ARTICLES, BLOGS & VIDEOS

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

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.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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.

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.

Posted November 05, 2019 by

Do this year’s college grads face the likelihood of crippling debt and delinquent repayments?

The student debt that Millennials and now Gen Z have and are incurring is crippling and, long-term, could financially devastate an entire generation. Those who went to college in the 1980s or earlier simply can’t relate as the cost to attend college then could be covered by working part-time as a waiter or bartender and any debt they graduated with could be repaid within a handful of years working at a job that paid well but not even great.

Today’s students are often attending schools that charge $25,000 or more per year plus another $15,000 in related costs such as traveling to and from school each semester, rent, food, and books. A four-year degree, therefore, often costs $160,000. Part-time jobs typically pay about $10 per hour. At 20-hours a week, that’s $41,600 over four years, so about $120,000 needs to be financed. Student loans often carry interest rates of eight percent or more, so over 20-years the average student is going to see about half of their gross wages disappear to repay the principal plus interest on their student debt.

The end results is that the average graduate of a four-year college or university is effectively being asked to live on about $25,000 per year. If they run into any unexpected, significant expenses like the need to replace a car or have surgery, then there is a very real possibility of them falling into delinquency. Many of the student loans then charge huge penalties, including significantly higher interest rates. So if you miss a payment one or two times, your already exorbitant interest rate of eight can easily escalate to 16 percent and then 24 percent. Before you know it, you’re paying 24 percent interest on a six-figure loan that is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. If that’s not a recipe for financial disaster, I don’t know what is.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted October 11, 2019 by

Why employers should offer 529 college savings and tuition reimbursement plans

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted April 17, 2019 by

Why are your interns and new grad hires so strapped for cash?

The student debt that Millennials and now Gen Z have and are incurring is crippling and, long-term, could financially devastate an entire generation.

Those who went to college in the 1980’s or earlier simply can’t relate as the cost to attend college then could be covered by working part-time as a waiter or bartender and any debt they graduated with could be repaid within a handful of years working at a job that paid well but not even great.
Today’s students are often attending schools which charge $25,000 or more per year plus another $15,000 in related costs such as traveling to and from school each semester, rent, food, and books. A four-year degree, therefore, often costs $160,000.

Part-time jobs typically pay about $10 per hour. At 20-hours a week, that’s $41,600 over four years, so about $120,000 needs to be financed. Student loans often carry interest rates of eight percent or more, so over 20-years the average student is going to see about half of their gross wages disappear to repay the principal plus interest on their student debt.

The end results is that the average graduate of a four-year college or university is effectively being asked to live on about $25,000 per year. If they run into any unexpected, significant expenses like the need to replace a car or have surgery, then there is a very real possibility of them falling into delinquency. Many of the student loans then charge huge penalties, including significantly higher interest rates. So if you miss a payment one or two times, your already exorbitant interest rate of eight can easily escalate to 16 percent and then 24 percent. Before you know it, you’re paying 24 percent interest on a six figure loan that is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy.

If that’s not a recipe for financial disaster, I don’t know what is.

Guidance counselor talking to a teenager. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted January 09, 2019 by

What colleges don’t want high school students and parents to consider during the application process

A friend of mine recently posted to Facebook that the guidance counselor at the high school her kids attend recently indicated that “most” colleges require at least three years of a second language in order to consider the student for possible admission. I called b.s. on that statement and then outlined some additional information that high school guidance counselors and college admissions representatives often either don’t know or, for whatever reason, often fail to communicate:

I know you and I are on the same page, but the guidance counselor is providing terrible guidance and needs to be more careful about accurately guiding her students. 

There are 8 Ivy League schools. There are 3,000, four-year colleges. There are another 4,300 one- and two-year colleges. 

Ivys represent 0.267 percent of four-year colleges. Hardly representative.

More important words of advice: Talk openly and honestly with your kids about the financial impact of college. 

Here is the reality: if a family is wealthy and can pay out of pocket — including savings — then the cost isn’t as important.  (more…)

Posted April 10, 2018 by

Attract students and grads with your wellness program, especially financial wellness

 

Wellness programs don’t just reduce costs by increasing the likelihood that your employees show up for work. A holistic and well managed wellness program can also serve as a recruitment tool.

We know healthy employees who balance their work and personal lives are more productive. We know that poor physical, emotional and financial health distract employees while they are working and take them away from work to deal with personal issues. Employers have the opportunity to not only increase productivity but also attract talent by providing holistic wellness services. One important element to attract and support younger talent is a robust financial wellness program. Here we compile the expertise of several experts in wellness programs to help you sort out what will benefit your organization.  (more…)

Gold image of graduate chained to debt. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted February 09, 2017 by

Ask Matt: Make a plan! 12 strategies for dominating student loan debt

Dear Matt: I recently graduated from college and it’s almost time to start paying back my student loans. I have over $50,000 in student loan debt, and it seems almost overwhelming to have to pay all this back, especially with many other expenses. Fortunately I have landed a job, and am making a decent salary. That helps, but I’m feeling financial pressure to make it all work. Do you have any tips or resources for people like me seeking advice on how to manage the overwhelming burden of paying back student loans/debt?

Matt: I cringed when I heard the numbers. My niece is in her second year of college and has already accumulated $65,000 in student loan debt. “But it’s totally worth it,” she said, before leaving for London for a month-long school-sponsored education program. She’s right in the fact that a college degree, and the experiences that come with it, are worth it. But it’s painful to see so many young students accrue so much debt. She may realize that as well – after one year at a private school, she’s now going to a public university and back living at home as a way to cut costs.

Her story reminded me of my cousin who accumulated over $120,000 in student loan debt. Her first job was for a large financial institution (her degree was in education, from a private school). Her boss at that job, only a few years older, didn’t go to college, had no student loan debt, and made more money than her. Those two eventually got married – which is how I know this story – but that in itself is a whole other story.

Why do I tell these tales? Because these are common stories for today’s college student and college graduate. And while it doesn’t change this reader’s situation – or pay their debt, any recent college graduate with student debt should understand that you are not alone, and that there are resources out there to help you.

In fact, nearly seven in 10 seniors (68%) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt, with an average of $30,100 per borrower, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.

When I paid back my student loans after graduating from Minnesota State University, Mankato (Mankato State University back then), I did it without a plan, or real understanding of the options available to me. I simply read the letters sent to me, submitted the pay stub and check to the loan servicing company (no online payments back then) each month, and cringed as it seemed like a lingering debt that would never go away.

Don’t be like me. Don’t go about paying back student loan debt without a plan. Take advantage of the many online resources available, and heed advice from financial experts like Phil Schuman, Director of Financial Literacy at Indiana University (IU). Schuman unleashed multiple financial literacy initiatives in the past four years, and reduced undergraduate student borrowing across IU by nearly 14 percent – which comes out to a whopping savings of $78 million, since introducing his financial literacy efforts.

It’s tough to start one’s professional career drowning in debt. But don’t let that debt dominate your life.

“While it’s extremely important that you get rid of (student loans) as fast as you possibly can, make sure you don’t do it at the expense of your wellness,” says Schuman. “If there are things in life that are important to you and keep you going, even if they cost a little bit of money, make sure to keep them as part of your life. Having those things in your life will help keep you motivated and energized to continue tackling your student debt.”

Katie Ross, Education and Development Manager for the American Consumer Credit Counseling, an organization that provides information and guidance on issues such as identity theft, credit, debt and budgeting, agrees.

“There is a stigma about being in debt that causes many borrowers to prioritize eliminating student loan debt over other financial objectives like saving for a house or for retirement,” says Ross. “If possible, do not neglect saving for retirement just to expedite student loan repayment.”

I get it – it’s hard to think about saving for retirement – let alone making monthly rent payments, car payments, or even going out on the weekend – when that large monthly loan payment looming. But it can be, and will be done. You will get out of debt. But it’s not easy, and takes planning, preparation and diligence.

Get out of student debt by following these tips:

1. Take ownership of your debt: “You need to realize that you are in charge of how quickly your debt can go away,” says Schuman. “Don’t allow yourself to blame others for your debt being there or hope that others will help you get rid of it. Own your debt and get rid of it as fast as possible.”

Set a “done with debt” date and then do everything you possible can to meet it.

2. Create an efficient budget: A carefully planned budget will help any individual gain a better understanding of their financial outlook and how they’ll need to adjust their lifestyle to afford to live, save, and pay off debt. “Knowing how much money you have to dedicate to paying off students loans and what expenses can be reduced is the best place to start when trying to figure out how to eliminate student loan debt quickly,” says Ross.

3. Calculate payments: At StudentLoans.gov, borrowers can access a repayment estimator that will help them understand how much their monthly payments will be under different repayment plans. Because the site accesses borrowers’ specific student loan files, repayment calculators can show each graduate repayment details that are unique to their specific loans. This will also let borrowers see what the interest rates are on their different loans and what they will pay in interest using different repayment options.

4. Worry about the amounts, not the interest rates: “Before I explain myself I do want to assure you that I do understand math,” jokes Schuman. It might seem contradictory to not focus on the interest rates of a debt, but paying off debt is more a matter of psychology than it is math, he says. In the case of focusing on paying off debts by interest rates, while it will allow you to pay less in interest when all is said and done it is difficult to tackle debt when you don’t see the numbers go down fast. If you pay off your debts by prioritizing the one with the lowest balance – and still paying the minimums on all other debts – you’ll see your number of debts go down faster, which will motivate you to keep tackling your debt.  Once you get rid of the first debt, apply the money you used to pay off that debt and apply it to the one that now has the lowest balance, and so on.

5. Understand relief eligibility: While logged into the Federal Student Aid website, borrowers should read up on different relief programs that are available to military personnel, public servants, persons with disabilities, and other individuals, points out Ross. The details of the programs are important because borrowers might already be eligible or can become eligible based on the industry they enter upon joining the workforce. Some may qualify to have their loans discharged or forgiven after just 10 years of on-time payments.

6. Choose a loan repayment plan: Those who can afford it and are interested in getting out of debt quickly should choose whichever plan has the highest payments and the shortest repayment period. Anyone in any plan can accelerate their repayment by paying a little more than their minimum payment each month. This will save the most in interest over the life of the loans.

7. Make one extra monthly payment per year: Making 13 payments a year instead of 12 can help save big on interest. Learn more about that strategy in the article Paying off Student Loan Debt: 5 Tips.

8. Contact the loan servicing company: Graduates and other borrowers should know which company is handling their student loan debt. Student loan repayment and billing for some borrowers is not handled by the government itself but by a loan servicing company. Getting in touch with the loan servicing company will help borrowers update their contact info, learn about potential ways to reduce interest, and get up-to-date details about how much they still owe.

9. Enroll in autopay: If borrowers are financially able, the easiest way to ensure that their loans are taken care of is to enroll in a service that automatically deducts their loan payment from their bank account each month. Plus, this protects grads from missing payments and hurting their credit, says Ross.

10. Be cautious about refinancing student loans: Many new grads obsess over their debt and paying it off as quickly as possible, says Ross. Know that refinancing comes with risks like losing the benefits offered with federal student loans. Also, your credit need to be in really good shape in order to refinance and get a good interest rate. If you do choose to refinance, be careful about choosing a fixed or variable interest rate. Interest rates, which are set by the Federal Reserve, are likely to increase, which could be harmful to your debt repayment plans, says Ross. Be sure to carefully read all terms and conditions when refinancing.

11. Set up an emergency fund: Don’t accelerate payments on deductible student loan debt until you’ve set aside six to 12 months of “emergency” money, says Beth Walker, CCPS, CRPC®, a Partner and Personal CFO for The Wealth Consulting Group and founder of Center for College Solutions, a resource for families and college students whose goal is to reduce the stress – and costs of attending college.

“This seems counterintuitive but student loan debt is still relatively ‘cheap’ and having liquidity, use and control of capital is the foundation to a strong financial future,” says Walker.

12. Find a way to focus on the future: This may seem years away, but remember this tip: Once the loans are paid off, immediately direct the monthly loan payment toward a long-term savings program. “You’ve learned to live without using that cash flow in your current lifestyle up to this point, so take advantage of that fact and fund your future lifestyle with the equivalent of your education loan payments,” says Walker.

So you have student loan debt. That’s reality. Don’t let it get you down. Develop a plan for success. And heed the advice from experts. By reading this article you’ve already received advice from a financial literacy expert, a manager from a consumer credit counseling agency, and a financial planning expert who has a decade of experience helping families and individuals pay off student debt.

That’s a good start. That’s more than I ever did – and more than most people do.

Keep it up and you will dominate your student debt.

Matt Krumrie CollegeRecruiter.com

Matt Krumrie is a contributing writer for CollegeRecruiter.com

About Ask Matt on CollegeRecruiter.com
Ask Matt is a new monthly career advice column that offers tips and advice to recent college grads and entry-level job seekers. Have a question? Need job search or career advice? Email your question to Matt Krumrie for use in a future column.