But before you starting point fingers like that, maybe look first into the mirror. What kind of a television did you have when you were in college? Did you have friends over to play videogames or watch a movie? If so, your TV was probably at least as good as those owned by your friends. Now, picture using that same TV today to watch anything. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Would you think it reasonable to expect any of today’s students who are living the lifestyle you lived decades ago to use the same TV you did? Of course not. If your TV was even average as compared to those of your friends then, logically, you should agree that today’s student should have a TV that is average amongst their friends. And that means a large (but not enormous), flatscreen TV. At Best Buy, best selling televisions averaged $330 in 1994 and $280 today, so that appears to be a deflation of $50. But when you factor in inflation, they’re about the same price. So don’t start thinking that today’s student with a flatscreen TV is living the life of luxury, as they’re no more living that lifestyle than you were a few decades ago.

Prefer numbers instead of TV analogies? Let’s flashback to the era when Gen Xers like me were graduating from college. Let’s assume that you graduated in 1985 and so you’re about 52 years of age now. In that era, the median male worker needed only 30 weeks of income to afford a house, car, healthcare, and education. Some call this the Cost-of-Thriving Index (COTI). By 2018, that same lifestyle would require 52 weeks of income, an increased workload of 73 percent.

If we look at median expenses for male workers today (we use male because households with multiple people still tend to have more males working than females) and compare those expenses to those in 1985 for people with similar, average lifestyles, we find that the male worker in 1985 could easily afford housing, healthcare, transportation, and college costs, meaning they had plenty of room leftover for non-core items like clothing and even some discretionary items like entertainment. Today? That same lifestyle leaves the male short of cash even before non-core and discretionary items. Instead of it taking 30 weeks to cover all of these COTI costs in 1985, it takes 53 weeks to cover the equivalent costs in 2018.

So, the next time a younger Millennial or Gen Z worker passed on your unpaid internship or questions the $12.00 starting wage for your entry-level opportunity, maybe choose to advocate within your organization for higher wages. In other words, instead of pointing fingers, have a look in the mirror. The problem isn’t with the person you’re pointing at but, instead, with the person whose reflection is in the mirror.

Posted February 13, 2020 by

How employers should communicate their social justice and progressive values to job seekers

The conventional wisdom is that the older you get, the more conservative you get. But better analysis shows that how progressive or conservative your generation is has more to do with when they came of age than your current age. Generations that came of age when conservativism was fashionable, such as during the Reagan Administration, tend to stay conservative as they age. And generations that came of age when progressiveness was fashionable, such as during the Obama Administration, tend to stay progressive as they age.

Today’s youngest job seekers — members of Gen Z — came of age during Obama’s presidency, and tend to be more progressive than previous generations. They have a greater interest in working with companies that place a high value on gender pay equity, salary transparency, diversity, equity, and inclusion. How should employers communicate these values to job candidates in an authentic way?

Authenticity by employers is important to all candidates, not just the youngest members of the workforce. But the youngest members also tend to be amongst the savviest in finding accurate information, so employers may be able to more easily fool older than younger candidates, but all deserve accurate information.

At College Recruiter, we remind employers of the expression that a picture is worth 1,000 words but then build on that to tell them that if a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video is worth 1,000 pictures. Use video to communicate your corporate values and do so using short stories by actual employees. 

Do you encourage the creation and active participation in employee resource groups such as those for members of LGBTQ communities? If so, record a very short video and then share that on your YouTube channel and elsewhere. 

Have you undergone an audit to ensure that your compensation is equitable across gender and other lines? If so, record a very short video and then share that too.

Today’s grads, as compared to past generations, are more inclined to care about concepts like diversity, inclusion, equal pay for women, instead of just what their own salary and benefits will be. College Recruiter has been helping students and recent graduates find part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs since 1994 and so we’ve seen a lot of changes. One of those changes is the heightened desire by those mostly younger candidates to do work that benefits society rather than just their bank accounts. The reasons are numerous, but their education and the economy are two of the most important. Regarding education, today’s young people are taught more about diversity, climate change, and other societal issues when they’re in primary and secondary schools and so they know and care more about these issues than previous generations. Regarding the economy, it is pretty easy for them to find a job and so they’re better able to be choosy. If you graduate into a recession, you’re going to feel fortunate to be able to get any job and so you take it even if the employer’s values don’t align well with yours. But if you have the choice of five jobs, you’re able to weigh factors like salary against social good and many will take less salary in return for doing work that benefits society as a whole.

More companies are being transparent around salary and hiring decisions to address these issues and young workers are reacting as you would expect: they’re more inclined to seek and accept employment from employers who are more transparent about their compensation and hiring practices. Fortunately, more companies are being more transparent around salary and hiring decisions and we’re advocates for that, but “more” does not mean most. A quick look at the job posting ads on just about any job search site will reveal that the vast majority of job ads do not disclose the salary, which we feel is counterproductive both to the candidate and the employer. Job search sites see a higher quantity and quality of applications to jobs that disclose salary ranges. The only justification for an employer not disclosing salary is their desire to underpay a candidate. If the employer wants to pay fairly for a role, then they should know before advertising it what a fair range would be and they should publish that as part of the job listing ad. If a candidate meets the basic criteria but not all, then the hiring manager should be able to explain that to the candidate when offering them a salary toward the bottom of the range and the hiring manager should be able to explain what the candidate needs to do in order to be paid more, such as accumulating X years of experience with a particular piece of technology. 

It is one thing for an employer to value diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is another thing for their recruiters and hiring managers to discuss such topics during the hiring process. Many employers have made great strides in diversifying their applicant pool, yet still overwhelmingly hire candidates who are not diverse. Why? Because many of the hiring managers are still reluctant to hire people whose backgrounds, thought process, etc. differ from their own. But study after study demonstrate that the more diverse a workforce, the more productive that workforce is and so hiring manager who consciously or unconsciously resist diversity are undermining the efforts of their organizations to improve the productive of their workforce and no employer should employ a manager who does that. Hiring managers need to be educated about the productivity benefits of diversity and embrace those. If they’re unwilling or unable to do so, then their employers should bring in hiring managers who are able and willing to recruit and retain workforces which are as productive as possible. 

As the United States workforce becomes increasingly diverse, it is becoming increasingly important for employers to expand their talent pools so that they have access to more diverse candidates. Employers who look at their top performers and then want to hire more people with similar attributes are condemning themselves to a non-diverse workforce as everyone in that workforce starts to look more and more alike. If all of your top salespeople come from the same fraternity, it is tempting to only hire people from that fraternity. That begs the question, however, as to whether top salespeople — perhaps even better than the ones you have now — might be found elsewhere. Could they be women? Could they be people who aren’t members of fraternities or sororities? Might they attend schools from which you’ve never hired people? From majors different from those you’ve targeted? Just because candidates with certain backgrounds have worked well for you in the past does not mean that those are the only backgrounds that will work well for you in the future, or even will be the backgrounds that will work the best for you in the future.

Posted January 28, 2020 by

Do unpaid internships hurt society?

The Augusta (Virginia) Free Press recently published an article that caught my eye. College Recruiter has published a number of articles about how unpaid internships are illegal and how unpaid internships harm students, but we haven’t focused as much on the damage that unpaid internships do to society. The article by the Free Press does that, and does that well.

College Recruiter believes that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. As a result, we are pretty passionate about how unfair unpaid internships are to students, especially when they’re offered by for-profit corporations as those organizations are essentially saying that their business operations and shareholders should be subsidized by mostly young adults who are often going to graduate with student debt that can’t be discharged by bankruptcy (the only form of debt that can’t be) and is as large as many mortgages.

Some might argue that employers shouldn’t have to pay interns because the interns get training and experience from the work. Yes, they get training and experience, but doesn’t that apply to all work? Should we all work for free?

Others might argue that non-profits and government agencies shouldn’t have to pay interns. That’s already the law federally, but we disagree there too. Just because you’re a non-profit does not mean you’re struggling financially. It just means you don’t have shareholders and so excess cash is reinvested into the operations instead of being distributed to owners. As for government agencies, the U.S. government literally has the power to print money so any argument that federal agencies don’t have the ability to pay just doesn’t fly. They may choose not to pay, but the federal government has more ability to pay its workers a reasonable wage than any other entity in the world.

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Posted January 25, 2020 by

Ask the Experts: Should I apply to only paid internships or also unpaid internships?

First Answer:

If you can afford to take an unpaid internship, I would definitely apply to both paid and unpaid. With an internship, the primary criterion you should look for is the experience it offers you. Will that experience translate into a shinier resume for you, or even better, a job down the road? Secondly, look for an internship that can help you build skills. These skills will be transferable to other jobs down the line. At this point, you should be seeking internships that will help position you for your first job.

If the internship relates to either your current area of study or your career aspirations, apply! It’s always better to get an offer and turn it down if something more lucrative comes along.
Don’t discount perks, such as free lunches or help with transportation. If you live at home during the time of your internship, your out-of-pocket costs hopefully won’t be too severe.

All that said, only you can decide what you can live with — and without. 

— Vicky Oliver, author, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks 2005) and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots (Sourcebooks, 2008)

Second Answer:

Students should consider applying to any internships, paid or unpaid, that will give them the opportunity to expand their skills/knowledge or make a contribution. Either will add a lot of weight on a resume.

— Jeff Dunn, Campus Relations Manager, Intel Corporation

Third Answer:

This depends. Are you in an industry that mostly offers unpaid opportunities? Do you need the money to support yourself, and if so, would it be possible to work another job at the same time as the internship? You also want to ensure an unpaid internship is fair and legal, because ideally an internship  is a gateway into the full-time job that will launch your career, and engaging with a company that isn’t doing right by its interns is probably not the best idea. One additional thing you might try? Ask your school about grants that support students pursuing unpaid internships.

— Alexandra Levit, author of They Don’t Teach Corporate in College. 

Fourth Answer:

Skipping past internships, I can only begin to describe the elation and excitement you will have when you sign your employment contract for your first full-time role after graduation. Furthermore, that excitement will only increase after you successfully leverage your experience and outcomes for a raise the following year. Finally, if and when you leave your first role and successfully negotiate a higher salary (according to Bloomberg those who switched jobs on average enjoyed compensation growth of 5.3%), you will know you have made it. 

The above describes stepping stones to career management and growth. If you look at the stepping stones before that first full-time role you will find internships. For me, my internships stepping stones were landing an unpaid internship my sophomore year, that I leveraged for an internship with a monthly stipend, and then my senior year, I used my previous experience to edge out the competition and land an internship that was paying much more than my average peer’s internship. These stepping stones were crucial to my career management, and if I had never taken my first unpaid internship, I may never have landed the next role. 

That said, unpaid internships can be a contentious topic, with some wanting nothing to do with them, and others questioning their quality. At the end of the day, the end goal of an internship is to walk away with tangible first-hand work experience, industry and professional knowledge, and a set of transferable skills that you can apply to any future career path, not a specific amount of money in the bank. 

When reviewing internship opportunities, I would first look at the experience offered, the projects and tasks you will tackle, and the supervision and mentorship that will be available to you. If the opportunity offers strong experience aligned to your studies and career management, with clearly defined tasks and a strong supervisor, then you can go to the second review of paid or unpaid. 

If the opportunity is unpaid but still offering a high-quality experience look into why it is unpaid. Perhaps it is for a non-profit or small start-up, who absolutely needs the support, will offer you killer access to meetings, leadership, and networks, but couldn’t possibly find the budget to pay. Conversely, if looking internationally, many international internships are unable to offer pay, as no visa supports this, but nevertheless you will get great access to global connections and cross-cultural understanding.

If there is a valid reason for the unpaid status, and you have vetted the opportunity for quality, I would say that you are doing yourself a disservice by not applying. During the application process you can also find opportunities to see if there are other ways they can financially support you such as offering: coffee, breakfast or lunch at the workplace, covered or discounted transit, a small stipend, or an end of internship bonus. 

Finally, remember that when applying work experience to your resume, it does not matter if it was volunteer, unpaid, or paid, it is still important work experience that should be clearly noted with three to four strong bullet points explaining your role and key outcomes with quantifiable examples (ex. Supported customer support and retention through increased touchpoints and external communications, increasing contract renewals by 10% over six months).

— Jillian Low, Director of University Partnerships, CRCC Asia

Fifth Answer:

You should not do any internship. It puts you in a position where people assume you know nothing. 

Instead, launch a company, or a marketing campaign for someone else’s company. Spend three weeks selling services you will pay someone else to deliver. You Learn fastest by taking on big projects you have no idea how to do. Guess. Make mistakes. Try again. It’s ok because no one is paying you or firing you or telling you to do small jobs that are too easy to make errors. 
After you do this for two summers, you won’t be entry-level. You will have lots of experience. You might have some wins. You’ll have lots of failures.

You are middle management now. Because you can guide someone else through a high learning curve and fear of failure. 

You could never achieve that so fast in an internship. 

— Penelope Trunk, CEO, Quistic

Visit College Recruiter’s About Us page for more information about any of the above contributors or the other members of our Content Expert Board.

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Posted January 21, 2020 by

How do I get student loan forgiveness?

Student loan forgiveness simply means that you’re not required to re-pay the forgiven portion of your student loans. Let’s say that you borrowed $100,000 to pay for college. If $60,000 of that is forgiven, then you’re only going to need to repay $40,000.

A few ways of getting your college student loans forgiven:

  • Enlist in the military. Each branch offers a variety of programs with varying amounts available depending on factors such as your skillset and desired occupational field. As you can imagine, the Navy is going to cover more of your educational costs if you’re a nuclear propulsion specialist than if you’re mechanic.
  • Work for 10 years for a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program forgives the remaining balance on your direct loans.
  • Work for a corporation that offers a tuition reimbursement program. Even some small companies like College Recruiter offer such programs because they’re essentially ways to provide employees with tax-free income. If we provide an employee with $1,500 toward college each year, that’s worth over $2,000 to those employees as it is tax-free. So, from the perspective of the employer, they can effectively give their employees $2,000 more in compensation but have it only cost $1,500. These programs are also great for recruitment and retention.

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Posted January 15, 2020 by

More employers are including in their college recruiting programs community college and other non-traditional students

There are millions of employers just in the U.S., but the vast majority of them have between one and three employees. Tens of thousands are large enough to hire at least one intern, but almost all of the attention is paid to the hundreds who hire dozens to hundreds. 

I’m excited about the shift amongst employers to using productivity as their key metric of recruiting success instead of more traditional and less meaningful metrics such as hires per school or even cost-per-hire. Getting butts in seats is not a business goal, but building a productive workforce is. 

That said, a rapidly increasing minority of employers are shifting from an on-campus, school-by-school approach where they’re only willing to consider juniors and seniors from a small number of elite schools to a more diverse and inclusive early careers approach which welcomes those who have the demonstrated ability to do the work. These employers are very likely to welcome into their applicant pool and workforce students who are enrolled in community colleges, are transitioning out of the military, or otherwise are what many employers refer to as “non-traditional”. 

Rather than trying to generalize about whether employers as a whole are willing to include community college students in their early careers programs and then marketing your students to all of them in the same way, I would encourage a more nuanced approach where you target those employers who are ready, willing, and able to hire the kinds of students who attend your school.

Posted January 14, 2020 by

What’s right and wrong about college rankings, such as those by U.S. News and World Report?

College rankings tend to be beauty contests based upon the strength of the school’s brand.

Students who want to attend the “best” school are typically interested in finding the school that will lead to the greatest likelihood that they’ll find a well-paying job in their chosen career path and desired geographic area. That data is typically held by the career service offices, not admissions, and certainly not well communicated in a short, summary of the school as published by U.S. News & World Report or any other publication.

But let’s leave aside, for the moment, the issue of which office within a given university has the best access to outcomes data. One example of such data is the percentage who are employed within six months and within their chosen career path. Another is the average starting salary, and that’s typically broken down by career path.

But are either of those metrics even a valid measure of the quality of a school? The data indicates no. What is now clear from a more scientific analysis of outcomes data is that the primary driving factor behind employability and compensation is the background of the candidate, not which school that candidate attended. If you come from a well-connected, white, family who lives in a wealthy suburb near New York City, you’re almost certainly going to emerge from whatever school you attend making a lot more money than if you’re part of a poorly connected, Native American, family who lives in an impoverished, rural area.

Now, that’s not to say that the more privileged candidate can do nothing and graduate into a fantastic job making fantastic money. But it does say that candidates shouldn’t fret as much about which school they attend based upon the data that the schools tend to release. Instead, they should look for schools which add the most value to their graduates.

A few years ago, College Recruiter created its Hidden Gem Index for the best colleges and universities for employers who want to hire high-quality graduates during the normally very difficult spring hiring period. If you’re a candidate who wisely wants to attend a low cost school that adds tremendous value to its students, have a look at the Hidden Gem Index.