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

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 January 07, 2020 by

What are the soft skills needed to excel in STEM fields?

Employers value soft skills across all occupational fields, including science, technology, engineering, and math. In conversations that we have with employers of all sizes, the soft skills they most often mention include the ability to:

  • Work in a team;
  • Communicate verbally;
  • Make decisions and solve problems — often referred to as critical thinking skills;
  • Obtain and process information; and
  • Plan, organize, and prioritize work.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted December 31, 2019 by

How do I robot-proof my career?

Throughout human history, automation has displaced people. The difference now is that automation is starting to displace those with the most rather than the least skills, and so the conventional answers about getting more education no longer apply.

The reality is that no one will be able to robot-proof their careers if they’re at the beginning of their working life as no one can predict which jobs will existing decades from now given the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence.

But some careers are less likely to be displaced by robots, artificial intelligence, and other automation than others. These include jobs where significant critical thinking skills are necessary, as artificial intelligence is far less advanced than self-serve kiosks where the critical thinking is actually performed by the customer. 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted December 17, 2019 by

What skills are becoming increasingly important to employers of accounting and other math-related majors?

At College Recruiter, we’ve seen a huge shift over the past couple of years by large accounting and consulting firms, Fortune 1,000 companies, and federal government agencies to hiring students and recent graduates based more upon their soft than hard skills.

Critical thinking skills, for example, have become far more important and the perceived strength of the school’s brand has become far less important. Why? Because more and more employers are looking not at where they’ve traditionally hired the most people from or even their cost-per-hire but instead to where they sourced their most productive employees.

What employers of accounting and other math-related majors are finding is that they can teach someone how to read a balance sheet but they can’t feasibly teach them how to think critically.

Posted December 10, 2019 by

What’s a common resume tip that is actually really bad advice?

One of the most common and most harmful recommendations is to send a video or otherwise graphically enhanced resume to any medium- or large-sized employer that does not explicitly ask for one.

Why? Because the vast majority of them use applicant tracking systems (ATS), and almost none of these are able to handle video or graphics. Candidates who rely upon video or graphics to communicate their qualifications or career interests put themselves at a significant disadvantage when applying to jobs advertised by these employers.

Posted December 03, 2019 by

2 ways to stand out after a job interview

There are many ways for an applicant to stand out after being interviewed for a job. Here are just two.

First, bring with you to the interview some pre-stamped envelopes with thank you note cards. Immediately after you’re interviewed and have left the building, handwrite a quick thank you note to each person who interviewed you with a reference in each note to something that they said so they’ll know that your note was customized. Get those into the local mail that same day. The interviewers will likely receive the note the next business day, which will really impress them.

Second, once every week or two, email the interviews a note to confirm your continuing interest and provide them with a link or attach a scan of an article etc. that you’ve seen that may be of interest to them, such as something interesting that the press wrote about their company or one of their vendors or customers. You’d be surprised how many recruiters and hiring managers will assume that silence from a candidate indicates lack of interest.

Posted November 26, 2019 by

What’s the best career advice College Recruiter’s founder wishes he had received early in his career?

Probably the best career advice that I ever received came from Marvin Granath, senior vice president for the Human Resources – Legal office of Honeywell Inc.

Marv was my boss for the last year that I was at Honeywell and he reported to the CEO. What Marv taught me — both verbally and by allowing me to watch him in action — was the importance of building a strong network and using corporate politics not just for his benefit but the company’s. 

Marv planted seeds every hour of every day. He continually looked for ways of creating win-win situations by helping others accomplish their personal and corporate goals. He did so not on a quid pro quo basis but instead knowing that some of his assistance would go unrewarded but some would greatly help him reach his personal and corporate goals. When he needed help, people throughout the company would be eager to do whatever they could, not just because it was their job but because they truly wanted to help him as a tangible way of showing him their appreciation for the help he had provided to them days, weeks, months, or even years earlier and without precondition. 

Marv passed away a decade ago, but he continues to inspire me.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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.

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.