• Onboarding new employees starts before first day on job

    May 02, 2017 by

     

    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

  • Programmatic advertising in recruitment: start paying attention

    March 15, 2017 by

     

    Programmatic advertising is alive and well in the present. However, many recruiters still think of it as a future strategy. Programmatic advertising will account for 50% of all digital ad sales by 2018, if not even sooner. That is only a year from now, so if you’re still not putting dollars into this method of recruitment, you should start paying attention. Despite this rapid scalability of programmatic advertising, it’s been slow to adapt to the recruiting and entry-level hiring space. Here we will explore how this new technology will look in the recruitment space.

    A primer on programmatic advertising

    The overall concept of programmatic advertising can be very nuanced. Essentially, it’s based on artificial intelligence (AI) and real-time bidding (RTB). It automates the decision-making process for where to place advertisements online. As digital and mobile technologies scaled, programmatic was a way to help maximize the ROI of advertising budgets. Consider this: there are more than 41,000 zip codes in the United States alone. To manually optimize and target campaign efforts is beyond the scope of most human beings. Here there was a natural space for programmatic advertising, which can automatically understand where to place advertisements based on a web user’s data patterns. As Digiday has summarized, albeit a bit flippant, “It’s using machines to buy ads.”

    Programmatic advertising kills “post and pray” in recruitment

    The standard recruiting approach for years has been “post and pray.” A company will create (or recycle) a job description and then mass-post to a variety of boards. Then, they just hope some ideal candidates roll in. The ROI on this process is suspect, and it’s even more suspect if you’re a company with high-volume hiring needs. While you need a lot of candidates, you also need to stay within budget — so there has to be a degree of strategy and targeting to the process. Unfortunately, there often is not.

    Programmatic advertising attempts to solve some of these issues. It proves a clearer ROI and makes sure that recruitment advertising budgets are slotted towards the most important vacancies. And, above all: the processes that used to give recruiters the most headaches are now almost entirely automated.

    A breakdown: What does this look like for recruiters?

    If you are a recruiter just trying out programmatic advertising, here’s how it breaks down at the ground level: Continue Reading

  • Rugby championship: A unique college recruitment solution

    January 20, 2017 by

     

    If you think rugby has nothing to do with recruitment, think again. A Rugby championship was the unique solution to a recruitment challenge that Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company encountered. Jessica Choi, Assistant Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity, shared details with College Recruiter.

    What challenges was Penn Mutual facing that prompted the unique solution of sponsoring the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship?

    LIMRA states that the current average age of a financial adviser is 56 years old.1 From an industry perspective, we needed to find a way to connect with recent graduates and college students in order to get in front of the new generation of financial advisers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 300,000 advisers will be retiring over the next 10 years, which means there will be a 27 percent increase in adviser roles in this space.2 This is a tremendous opportunity for the life insurance industry, and connecting with the rugby community has been a great way for us to engage with college campuses and their students, coaches and administration in a different way. The rugby community is so welcoming and enthusiastic and has been a positive recruiting partner for us in this space.

    What does the Collegiate Rugby Championship say about what it’s like to work with Penn Mutual?
    The number one response that we get from the participants of the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship and outside rugby events is, “Thank you.” Because of our true support of the game and through our partnership with United World Sports, we have been able to make an impact on the growth of rugby in the United States. Rugby continues to grow and we are optimistic that we can provide career opportunities for ruggers, whether they are students, new graduates or alumni.

    What changes has the company seen since starting its rugby sponsorship, in terms of hiring trends?

    We have changed from recruiting talent to attracting talent. We now get more phone calls from talent, asking about the organization more than ever before. I believe it’s because we’ve shifted the model in terms of attracting, not recruiting, talent to Penn Mutual.

    In terms of hiring trends, we take on a multi-faceted approach, so we employ other efforts in addition to rugby. Through our omnichannel marketing strategy and increased social media presence, we feel as though anyone who is engaged with us knows that we are growing.

    Why are relationships important at Penn Mutual, and how does the company live that value?

    Focusing on relationships is one of our core values at Penn Mutual. We live and breathe our values every day. My fellow colleagues live their passion and everyone is truly passionate about our purpose to empower our clients to live life with confidence. We’ve all been able to learn about the impact life insurance makes on people’s lives and we utilize different techniques to keep the company moving forward in innovative ways. We truly live the company’s values and feel a sense of belonging at the company.

    What are Penn Mutual’s overall college recruitment strategies?  Continue Reading

  • How a Liberal Arts degree prepares students for managerial success

    January 18, 2017 by

     

    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.

    Dr. Ascan Koerner was recently interviewed by ERE Media’s Todd Raphael. They discussed the perception and reality of liberal arts students’ competencies and preparedness for careers. Read about and watch their discussion here!

    Ascan Koerner, professor and director of undergraduate studiesAbout Dr. 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.

  • Most desirable jobs survey results are in

    January 11, 2017 by

    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:

  • Talent Acquisition in 2017: Q&A with the Experts

    December 28, 2016 by

    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.

     

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    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.

     

    Want to stay on top of other expert advice around college recruitment? Connect with College on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

  • Artificial intelligence can help HR evolve

    December 20, 2016 by

    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