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

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Posted November 12, 2019 by

Why do so many college grads live with their parents?

The average college grad earns about $46,000 a year. That sounds quite high to most Americans, because it is also the average income earned by most families.

But if you dig into the college grad’s finances, you’ll quickly see that they’re likely to live in poverty. Why? Because the student debt of a graduate from a first or second tier, four-year college or university can easily exceed $100,000 and often approaches $200,000. It is common for tuition to be at least $25,000 and often more than $50,000 a year. Add to that room, board, books, travel to/from the city your family lives in and you’re looking at $40,000 to $65,000 a year. Multiply that by four years and you’re at $160,000 to $220,000 in debt.

If your student loans are payable in 20 years, which is common, and your interest rate is eight percent, which is also common, you’re looking at $2,000 per month for student loan payments. Over 12 months, that’s $24,000.

So, suddenly, that $46,000 a year gives you the earning power of someone making $22,000 a year, which is less than the average, full-time, Uber driver nets.

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Posted October 14, 2019 by

Are your job postings attracting too many unqualified and not enough qualified applicants?

We’ve all seen those job postings: “<Position> is responsible for driving revenue growth, optimizing interactions with enterprise leads, liaising and maximizing cross-functional segmentation using sales enablement and marketing nurture tools in coordination with CRM and digital generation management platforms. Must conduct A/B testing and drive key business metrics while aligning with leadership for optimal distribution strategy results. Will serve as ninja Agile scrum master to remove impediments. Extensive knowledge of end-to-end omnichannel demand gen in B2B and B2C environments. Strong record of win-win outcomes, conflict resolution and problem-solving among multiple layers of an organization. Stellar CX, VoC, SQL, COE, ETL, BI skills. 10+ years’ experience in <exhaustive list of software platforms>, superstar analytical skills, able to leap tall buildings at a single bound, ability to bend time and add a 25th hour to each day strongly preferred. Attention to detail a must.”

Say what?

All right, so while we made this one up (and trust us—don’t try to decipher it or your brain will get caught in a loop), in our tech-jargon, corporate-buzzword world there are plenty of real, similarly indecipherable job postings out there.

Sure, there are some postings that require more information—most notably, for jobs that involve technology and other specialized positions. But no matter how detailed your job posting needs to be, you should still aim for clarity and readability.

Join us for Job Posting 101 as we pass along some tips for writing job ads that will draw applicants’ interest, not send them scurrying to the nearest dictionary.

Job Title

  • Optimize your job title and description with the keywords your candidates will be searching for. Make sure the job title reflects the job. If you’re hiring a Customer Service Representative, use that title and resist calling it something cutesy or hip. Boring? Maybe, but be realistic: how many jobseekers will be searching for a Customer Service Ninja, or a Valued Customer Pleaser—and how many will miss your posting because it didn’t fit their search terms?
  • Be sure to include words that indicate the career level and the scope of the job: Customer Service Manager, B2B Digital Marketing Specialist, Senior Graphic Designer, Social Media Coordinator, Java Developer.
  • Don’t use internal terms; if you’re hiring an Assistant Art Director, use that title instead of the “Visual Manager 1” your company uses.
  • Include the city and state for searchers who are looking at a specific geographic location. Mention that it’s a telecommuting position (but in that case, include the company’s headquarters location so searchers are aware of possible time differences).

Company Summary

  • Before you go into the job description, give your applicants a paragraph-long glimpse of your company, and why it’s special.
  • Don’t just use your company’s boilerplate description here; personalize the description to give the applicant a reason to want to work with you. As an example, suppose you’re a small manufacturer hiring a Marketing Writer. You could say:

“W&W Manufacturing is a Michigan-based manufacturer of Safety Widgets and What-Nots. For 20 years, we’ve worked with the automotive industry to get our state’s drivers safely to their destinations and back home again. Now we’re looking for someone who can help us tell our customers’ success stories as we expand to keep drivers safe nationwide.”

Job Qualifications/Responsibilities

  • Decide on your “must-have” and “nice-to-have” qualifications before you sit down to write the posting.
  • Start out with a short summary paragraph. Use active rather than passive voice: instead of, “This position is responsible for creating all Safety Widget and What-Not collateral,” say, “You’ll create persuasive, readable sales copy for our full-color product catalog, trade show displays and website.” Make it human and personal; use the second-person “you” instead of “the Marketing Writer will…”— Let the candidate know how they’ll be a vital member of the team. Here’s an example:

“As W&W Manufacturing’s Marketing Writer, you’ll engage customers and prospects with your informative, well-crafted blog articles, white papers, brochures, trade show collateral, case studies, video scripts and more. Not only will you lead us in spreading the word nationwide about W&W’s Safety Widgets and What-Nots, you’ll help millions of drivers safely return to their homes and families each night. As a bonus, you’ll develop expertise in the widgets/what-nots industry and hone your craft as a marketing writer.”

  • Keep your company’s culture in mind as you create the summary. What’s the best part of the job? Are you a close-knit group that collaborates on everything? A hip, tech-forward team that would make Apple jealous with your technology toolbox? Here’s the place to let the candidates know what they can expect.
  • The more information you provide the better, of course, but you can also give too much information—especially if you’re looking for a super-employee who can’t possibly exist in nature. Don’t scare off potentially good candidates—for instance, recent college grads who might qualify for the position—by making everything a “must-have.” Firm requirements that are clearly distinguished from “nice-to-have” requirements create less confusion and fewer unqualified applicants to sort through.
  • Unlike our brain-bending job posting at the beginning of this article, don’t pack all the information into a single massive paragraph. Remember that many jobseekers are reading on mobile devices, so make your requirements easily scannable with short sentences, bullets and white space.
  • Try not to use cliched phrases in your descriptions, because let’s face it: unless we’re shiny-new in the workforce, we all know that “fast-paced” can mean anything from “a busy office” to “utter chaos.” Or that “multi-task” can mean “doing the job of the three people who were just laid off.” You don’t want to scare people off—or make the job sound too perfect. So, on behalf of jobseekers everywhere, we beg you to use plain language and be as honest as possible. Don’t leave a trail of disillusioned former candidates or employees in your wake, which can damage your reputation among future jobseekers. (And for a needed laugh after that serious plea, check out this infographic of what these 50 job ad clichés really mean.)
  • Clearly note the length and type of experience you’re looking for, the job level (junior, mid-level, senior, manager), the preferred education level, as well as any particular skills (e.g. the ability to write clear and compelling copy), characteristics (e.g. the ability to work without supervision) or physical abilities (e.g. the ability to stand for an eight-hour shift) that applicants need for the job.
  • If your requirements are firm, that’s fine—just say so. A quick statement along the lines of, “Please read this posting carefully, as we will only consider those applicants who meet the listed qualifications,” can help reduce the number of unqualified applicants who apply anyway. 

Job Benefits

  • Similar to the job description, make your list of benefits easily scannable with short sentences, bullets, and white space.
  • Note the traditional information and benefits most candidates want and need—hours, pay or salary range, insurance, 401(k), paid parking, etc.
  • Don’t forget about the less traditional benefits that will make an applicant say, “Yes, I want to work there!” Do you have a relaxed dress code? Can you work from home some days? Do you provide lunch or healthy snacks for employees? Is there an onsite gym? A monthly book club? A monthly “bring your dog to work” day? Community volunteer opportunities? Talk about them all! We spend as much time at our workplace as we do with our families. Let prospective candidates see their days can be comfortable, enjoyable and even fun when they’re part of your team.

The final step in  you send your job posting off to your preferred job board, proofread your copy, have someone else proofread it and then proofread it one more time!

While this article is only a basic, high-level overview of writing a job posting, don’t worry—you’ll find resources galore online with a quick Google of “Best practices for writing a job posting” or a similar search. But if you don’t feel like Googling, here are the four most important things to keep in mind when you sit down to write your next job post:

  1. Write clearly and conversationally—ditch the jargon and clichés
  2. Use your human voice
  3. Be honest in the job description, requirements and benefits
  4. Let your company’s personality shine through  

A company that cares enough to be clear, human and straightforward with job candidates promises to be an employer that candidates will flock to. And if you follow these practices consistently, there’s every reason to believe that you’ll be the company people point to when they refer to “an employer of choice.”

Sources:

50 Nonsense Job Ad Clichés  (and What They Really Mean…),” by James Ball, coburgbanks.co.uk, undated.

How to Write a Job Description That Attracts Awesome Applicants,” by Eddie Shleyner, blog.hubspot.com, updated October 17, 2018.

5 Tips to Writing an Effective Job Posting,” by CivicPlus, civicplus.com, undated.

How to Write a Great Job Posting,” by Max Messmer, dummies.com, undated.

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Posted October 14, 2019 by

How mobile-friendly is your application process?

By Robin Porter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who Applies via Mobile?

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

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

The Effects of Mobile-Friendly Application

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

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

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

The Costs of Mobile-Unfriendly Application

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted October 08, 2019 by

Can recruiters build relationships with candidates they reject?

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 07, 2019 by

How should employers recruit Gen Z candidates?

At College Recruiter, we define Generation Z as those born after 1996. The oldest of these, therefore, emerging from colleges and universities or are already well into the workforce if they didn’t obtain any post-secondary education.

This generation is different from the millennial generation. Very different. So catch yourself before you start making assumptions about them. Gen Z is a transformative generation. It is unique and not like anything you’ve seen before. Some quick facts:

One of the most defining characteristics of Gen Z is its diversity. 

  • They are the first non-White majority generation. 
  • Gen Z is the first digital native generation. They are the biggest consumers of media, and have consumed media since a very young age, including streaming movies, shopping, social media, etc. They do not remember a time when information wasn’t a click away. The interesting thing is, 79% believe they spend too much time online, according to J. Walter Thompson Intelligence. They understand computers, and their users, as being connected to all other computers in the world.
  • While they often shop online, they actually prefer to buy from small, local family-owned shops in person. As consumers, they are somewhat turned off by huge corporations.
  • Throughout their lives, Gen Z has been exposed to economic strife, including the Great Recession. The U.S. has been at war their entire lives, and school shootings have become the norm. As such, they seek security and stability.
Posted November 05, 2018 by

From internship to full-fledged career: how one Fortune 500 company is recruiting from within

 

Author: Kate-Madonna Hindes

Investing in entry-level workers creates greater job stability and more opportunities for advancement for employees, contributing to a more economically vibrant society.(Rockefeller Foundation)

Every single day, new relationships are forming, and interns are turning into full-time employees. Across thousands of different companies, H.R. and recruiting departments are making long-term investments for maximum growth and profitability. Smart companies are taking note while searching for interns to see if they have the qualities they are looking for in full-time employees.

(more…)

Posted July 24, 2018 by

Building an internship program at an innovative company

 

What does an innovative company do to recruit and retain interns? I had the pleasure of speaking with Mario Portugal, Head of Recruitment at Beyond Limits, a leading developer of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. They built some strategic elements into their internship program that help them recruit the right talent and retain that talent into the future, all while allowing other employees to benefit from what the intern team has to offer.

(more…)

Posted June 21, 2018 by

How to train your existing employees in applied technology skills

Any employer recruiting for tech talent will likely have their own take on what the tech skills gap looks like at their organization, but closing the gap is essential. Alexandra Levit, Chairwoman of Career Advisory Board, workforce consultant and author of several career-related books, says it’s important not just to identify tech skills, but to also take very concrete steps to train your existing employees in applied technology skills. That might be through internal coursework, bringing in a consultant or having employees do self-study. Alexander spoke at SHRM 2018, presenting “The tech skills gap is more complicated than you thought, but closing it is within your reach.” We interviewed her to dive deeper into what employers need to understand about the complexities of the tech skills gap and how they can close it at their own organizations. (more…)
Posted June 12, 2018 by

When and how HR tech can engage gig workers in your organization’s culture

If there is one person who knows about how HR leaders can and should choose the right technology tools, it is Sarah Brennan. Brennan is Founder and Chief Advisor at Accelir, where she dedicates herself to improving the impact of technology on people, business and the future of work. She partners with the companies that build the technology and she educates the companies that use that technology. Brennan was also selected to be an official SHRM 2018 blogger. I interviewed Brennan about how she is seeing the impact of the growing gig economy, and how HR leaders should be using (and not using) technology to engage their contracted and gig workers.  (more…)
Posted June 11, 2018 by

How Blain’s Farm and Fleet improves their retail employee performance

 

Andrew Marcotte knows how to improve the performance of entry-level retail employees. He is an HR Business Partner at Blain’s Farm and Fleet, a specialty discount retailer with 38 locations. Marcotte supports store operations and store management teams across all locations. He shared with us what they do to motivate, grow and develop entry-level employees and we have shared his insight below. Marcotte was selected as an official SHRM 2018 blogger.  (more…)