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Posted February 28, 2020 by

Why are students demanding paid internships and higher wages for entry-level jobs?

A week doesn’t go by without an employer that College Recruiter works with or who I’m connected with in some way questioning why students aren’t interested in their unpaid internships, or their entry-level jobs that pay $12.00 an hour. Invariably, the conversation includes the phrase, “back in my day”.

The reason, quite simply, is that the 99 percent of students who weren’t fortunate enough to be born into wealth simply need the money to eat, pay rent, and afford other necessities. Yes, I get that when you went to school in 1979 that you worked hard (and part-time) as a waiter and paid for your own college and living expenses and graduated with no debt. But do you get that the same job now pays only a fraction of what it did four decades ago and the cost of housing, health care, transportation, and college are exponentially larger than they were when Carter was still president?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCE), a student working as a part-time waiter today needs to earn $34.20 an hour based on a 30-hour workweek in order to have the same spending power as you did in 1979 if you were making about $10 per hour. As eyebrow-raising as that may be, the reality is actually worse.

Using the CPI and PCE essentially assumes that what someone would buy in 2020 is the same as what a similarly situated person would buy in 1979. But spending habits, like our tastes in fashion, change. If you attended the University of Minnesota (go Gophers!) in 1979 and your lifestyle was that of an average student, the $10 per hour you made in wages plus tips might have been sufficient to cover your costs. But an average student today lives in a nicer apartment, has to cover more of their healthcare costs, is more likely to use cars as their primary means of transportation because mass transit hasn’t kept up with the growth of the Twin Cities metro, and college, well, don’t even get me started (yet) on the horrendously increased cost of college.

Now, I can hear some objections. “But I was poor and didn’t have all the luxuries these pampered kids have today! They’re choosing to go expensive schools and have fancy toys. That’s their problem!” Well, to an extent, that’s true. But before you starting point fingers like that, maybe look first into the mirror. What kind of a television did you have when you were in college? Did you have friends over to play videogames or watch a movie? If so, your TV was probably at least as good as those owned by your friends. Now, picture using that same TV today to watch anything. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Would you think it reasonable to expect any of today’s students who are living the lifestyle you lived decades ago to use the same TV you did? Of course not. If your TV was even average as compared to those of your friends then, logically, you should agree that today’s student should have a TV that is average amongst their friends. And that means a large (but not enormous), flatscreen TV. At Best Buy, best selling televisions averaged $330 in 1994 and $280 today, so that appears to be a deflation of $50. But when you factor in inflation, they’re about the same price. So don’t start thinking that today’s student with a flatscreen TV is living the life of luxury, as they’re no more living that lifestyle than you were a few decades ago.

Prefer numbers instead of TV analogies? Let’s flashback to the era when Gen Xers like me were graduating from college. Let’s assume that you graduated in 1985 and so you’re about 52 years of age now. In that era, the median male worker needed only 30 weeks of income to afford a house, car, healthcare, and education. Some call this the Cost-of-Thriving Index (COTI). By 2018, that same lifestyle would require 52 weeks of income, an increased workload of 73 percent.

If we look at median expenses for male workers today (we use male because households with multiple people still tend to have more males working than females) and compare those expenses to those in 1985 for people with similar, average lifestyles, we find that the male worker in 1985 could easily afford housing, healthcare, transportation, and college costs, meaning they had plenty of room leftover for non-core items like clothing and even some discretionary items like entertainment. Today? That same lifestyle leaves the male short of cash even before non-core and discretionary items. Instead of it taking 30 weeks to cover all of these COTI costs in 1985, it takes 53 weeks to cover the equivalent costs in 2018.

So, the next time a younger Millennial or Gen Z worker passed on your unpaid internship or questions the $12.00 starting wage for your entry-level opportunity, maybe choose to advocate within your organization for higher wages. In other words, instead of pointing fingers, have a look in the mirror. The problem isn’t with the person you’re pointing at but, instead, with the person whose reflection is in the mirror.

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Posted February 25, 2020 by

How to negotiate a better salary during a job search

At College Recruiter, we recommend that candidates first get the job offer and then negotiate their compensation. To reverse that upsets many employers who forget that the primary reason that people work is to get money so they can live. Once you have the job offer, ask the recruiter what they are offering. The recruiter will likely want the candidate to first talk about their salary expectations but, when negotiating, it is almost always better for the other party to make the first offer.

If the candidate says they want $20 per hour, the employer will then know that they can hire the candidate for that amount or less. The employer may have been willing to pay $22, but few will tell the candidate that $20 isn’t enough and the employer instead will take the $20. That’s a form of wage theft, because the employer knows that the fair value for the candidate is $22 as that’s what the employer was prepared to pay, and yet the employer is going to pay them less than the fair value. 

Whether the candidate or employer makes the initial offer, College Recruiter recommends that the candidate finalize the hard compensation discussions, so they know what they will be paid on an hourly or salary basis, 401k matching, medical insurance, etc. At that point, then start to negotiate what we call soft benefits such as the ability to work at home one day a week; work four, 10-hour days during the summer;  a week of unpaid time-off between your current job and the new job; an extra week of vacation; etc.

To many employees, the idea of getting any of these soft benefits is worth a lot to them, and the employer can provide a lot of extra value to you by agreeing to these soft benefits, but you don’t want to give up your hard benefits like wages in order to get the soft benefits like extra vacation days. You want both.

Posted February 13, 2020 by

How employers should communicate their social justice and progressive values to job seekers

The conventional wisdom is that the older you get, the more conservative you get. But better analysis shows that how progressive or conservative your generation is has more to do with when they came of age than your current age. Generations that came of age when conservativism was fashionable, such as during the Reagan Administration, tend to stay conservative as they age. And generations that came of age when progressiveness was fashionable, such as during the Obama Administration, tend to stay progressive as they age.

Today’s youngest job seekers — members of Gen Z — came of age during Obama’s presidency, and tend to be more progressive than previous generations. They have a greater interest in working with companies that place a high value on gender pay equity, salary transparency, diversity, equity, and inclusion. How should employers communicate these values to job candidates in an authentic way?

Authenticity by employers is important to all candidates, not just the youngest members of the workforce. But the youngest members also tend to be amongst the savviest in finding accurate information, so employers may be able to more easily fool older than younger candidates, but all deserve accurate information.

At College Recruiter, we remind employers of the expression that a picture is worth 1,000 words but then build on that to tell them that if a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video is worth 1,000 pictures. Use video to communicate your corporate values and do so using short stories by actual employees. 

Do you encourage the creation and active participation in employee resource groups such as those for members of LGBTQ communities? If so, record a very short video and then share that on your YouTube channel and elsewhere. 

Have you undergone an audit to ensure that your compensation is equitable across gender and other lines? If so, record a very short video and then share that too.

Today’s grads, as compared to past generations, are more inclined to care about concepts like diversity, inclusion, equal pay for women, instead of just what their own salary and benefits will be. College Recruiter has been helping students and recent graduates find part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs since 1994 and so we’ve seen a lot of changes. One of those changes is the heightened desire by those mostly younger candidates to do work that benefits society rather than just their bank accounts. The reasons are numerous, but their education and the economy are two of the most important. Regarding education, today’s young people are taught more about diversity, climate change, and other societal issues when they’re in primary and secondary schools and so they know and care more about these issues than previous generations. Regarding the economy, it is pretty easy for them to find a job and so they’re better able to be choosy. If you graduate into a recession, you’re going to feel fortunate to be able to get any job and so you take it even if the employer’s values don’t align well with yours. But if you have the choice of five jobs, you’re able to weigh factors like salary against social good and many will take less salary in return for doing work that benefits society as a whole.

More companies are being transparent around salary and hiring decisions to address these issues and young workers are reacting as you would expect: they’re more inclined to seek and accept employment from employers who are more transparent about their compensation and hiring practices. Fortunately, more companies are being more transparent around salary and hiring decisions and we’re advocates for that, but “more” does not mean most. A quick look at the job posting ads on just about any job search site will reveal that the vast majority of job ads do not disclose the salary, which we feel is counterproductive both to the candidate and the employer. Job search sites see a higher quantity and quality of applications to jobs that disclose salary ranges. The only justification for an employer not disclosing salary is their desire to underpay a candidate. If the employer wants to pay fairly for a role, then they should know before advertising it what a fair range would be and they should publish that as part of the job listing ad. If a candidate meets the basic criteria but not all, then the hiring manager should be able to explain that to the candidate when offering them a salary toward the bottom of the range and the hiring manager should be able to explain what the candidate needs to do in order to be paid more, such as accumulating X years of experience with a particular piece of technology. 

It is one thing for an employer to value diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is another thing for their recruiters and hiring managers to discuss such topics during the hiring process. Many employers have made great strides in diversifying their applicant pool, yet still overwhelmingly hire candidates who are not diverse. Why? Because many of the hiring managers are still reluctant to hire people whose backgrounds, thought process, etc. differ from their own. But study after study demonstrate that the more diverse a workforce, the more productive that workforce is and so hiring manager who consciously or unconsciously resist diversity are undermining the efforts of their organizations to improve the productive of their workforce and no employer should employ a manager who does that. Hiring managers need to be educated about the productivity benefits of diversity and embrace those. If they’re unwilling or unable to do so, then their employers should bring in hiring managers who are able and willing to recruit and retain workforces which are as productive as possible. 

As the United States workforce becomes increasingly diverse, it is becoming increasingly important for employers to expand their talent pools so that they have access to more diverse candidates. Employers who look at their top performers and then want to hire more people with similar attributes are condemning themselves to a non-diverse workforce as everyone in that workforce starts to look more and more alike. If all of your top salespeople come from the same fraternity, it is tempting to only hire people from that fraternity. That begs the question, however, as to whether top salespeople — perhaps even better than the ones you have now — might be found elsewhere. Could they be women? Could they be people who aren’t members of fraternities or sororities? Might they attend schools from which you’ve never hired people? From majors different from those you’ve targeted? Just because candidates with certain backgrounds have worked well for you in the past does not mean that those are the only backgrounds that will work well for you in the future, or even will be the backgrounds that will work the best for you in the future.

Faith Rothberg, CEO of College Recruiter

Posted February 11, 2020 by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted January 28, 2020 by

Do unpaid internships hurt society?

The Augusta (Virginia) Free Press recently published an article that caught my eye. College Recruiter has published a number of articles about how unpaid internships are illegal and how unpaid internships harm students, but we haven’t focused as much on the damage that unpaid internships do to society. The article by the Free Press does that, and does that well.

College Recruiter believes that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career. As a result, we are pretty passionate about how unfair unpaid internships are to students, especially when they’re offered by for-profit corporations as those organizations are essentially saying that their business operations and shareholders should be subsidized by mostly young adults who are often going to graduate with student debt that can’t be discharged by bankruptcy (the only form of debt that can’t be) and is as large as many mortgages.

Some might argue that employers shouldn’t have to pay interns because the interns get training and experience from the work. Yes, they get training and experience, but doesn’t that apply to all work? Should we all work for free?

Others might argue that non-profits and government agencies shouldn’t have to pay interns. That’s already the law federally, but we disagree there too. Just because you’re a non-profit does not mean you’re struggling financially. It just means you don’t have shareholders and so excess cash is reinvested into the operations instead of being distributed to owners. As for government agencies, the U.S. government literally has the power to print money so any argument that federal agencies don’t have the ability to pay just doesn’t fly. They may choose not to pay, but the federal government has more ability to pay its workers a reasonable wage than any other entity in the world.

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Posted January 25, 2020 by

Ask the Experts: Should I apply to only paid internships or also unpaid internships?

First Answer:

If you can afford to take an unpaid internship, I would definitely apply to both paid and unpaid. With an internship, the primary criterion you should look for is the experience it offers you. Will that experience translate into a shinier resume for you, or even better, a job down the road? Secondly, look for an internship that can help you build skills. These skills will be transferable to other jobs down the line. At this point, you should be seeking internships that will help position you for your first job.

If the internship relates to either your current area of study or your career aspirations, apply! It’s always better to get an offer and turn it down if something more lucrative comes along.
Don’t discount perks, such as free lunches or help with transportation. If you live at home during the time of your internship, your out-of-pocket costs hopefully won’t be too severe.

All that said, only you can decide what you can live with — and without. 

— Vicky Oliver, author, 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks 2005) and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots (Sourcebooks, 2008)

Second Answer:

Students should consider applying to any internships, paid or unpaid, that will give them the opportunity to expand their skills/knowledge or make a contribution. Either will add a lot of weight on a resume.

— Jeff Dunn, Campus Relations Manager, Intel Corporation

Third Answer:

This depends. Are you in an industry that mostly offers unpaid opportunities? Do you need the money to support yourself, and if so, would it be possible to work another job at the same time as the internship? You also want to ensure an unpaid internship is fair and legal, because ideally an internship  is a gateway into the full-time job that will launch your career, and engaging with a company that isn’t doing right by its interns is probably not the best idea. One additional thing you might try? Ask your school about grants that support students pursuing unpaid internships.

— Alexandra Levit, author of They Don’t Teach Corporate in College. 

Fourth Answer:

Skipping past internships, I can only begin to describe the elation and excitement you will have when you sign your employment contract for your first full-time role after graduation. Furthermore, that excitement will only increase after you successfully leverage your experience and outcomes for a raise the following year. Finally, if and when you leave your first role and successfully negotiate a higher salary (according to Bloomberg those who switched jobs on average enjoyed compensation growth of 5.3%), you will know you have made it. 

The above describes stepping stones to career management and growth. If you look at the stepping stones before that first full-time role you will find internships. For me, my internships stepping stones were landing an unpaid internship my sophomore year, that I leveraged for an internship with a monthly stipend, and then my senior year, I used my previous experience to edge out the competition and land an internship that was paying much more than my average peer’s internship. These stepping stones were crucial to my career management, and if I had never taken my first unpaid internship, I may never have landed the next role. 

That said, unpaid internships can be a contentious topic, with some wanting nothing to do with them, and others questioning their quality. At the end of the day, the end goal of an internship is to walk away with tangible first-hand work experience, industry and professional knowledge, and a set of transferable skills that you can apply to any future career path, not a specific amount of money in the bank. 

When reviewing internship opportunities, I would first look at the experience offered, the projects and tasks you will tackle, and the supervision and mentorship that will be available to you. If the opportunity offers strong experience aligned to your studies and career management, with clearly defined tasks and a strong supervisor, then you can go to the second review of paid or unpaid. 

If the opportunity is unpaid but still offering a high-quality experience look into why it is unpaid. Perhaps it is for a non-profit or small start-up, who absolutely needs the support, will offer you killer access to meetings, leadership, and networks, but couldn’t possibly find the budget to pay. Conversely, if looking internationally, many international internships are unable to offer pay, as no visa supports this, but nevertheless you will get great access to global connections and cross-cultural understanding.

If there is a valid reason for the unpaid status, and you have vetted the opportunity for quality, I would say that you are doing yourself a disservice by not applying. During the application process you can also find opportunities to see if there are other ways they can financially support you such as offering: coffee, breakfast or lunch at the workplace, covered or discounted transit, a small stipend, or an end of internship bonus. 

Finally, remember that when applying work experience to your resume, it does not matter if it was volunteer, unpaid, or paid, it is still important work experience that should be clearly noted with three to four strong bullet points explaining your role and key outcomes with quantifiable examples (ex. Supported customer support and retention through increased touchpoints and external communications, increasing contract renewals by 10% over six months).

— Jillian Low, Director of University Partnerships, CRCC Asia

Fifth Answer:

You should not do any internship. It puts you in a position where people assume you know nothing. 

Instead, launch a company, or a marketing campaign for someone else’s company. Spend three weeks selling services you will pay someone else to deliver. You Learn fastest by taking on big projects you have no idea how to do. Guess. Make mistakes. Try again. It’s ok because no one is paying you or firing you or telling you to do small jobs that are too easy to make errors. 
After you do this for two summers, you won’t be entry-level. You will have lots of experience. You might have some wins. You’ll have lots of failures.

You are middle management now. Because you can guide someone else through a high learning curve and fear of failure. 

You could never achieve that so fast in an internship. 

— Penelope Trunk, CEO, Quistic

Visit College Recruiter’s About Us page for more information about any of the above contributors or the other members of our Content Expert Board.

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Posted January 21, 2020 by

How do I get student loan forgiveness?

Student loan forgiveness simply means that you’re not required to re-pay the forgiven portion of your student loans. Let’s say that you borrowed $100,000 to pay for college. If $60,000 of that is forgiven, then you’re only going to need to repay $40,000.

A few ways of getting your college student loans forgiven:

  • Enlist in the military. Each branch offers a variety of programs with varying amounts available depending on factors such as your skillset and desired occupational field. As you can imagine, the Navy is going to cover more of your educational costs if you’re a nuclear propulsion specialist than if you’re mechanic.
  • Work for 10 years for a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program forgives the remaining balance on your direct loans.
  • Work for a corporation that offers a tuition reimbursement program. Even some small companies like College Recruiter offer such programs because they’re essentially ways to provide employees with tax-free income. If we provide an employee with $1,500 toward college each year, that’s worth over $2,000 to those employees as it is tax-free. So, from the perspective of the employer, they can effectively give their employees $2,000 more in compensation but have it only cost $1,500. These programs are also great for recruitment and retention.
Posted January 14, 2020 by

What’s right and wrong about college rankings, such as those by U.S. News and World Report?

College rankings tend to be beauty contests based upon the strength of the school’s brand.

Students who want to attend the “best” school are typically interested in finding the school that will lead to the greatest likelihood that they’ll find a well-paying job in their chosen career path and desired geographic area. That data is typically held by the career service offices, not admissions, and certainly not well communicated in a short, summary of the school as published by U.S. News & World Report or any other publication.

But let’s leave aside, for the moment, the issue of which office within a given university has the best access to outcomes data. One example of such data is the percentage who are employed within six months and within their chosen career path. Another is the average starting salary, and that’s typically broken down by career path.

But are either of those metrics even a valid measure of the quality of a school? The data indicates no. What is now clear from a more scientific analysis of outcomes data is that the primary driving factor behind employability and compensation is the background of the candidate, not which school that candidate attended. If you come from a well-connected, white, family who lives in a wealthy suburb near New York City, you’re almost certainly going to emerge from whatever school you attend making a lot more money than if you’re part of a poorly connected, Native American, family who lives in an impoverished, rural area.

Now, that’s not to say that the more privileged candidate can do nothing and graduate into a fantastic job making fantastic money. But it does say that candidates shouldn’t fret as much about which school they attend based upon the data that the schools tend to release. Instead, they should look for schools which add the most value to their graduates.

A few years ago, College Recruiter created its Hidden Gem Index for the best colleges and universities for employers who want to hire high-quality graduates during the normally very difficult spring hiring period. If you’re a candidate who wisely wants to attend a low cost school that adds tremendous value to its students, have a look at the Hidden Gem Index.

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Posted November 19, 2019 by

Why are so many parents obsessed with getting their kids into ‘elite’ schools?

Parents and students are obsessed with getting into the “best” college or university largely for status reasons but also for rational, economic reasons. Somehow, if your kid gets into an elite university, that makes you a better parent in the eyes of some, but that’s truly unfortunate has allowed the banks and higher education industries to redistribute to themselves and their shareholders enormous amounts of wealth from the middle class. 

However, there are good, rational, economic reasons to enroll in and graduate from an elite college: your chances are higher of landing a well-paying job with a well known and respected employer. Most of the best known and respected employers recruit the bulk of their professional, entry-level talent from colleges and universities and for decades they’ve done so largely by sending recruiters and hiring managers to interview on college campuses.

Fortunately, an increasing minority of employers are looking at their outcomes data — which employees are the most productive — and are finding that there is a weak and sometimes negative correlation between the perceived quality of the school and productivity of the employee. That is leading these employees to become school agnostic, meaning that they are being more inclusive in their hiring by reducing or eliminating their on-campus hiring efforts in favor of hiring through job boards and other Internet sites. 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted November 12, 2019 by

Why do so many college grads live with their parents?

The average college grad earns about $46,000 a year. That sounds quite high to most Americans, because it is also the average income earned by most families.

But if you dig into the college grad’s finances, you’ll quickly see that they’re likely to live in poverty. Why? Because the student debt of a graduate from a first or second tier, four-year college or university can easily exceed $100,000 and often approaches $200,000. It is common for tuition to be at least $25,000 and often more than $50,000 a year. Add to that room, board, books, travel to/from the city your family lives in and you’re looking at $40,000 to $65,000 a year. Multiply that by four years and you’re at $160,000 to $220,000 in debt.

If your student loans are payable in 20 years, which is common, and your interest rate is eight percent, which is also common, you’re looking at $2,000 per month for student loan payments. Over 12 months, that’s $24,000.

So, suddenly, that $46,000 a year gives you the earning power of someone making $22,000 a year, which is less than the average, full-time, Uber driver nets.