January 18, 2017 by Anna Peters
Guest writer Ascan Koerner, University of Minnesota
For employers who look exclusively for STEM backgrounds to fill their positions, they are missing out on a wide pool of qualified candidates. Students with a liberal arts degree offer distinct advantages, and employers should not overlook them.
Technical and engineering skills may fit only the short term
The technical and engineering skills that get a student hired initially often have an expiration date. Those skills unfortunately may also fall victim to automation. A recent study by Carl Frey and Michael Osboren of Oxford University suggested that 47% of all employment in the U.S. is at risk of being replaced by automation, including many mid-level technical and engineering positions.
Skills most in need are not technical, but soft
Even more importantly from a career development perspective, technical skills alone often are insufficient to help employees advance their careers. Almost invariably, career advancement means to take on managerial and planning responsibilities. Those leadership positions require not technical skill but so-called soft skills. Soft skills include critical thinking, being able work in a group, interpersonal communication, leadership, and complex problem solving. No surprise that according to a recent survey of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the four most sought after skills of recent graduates are not technical, but critical thinking/problem-solving, work ethic, teamwork, and strong oral and written communication. A recent study conducted by Indeed.com reports that 64% of “opportunity jobs” (those with high and growing wages) require complex problem solving skills.
Liberal arts programs prepare students for leadership
It is precisely in these areas where students with a liberal arts education have distinct advantages over their more technically educated peers. Indeed, at the core of a liberal arts education is building skills such as problem-solving, communication, leadership, engaging diversity, and ethical decision making. Liberal arts programs uniquely prepare graduates for leadership and managerial roles in organizations. Liberal arts students are also used to using their skills in various contexts, preparing them to better deal with uncertainty. Given the long-term unpredictability of today’s business climate, this adaptability is critical. Furthermore, liberal arts college are also committed to diversity and uniquely prepare students to learn and interact with students from a wide variety of backgrounds. It is no surprise that liberal arts graduates are disproportionately represented in the c-suites of the nation’s largest and most innovative corporations.
Liberal arts graduates are life-long learners
A final strength of liberal arts graduates that is often overlooked by recruiters is their ability to acquire new skills and to engage in life-long learning. Even if liberal arts graduates need more initial training for a position that requires specific technical skills, they have all the attributes that will make them successful in the long run. Not only do they tend to advance more readily in their careers, they also are more likely to stay with their employers and contribute significantly to the long-term success of their organizations.
Colleges want to help connect liberal arts to careers
Increasingly, colleges and universities are becoming more aware of how a liberal arts education contributes to career success. They are beginning to engage students and employers in conversations about the distinct advantages of liberal arts degrees. For example, the College of Liberal Arts of the University of Minnesota recently launched a career readiness initiative. The initiative highlights ten core career competencies inherent to the liberal arts. The college offers courses and programs that allow students not only to recognize their unique skills and abilities, but also how they relate to their long term career success.
Recruiters who want to hire for the long run should pay attention to these developments and to not overlook liberal arts graduates. These young workers are viable candidates for entry-level positions, especially those that are a pipeline for leadership opportunities within their organizations.
About Ascan Koerner: Ascan is the Director of the Career Readiness Initiative at the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts. The initiative is part of the Dean’s road map for the college and aims to make CLA graduates the most desirable and best prepared graduates. In addition, Ascan is a professor and director of undergraduate studies. His research interests are family communication and communication in interpersonal relationships.
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 28, 2016 by Libby Rothberg
In today’s “Q & A with the Experts”, College Recruiter spoke with Ashley White, Human Resources Director for The American Productivity & Quality Center. We asked Ashley about how 2017 might look the same or different regarding their recruitment strategy.
What does your recruitment strategy look like for 2017?
Ashley White: For 2017, our employee engagement and retention strategy is based on “manage and measure.” Management for us means managing the employee experience from the very beginning of their employee experience. In my experience, engagement is different for each individual and organizations that “do” engagement effectively create opportunities for their teams to connect with the organization’s mission and each other in different ways (team building, social events, charitable efforts etc). We expect to continue providing all of these in 2017. For example, our managers are expected to budget for and carry out team building events each quarter with their teams. With any strategy, measurement is important to justify expenses, make improvements and chart progress. APQC will utilize an employee satisfaction survey done twice annually to capture this data. The ongoing challenge with surveys is ensuring that you’ve crafted the questions so that you receive valuable feedback that creates actionable results. With that said, we will spend time utilizing best practice research to guide our question selection.
Ashley White is the Human Resources Director for APQC (The American Productivity & Quality Center). She manages all aspects of human resources including benefits, compensation, recruiting, and strategies. She also leads the APQC operations team that focuses on developing next-generation leaders within the organization. APQC is a non-profit that produces some of the leading benchmarking and best practices research around talent management and other business topics. Connect with Ashley on LinkedIn.
December 20, 2016 by Anna Peters
Contributing writer Ted Bauer
There is a lot of talk about artificial intelligence in recruiting. Here’s something most people probably don’t know: artificial intelligence actually debuted at a conference at Dartmouth University in 1956. Yep, 11 years after the end of WW2, AI was already on the scene. At the time, there was a lot of optimism. Some people at the conference believed robots and AI machines would be doing the work of humans by the mid-1970s. Of course, that didn’t happen. Instead, funding dried up and we began a period called “The AI Winter”. That ostensibly lasted into the 2000s, when IBM’s Watson peaked a lot of interest in artificial intelligence again.
Now we’re at an interesting place. Like PCs in the early 1980s or the Internet in the early 1990s, artificial intelligence is “out there” and people know about it. There’s anxiety around artificial intelligence and what it means for the very nature of the work many of us do. However, I believe it will be a rising tide that will “lift all boats.” Here’s how AI might impact the recruiting industry going forward.
AI is already here in recruiting
One example of today’s cutting edge recruiting AI is an application developed by HiringSolved. They call it RAI — pronounced Ray — for “Recruiting Artificial Intelligence.” The project is about six years old and still being perfected. Its execution is similar to a chatbot. You can say something to RAI like, “I need to find 20 project managers in the accounting sector within 50 miles of Boston,” and — much like you might tell Siri to turn on Pandora — it will begin to comb through resources and find you those project managers.
You could also use clarifying questions, such as “What does Microsoft call product engineers?” Continue Reading
December 16, 2016 by Anna Peters
College Recruiter is introducing a new regular blog feature, “Q & A with the Experts”. In this monthly feature we will draw insight from experts in talent acquisition and HR. For today’s post, we spoke with Loreli Wilson, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion Programs at Veterans United Home Loans; Saïd Radhouani, Co-founder at Nextal; and Steven Rothberg, founder and President of College Recruiter. We asked Loreli, Saïd and Steven about the connection between college recruitment, and Diversity and Inclusion.
What do you think is the importance of college recruitment to diversifying the workplace?
Saïd Radhouani: Universities are great channels to bring new diverse talents into organizations and promote a diversified workplace. Both local and immigrants students form a big pool of diverse talents. They may differ greatly in terms of language, culture, religion, or color; yet ultimately study toward the same goals. These talents are already diverse and know how to perform in a diversified environment. College recruitment is a big enabler to diversify the workplace.
Loreli Wilson: Colleges and universities are a great source for smart, passionate, and innovative applicants from marginalized communities. It’s a smart move to align with those institutions to engage students and cultivate our workforce by our own specifications.
What are best practices for recruiting a diversity of college students?
Saïd Radhouani: If diversity is part of your organization’s priorities, you should empower some individuals to serve as diversity advocates. They can promote and keep diversity goals active during the recruitment process. These advocates should include college recruitment into their plans. A few best practices they can suggest to the recruitment team include: Continue Reading
December 05, 2016 by Anna Peters
Contributing writer Ted Bauer
Recently, we have heard a lot of arguments that the college degree is essentially the new high school degree. (Some even believe that, within 5-10 years, a graduate degree will be the new college degree.) As more people pursue four-year degrees, they’re accruing debt. As they do so, they enter a job market where wages aren’t rising that much.
Student loans have become a crisis in some respects, and this is happening at a time when many wages are stagnant or falling. As such, there’s been an increased focus on the value of vocational and technical degrees. In fact, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner appeared at a ReCode event in late November and said the U.S. cares too much about four-year degrees. He adds: Continue Reading
November 29, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
Google. Microsoft. Deloitte. PwC. Cisco. Domino’s Pizza. Marriott International.
Those are just some of the employers using gamification in recruiting. What is gamification?
According to recruiterbox.com, Gamification is the concept which uses game theory, mechanics and game designs to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. According to this Society of Human Resources Management article, “Recruiting experts say gamification can stir people’s interest in job openings, project an innovative image of an employer, and deliver accurate previews of applicants’ future job performance.”
John Findlay, co-founder of Launchfire, a digital engagement shop that turns boring content and mandatory training materials into a fun, easy-to-digest, game-based learning experience, agrees. Recent college grads are a tech-focused generation and the use of mobile, video, virtual reality and gamification go a long way in recruiting and assessing recent college grads and entry-level job seekers, he says.
“Today’s employers face the challenge of recruiting and hiring recent college grads and Millennials, the largest generational demographic in the American workforce,” said Findlay. “Many companies are finding that using game-based learning and gamification, which integrate points, badges, competition and role-playing, can be used to effectively attract and assess candidates.”
“It was all the rage, especially in the IT industry, where technical skills change fast and traditional resumes don’t always tell the depth of job seekers skills,” says Kirk.
Gamification is commonly used in IT. Want to recruit a top coder? Run a competition to find them, says Kirk. But it’s also being used in many other industries, like hospitality. Marriott International created a recruiting game to attract Millennials called My Marriott Hotel. This game was delivered through Facebook, and according to the SHRM, allows candidates to experience what it’s like to manage a hotel restaurant kitchen before moving on to other areas of hotel operations. Players create their own virtual restaurant, where they buy equipment and ingredients on a budget, hire and train employees, and serve guests. Participants earn points for happy customers and lose points for poor service. They also are rewarded when their operation turns a profit. Continue Reading
November 22, 2016 by Matt Krumrie
With technology careers in high demand, coding bootcamps have become a popular method for recent college grads to gain the additional skills needed to jump start, advance, and succeed in a career in technology. Coding bootcamps are short – but intense – training opportunities focusing on teaching students the latest, in-demand technical skills.
Revature is a technology talent development company providing a turn-key talent acquisition solution for corporate and government partners and no-cost coding bootcamps for university graduates. Revature recently announced several strategic partnerships to provide free on-campus coding bootcamps with the City University of New York (CUNY), Arizona State University, Davidson College and the University of Missouri – with more partnership announcements planned into 2017. A college degree is required at the time of attendance for the on-site bootcamps. Students are typically graduates or even graduating seniors who are ready to deepen their skills and have a job when they graduate. The coding bootcamp is typically 12 weeks, full-time.
“Revature is training the next generation of software engineers, a profession that continuously needs people current – and even ahead – of the technology curve,” says Joe Vacca, CMO at Revature. “We started these university partnerships to create a pathway to high-paying coding careers for graduates across the country.”
According to a recent report, 73% of coding bootcamp graduates surveyed report being employed in a full-time job requiring the skills learned at bootcamp, with an average salary increase of 64%. Roughly half of the jobs in the top income quartile — defined as those paying $57,000 or more per year — are in occupations that commonly require applicants to have at least some computer coding knowledge or skill. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software development careers are projected to grow 17% through 2024.
November 14, 2016 by Anna Peters
Contributing writer Ted Bauer
Companies of all sizes frequently hire interns, but the approach to thinking about these interns is usually a little bit misguided. Because interns often represent either entirely free or very cheap (relative to full-time hires) labor, they can become factories of busy work — essentially doing work that others (i.e. full-time employees) either don’t have the time for or, in all honesty, don’t want to do.
While there’s some logic in assigning the pointless busy work to the cheapest labor source, it’s also a bad strategic play both in the short-term and long-term. Here are two major reasons why.
“Busy” vs. “productive.” Admittedly, there are many professionals — way above the intern level — who don’t completely understand this designation. And admittedly, not all work at a job can be productive. There is always logistically-driven, spreadsheet-updating, “busy” or “shallow” work to be done. But you need to think about the psychology of the intern experience, as opposed to simply the cost model. In many cases, this is an intern’s first experience with office work — or among their first. If all they do is busy work, they certainly won’t feel very motivated by your company or that specific department. (More on why this is a problem in the next section.) While we wouldn’t necessarily condone giving interns access to proprietary information or letting them set high-level strategy, they can attend some larger scope meetings to learn about how the different pieces of your organization and business model work together. Yes, they might get coffee for people or archive documents digitally from years ago. That’s fine. But there needs to be a mix of straight busy work and some productive work, including opportunities to learn about how the company works, how it generates revenue, and what the different roles do in support of that.
The value of internal recruitment: Let’s assume we are discussing summer interns for the time being, as that’s a fairly common intern time frame and model. A college summer intern who performs well could become a full-time hire when he/she finishes college. Research has shown internal recruitment (i.e. promotions) to be valuable, and the same methodology works for intern conversion. Organizations are usually set up in specific, clearly-defined ways around process and reporting. An intern who was given a summer of busy work + productive meeting attendance already understands those processes and reporting structures. When he/she enters the company, it’s much closer to a “hit the ground running” situation than recruiting someone from a different college who never interned with you. That latter hire may end up being a superstar, yes, but in the first few months, they will be much less productive than a converted intern. Also remember this about the value of interns: because they have less work experience, they haven’t been exposed to numerous approaches to work. You can more easily ground them in your culture, roles, and expectations than you can with even a mid-career professional you poached from a competitor.
Additionally, college recruitment should regularly be part of a company’s diversity recruitment strategy — precisely because the organization can start a diverse pipeline to upper management. Diversifying the workplace, which is a common goal of most orgs, begins with diversifying the intern pool and then converting those interns into FT employees.
One of the clearest paths to intern conversion is two-fold:
- Have a strong employer brand that will resonate with young people
- Know what success looks like in an intern role so you know whom to attempt to convert to full-time
On Thursday, December 8th at Union Station in DC, we’ll be hosting a College Recruiter Bootcamp Conference. At 1:15pm, Susan LaMotte (the CEO of exaqueo) will lead a panel on marketing your company to Gen Y and Gen Z (the next generations to enter the workplace, behind the millennials). After the topical presentation, Susan will moderate a discussion on the same topic including:
- Panelist: Allison Lane, Director, Corporate Marketing and Communications, The Bozzuto Group
- Panelist: Jessica Steinberg, Director, Global Talent Brand, CDK
The registration cost is $98 per person and includes all seminars/panels (you can see the other ones at the top link), continental breakfast, Union Station tour, and lunch.
In fact, the Dec. 8th event will be at the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) offices in Union Station. They have a great intern conversion ratio, so we reached out to them for ideas around it and to get a sneak peek at what you might learn on Dec. 8. They told us:
“The process is more organic. Internships are working interviews and the interns who exhibit the ability to produce, takes pride in their work products and the mission of the SEC and perform really well are in a better position to compete for full-time opportunities. 3Ls/Judicial Law Clerks (current & pending)/Legal Fellows can apply to our Chairs Attorney Honors program (a highly competitive and prestigious entry level attorney hiring program) and our Business Students have the opportunity to apply to any Pathways or full-time opportunity that best fits their skill sets.”
“Working interviews” is a great attitude.
We’d love to see you on December 8th in the SEC’s home. There are also panels on ROI and metrics around the recruiting space, so by attending both, you can have a more holistic picture of intern conversion and its benefits. Register today at www.exaqueoevents.com/register
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.