• Northwestern Mutual’s internship program is their solution to aging workforce challenges [interview]

    August 02, 2017 by

     

    The financial services industry, like many industries, is facing significant aging workforce challenges.

    The demand for financial advisers is expected to increase 30% from 2014-2024 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). However, some estimates predict that 35% of advisers plan to retire or leave the industry within the next 10 years (Cerulli & Associates). Northwestern Mutual’s Internship Program Director, Michael Van Grinsven, shared with College Recruiter how they plan to overcome the looming talent shortage.

    Watch our discussion with Michael Van Grinsven here, or read major takeaways below.

    What Northwestern Mutual is doing to overcome the talent shortage

    Michael van Grinsven says that Northwestern Mutual anticipated this 20 years ago. Their internship program has been around for 50 years. When their program was 30 years old they started to notice how the whole workforce was aging. Van Grinsven explains how Northwestern Mutual “made a concerted effort to grow the internship.” They knew that the retiring age of the baby boomers, economic problems, and environmental changes were on their way. “We needed to have a young, vibrant fuel source that would match the marketplace.” Before 1997, Northwestern Mutual had around 400 interns. Now they have 3700.

    Northwestern Mutual’s ‘handcrafted’ internship program utilizes a lot of technology and builds leadership to help create a continually welcoming environment for the interns. Van Grinsven explains the importance of keeping the program as an individually customized experience no matter how much it expands in numbers. The program gives interns insight to what their career would look like and their potential in that career path.

    To recruit for skills or train?

    The hardest part is teaching interns how to handle rejection. As simple as it sounds, says Van Grinsven, it’s a very common part of the workforce experience that many college grads have little experience in. Northwestern Mutual helps their interns and young professionals understand that they should meet the market where it’s at. When the market is doing well, Northwestern Mutual will work with them and decide how to help them.

    Recruiters at Northwestern Mutual try to spot this ability in candidates. They look for “the skills that the interns use at that time of the rejection and what lessons they learned afterward.” Northwestern Mutual wants to see how these interns take a difficult situation and work it into their favor to equip themselves for future opportunities. They also however, do work with them and sharpen their skills. If they have to, they will teach them the foundation plus the skills on how to toughen up a little.


    PONDER THIS: College Recruiter knows how to drive enough highly targeted traffic (not too many and not too few) to our customers, who are mostly Fortune 1,000 companies and federal government agencies. Would it make sense for you to learn how we do this?


    Identifying an internal drive is more important than personality

    “We’re always looking for students that have that internal drive,” remarks Van Grinsven. Having a lot of flamboyant energy or a bubbly personality can influence an interviewer, or even be helpful, but the employer should care much more about an internal drive. Not only do interns find their inner strength when you empower their capabilities, but that also start to shape their personalities at work. If you take a snapshot of an intern just starting a program, six months later or a year later, you’d be thoroughly impressed.

    The most common feedback that Van Grinsven hears from interns is that they grew as a person. They grew because of being outside of their comfort zone.

    Employers should hire the candidates that have room to grow and seem to be a person who will appreciate a learning experience—not necessarily somebody who has got all the boxes checked on their resume.

    Diversity of internship program will affect future leadership

    Van Grinsven says they have a concerted effort in recruiting gender and ethnicity diversity. “There is a larger representation among our interns than in the company’s general population,” he comments. These are the future leaders and so to increase diversity amongst the interns should increase the diversity within the company. The focus is on helping the field leaders understand that they need to look for talent in places they’ve never been before.

    Related: Strategies and mistakes in diversity recruitment 

    “That’s the exciting part about it,” says Van Grinsven. The goal is to represent the marketplace. If we can do that we’ll be successful long term.”

    Clarifying misconceptions of what a financial career can be

    In order to be successful in financial services, you don’t have to be that familiar with finance. A lot of the calculations are done by the actuaries, not financial advisers. Van Grinsven says Northwestern Mutual wants to always have “smart people that are able to understand the emotional connection that they have to have with clients. They’re there to understand the client’s story, know their role, their goals, and their challenges. Our employee’s role is not necessarily to do the talking but to understand the client.”

    Van Grinsven’s team also finds itself clarifying another important part of the internship program: the software and technology tools that are available.

  • Fall 2017 college recruitment trends and challenges [white paper]

    July 27, 2017 by

     

    As the 2017-18 school year creeps up, recruiters are looking at their plans, and wondering what to keep from last year and what to change. College Recruiter teamed up with our friends at NAS Recruitment Innovation to create a white paper chock full of insight into trends and offer advice for talent acquisition teams with a high volume of entry-level hiring needs this fall. Continue Reading

  • Employers, don’t let these 5 job search scams ruin your reputation

    June 20, 2017 by

     

    Employers beware: Job seekers aren’t the only targets of hackers, scammers, and thieves.

    Thieves are also conducting sophisticated job search scams targeting HR professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers. The goal of these malicious attacks is to steal identity, personal information, financial information, data, and to disrupt business. Below we list five kinds of scams that HR professionals should know about.

    “Job hunters aren’t the only ones who are vulnerable to recruitment scams,” says cybersecurity journalist Maria Korolov, of TheBestVPN.com. “Companies looking for new staff could also lose money, or suffer  reputational damage, if they’re not careful.” Continue Reading

  • Recruiting solutions: How EY is helping prepare students for a future workforce [video]

    June 12, 2017 by

     

    The skills gap has been well researched, particularly surrounding tech skills. Most employers, however, don’t need researchers to tell them that their recruiting strategies still aren’t attracting the skills they need for their future workforce. As the gap threatens to get wider, employers must consider big recruiting solutions. EY decided to face this challenge head on.

    College Recruiter recently spoke with Natasha Stough, Americas Director of Campus Recruiting at EY. EY was facing this very challenge, and they wanted to help prepare entry-level hires right out of college so that they would be able to succeed in a fast-changing industry. Employers with a need to increase the skills of their new hires entering the workforce can learn from EY’s solution.

    Through the Ernst & Young Foundation, EY created an Academic Resource Center (ARC), which now serves as their one-stop shop for college faculty in accounting and related disciplines across the country. With collaboration of university faculty, it provides access to relevant and timely curricula materials on cutting edge topics that are developed specifically for use in university classrooms, helping to prepare students in skills like analytics.

    Watch the video of our discussion with Natasha Stough and hear her account of EY’s success in creating the Academic Resource Center, or read the takeaways in the blog post below.

     

    EY developed the ARC when the organization was advocating the adoption of a single global set of accounting standards, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). According to Natasha Stough, EY “immediately started hearing directly from faculty around their concerns that there weren’t a lot of textbooks and information around IFRS to help prepare their students for when they join the workforce.” The Foundation created the EY ARC as a one-stop-shop to offer free curriculua materials in response to faculty’s needs, particularly given the highly regulated public accounting environment in which EY operates, allowing them to “upskill their students and help better prepare them for the fast pace of change in the global marketplace.”

    Colleges and universities may not know what skills are required in practice, until employers help them. Schools want to advance their programs but as the cost of college goes up, they must evolve and stay relevant, or their program will just die off.

    The ARC relies on relationships. EY’s approach is to share timely information about what is happening in practice with EY leaders, who often sit on advisory boards of business schools. It’s important for faculty to approve the curriculum, and in turn, information comes back to EY about the needs of the schools. EY gathers these insights and develops materials on topics where there is the most need.

    “For the good of the profession”–demonstrating the ROI of a faculty resource center

    Building a center like EY’s ARC is a significant investment, especially when you consider the collaboration needed—with faculty and with the experienced professionals—that requires an enormous amount of time and financial support.

    First, Stough says that EY can track who uses the ARC and how much. It is only open to faculty from non-profit, higher education institutions. In addition to being able to the number of users, EY can also measure which materials are used the most, and from which schools across the country.

    In addition, however, EY gets direct feedback that supports the ROI. Stough says, “We hear constantly from faculty about the value the materials bring to them to help enrich the experience they’re providing to their students in the classroom to ensure they are learning the most current and relevant knowledge. We also hear how helpful it is for students to be able to gain insights into the pace of change in the accounting profession.”

    The obvious benefit is that faculty improve their understanding of where employers hold the bar in their field. Ultimately, says Stough, “We want to help them develop future employees. It’s for the good of the profession.” The brand building is not insignificant either. By providing meaningful resources, EY knows they are positioning themselves to faculty as a thought leader.

    Given how technology like AI and robotics changes the workforce and education, “we have to help,” says Stough. The technology skills that students learn in year one of college will change in four years; employers need students who will be life-long learners.


    TIP: College Recruiter’s LinkedIn group “Talent Acquisition for Entry Level Jobs” will keep you informed of recruitment technology trends, tools for employer branding, engaging millennials and tons more. Would it make sense for you to join the conversation?


    A good resource center has a variety of materials

    EY provides a lot of different content in the ARC. There are user guides, lecture notes, presentations, data sets, analytic workbooks, webcasts, how-to videos, cases, and homework assignments for students. EY even offers to bring their own professionals into their classroom.

    One key in creating good content is to keep the dialogue open. Faculty should provide feedback about the materials available, and what might be missing, considering leading-edge topics and technology. Stough says, “Our goal is to make it real. We want to give good examples and bring this content to life through these different formats.”

    That’s key too: bringing it to life. Without making the content easy to find and navigate, users will likely disengage. EY decided to even color-code some of its content and provide competency frameworks as well. That way, says Stough, “faculty can use chunks of content, or the entire thing, and understand how the material correlates to competencies they want to focus on.”

    It’s no secret that employers demand soft skills, and public accounting firms are no different, so EY has made sure to include non-accounting skill sets in the ARC. “We consider leading-edge topics to enhance life skills, of soft skills, for the future of the profession. We recently built materials around an Analytics Mindset, that is critical for frankly anyone,” says Stough.

    EY’s Academic Resource Center is an overall recruiting solution

    While an employer can track employee performance, “at the end of the day,”Stough says, you may not be able to draw a direct correlation between one individual’s performance and their association with the resource center. Students take so many classes, and building a resource center must stay focused on engaging faculty to understand the future skills needed. However, Stough does say that she’s seeing a change in the students she meets. Two major areas of EY’s focus have been soft skills and the importance of analyzing and interpreting data. “We’re now seeing more students come in knowing the difference between communicating via email or text.” Additionally, her team is “starting to see a diversification in the skills that students are bringing to the world of where we’re at, like concepts like an analytics mindset and the importance of data.

    Addressing the challenges of a resource center

    Developing a resource center full of relevant materials won’t stay relevant for long. The biggest challenge for EY, says Stough, is remaining current. She says they must ensure that they continue to integrate new content. “We want to make sure we’re meeting the needs of faculty. We are not going to tell them what they need to teach but we will provide resource that we believe to be valuable.”

    To achieve this, Stough stresses the need to maintain strong relationships with faculty, because they provide critical feedback. They want to know how useful their center is, and other topics where “faculty may be looking to gain more information.”

    They also keep doing outreach to build and maintain relationships. They engage with the American Accounting Association and many of their sub groups. As people like Stough travel to college campuses, they make sure to spend time with faculty, deans and department chairs, highlighting the ARC as a resource for them.

    “We want to be at the forefront,” says Stough. “Because it is our job to partner and support the universities to help them drive the curriculum so that their students are ready to join the workforce.”

  • Why employers should focus on improving the candidate experience

    June 01, 2017 by

    Candidate experience, according to Jibe, is defined as “how job seekers perceive and react to employers’ sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding processes.”

    Why candidate experience matters

    Improving the candidate experience should be at the top of every Talent Acquisition Director’s recruitment and retention strategy. It’s that important. Want more proof? Check out these statistics from Lever, which provides software that streamlines the hiring process and simplifies the Applicant Tracking System:

    1. 83% of talent say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked, while 87% of talent say a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted.
    2. 60% of job seekers have quit an application in the middle due to its length or complexity.
    3. 72% of hiring managers say they provide clear job descriptions, while only 36% of candidates say the same.
    4. 80% of job seekers say they would be discouraged to consider other relevant job openings at a company that failed to notify them of their application status. Yet, they would be 3.5 times more likely to re-apply to a company if they were notified.
    5. Talent is 4 times more likely to consider your company for a future opportunity when you offer them constructive feedback.

    Employers looking to reduce attrition, hire high volume in cost-effective ways, and develop low-cost tactics to recruit diverse talent, need to pay close attention to improving the candidate experience.

    “Candidate experience is everything,” says Sanjoe Jose, CEO at Talview, a digital interviewing, talent engagement, and hiring analytics software company. “The most important aspect of improving the candidate experience is recognizing that you’re not just dealing with candidates, you’re dealing with people. They want respect. Respect their time and efforts. Don’t make them take a day’s leave and travel for a first round interview, use tools. They want clarity on timelines and the process. Respond to their queries in near real-time, by using technology like chatbots.”

    Candidate experience touch points

    These scenarios all influence the candidate experience:

    • The experience a candidate has reading a job description and instructions given on the job description.
    • The simplicity – or difficulty – of using an applicant tracking system to apply for that job.
    • The introductory email or auto respond email that is generated after the application is submitted.
    • Follow-up communication, such as being called for a phone interview, or in-person interview. Or, a follow-up email notifying the candidate they weren’t selected to advance in the process.
    • The interview – how the candidate is greeted and treated in the interview.
    • Post-interview follow-up – is the candidate kept informed of timeline/when a decision will be made?
    • Presentation of an offer.

    The candidate experience helps build an employer brand,” says Jose. “Even if people don’t want to work for you, a good candidate experience can lead to them becoming ‘brand ambassadors’ passing on the good news about your company to others that might be interested.”

    And people are certainly going to share their candidate experiences online via social channels.

    “Social media means that people talk more now than ever before,” says Jose. “It means that word of mouth is now global, rather than local.”

    Improving the candidate experience

    There are three main components to a candidate experience, says Jose, and understanding the role each component plays can help employers and talent acquisition specialists present a strong candidate experience:

    1. People: Including recruiters, hiring managers, and even the receptionist who is the first person the candidate meets if he/she comes into your office.
    2. Systems: All the tools candidates use during the process impact the candidate experience, including: The applicant tracking system used to apply for the job, tools used for video interviews, assessments and/or onboarding tools, are all a part of the many systems employers use that relate to the candidate experience.
    3. Process: The efficiency of the process, turnaround times, automated messaging, followup are all part of the candidate process.

    Improving all of those is essential to improving the candidate experience.

    Jose recently heard from the CEO of a large technology company who said one frustrated candidate wrote to the CEO expressing disappointment in the lack of follow-up after an interview. This is a prime example of a poor candidate experience. If it happens to one person, it’s likely happening to others.

    That has both long and short-term effects.

    “In the short-term, candidates will drop from the funnel,” says Jose. “In the long-term, a poor candidate experience leads to a poor ability to attract good candidates.”

    And then the cycle continues, recruiting costs go up, attrition rises, positions go unfilled, and the company suffers.

    “Every single candidate touch point—the online application experience, each interaction with the scheduler, the preparedness of the interviewers, the turnaround time in communicating with candidates, the way an offer is delivered—reflects on the employer,” said Elaine Orler, CEO and founder of talent acquisition consultancy Talent Function, in an SHRM article. “If you’re missing the mark, the world soon knows about it…and highly skilled people juggling competing offers will certainly factor their experience as a candidate into their final decision, so it impacts offer acceptance rates.”

    That’s why improving the candidate experience should be the goal of every employer, and every talent acquisition specialist.

    Want more advice and tips on how to improve the candidate experience? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Technical recruitment should focus on design thinking

    May 05, 2017 by

     

    It’s not news that there is a technology skills gap in the American workforce. The research, however, has mostly focused on technical recruitment that seeks coders and programmers. Devry University’s Career Advisory Board conducted research that taps into “applied technology skills”. Recruiters, including technical recruiters, should know the difference, know where these skills belong in their organizations, and how to find candidates with these skills. Continue Reading

  • Onboarding new employees starts before first day on job

    May 02, 2017 by

     

    A new employee who is not onboarded the right way is going to have difficulty finding a sense of belonging inside an organization, says Scott Redfearn, executive vice president of global HR at Protiviti, a global business consulting and internal audit firm.

    “Employees who don’t have a meaningful career experience aren’t going to last, and they will not perform to their full potential,” says Redfearn.

    The reality is, the process for onboarding new employees starts well before the new hire’s first day on the job. Successful companies know this, and set up a series of touchpoints and check-ins to ensure new hires feel welcome, and are prepared, before the first day on the job.

    This is especially important for the recent college grad embarking on their first journey into the real world. The process for onboarding new employees is the employer’s opportunity to make a great first impression, and show recent college grads their company is a good place to work, and that they will be given an opportunity to grow and succeed.

    “Employers should realize that some recent college grads are still in the process of understanding the difference between their initial dreams and reality,” says Max Dubroff, an HR consultant and former adjunct professor with the University of Phoenix who taught Masters level courses on management and organizational behavior.

    “They may have thought for years that they would get into one of the best-known companies, but even if your company doesn’t make those best places to work lists, or even if it isn’t a Fortune 500 organization, you have the opportunity to show them the value of a good/great job in a good/great organization.”

    Onboarding should engage new employees before the first day on the job

    At Protiviti, new campus hires start the onboarding process months before their actual start date, because in many cases a student will accept a job offer during the fall semester, but not actually start until after graduation the following May, says Redfearn. These new hires are also assigned a peer advisor who meets with them before they start and new hires are even invited to holiday parties, community service activities, and other office events where they can meet their future co-workers.

    “Once candidates accept an offer, we begin integrating them right away,” says Redfearn. “During this time, we communicate often through email, webinars, social media, and in person.”

    Before a new employee walks through the door for the first time, employers should have already share the organization’s history, vision, and mission.

    “Insight into the company’s purpose and plan for success will help immerse new employees into the workplace culture more quickly,” says Deb LaMere, Vice President of Employee Experience at Ceridian, a human capital management firm.

    Sharing this type of information can be done through a portal that new hires can access before they officially start, or simply direct them to any relevant public content from the company website or blog that addresses the organization’s values, says LaMere.

    How important are these steps? Robert Half Finance & Accounting research shows new hires have less than three months to prove themselves in a new job. Many recent college grads are looking for guidance, and good employers provide that through a strong onboarding program.

    Doing little things provide big value. For example, Steve Saah Director of Permanent Placement Services with Robert Half, encourages employers to send a welcome letter to a candidate immediately upon acceptance of the job offer. Consider including some kind of company ‘swag’ with the letter, if it’s available.

    “This gives them a warm welcome and gets them excited to start in their new role,” says Saah. “It also reinforces that the candidate made the right decision in accepting the offer.”

    Continue Reading

  • How to use your applicant tracking system for college recruiting success

    March 30, 2017 by

     

    It’s no secret the advancement of technology has changed the recruiting game. The use of applicant tracking systems (ATS) – software applications that enable the electronic handling of a company’s recruitment needs – are responsible for the technological recruiting revolution. As outlined by ICIMS, a provider of cloud-based hiring solutions, ATS recruitment “allow organizations to collect and store candidate and job related data and track and monitor the process of candidates through all stages of the hiring process.”

    ATS recruitment is designed to enhance the overall recruiting experience for both recruiters and candidates. But forward-thinking employers recruiting recent college grads focus on the job seeker’s needs – the candidate experience – first.

    “It’s important to make it as easy as possible for candidates to apply,” said Tim Mayer, Director of Talent Acquisition for Kraus-Anderson Construction Company, which uses BirdDogHR Talent Management Suite. “If your application is a time intensive process, people will drop out during the process or might not even try at all.”

    There is some rationale for using the ATS to collect as much info as reasonably possible, including screening and ranking questions, but none of that matters if the candidate doesn’t hit “submit” adds Mayer.

    “Interaction with the ATS could be the applicant’s first step in the candidate experience and can set the tone for a great, or poor candidate experience,” says Mayer.

    What’s unique about applicant tracking systems is how they allow recruiters and hiring managers to customize their ATS for specific jobs, roles and even events. For example, a recruiter or hiring manager working a college recruiting fair or campus job fair could fully customize their ATS with functionality solely for that specific campus career fair, or hiring event.

    SmartRecruiters is one example that allows recruitment marketing and collaborative hiring in the cloud. Bjorn Eriksson, Chief Marketing Officer of SmartRecruiters, offers some unique examples of how employers can customize an ATS for an event such as a college recruiting fair or campus job fair:

    • Prepare: Know which positions you are actively trying to fill. Be sure the representatives working the booth are familiar with the open positions and hard-to-fill niche career opportunities so they can speak to them when engaging with students. With some ATS’s, like SmartRecruiters, you can publish event specific job ads tailored for college job fairs.
    • Qualify: Prepare questions or a brief interview to pre-qualify applicants. Prepare questions to ask those who express an interest in your company to pre-qualify them. “It’s also a great opportunity to focus on providing meaningful information to students,” says Eriksson. “Don’t just recruit them, but ask their opinions, offer relevant advice and see if they are really a good match.” Make sure to capture students’ contact information so that you can continue the dialogue.
    • Connect: Respond to inquiries and follow up ASAP after the event. While the impression is still fresh, group your candidates into: Best matches, possible matches, and no matches. View each candidate as a potential customer or future client, and tailor your follow up message to each group.

    Ultimately though, the success – or failure – an individual or employer has with the ATS isn’t solely technology-based, says Saïd Radhouani, Ph.D., co-founder of Nextal, a collaborative applicant tracking system.

    “I believe that the ultimate success depends on how the ATS is used, and not on how it’s set up,” said Radhouani. “Yes the implementation and functionality has an impact, but even if the setup is good, it doesn’t mean that recruiters won’t make mistakes.”

    When a recruiter starts using a new ATS, they often won’t understand all the features and functionality, says Radhouani. As time goes on, they sometimes fail to learn new functionalities, and don’t maximize the systems capabilities. So recruiters within the same organization who use the same system should meet monthly to collaborate and share experiences, functionalities, and tips on how to best optimize their applicant tracking system.

    “Recruiters should also attend webinars put on by the ATS vendor,” said Radhouani. “If recruiters know other colleagues from different companies who are using the same ATS, reach out to them to see how they are using it to ensure they are getting the most out of their ATS.”

    And if the ATS vendor has a community forum, be active in the forum, ask questions and provide feedback.

    Recruiters should be sure to measure success – and failure – in their recruiting by using the analytics/metrics capabilities of their ATS.

    “Most modern applicant tracking systems have analytics capabilities that provide very insightful metrics about the entire recruiting process,” says Radhouani. “If a recruiter doesn’t measure what they do, they’ll never know whether they’re improving their productivity or not.”

    Over time, recruiters and hiring managers get frustrated if an ATS is not user-friendly, doesn’t have specific functionality and capabilities, and does not help enhance the recruiting process. Applicant Tracking Systems are not all equal, and as hiring managers move from company to company, and use different systems, they can find pluses and minuses of each system they use. The key however, is to take advantage of the functionality of the system that is in place, find what works, and align your recruiting needs with the capabilities of the system.

    “If you don’t have what you love, love what you have,” said Radhouani. “Every ATS has its good and bad sides. Recruiters should focus on the good side and work with the ATS, not against it.”

    Mayer agrees.

    “Really embrace the entire suite of options your ATS provides,” says Mayer. “Automate where appropriate and make sure the ATS provides a candidate experience that aligns line with your employment brand.”

    Want to learn more about latest recruiting trends? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connecting with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Career and job competencies of liberal arts graduates [video]

    March 20, 2017 by

     

    There is a public perception that liberal arts graduates are somehow less valuable. Dr. Ascan Koerner with the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota will tell you why the opposite is true. College Recruiter connected Dr. Koerner with Todd Raphael of ERE Media to learn what his team is doing to make sure employers understand the relevancy of liberal arts students and graduates. A video of Todd Raphael’s and Dr. Koerner’s discussion is below. 

    According to Dr. Koerner, we have seen more public discussion in the last 5-10 years about the value of higher education, generally speaking. The arguments for what is valuable have primarily focused on STEM education. (That is, science, technology, engineering and math.) Some believe that in order to be competitive in an international job market, one really has to be focused on STEM. At one end of the spectrum, we see the Governor of Kentucky, who has questioned why universities even have liberal arts programs at all. This makes liberal arts students—and their parents—nervous. Dr. Koerner says that at the University of Minnesota, students are asking how liberal is helpful in their careers. He says their belief in the value of liberal arts has never wavered, “but the question hasn’t been posed to us in such stark terms.”

    Employers already value liberal arts, but they don’t realize it

    Overall, employers already know the value of liberal arts. The problem is, they don’t recognize it as liberal arts. When you ask employers, for example, what they value, they cite competencies that are quintessential typical liberal arts. At the top of their lists are analytical/critical thinking, communication, leadership, ethnical decision making, and engaging diversity.” Employers know what they value, but the job candidates—the liberal arts students—aren’t always good at explaining their own value. So while colleges and universities bear some of the burden of convincing employers, students bear most of that responsibility. A philosophy major may embody the exact skills needed but when you ask him how his education prepared him for a career in corporate America, he has a hard time. That is why it is so important to engage and prepare students for answering those questions. When the students eloquently explain their own competencies, that is more convincing to an employer than if the institution were to explain the overall value of liberal arts grads.  Continue Reading

  • 7 steps for successful federal government recruiting [tool and video]

    March 17, 2017 by

     

    To be a successful in federal government recruiting, you need deep knowledge of staffing systems and federal hiring practices and laws. However, you must also be willing to use innovative technologies and alternatives to posting on USAJOBS. College Recruiter spoke with Kyle Hartwig, ­­­­­­Senior Human Resource Specialist with the National Institute of Health (NIH). Hartwig developed a tool for federal government recruiters who are engaged in targeted outreach. The tool has 7 steps which guide recruiters in finding and engaging talent for hard-to-fill positions. There is a link below to the full 7 steps. Here you can read a summary and watch our 5-minute interview with Kyle to hear major tips and takeaways.

    This tool attempts to address unique challenges in federal government recruiting.

    According to Hartwig, a lot of agencies are afraid of doing active outreach. The reason is that they are concerned about is ethics. There are very stringent laws associated with hiring. Thus, HR specialists in agencies across government often shy away from taking real steps to find talent for unique roles. More often than not, many federal agencies don’t feel they have the freedom to recruit and find their own talent. With strict or even confusing federal staffing regulations, recruiters often opt for simply posting the opening on USAJOBS, or a few other places. After that, they just wait to see who applies. Hartwig says he built this tool because “we owe the American public our best efforts to keep our agencies fully staffed and running at capacity to fulfill their missions.”

    In another vein, many federal HR specialists are unaware of the specific competencies necessary in each role they recruit for. Understanding those competencies would allow them to actively pursue ideal talent. Hartwig says that this is possible. “I’ve found proactive and specific talent sourcing and outreach to be a challenge in the Federal government but not impossible.” His tool allows HR specialists to use best practices while also following federal guidelines.

    Don’t buy into the myths.

    Congress certainly provides guidance for government recruiting and hiring practices, and we definitely need to follow all regulations. A critical one is Merit System Principles and Prohibited Personnel Practices: agencies cannot give a competitive advantage to individuals who they actively recruit.  According to Hartwig, “We must meet public notice requirements through an announcement on USAJobs (for most jobs).  This means we cannot give individuals information that would help their chances in getting the job that is not otherwise available via the announcement.  We can answer informal questions, but nothing too specific about what the applicant should address in their application.”

    There are myths out there, however, that perpetuate assumptions about recruitment and hiring practices. Hartwig says, “Don’t immediately think there’s a regulation against this, or there’s a law that prohibits this,” or there is a reason not to employ certain recruitment practices. Many times, Hartwig says, if you investigate further, you’ll find these are myths. Don’t be afraid to expand your outreach to beef up your candidate list. Hartwig says he is often confronted with the assumption that outreach is easy. Wrong. Outreach—the kind that results in high quality hires—takes a lot of work. “Working with an entire hiring team, and finding the exact target skills of the desired candidate is not easy.” The 7-step tool, however, breaks it down into a methodical process.

    The seven steps in the tool are not ground breaking. They are quite simple: Continue Reading