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

Posted October 24, 2019 by

Chipotle now covering 100% of tuition costs, even for part-time employees

It isn’t hard to admit: I’ve been a fan of Chipotle’s food since it opened a restaurant near my home about a decade ago.

If you’ve never been, think Subway but for burritos, tacos, and tortilla-less meals served in a bowl. Think concrete floors and lots of stainless steel. Think freshly cooked, savory meats. Think fresh, yummy guacamole. But I digress into a hunger causing diatribe.

Working in a restaurant — any restaurant — is not for the faint of heart. The work is usually fast-paced, customers can be jerks, and the hours often very early or very late. But it is good, honest, hard work. Every minute of every day your work is appreciated by customers who want a little treat, either in the sense of rewarding themselves or rewarding their taste buds. Or both.

Keeping workers happy and retaining them is an incredible challenge for almost all restaurants, especially those whose pay is at the lower end of the scale, which includes almost all fast-food restaurants. Let’s face it, you’re not going to get rich working in a fast-food restaurant, but you’ll earn your pay, you won’t get bored, and you’ll almost certainly make some great friends amongst your co-workers.

But now there’s another benefit to working at a fast-food restaurant. To be clear, not just any fast-food restaurant. Just Chipotle. At least for now. Chipotle, consistent with its mission to Cultivate a Better World, just announced an incredible tuition reimbursement program. Together with Guild Education, Chipotle will cover 100 percent of college tuition costs for all eligible employees, including hourly (crew) members. When I read that, I skeptically thought, “Yeah, but who will be eligible?” I’m often wrong, and this was one of the many times when I was very happy to be wrong.

The news here isn’t that Chipotle has a tuition reimbursement program. Yawn. Lots of employers, including College Recruiter, do. And the news isn’t even that the program covers 100 percent of the tuition costs. That’s a higher bar than most but, at best, evolutionary and not revolutionary. The news here is that to be eligible you need only have worked at Chipotle for four months (120-days, to be exact) AND work at least 15 hours a week. That’s right. Those working only 15-hours a week will get 100 percent of their college education paid for by Chipotle. That’s revolutionary. Kind of like their one-pound, barbacoa, burritos. But I digress again.

There are some limitations, but they’re VERY reasonable. Only certain degrees qualify, but there are 75 of them and range from high school diplomas to bachelor’s degrees in business or technology. The courses are online, but include VERY well respected schools like Denver University. Not satisfied with their schools? No problem. Chipotle will continue to offer its tuition reimbursement program, which allows eligible employees to be reimbursed for tuition up to $5,250 a year at the school of their choice. That’s not going to come close to covering the full cost of a typical, elite, four-year university, but it could easily cover a third or even a half at many state colleges and perhaps all of the costs of a community college. Or, slap that baby together with a nice scholarship or two and now you’re back into the free zone. Where you can enjoy a pork carnitas taco. With green chili. Mmmm.

College Recruiter, we believe that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. That guiding principle leads us to push some employers to treat their employees better, sometimes by paying them better, sometimes by creating better working conditions, and sometimes by helping those employees achieve their life goals. With this new program, Chipotle is setting a new bar for other employers and, I hope, many others will follow their lead. Kudos, Chipotle.

Posted October 16, 2019 by

To hire students, you need to recruit on-campus. Right? Wrong.

At College Recruiter job search site, one of the biggest changes that we’ve seen over the past few years is the rapidly increasing number of employers who use time-to-hire, cost-per-hire, and productivity data to measure their sourcing partners, including college career service offices. Their findings are shocking to many.

For decades, employers believed that they had to travel to and recruit students on-campus if they wanted to hire “the best” candidates. Those beliefs were typically grounded on false assumptions. You’ve probably heard that productivity data shows that the more diverse and inclusive a workforce, the more productive is that workforce. But that means that an employer who only hires at a small percentage of the 3,000 four-year colleges and universities or the 4,400 one- and two-year colleges is undermining their own diversity and inclusion efforts. So the more targeted your campus recruiting efforts, the less diverse, inclusive, and productive will be your workforce. Ouch.

Another example? Many of our employer customers who have looked at their productivity data have discovered that the more elite the school the employee went to, the less productive is that employee. How can that be true? Because they leave far sooner than those hired from second or even third-tier schools. One of our long-time customers is an accounting and consulting company. They cut way back on their on-campus efforts in favor of hiring through what they call “virtual” sources like College Recruiter. Why? Diversity, inclusion, and productivity. They’re becoming school and even major agnostic, meaning they don’t really care what school you went to or even what your major was. They used to only consider accounting, economics, and finance majors. Now they embrace fine arts, Russian literature, and any other major. In their words, “we can teach an employee how to read a balance sheet but we can’t teach them how to think critically”.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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)

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted October 11, 2019 by

Why employers should offer 529 college savings and tuition reimbursement plans

The cost of higher education is exponentially higher for the Millennials who recently graduated and Gen Zers who are currently enrolled in one-, two-, and four-year colleges and universities. A Baby Boomer may have paid $10,000 for tuition, room, and board in the 1960s. By the 1980s, the same would have cost a Gen Xer about $50,000. Today, the same will cost a Gen Zer $250,000. A very small percentage of students don’t face that kind of sticker shock as they’re extremely affluent and pay for that out-of-pocket, perhaps with savings, or they’re amongst those with the lowest income but qualify for the largest merit scholarships. For the vast majority of students, financing hundreds of thousands of dollars for their education is the reality. 

It is pretty common for student loans to carry interest rates of 6.25 percent, so about double what home mortgages cost, despite the student loans being of lower risk than home mortgages as you can’t discharge student loan debt through bankruptcy. Also normal is a 20-year repayment period. The cost of a $250,000 loan with an interest rate of 6.25 percent and a length of 20 years results in a monthly payment of $1,827.32, which is about $2,500 before tax. In other words, just to cover your student loans, you need to earn $30,000 a year. Even if your cost of education is half of that, you need to earn about $15,000 a year just to cover your student loans. 

Employers that create 529 education savings and tuition reimbursement plans effectively give their participating employees a substantial raise without it costing the employer anything. Money contributed to a 529 plan is tax-deductible, so if the employee contributes $10,000 a year, they’re going to save about $2,500 a year in taxes. That employee has therefore just effectively been given a $2,500 raise by their employer, without that raise costing the employer anything. Even more dramatic is tuition reimbursement, as that doesn’t cost the employee anything. At College Recruiter, we offer tuition reimbursement of $1,500 per year. If the employee’s tax bracket is 25 percent, that’s worth $2,000 to them. We are, effectively, giving those employees a $2,000 per year raise.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted October 04, 2019 by

What’s changing in talent acquisition?

We launched our job board, CollegeRecruiter.com, 23 years ago in 1996 but have seen more embracement of technology and data to drive decisions by employers in the past two years than we did in the previous 21 years combined.

Our employer customers used to talk about how they were using data to make decisions, but what many (not all) were actually doing was using data to justify decisions. Now, many and perhaps most are actually using data to make their decisions. Two, tangible results of that:

  1. Very few data-driven employers prefer to buy job postings on a traditional, duration-basis because they can see that performance-based postings are more effective, efficient, or both. By effective, I mean that they generate enough, quality candidates to allow the employer to meet its hiring objectives, whether they’re trying to hire one, 10, or 100 people through the posting.
  2. Most data-driven employers are either using programmatic technology to distribute their jobs or their vendors are. Programmatic job ad distribution is largely killing the ability of media to sell postings based upon proxies like how many registered users they have, site traffic, and whether they purchased a Super Bowl ad. But it is also leading to problems with diversity and inclusion, as too many employers and vendors are looking at only the effective cost per application (eCPA) to determine where to run ads and not considering that certain audiences are just going to be more expensive to reach and that it is worthwhile spending that extra money in some but not all cases.