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

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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.

Faith Rothberg, CEO of College Recruiter

Posted February 11, 2020 by

What has changed in the job board industry since College Recruiter went live in 1996?

College Recruiter’s chief executive officer, Faith Rothberg, was recently interviewed by a learning and development company. One of the questions they asked was how the job board industry has changed since our site went live way back in 1996.

Two of the biggest things that have changed are how employers treat candidates and the technology used to bring the two together. 

Employers treat candidates with far more respect now than they did in the mid-90s. Some of that has to do with the economy because it is far harder to hire well-qualified people today than it was 25 years ago. But some of that has to do with efforts by groups like The Talent Board, which runs the Candidate Experience Awards. We were very active in helping that organization get off the ground and continue to advocate for it. It uses a carrot instead of stick approach by praising employers for treating candidates well instead shaming those who don’t. 

On the technology side, we can use College Recruiter as an example of how much and how fast it has changed. We have had seven versions of our website in 23 years. That might sound like a lot, but that’s an average of one roughly every three years.

When we launched in 1996, only 50 of the Fortune 500 had websites and none of those had a searchable database of jobs that allowed candidates to apply on-line. Instead, you could sometimes search but usually there would just be a generic page that described at a high level the kinds of candidates the employer was seeking and you’d be asked to mail, fax, or maybe email your resume instead of applying online to a specific posting. Today, virtually every company with more than a few hundred employees has an applicant tracking system and, therefore, searchable job postings that allow you to apply to specific postings. Many of those integrate assessments so you sometimes aren’t even able to apply if you’re unqualified. In short, as compared to 25 years ago, candidates and employers spend far less time today trying to find each other and candidates spend far less time applying to jobs. That allows them far more time to make sure that they are a good fit for each other.  Are there any trends you’re following for 2020? In terms of technology or otherwise?  

A trend we’re following for 2020 is something that we’ve invested a tremendous amount of time and money preparing for. College Recruiter is one of the only niche job boards in the world to have successfully migrated our employer customers from duration- to performance-based pricing. Duration-based pricing was like buying an ad in the newspaper: you paid $X to run your ad for Y days. We still offer $75 postings for 30-days because many employers prefer to buy that way, but most of our customers now pay for every candidate that we send to them, usually by click. If we run an ad and don’t send candidates to the employer then we don’t get paid. Our interests, therefore, are better aligned and the employer no longer has to post-and-pray.

At the same time as pay-for-performance is rolling over some of our out-of-date competitors like a tsunami, automated systems are determining where job ads run. This is called programmatic job ad distribution and the sites which get to run an ad, for how many days, and for how much money will be the ads which get the best results. In the mid-1990’s, the sites that got the ads were those which had the funniest Superbowl ads. If your job board delivers quality candidates in the quantity desired by the employer, then you’re going to continue to receive similar ads from that and other employers and the amount you get paid for the candidates you deliver to the employer will increase, so you’re making more money and your customers are happy about that.

In addition the changes taking place on the tech side, there’s also been a lot of changes on the candidate side. In the mid-1990’s, the candidates entering the workforce were the youngest members of Gen X and oldest Millennials. Now, the oldest Millennials are approaching 40 and the generation entering the workforce is Gen Z. With the rise of Gen Z has also come a lot of talk about the future of work. Will there be work or will AI displace all of us? If there is no work or not enough for the vast majority of people, will we all receive a universal basic income (UBI) and, if not, how will we survive?

There’s been a long term trend moving away from living to work toward working to living. What I mean by that is far more than Baby Boomers, Gen Z wants to make a positive impact on the world. They place greater value on their personal relationships and understand that they cannot count on an employer to be loyal to them during difficult times. They value working hard and seek financial security but, sadly, they don’t expect to find it. 

Regarding the future of work, look for more freelancing and gig work not because the people want it but because corporations are demanding it. Look for more flexible working relationships including project-based work and remote work. 

Employers should be prepared: the gig economy will make recruitment easier but retention harder. Employers will be able to staff up and down faster but their workforce will be less experienced and be less efficient. 

In our college recruiting niche, we’re seeing a rapidly increasing minority of employers becoming school- and even major-agnostic. Employers are starting to use productivity data to determine where their best hires come from and they are finding that its more about the person and less about the school or major. We’re excited about that, because we believe that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career, not just those from the elite schools. 

We’re sometimes asked if there is one thing that we would advise talent acquisition teams to do differently with these Gen Z candidates. The answer is no different than if we were to advise them as to what to do differently with a Boomer, Gen Xer, or Millennial because we all want the same thing from prospective employers: do a better job of communicating to the candidates about the positive impact they can have on the world around them by working for your organization. Gen Zers get the attention around this issue because it appears to matter more to them at the age they’re at than it did to previous generations, but who doesn’t want to make the world a better place, both while they’re at work and on their own time?

Some of the advise we give to candidates has changed over the years, because the underlying issues have changed. For example, we talk a lot more now about starting salary because that has become so critical. Employers tend to increase pay by percentages rather than the value you deliver, so if you start off being paid too little you’ll likely always be paid too little. If your boss doesn’t value your work as shown by underpaying you, try to find a different job within the same company where your work will be better valued as shown by your compensation. And if that doesn’t work, find a new employer. 

Hopefully, candidates understand that we are NOT telling them to quit their jobs to get paid better. That strategy can work, but it is far better to find a way to get paid better by your current employer. A key to making that happen is for the employee to understand that the vast majority of employers want to compensate their employees fairly. Unfortunately, some hiring managers don’t know what fair compensation is. The reality is that employees can find this information as easily as employers and employees should use that information to negotiate a fair starting salary. This has become even more crucial for Gen Z candidates than generations before because Gen Z employees are carrying so much more student debt when they finish school than previous generations.

The last couple of questions for Faith were about industry jargon. She was asked for her favorite and least favorite terms. Her favorite was CPC (cost-per-click) because our successful migration from duration- to performance-based pricing such as CPC is driving fantastic growth at College Recruiter.

On the flip side of that jargon coin, she said her least favorite was matching technology, simply because it doesn’t work. It would be great if it did work but the reality is that it needs massive amounts of great data to work well. The data partially comes from the resume which is a backward-looking document and Gen Z candidates are so early in their careers that their resumes simply don’t have much data on them.

The data also comes from job postings which are forward-looking documents and tend to be very poorly written. For example job postings almost always talk about the employers requirements, many of which are actually preferences, and typically talk little about job duties. So you’ve got this situation where the Gen Z candidate can’t show much yet but the employer will only be matched with them if they’ve accomplished a lot professionally. That might work well for an engineer with ten years of experience but it fails miserably for a young adult who has had a couple of part-time jobs and maybe one internship.

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.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted April 24, 2019 by

Looking for a remote part-time, seasonal, internship, or entry-level job?

On March 19th, College Recruiter announced on The Chad and Cheese Podcast that our site, leveraging search technology from Google Cloud Talent Solutions, had rolled out major upgrades to how students, recent graduates, and other candidates can search for and find jobs. The announcement in March was two-fold:

  1. Candidates can search all of the job postings using any of 100+ languages, even if the job posting was written in English. Employers hiring retail sales associates, for example, could advertise those positions in English but may see an increase in applications from those whose primary language is Spanish but who are also proficient in English.
  2. Rather than searching for jobs by city or state/province, we became one of the first sites not just to enable commute search, but to put it front and center. If you’re searching for a part-time job in New York City, does it really matter that the job is in New York City? Wouldn’t it be more relevant if you could restrict or prioritize your search to jobs which are within a 15-minute walk, 30-minute cycle, 45-minutes on public transport, etc? Thanks to our friends at Google, the millions of candidates who use College Recruiter a year now search by how long it will take for them to get to a job rather than the less meaningful proxy of how far away that job is.

Today, in collaboration with Google Cloud, we are excited to share another huge step forward for candidates. Quite simply, candidates who are searching for remote work will no longer need to guess at whether the employer has included words in their job posting such as virtual, home-based, work-from-home, WFH, or telecommute. Until now, if the candidate included in her search the keyword “remote” and the employer included in his posting the keyword “virtual”, very, very few job boards would be able to match the two job postings. In other words, job postings rarely clearly described work opportunities as being available for remote work even when they were. Effective immediately, we’re able to do so and we’re able to do so exceptionally well.

According to Google, “job seekers have different lifestyle and geographic needs that require flexibility. Working from home can enable parents and caregivers to be more available to their families. It can help retain a high performing employee who regularly relocates as a military spouse. And it can help increase the loyalty of millennial and Generation Z employees who are much likelier to stay in a role for 5+ years if their company is flexible about where and when they work.”

In addition to helping the largely Millennial and Gen Z candidates who use College Recruiter to find great careers, we’re also excited about the promise this enhancement has for those with disabilities that make it difficult or even impossible to commute to work. There’s a tremendous amount of talent in these people. We’re proud to be a part of this solution.

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 February 07, 2019 by

Merging Technologies and People for the Workforce of the Future

Artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine learning or machine intelligence, is in its infancy yet poised to fundamentally change how we work, are educated, and run our businesses. AI is already impacting how leading employers engage with students and recent graduates and then hire and manage them.

AI offers tremendous opportunities to those in talent acquisition and human resources as well as society as a whole, but also poses some threats.

On December 10, 2018, hundreds of talent acquisition and other human resources leaders gathered in Mountain View, California and remotely via live stream to participate in the College Recruiting Bootcamp on AI, organized by job search site, College Recruiter, and hosted by Google.

Our featured presentation was delivered by Alexandra Levit, author of Humanity Works, speaker, consultant, futurist, Chair of the DeVry University Career Advisory Board think tank, and expert in all things workplace.

(more…)

Guidance counselor talking to a teenager. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted January 09, 2019 by

What colleges don’t want high school students and parents to consider during the application process

A friend of mine recently posted to Facebook that the guidance counselor at the high school her kids attend recently indicated that “most” colleges require at least three years of a second language in order to consider the student for possible admission. I called b.s. on that statement and then outlined some additional information that high school guidance counselors and college admissions representatives often either don’t know or, for whatever reason, often fail to communicate:

I know you and I are on the same page, but the guidance counselor is providing terrible guidance and needs to be more careful about accurately guiding her students. 

There are 8 Ivy League schools. There are 3,000, four-year colleges. There are another 4,300 one- and two-year colleges. 

Ivys represent 0.267 percent of four-year colleges. Hardly representative.

More important words of advice: Talk openly and honestly with your kids about the financial impact of college. 

Here is the reality: if a family is wealthy and can pay out of pocket — including savings — then the cost isn’t as important.  (more…)

Posted August 16, 2018 by

Understanding the advantages of the gig economy

 

The workforce has been evolving due to the integration of technology in our society today. “Sometimes all you need is a cell phone and a laptop and you can do many kinds of work remotely,” states Jo Weech, CEO and Principal Consultant of Exemplary Consultants. Weech provides business management consulting to small businesses and start-ups. Here, she offers insight into what the gig economy is and how students and recent graduates can take advantage of the opportunities that come along with it.

(more…)

Posted August 06, 2018 by

Wrapping up your summer internship: Reflect and connect the dots

 

The summer is winding down and coming to an end, this means many students will wrap up their internships and head back to the classroom. Whether your internship was an outstanding experience or a complete disaster, there is a lot of important reflection to be done. Pam Baker, the founder of Journeous, has dedicated her career to helping young adults choreograph meaningful careers and become focused leaders. Baker accomplishes this by working with individuals to help them find the intersection between their values, interests, and strengths. Jeff Dunn, Campus Relations Manager at Intel, is passionate about helping job seekers at all levels with resumes, interviewing, career planning, and networking. Below we will dive into the most important things to do nearing the end of a summer internship. (more…)