January 11, 2017 by Anna Peters
The 2016 Most Desirable Jobs survey has some surprising results. The Career Advisory Board (CAB), of which College Recruiter’s founder Steven Rothberg is a member, released the survey recently. Their intention is to advise employers, who increasingly find themselves in steep competition for qualified talent. The results include ideal job characteristics, most appealing work styles and what employees value at work. Employers will rejoice when they hear that they may not have to throw out their conventional wisdom.
One key finding that may surprise you: Millennials were more likely to want to work in an office every day than their older colleagues. We spoke with Alexandra Levit, business and workplace consultant and Career Advisory Board member. She gave us her interpretation of the survey results, including what surprised her, trends of the Millennial generation, the gig economy, and more. Watch our interview with Alexandra:
December 14, 2016 by Anna Peters
The same tools that save recruiters time often make the application process feel robotic and cold, at least from the job seeker’s point of view. As you work to woo people into your company, it would be a bad idea to turn them off. You can use time-saving technology and still be respectful and applicant-centric.
Your employer brand will suffer if you don’t take steps to be respectful.
Any negativity that a candidate experiences can go viral. Your employer brand doesn’t just depend on the culture you create for current employees. The experience you create for potential employees, including everyone who never gets an interview, is also part of your company brand. Recruiters may groan at having to sift through 500 resumes for a single position, but that’s a gold mine for branding. That resume stack represents a captive audience. Unlike your passive followers on social media who you wish would just click “like” occasionally, those job applicants are eagerly waiting to hear from you.
Recruitment skills are like sales skills, so recruiters: sell your brand and your company’s experience. Don’t overlook how important your own customer service skills are. Your candidates are your customers.
Don’t risk losing the top candidates
When you treat candidates like a herd of cattle, think about who you are losing. Employers large and small consistently place soft skills at the top of their wish list. Those skills include integrity, dependability, communication, and ability to work with others. A candidate with high integrity will drop out of the race quickly if they sense that a recruiter doesn’t regard them as worth more than a few seconds of their time. If you lose integrity from your pool, what do you have left?
Juli Smith, President of The Smith Consulting Group, agrees that the lack of respect for candidates has consequences. “It can be very devastating to hear nothing. Even bad news can be taken better than radio silence for days or weeks.” Candidates may have gotten used to being treated insignificantly during the job search, but that doesn’t mean they’ll put up with it for much longer. As companies start to figure out how to treat them better, you don’t want to be the last company standing with a humorless, disrespectful and overly-automated job application process.
A few little tweaks can make a difference
Like other great salespeople, good recruiters know how to read people. Let your recruiters bring their own humanness to the process. Don’t stifle their instincts to be respectful by automating every step of the way. If they truly have no time to insert a human touch along the way, then ask the most jovial member of your team to come up with better automated responses to candidates. Compare these two auto-emails: Continue Reading
December 09, 2016 by Anna Peters
Parental involvement during the job application process is on the rise, as we are all well aware. For older generations, the ways parents get involved may seem shocking, but it does no good to just scoff. Employers should know how to respond to both candidates and parents when they get that phone call from a mom or dad.
Feedback for candidates
It is entirely possible that a candidate’s mom or dad is intervening without their child’s knowledge. This might be to the utter embarrassment of the candidate, but it is important for them to be aware. Brandi Britton is District President of OfficeTeam. She says it’s important to “reinforce that behind-the-scenes parental involvement is totally fine, such as reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews or offering networking contacts, but direct contact with companies is inappropriate.”
After you’ve made it clear to candidates that you would rather not deal with their parents, make sure they know you are not going to discount them in the application process. This is important: an applicant’s skills are independent of their parents and you should not punish them for their parents’ behavior.
Being proactive may be the best approach of all. Christy Hopkins of Fit Small Business suggests providing applicants with an FAQ that accompanies your confirmation of their application. Those FAQ may be exactly what a parent may want to know, like pay rate, number of hours, application timeline. If the applicant forwards it to mom or dad, hopefully you have just avoided that awkward phone call.
Feedback for parents
Have the same response prepared for every parent. This preparation saves you time and ensures objectivity. Hopkins suggests something along the lines of: “Thank you so much for emailing/calling me to say hello. I appreciate how invested you are in your child’s success, and I can understand since I am a parent. However, in order to keep things fair for every applicant, I cannot talk about our selection process. Thank you very much for understanding.”
If you are like many HR professionals, it is annoying to deal with parents. However, as recruitment marketing becomes more strategic, remember that each interaction with any stakeholder presents an opportunity. “Being approached by a job applicant’s parent, or indeed anyone closely connected to the candidate is an opportunity to build your employer brand,” says Kevin Mulcahy, author of The Future Workplace Experience.
It’s not your job to teach them a lesson, but Joanie Connell at Flexible Work Solutions includes a scare tactic in her response to parents. She tells them, “We find that applicants whose parents call in are less serious about the job than applicants who contact us directly.” This response is fine as long as you are not actually discounting the candidates’ applications.
While it may be tempting to take all this into account in your hiring decision, be careful. Presumably most candidates do not have their mom or dad calling you, so beware of introducing an additional measure that only applies to one or two candidates. However, if a candidate reacts badly to your feedback, that may tell you something about how they may behave as an employee.
This may go without saying, but don’t take parents up on their attempts to influence your decisions. If they contact the hiring manager outside of HR, the manager should know to politely decline, noting the importance of privacy laws.
Embrace the change!
Enterprise is a company that embraces the relationship with parents during recruitment. They see that it builds a stronger relationships with candidates. They invite parents to interns’ final projects, and has a Bring your Parent to Work Day.
Maybe parental involvement doesn’t have to be annoying. Recognize that Millennials’ relationships with their parents are just different than those of Baby Boomers. Not worse or better, but different. You may call it hand holding, but many of the changes that Millennials’ present can be good for all of us. For example, more positive feedback, more work-life balance, and perhaps a mentor are good things for all your employees, not just the twenty somethings.
October 28, 2016 by Anna Peters
Guest writer Martin Edmondson, CEO and founder of Gradcore
It feels like there is an ever-growing consensus among employers that university graduates should emerge fully formed, perfectly skilled and immediately work ready. The phrase ‘oven ready’ graduates appears far too often for my liking. It oversimplifies what is ultimately a very complicated issue: How do you match the supply of skills and people with the demands of the economy, when both are moving targets? In other words, how much should employers compromise when searching for the ideal candidate? How much should they training should they assume?
This is such a significant issue in the UK that the government has created a ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ for universities. One of its goals is to tackle “skill mismatches” in the economy. (Go figure that the same government is now limiting their own access to skilled talent via immigration clampdowns.)
Every employer presents unique circumstances. So it’s critical for employers to examine their fundamental approach to hiring with a few questions such as:
- What characterizes the hires you make that are successful, and those that are not?
- What is the most critical factor for fit with your organization – skills, values, attitude etc?
- How recently did you evaluate what is really important in the people you hire?
- If all the evidence says that those people are not available for that price in this place, which one of those variables are you prepared to change?
Here is the challenge: So many employers are seeking candidates with the skills that are in shortage areas. This is typically around digital and software roles where there is a major disconnect between employer requirements and the quality and quantity of graduates available. Employers (and policy makers who are trying to solve these problems) should try one of the following:
1. Grow your own
This is the long game, but often one of the most successful approaches if you have the time. Recruit graduates who have the core attributes or values that suit your organisation, but need to develop their skills further. Then put in place the structured training that will develop them. This could be in house training, or delivered under emerging models such as degree-apprenticeships.
2. Think differently
Stop looking at the really obvious candidates. This could be described as the Blue Ocean approach, getting away from where everyone else is fishing. Recently I saw a very interesting post from a company called Talla about mapping resumes using neural networks. This visual approach helps you to appreciate that people who superficially have seemingly different backgrounds are actually remarkably similar. Each of the dots below is a resume. This shows how different titles share characteristics:
3. Up the budget
Sometimes you simply need to either increase the budget in order to reach a wider audience, or increase salary to attract the necessary skills. While it’s never ideal, there are clearly certain economic realities that are hard to escape.
Underlying all of this is a bigger societal question, which will be answered differently in different countries:
Whose job is it to make a person employable?
Is it the role of the education system and teachers? Employers? Parents or the state? Or are we all solely responsible for our own development? All play a part, but the prevailing national answer to this question goes a long way to deciding the expectations employers have of graduates and vice versa.
Look forward to discussing this and lots of other topics around college recruiting at the College Recruiter Bootcamp in Washington DC on December 8.
Martin is the CEO and founder of Gradcore, a social enterprise focused on graduate employment and employability. Martin has more than 15 years of experience in graduate recruitment and Higher Education. He founded Gradcore, and over the last decade has led a wide range of graduate recruitment and employability projects. These include running global graduate schemes for a range of large employers, delivering employability performance improvement in universities, and chairing the UK and European Graduate Employment Conferences. Martin was a member of the steering group for the ‘graduate recruitment in SMEs’ report for the UK government and has written for a wide range of newspapers and websites. Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.
October 11, 2016 by Anna Peters
Are you interviewing a student veteran for a job at your company? Congrats! Veterans bring a set of skills that can stand above the other students you are interviewing.
If you are like many hiring managers, you have limited experience interviewing vets, and are not extremely familiar with what military experience looks like. It’s important to make sure you don’t ask anything inappropriate. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your interview while remaining sensitive and legal.
What NOT to ask
- Unless you are hiring for a Federal agency or work with Veteran Preference Points, don’t ask about their discharge status.
- You cannot ask if they will be deployed in the future, even if their resume says they are in the Reserves.
- Do not ask about potential disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act states that an employer may only ask disability-related questions after the applicant has been offered a job.
- “Do you have PTSD?” (First, check your biases about vets and PTSD, and second, any question that relates to their mental health is legally off limits.)
- “Did you get hurt in combat?” or “Do you expect your injury to heal normally?”
- “Have you ever participated in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program?”
Instead, you can ask…
- Behavior-based questions that help you truly understand their previous experience
- Questions about their goals (be smart and avoid the cliche “Where do you see yourself in the future?”)
- “How did you deal with pressure or stress?”
- According to the Office of Disability Employment Policy, you may ask “”How did you break your leg?”
- “Have you ever been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol?”
Veterans Day is November 11. Reach out to student veteran groups as part of your college recruitment this fall, and you may be impressed with what you find.
October 04, 2016 by Anna Peters
Most organizations say they are interested in recruiting student veterans, and many large companies have whole teams dedicated to veteran recruitment. Yet we often see a disconnect between these teams and the college recruitment teams. Some college relations teams don’t know what to do with student veterans so they refer them to the military recruitment team. The military recruitment team often doesn’t know what to do with students and so they refer them over to the college relations team.
Why should your company care about getting this right? First, you are likely to encounter more student veterans in the future as more service members return home from deployment. These students have characteristics that are attractive to employers, but civilian hiring managers may not have much more than stereotypes of military experience when they consider recruiting a student veteran.
“The U.S. military today is gradually becoming a separate warrior class… that is becoming increasingly distinct from the public it is charged with protecting.” (LA Times special report)
While the student veteran must learn to articulate his or her qualifications, recruiters should become more familiar with what military experience can mean. As a group, service members offer an incredibly diverse set of skills. A quick visit to goarmy.com shows ten categories of jobs available in the Army alone, from engineering and legal careers, to admin support and the arts. To educate yourself further, ask any veterans already working at your company about their experience. Absolutely ask your candidates about the specific jobs they held, training they received and leadership skills they developed (translating military to civilian).
The majority of veterans on college campuses are “non-traditional” students. They are not entering straight from high school and are generally not dependent on their parents, so they are more independent and experienced than other students you’re recruiting (Veterans and College). Because of military culture, veterans may espouse a set of characteristics that are appealing to managers. For example, service members are already used to regularly being evaluated on their performance. How many Millennials can say that?
Leading up to Veterans Day on November 11, consider including student veterans in your college outreach. Your bottom line will thank you.
September 29, 2016 by Anna Peters
By Ted Bauer, contributing author to College Recruiter
Do you know the difference between “vanity metrics” and “business metrics?” Many people assume they do, but oftentimes they don’t.
“Vanity metrics” are aspects of a business we track because the numbers are larger and it sounds better to present them to our bosses and other stakeholders. Examples are:
- Out-of-context attendance figures
- Any number that sounds or looks good on a PowerPoint
Contrast that with “business metrics,” which are slices of data that really explain how your business is performing. In retail, for example, this is traditionally something like revenue per square foot. In college recruiting, it might be percentage of interns converted or a diversity metric indicating a balanced recruiting cycle. These pockets of information can more directly be tied to the success of what you’re doing, bottom-line or otherwise.
Many companies confuse “vanity metrics” and “business metrics,” and this leads to suspect ROI. You’ve probably sat in a meeting and presented some big, impressive-looking numbers — only to have a senior leader ask “Well, why is performance down?” You stumble a bit and can’t answer. “But the metrics look good, sir…”
They actually don’t, because they’re not tied to the right outcomes.
Consider how this might look in college relations programs. You might track something like “number of students in the hiring funnel,” which is ultimately a vanity metric — it doesn’t necessarily point to the quality of potential hires. Rather, you could track quality of hire per school you work with; this would help you identify relationships to cease over time, which will help you cut recruiting costs. In this context, one is a “vanity metric” (it’s tracked because a big number sounds good) and one is a business metric (it helps you make strategic decisions about your processes).
September 21, 2016 by Harry Rothberg
By Ted Bauer, contributing author to College Recruiter
This headline from October 2015 in Harvard Business Review says it all: “Firms are wasting millions recruiting on only a few college campuses.”
We’ve seen this for years, especially among the EPS companies across investment banks, management consulting firms, and law firms. There are “target” campuses and then there’s “everyone else.” While you might get some amazingly high-quality people (good!), overall the process has a lot of waste, financially and in terms of potential burnout for your recruiting team.
There’s a better way. Ever seen the stat that it took 35 years to construct the federal highway system, but Facebook reached 500 million users in six years? It’s an obvious stat, sure — but it speaks to the amazing power of digital to both connect and scale.
No matter how you approach digital vs. in-person, your goal should be to maximize your ROI from your college recruiting efforts. To do that, you might need to move around some budget buckets: less on-campus and more interactive/digital/social/job board work.
September 20, 2016 by Harry Rothberg
By Ted Bauer, contributing author to College Recruiter
Diversity is a complicated topic, especially in this modern political climate where it seems like many are trying to define other groups as the enemy. It’s also semantically complicated — it means many different things to many different people. Some think of it as skin color, some as gender, some along socioeconomic lines. It varies.
What’s more — diversity and inclusion are actually very different concepts, although they’re not often treated as such. Your efforts at diverse recruiting need to differentiate between the two ideas. Continue Reading
September 19, 2016 by Harry Rothberg
By Ted Bauer, contributing author to College Recruiter
Goldman Sachs has long been considered a king of on-campus recruiting.
Don’t get us wrong: they still do it, and they’re still aggressive around a few campuses. But recently they’ve shifted budget over to interactive, digital, social, and job boards more so — all in the interest of maximizing their college recruiting ROI. Continue Reading