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

Posted July 12, 2019 by

Is it Time for the Unpaid Internship to Die?

Is it Time for the Unpaid Internship to Die?

A quick online search will find you as many unpaid-intern horror stories as you care to read. From having to beg or borrow money to pay for transportation or work-approved clothing, to single-handedly moving a manager’s personal furniture out of one apartment into another, to picking up dog excrement, there are employers who think no task is too awful or undignified to assign to their poor unpaid interns.

The dismal reputation of the unpaid internship has led to a debate over whether this type of internship has outlived its usefulness—and common decency. The debate gained new momentum in January 2018, when the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) rolled out new guidelines that make it easier for companies that want to hire unpaid interns.

The Primary Beneficiary Test

These new rules established a seven-point test, known as a “primary beneficiary test,” that determines whether the unpaid internship benefits the intern more than the company (the link to the DoL page showing the seven factors is listed in the Sources section of this article). If an analysis of the situation reveals that the intern is actually doing the work of an employee, he or she is entitled to both minimum wage and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

However, the seven factors are open to interpretation, which some labor advocates fear will allow them to justify even the most mundane tasks—for instance, fetching coffee—as “learning the industry.” And while most of us agree that it’s never a bad thing to work your way up from the bottom, the potential for abuse by more unscrupulous employers is still there. This can open all employers up to lawsuits; in fact, the new DoL guidelines came about in response to lawsuits filed by interns alleging that their unpaid work on a film violated the FLSA. The courts agreed.

Future Disadvantages

A study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed that students who took unpaid internships or co-ops were less likely to receive a full-time offer of employment and, if they did receive an offer, a lower salary than their counterparts who took paid internships or co-ops.

Paid internships or co-ops with private, for-profit companies resulted in the highest offer rate, while similar, if less drastic, disparities were seen in other industries (figures are paid vs. unpaid):

  • Private, for-profit: 72.2% vs. 43.9%
  • Nonprofit: 51.7% vs. 41.5%
  • State/local government: 50.5% vs. 33.8%
  • Federal government sectors: 61.9% vs. 50%

There were also disparities in starting salary offers (again, paid vs. unpaid):

  • Private, for-profit: $53,521 vs. $34,375
  • Nonprofit: $41,876 vs. $31,443
  • State/local government: $42,693 vs. $32,969
  • Federal government sectors: $48,750 vs. $42,501

Other reasons to put unpaid internships to rest are simple ones:

  • Happier, more productive interns (a paycheck is a powerful motivator!)
  • Positive feedback from employees is better for an employer’s brand
  • Paid internships attract top talent, which is more likely to lead to full-time hires  
  • Students who are paying their way through school and need the money from an internship to continue their education, or who have taken on student debt they have to begin paying back after graduation, may be great candidates—but they won’t be able to work for any company that doesn’t provide a paycheck

Of course, not all unpaid internships result in horror stories. With a principled employer, the result can be a rewarding one; if not financially or in future prospects, at least in knowledge and experience. However, if you’re offering unpaid internships now, it’s worth studying the ways you can improve the process and reward your interns for their hard work on your behalf. Even an upgrade to minimum wage will give a worker a sense of empowerment and dignity that can make them a fan of your company—and, quite possibly, a future valued employee.

Sources:

https://www.thecut.com/2018/07/7-people-on-their-most-insane-unpaid-internship-stories.html

https://www.naceweb.org/job-market/internships/exploring-the-implications-of-unpaid-internships/

https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm

https://www.naceweb.org/job-market/internships/paid-interns-co-ops-see-greater-offer-rates-and-salary-offers-than-their-unpaid-classmates/

Posted July 11, 2019 by

5 Things to Consider Besides Salary

5 Things to Consider Besides Salary

Of course, it’s important to earn a living wage. And, while a great salary may top your “wish list” when job hunting, there are other important factors to consider. In fact, some aspects of a potential job can have a much greater impact on your overall satisfaction and long-term happiness than a paycheck. For instance, if you have children or crave work-life balance, flexible hours may be a significant benefit. If you love to travel, more vacation days can help you pursue your dreams.

Surveys show that employees rate the following factors as “extremely to very important” when deciding on a position.          

1. Interesting and/or challenging work, with room to grow.

In a 2018 poll by Korn Ferry of nearly 5,000 professionals, the top reason people were looking for a new job was boredom. That’s right they were bored! If you think about how many hours you spend at work, you can see how continually doing mundane tasks can take its toll over time. Most people want to be engaged in their job and challenged by new experiences. Based on interviews with employees at companies that have been designated as the Best Places to Work, “Doing things that I enjoy and am good at” ranked as the number one reason for loving their job. Having “learning or growth opportunities” was also rated highly. In addition, the Society for Human Resource Management found that 59% of employees think that opportunity for personal growth and advancement was a very important job aspect.

Furthermore, nearly 60% of Americans would take a job they love over a job they hate, even if the preferred position paid half the amount of salary they would earn at the job they dislike! (Lexington Law)

So, as you consider prospective positions, be sure the job responsibilities include tasks that truly interest you. Not every aspect of a job can be exciting, or even interesting, but overall, the position should entail something you enjoy doing and excel at. Also, be sure to ask about opportunities for continued training and growth, which will not only challenge you, but may result in a bigger paycheck down the road.

2. Organizational culture.

It goes without saying that a company with a toxic or dysfunctional culture is not going to be a great place to work. Not surprisingly, research shows that a negative atmosphere can reduce productivity and increase turnover, while a positive culture can improve performance, attract and retain employees and make a company more competitive.

While there has been a great deal of momentum around changing the face of corporate cultures over the past 10 years, Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report reveals that only 33% of employees in the U.S. rated their workplace culture as positive or engaging. There is obviously room for improvement.

Start by looking for a company that has taken the time to develop a mission statement and a set of values and that actually puts them into practice. In short, a mission outlines what a company stands for and defines its purpose. According to Forbes, mission-driven employees are 54% more likely to stay for five or more years at a company and 30% are more likely to become high performers. In summary, a great work environment can boost morale, motivate you, and enhance your quality of life.

“Culture” shouldn’t just be a buzzword for the company. And, it doesn’t always mean that the company has ping-pong tables and meditation rooms! A positive company culture is one that encourages teamwork and collaboration; offers opportunities for growth; and places a high value on its employees. They may also serve the community and encourage employee participation in that outreach. In short, there is no single rubric for company culture. However, you can get a sense of whether that culture is a good fit for you by researching the company, asking questions in the interview process, looking for comments on social media and, if possible, talking to other employees.

3. Accessible leadership.

Although this often goes along with a positive culture, having access to leaders and developing good working relationships with them is key to employee satisfaction. According to the Harvard Business Review, 60% of employees surveyed said their relationships with their supervisor or manager positively impacts their focus and productivity at work and 44% said it impacts their stress levels, leading to higher productivity and satisfaction overall.

Accessible leadership makes employees feel valued. It involves listening to employees and making them feel heard, acknowledging their feedback and doing something about it, recognizing employees for a job well done and giving credit where credit is due.

It can be difficult to get a feel for the leadership of a company prior to working there, but you can ask questions about reviews and feedback opportunities during an interview. In these days of social media, you can also often find comments from employees. Other indicators: Has the company been named as one of the best companies to work for? Have the company’s leaders received recognition for their direction?

4. Open communication/transparency.

Transparency and open communication fosters trust, and employees who trust organizations are more likely to be engaged in their everyday work life (TalMetrix). This makes sense when you consider that we are all more likely to trust someone when we feel they will share necessary information with us. Again, open communication is a big component of a positive company culture, but it’s important enough to be considered separately.

Some aspects that contribute to open communication and transparency are annual performance reviews, keeping employees informed about company performance on a regular basis, clearly communicating the company’s mission and values, creating an atmosphere where employees can voice concerns or make suggestions without fear of repercussions, and holding team-building activities.

Again, you can get a feel for a company’s communication style by asking questions during an interview about how often reviews are done and whether there is a forum for employee feedback. Companies that value open communication will also typically communicate this well on their website.

5. Employee health and work-life balance.

The 2018 Global Talent Trends study by Mercer revealed that a large number of employees value flexible schedules more than salary. Flexibility was more important for parents, with 84% naming it the number one factor to consider in a job. Meanwhile 80% of surveyed employees said work-life balance was the most significant factor. Of course, the two are closely related.

In today’s digital world, it’s much easier for companies to allow flexible work schedules as many jobs can be accomplished anywhere via computer. Remote workers are, in fact, a growing population.

In addition to flex hours and respect for work-life balance, employees who are most satisfied with their job site “wellness initiatives” as important. Companies that promote and encourage healthy habits show that they care about employees as people. The Global Talent Trends study found that 50% of employees would like to see a greater focus on well-being at their company, including physical, psychological and financial wellness.

Companies that are committed to the health and wellbeing of their employees often offer a variety of wellness programs, such as on-site health screenings, lunch and learn sessions, on-site gyms, mental health days, standing desks, and more. Typically, these programs are featured on their websites or other recruiting materials.

What do you value? This is the question you need to ask before embarking on your job search. While there is no guarantee, finding a company that shares those values is more likely to lead to long-term job satisfaction. 

Posted July 03, 2019 by

Are You a Recruiting Early Bird?

Are You a Recruiting Early Bird?

It’s such a familiar quote that it’s almost cliché, but only because it’s true: The early bird really does get the worm. It also gets the best college graduates and interns.

If your recruiting efforts tend to focus only on the most recent batch of candidates, you may have noticed that your hires often don’t quite match up with your vision of the ideal employee. And yet, year after year you see other companies boasting about their own lineups, which reliably consist of the best and the brightest graduates and interns—the ones you would have sold your soul to have working for you.

How do they do it? Do they have an inside track? Are their starting salaries that good? Do they offer a free trip around the world with each internship?

Or…could it be that these companies know that the best way to get their candidates of choice is to be the early bird? 

Getting the Grads

According to the results of a survey by recruitment process outsourcing firm Futurestep/Korn Ferry, 64% of the business executives surveyed believe the best time to start recruitment for graduates is before their graduation—more precisely, at the start of their senior year. And 21% start looking for their future talent during junior year. Is it any wonder that by the time they graduate, students have already had a chance to vet their future employers?

“In our experience, students who know what they want to do and are driven to pursue their career goals while still in school make the strongest employees,” says Futurestep’s Adam Blumberg, vice president, Key Accounts. “Solid recruiting programs start early and focus on securing the most qualified talent months before they actually graduate.”

Which makes sense when you think about it: There are only so many students who will graduate in any given year. The law of averages dictates that a limited number will be considered superstars. And of those superstars, only a certain percentage will have the right degree and experience for your company.

Especially in a job seeker’s market, when candidates have the luxury of choice, if you’re not there when their focus turns to their future employment options other companies will be—and your dream candidates will have offers in hand before you even step foot on campus.

Getting the Interns

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 65% of bachelor’s degree candidates participate in internship or co-op education. Summer is traditionally the most popular season for internships, but companies actually bring interns on board any time during the year for assignments that range from special projects to extra help in a busy-season crunch.

Given the absence of milestones that mark a graduate’s availability, is there a best time to recruit interns? Yes, there is. Once again, back-to-school time is considered the best time to introduce your internship offerings to students, whether you’re looking for summer or year-round interns.

That’s because the cycle is similar: companies post summer internship opportunities in the late fall/early winter time frame, students consider their options, and by May the top students have made their choices, been chosen by a company and are ready to start their internship once school lets out.

As you can see, when it comes to recruiting your graduates and students of choice, it’s all about the timing. It’s vital to be top of mind when a senior’s thoughts turn to their post-college employment prospects—or when the talented, motivated and hardest-working students start wondering where they can get their internship experience. Adjusting your recruiting schedule to include a September kickoff will not only give students a chance to take a long look at you. It will give you the chance to take a good look at them and see how well they fit into your vision for the future of your company.

Sources:

https://www.kornferry.com/press/the-early-bird-gets-the-best-college-graduates-korn-ferry-survey-shows-best-time-to-recruit-grads-is-the-autumn-of-the-candidates-senior-year

https://www.naceweb.org/job-market/internships/exploring-the-implications-of-unpaid-internships/

Posted July 01, 2019 by

8 Interview Questions Job Seekers Should Ask

You’ve landed the interview and spent hours researching the company and preparing your responses to the most common interview questions. You’ve got this, right? Not so fast.

An often-overlooked part of the interview process comes near the end when the interviewer turns the tables and asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” Believe it or not, most employers are expecting you to have insightful queries ready. You can impress employers by being prepared with a few insightful questions that show you’re an attentive listener and truly engaged in the process. The answers can also give you additional insight as to whether this position and company are a good fit.

Consider the following:

1. What particular areas of my background or experience interest you?

The company selected you from the pile of resumes or applications they received for a reason. You may have “checked all the boxes” when it comes to the job requirements, such as having the right degree, skill set or related experience, but typically there is something “extra” that caught their attention and set you apart. Were they impressed with your internships? Did they find your leadership skills in past roles important to this position? Or, was it the way you demonstrated your ability to work well on a team? Asking this question not only shows that you’re interested in the position and what it entails, but it will give you a clue as to what to emphasize in your follow-up letter.

2. What are the most challenging aspects of the job for which I’m being considered?

Again, this question demonstrates your interest in the position-both the exciting, interesting aspects and the difficult, challenging parts. You may find from the answer they provide that the challenges associated with this position are not something you’re willing to accept (e.g., long hours, tight deadlines, or a lack of teamwork between departments). In this case, you may not want to pursue the position. On the other hand, by addressing the fact that you’ve successfully navigated similar situations in the past, you’re demonstrating your ability to handle this position and that you’re not afraid of the challenges that may come your way.

3. What are the most important characteristics needed to succeed in this position?

There are job requirements and then there are the “other” skills that may not be listed that are necessary for success. Job postings often list generic proficiencies such as good communication skills or the ability to work in teams, but what are the real qualities they’re looking for? This question can sometimes tease out those underlying characteristics so you can respond to them either in the interview or in your follow-up communication. For example, if the interviewer says they need someone who is good with details or very organized, you can provide a specific example related to those characteristics.

4. Where do you see this position going in the next few years?

Asking about the future shows that you’re interested in the long term. These days, with so many employees hopping from one job to another, it can be reassuring to an employer that you want to stay with them and pursue a career versus just taking a job as a step toward something else. The answer may also help you decide whether this job is the right fit for you. If the answer you receive is vague, it may indicate that there is no room for growth, or the direction may not be where you want to go.

5. What does a typical day look like?

It’s one thing to describe a job and its responsibilities, but how that position plays out day to day is quite another. Learning about a “day in the life” of someone in this position can help you decide whether you’re really a good fit. Asking the question shows that you’re interested in more than the basic responsibilities-you want to know more about the culture, the interaction with other employees, etc. As a bonus, employees who love their jobs and the company they work for will be enthusiastic about describing a typical day around the office, so you’ll get a sense of the culture. If they aren’t enthusiastic, it may indicate internal dysfunction. If you’ve developed a good rapport with the interviewer, you may want to follow up with a more personal question, such as “What do you like most about working here?”

6. Is this a new position or are you replacing someone?

If the position is new, it may indicate that the company is growing. On the flip side, because it’s a new position, it may not be well defined, which presents its own challenges. If it’s an existing position, it’s fair to ask why the person who previously filled this role left. Does the company have an issue with turnover? Does the position report to a difficult manager? While it’s highly unlikely that the interviewer will provide this type of negative information, the answers you receive could raise a few red flags.

7. Does your company have a mission, vision and set of values? What are they?

If the company lists these things on their website, there is obviously no need to ask. You should already be aware of them from your research. In that case, you may want to mention that you were impressed by the company’s mission or values and feel that you are a good fit with those values because… (insert example here). If there is no mission, vision or values on the website, then it’s okay to ask the interviewer if the company has them and what they are. It may give you a sense as to what’s important to the company, as well as some insight into their culture.

8. Where are you in the hiring process and what’s the next step?

If this information hasn’t already been covered, it’s a good way to wrap up the interview. Again, this reinforces your interest in the position and indicates that you are ready to take the next step. Just as importantly, it lets you know what to expect and how to follow up.

Research shows that as many as 42% of job seekers do not come prepared with questions for the interviewer. Therefore, having some insightful questions at the ready can set you apart from other candidates. It also conveys your interest in the company and helps you decide if it’s where you want to work. Remember, interviews are a two-way street.

Posted June 25, 2019 by

Not all Job Boards are Created Equal

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of creative job postings, including ads on subway stations and bus stops asking riders if they like the direction they’re heading or posing the question “How was your day at work?” Then there was the ad appealing to Twilight fans that pictured a row of pencils with sharp red tips and the tagline “We thirst for more creative blood.”

In today’s tight job market, job postings are not only becoming more inventive, but they’re showing up in unlikely places, such as coffee cups, bathroom stalls, pizza boxes and of course, social media, in addition to established job boards.

The fact is, employers have a lot of options when it comes to job postings. The trick is finding a way to stand out from the crowd, engage the right prospects and make your company memorable—without breaking the bank. This is especially important for smaller employers trying to compete with the big, recognizable names in their industry.

While its up to you to get the creative juices flowing when developing your actual job posting, College Recruiter can help you get more for your money by targeting the right candidates.

Why post an ad on our website rather than general job boards?

At College Recruiter, our audience is college students and recent grads, exclusively. As a small- to mid-sized employer, chances are you’re looking for entry level employees, which are typically those candidates that recently graduated and are looking for their first or second job. In addition, many students need part-time jobs while attending college in order to pay their way. These part-time jobs and/or internships often lead to successful full-time employment. And, developing a relationship with a student early on can give smaller companies a leg up on larger enterprises.

To make the most of your ad budget, reaching the right audience is key. College Recruiter believes that every student and recent graduate deserves a great part-time, seasonal, internship or entry-level job, which is why our interactive media solutions, including job postings, are designed specifically to make great connections between college students or recent grads and employers.

In fact, we are the leading interactive, recruitment media company used by college students and recent graduates to find great careers! And, because of the niche we serve, your $75 ad posting works much harder than it would on a general job board.

Studies by Appcast and eQuest across hundreds of job boards, thousands of employers, and millions of jobs show that a typical job posting on a typical job board delivers only one candidate to an employer. College Recruiter is delivering more than eight times the industry average, meaning that you’re far more likely to hire the person you need far more quickly and less expensively.

We make it easy.

Because we work with companies of all sizes, we understand that every company has unique recruiting needs and resources. We also recognize that small- to mid-sized companies typically don’t have the staff or budget to manage a complex recruiting campaign. That’s okay.

At College Recruiter, we make the process of posting jobs easy. Our fully automated system can get your posting online in the time it takes you to enter the job posting information and pay. Of course, if you need more assistance or expert advice, our experienced team is ready and willing to lend a hand.

But, don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what a couple of our clients have said about our recruitment solutions:

“We’ve tried several ways to recruit college students for our entry level positions including job postings on other leading college job boards. None worked well so we were skeptical when first approached by College Recruiter…(Your) approach in having the job posted to our area rather than to a handful of schools proved to generate far more responses than the postings on the other sites…it really works!!!! — Director of Human Resources, Sequoia Financial

“We run job posting ads on a lot of sites but had never used College Recruiter until we purchased an unlimited job posting package a month ago. We were amazed at the high quantity and quality of responses that we received. After only two days, we had a positive return on our investment for the entire month.” — Recruiter, Leapforce, Inc.

To learn more about College Recruiter and how we can help you reach the right candidates, visit us at www.collegerecruiter.com.

Posted June 12, 2019 by

If Your C-Suite Is Not Supporting Your Diversity Efforts, Ask Them How Many Left-Handed Employees They Have

Numerous studies show that the more diverse an organization’s workforce is, the more productive they are. In fact, research from McKinsey found that companies that are diverse by gender and ethnicity, outperform their peers financially by 35%!

And yet, it can still be a challenge for some talent acquisition teams to get buy-in for their diversity efforts from CEOs and other leaders. Without this support from the top, it’s virtually impossible to create a diversified workforce.

“Organizations must see diversity as an essential element of their strategy, rather than a trend or an accessory,” notes Kimberly Jones, Global Talent Acquisition Specialist and Founder of Kelton Legend, a multi-dimensional talent acquisition strategy organization. “If your leadership team doesn’t see the value of diversity, you can make a strong business case — there is plenty of research that supports the fact that diverse businesses are more competitive.”

Jones suggests an interesting twist to the diversity conversation: Start by asking talent acquisition leaders how many left-handed employees they have. Think about it: If you’re a consumer goods company, designing instruments such as scissors, and you don’t have left-handed engineers or designers, how can you produce a product that is effective for everyone? You’re probably not producing products that are as functional as they could be. And, since approximately 30% of the population is left handed, you’re only marketing to 70% of the people. Why would you intentionally lose out on market share?

This principle applies to gender, ethnicity, age and people who are differently-abled. Without a diverse team, you’re missing out on the valuable perspectives and distinctive contributions that come from a blend of people.

Jones adds: “Forget the assumption that there is a ‘norm’ — we are all different. And we should all have an opportunity to contribute our unique talents.”

Using Diversity to Attract Diversity

The other hurdle that companies must get over is creating a diverse talent acquisition team. Having diversity on your talent acquisition team accomplishes two things:

  • It shows that your company values diversity and provides an accurate representation of your workforce (if you have a diverse workforce).
  • It helps a wide variety of potential candidates relate better to your team and your company.

Jones recommends thinking beyond just gender or ethnicity and include different personalities, such as introverts and extroverts. Most companies think that recruiters should be naturally extroverted but imagine a highly-qualified candidate who is an introvert and feels uncomfortable trying to communicate with these outgoing, gregarious people, especially in a crowded career fair or other recruiting event. Some positions, such as engineers or accountants may not require an extroverted person. Companies that fail to relate to all candidates may miss out on some extraordinary talent.

The bottom line: Organizations that fail to embrace diversity may be less productive and less financially successful. They risk losing opportunities due to bias, even if those biases are unconscious.

“Unfortunately, you can’t teach someone to be unbiased,” said Jones. “It’s a result of a lifetime of teaching and experiences. However, you can make people more aware of their biases and teach empathy. That should be our goal.”

To hear more from Kimberly Jones, check out our video interview:

Or visit www.keltonlegend.com to learn more about Kimberly and her talent acquisition strategies.

Lily Rose-Wilson

Posted June 04, 2019 by

Employers shouldn’t — but still do — stalk candidates on Facebook

One of my favorite podcasts that sits at the intersection of human resources and technology a/k/a HRtech is The Chad and Cheese Podcast. The hosts are friends Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman, each of whom have been in the industry for two decades and regularly compete with each other to see who can out-snark the other. Shows are usually about 40-minutes long, easy to listen to, and informative.

Toward the end of the May 31st episode, Chad and Joel got into a discussion about an employer in Australia or New Zealand — they couldn’t remember where — who left a voice message for a candidate that was a little more revealing than the employer planned. Apparently, the employer didn’t realize they were still being recorded and started to discuss the candidate’s fake tan, tattoos, and other items which weren’t at all relevant to the candidate’s ability to do the work. Big thumbs down to the employer.

I did a little Googling and found the story on news.com.au. So, it was an Australian employer. Perth to be exact. The employer was Michelle Lines from STS Health and the candidate was Lily Rose-Wilson. In the recording, Lines can be heard discussing Rose-Wilson’s Facebook photos with a male colleague.

According to news.com.au, the conversation went as follows: “Not answering the phone now,” Ms Lines says. Her colleague suggests she’s “probably getting another tattoo”, to which Ms Lines responds, “She’s probably doing her fake tan.” The male asks, “Did you really like, Facebook stalk?”, and Ms Lines says, “That’s what you got to do, babe”. “Yeah, well it’s very thorough, good on you,” he replies.

Ugh. I’ve been speaking about how employers wrongfully use Facebook and other social media sites since Facebook was only accessible to students, staff, and faculty at dozens of colleges and universities. I really, really thought that employers had grown up and realized that sites like Facebook are great sourcing tools if they’re used to help the employer be more inclusive when hiring and should never be used to exclude candidates from the hiring pool. Yet, here we are again. Ugh.

To the candidates reading this blog, beware. Understand that every organization is made up of individuals and individuals all make mistakes. And some make more mistakes than others. But even if an individual within an organization to which you’ve applied makes a mistake and looks at your Facebook profile to see if they can find a reason to eliminate you from the candidate pool does not mean that you should cross that employer off of your list. Chances are, the person will be in HR and unless you’re applying to work in HR you’ll likely never interact with that person after you’re hired.

Don’t leave yourself open to the irrational, mistaken whims of some idiot who decides that looking at your tan or tattoos is a good idea when deciding whether you’re qualified for a job. If that matters to you as it does to many candidates, then lock down your privacy so that the prospective employer cannot see those photos. And if they’re the kind of photos that you’d be embarrassed to show your favorite grandmother, get them off of your profile altogether.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted May 29, 2019 by

Why are more students reneging on their job acceptances?

A recent discussion in a listserv moderated by the National Association of Colleges and Employers was about an upward trend that some employers are seeing in the number of candidates who are reneging on their acceptances for both internship and entry-level jobs. One employer shared that they typically see four to five percent renege but this year that has jumped to more than eight percent.

Another employer helpfully shared that they’re also seeing more reneges and speculated that students “seem to be accepting offers as a back-up plan and then continuing the recruiting process throughout the year”. That employer is getting a much higher number of reneges within a week of the scheduled start date, blamed the students, and expressed hope that career services would start counseling students more about why they should not renege on job offers.

A third employer confirmed that they too are seeing higher renege rates but offered the following ideas: “(1) it continues to be a hot job market, (2) more companies are putting focus effort on early career talent, and (3) rapidly advancing / evolving technologies for employers and students are bringing more awareness efficiency (arguably) to the campus recruiting market.”

Another factor that I suspect is playing a role in the increased percentage of candidate reneges is the very long-time — and sometimes increasingly long — between when the candidate first meets with the employer and receives a job offer until the date when they actually start work.

It wasn’t all that long ago when the bulk of on-campus recruiting was late September through mid-November with offers taking weeks to be made. Now, it isn’t at all unusual to see employers interviewing at the beginning of September, making offers of employment in the interview room, and demanding a yes/no decision within days. Backed into a corner, a student would be irrational to decline this “bird in the hand” offer in favor of maybe getting a better offer days, weeks, or even months later a/k/a two in the bush.

Then, accepted offer in hand, some employers will essentially go radio silent and have little to no substantive contact with the student for months. Maybe the occasional email here or phone call there, but the intensity of the relationship goes from passionate to what is minimally required, and sometimes even less. Is it any wonder that the student loses their excitement and is open to reconsidering their acceptance?

To the employers who are frustrated by the reneges, let’s get creative about the entire process. What is within your control? Does your recruiting cycle really need to be driven by a fall/winter schedule that has existed since the 1950’s? Would it make more sense to look at alternative means to engage with, extend offers to, and continue to engage with students? 

Put another way, if an epidemic or other such natural or even manmade disaster were to prevent your team from flying out to college campuses around the country, how else could you recruit your next generation of leaders? Maybe look at those contingency plans — or create some — and then put them into place on a pilot basis. Maybe, just maybe, some of those contingency plans will deliver better candidates faster and for less money than the process many organizations have followed since “I like Ike” was a commonly heard campaign slogan.

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Posted May 27, 2019 by

Paid vs unpaid internships are key to landing a well-paying job upon graduation

One of the most basic factors separating students who find it relatively easy to find a well-paying job upon graduation from those who end up unemployed or underemployed is whether the students had internships or not and whether those internships were paid or unpaid.

According to results of the Class of 2019 Student Survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, “more than half of all graduating seniors who applied for a full-time job—53.2 percent—received at least one job offer. Within this group, 57.5 percent of students who had an internship and 43.7 percent of graduating seniors who did not have an internship received a job offer.”

In addition, the students who completed at least one internship prior to graduation were significantly more likely to receive multiple job offers for positions upon graduation. For those who completed at least one internship, the average student received 1.17 job offers. Those without an internship received 16 percent fewer job offers: an average of only 0.98 per student.

Another key factor was whether the internship was paid or unpaid. Many legal experts believe that unpaid internships are illegal unless the employer is a governmental or non-profit entity. But just because something may be illegal doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen. Just think about the last time you drove a car. Almost everyone breaks at least one law every time they drive, whether that’s failing to come to a complete stop at a controlled intersection or driving even one mile per hour over the speed limit.

The impact of internship pay status was evident as well as 66.4 percent of According to NACE, 66.4 percent of class of 2019 graduates who had a paid internship received a job offer. On the other hand, just 43.7 percent of unpaid interns were offered a job. In other words, if you only graduate with an unpaid internship and your friend graduates with a similar but paid internship, she is 34 percent more likely to receive at least one job offer upon graduation. Ouch.

Posted May 24, 2019 by

5 Ways Small Businesses Can Compete for Top Talent in a Tight Job Market

When it comes to recruiting top talent, it’s always been a challenge for smaller businesses to compete with large, well-known companies. While large organizations have name recognition, big marketing budgets and fully-staffed departments dedicated to human resources and talent acquisition, smaller companies must find more creative ways to attract and retain high-quality candidates.

In today’s tight labor market, this challenge has become more formidable. Consider this: In June of this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there are 6.7 million jobs open in the U.S. and only 6.4 million available workers to fill them. Low unemployment coupled with a shortage of talent in many areas, has made hiring a tough job for companies of all sizes, but particularly for small- to mid-sized organizations.

According to a 2018 report from Vistage International, a peer mentoring organization for CEOs, business owners and executives of small- to mid-sized companies, 61% of small and mid-sized businesses expect to increase their workforce in the next 12 months. In addition, a recent CareerBuilder survey found that companies across the globe are looking to revamp their hiring efforts to fill both temporary and full-time positions in 2019. The same survey found that 44% of businesses are planning to hire full-time employees and 51% are planning to hire temporary employees. But roughly half of all the hiring managers surveyed said they are unable to fill much-needed positions due to a lack of qualified talent.

The heightened competition for talent has increased salaries and benefits across many industries, as well as the number of company perks. In this highly competitive environment, smaller companies, who are not able to offer the same type of compensation and benefits packages, must find other ways to grab the attention of job seekers and find the best candidates for open positions. Some proven strategies include:

1. Form Relationships with Candidates

The first step in forming relationships is to “get social.” Smaller businesses must have a strong presence on LinkedIn and other social media. A Pew Research Center survey found that 79% of Americans who were looking for work used the Internet to view job listings, learn about companies and apply for jobs. Of those, 34% said online resources were their most important tool.

It’s also important for small businesses to have a well-developed LinkedIn profile. These profiles are free and offer great exposure. They help candidates find businesses that they would otherwise never know about. LinkedIn also serves as a free resume database, allowing job seekers to search though hundreds of candidates and reach out to those who are a great match. Keep in mind, however, that LinkedIn is far more popular amongst Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers than Gen Z’ers and Millennials. LinkedIn’s own statistics indicate that only 1.5% of Gen Z’ers and Millennials use LinkedIn even on a monthly basis.

In addition, forming a relationship involves being more “hands on” throughout the recruiting process. Provide company updates or news and check in with candidates via a personal phone call or email. During the interview process, include executives and managers who may be working with this person. This shows the candidate that they’re valued enough for the CEO or other executives to take the time to speak with them.

To relate with younger candidates, it’s also important to adopt a mobile-enabled application process, which means that not only must it be possible to apply for a job using an Android or iPhone, but that it’s easy to do without having to use third-party services such as “Apply With LinkedIn.” Most candidates either don’t have those third-party services, don’t know how to use them, or don’t want to use them.

Mobile devices are increasingly becoming more entrenched in our everyday life, especially within younger populations. According to Glassdoor, 89% of job seekers say their mobile device is an important tool for job searching and 45% use it to search for jobs at least once a day.

2. Attend Networking Events and Job Fairs – and Seek Referrals

When you’re shopping for caviar, but you have a fast food budget, you must work harder to find candidates. Simple job postings rarely do the trick. Even with a small staff, it’s worth the time and effort to attend networking events and job fairs. While the big company names draw candidates to an event, it puts you in good company. Not only do these events expose you to candidates who don’t know who you are, it allows you to present your company “in person.” Talking with someone face-to-face and conveying your enthusiasm and passion for your workplace and the position are more effective than a job posting. Of course, that means sending the right person to represent your company at job fairs and other events! Make sure they’re representing your company in the best light possible.

A Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Study found that 39% of job seekers rated initial contact with a company as making the biggest impact on their impression of an organization. You can capitalize on this by presenting a friendly, but knowledgeable face at job fairs, taking the time to really get to know candidates and what they want, and following up with personalized emails – something that larger companies are unlikely to do.

Small businesses can also broaden their reach by working with the right partners, such as recruiting agencies, co-ops, chambers of commerce and professional networking groups, which may result in listings in professional directories and word-of-mouth referrals.

Finally, look inside your company. Your employees can be your most passionate advocates. In fact, research by Deloitte found that employee referrals are the number one way organizations find high-quality hires. Fifty-one percent of companies surveyed named employee referrals among their top three most effective sources. Let employees know you have open positions and encourage them to share job postings with family, friends and professional associates. You may also consider offering a small bonus to employees who recommend someone who is hired. Of course, the more you rely on referrals, the less diverse your workforce will be — and numerous studies prove that diverse workforces are more productive.

3. Build and Maintain College Campus Relationships

The first step in working with colleges is to carefully research which schools are the best fit for your organization — including majors, quality of programs, student population, school location, etc. Once selected, the most successful university relations and recruiting programs take a long-term approach, building and maintaining relationships. Work closely with the career center staff to learn about a college’s culture, student demographics, degree programs and traditions. Then take it a step further by getting to know other key contacts, including faculty and administrators.

Even when your company is not hiring, be sure to maintain these relationships. Look for ways to stay involved: Can you offer a co-op or internship program (internships are a highly-effective way to find full-time hires and increase retention)? Can you volunteer to help with mock interviews or critiquing resumes? Can you speak to students about skills that employers are looking for?

Another factor to consider is whether you need to target candidates by which school they attend (or attended) at all. A rapidly increasing minority of employers, both large and small, are using workforce productivity data and discovering that the college an employee attended is poorly correlated (and sometimes even negatively correlated) with the productivity of the employee. Why? Reasons vary, but one explanation is that those who graduate from elite schools rarely stay with their first employer for as long as those who graduated from second- or third-tier schools.

If you want a diverse, inclusive and productive workforce, you should supplement your on-campus recruiting efforts with so-called virtual recruiting efforts, which typically means advertising your part-time, seasonal, internship and entry-level jobs on sites like College Recruiter that primarily target students and recent graduates of all one-, two- and four-year colleges and universities.

4. Promote Company Culture

When you can’t compete with compensation, you can still attract top talent by promoting your company’s culture and perks. The good news for small businesses is that competitive wages aren’t the only thing that can attract employees. Younger workers consider overall culture to be a major contributor to job satisfaction, according to a Society for Human Resource Management survey.

You may not be able to offer a fully-stocked kitchen and exercise rooms ala Google, but flexible work hours, remote work options, monthly workplace events, professional development courses, community-involvement and other perks can be very attractive to the right candidates.

According to a 2018 study by SCORE, a business mentoring network in the U.S., employee perks not only attract better, more qualified employees, but they are also such a powerful selling point that they can boost employee retention and job satisfaction levels. In fact, SCORE reports that benefits and perks in the workplace are often more important to employees than higher pay. The percentage of employees who took the following perks/benefits into account when choosing an employer were:

  • Flexible hours – 88%
  • More vacation time – 80%
  • Work-from-home options – 80%
  • Student loan assistance – 48%
  • Free gym membership – 39%
  • Free snacks – 32%
  • Weekly free outings – 24%

If you offer special perks, be sure to promote them. A great way to do that is to include video in your marketing efforts. A small number of job boards, including College Recruiter, not only allow you to include video within your job postings, but even let you do so for free!

5. Highlight Intangible Benefits

There are many benefits to working with a smaller company, such as greater flexibility, more diversity in day-to-day responsibilities, less bureaucracy, closer relationships, teamwork and the opportunity to make a direct impact on the bottom line. These benefits can be particularly attractive to younger workers who value “hands on” work that results in meaningful contributions from the get-go.

In addition, top talent is drawn to companies that are innovative and offer opportunities to grow and learn. You can use this to your advantage by talking about how candidates won’t be “boxed in” by a role, as happens within many large organizations. The nimble nature of small companies allows employees to wear many hats, which can be very appealing and can often compensate for a lower salary.

Today’s candidates have far more power during the job search and are also job hopping more than ever before. To succeed in this candidate-oriented job market, it’s important for small businesses to develop innovative recruiting and hiring strategies to fuel growth.

Sources:
“Best Practices for Recruiting New College Graduates,” by Mimi Collins, National Association of Colleges and Employers, NACE, October 13, 2017.
“Recruitment Statistics 2018: Trends & Insights in Hiring Talented Candidates,” TalentNow.com, February 2, 2018.
Vistage International, 2018 CEO Report on Business Growth
“What’s More Important at Work: Better Perks and Benefits or a Higher Salary,” Biospace, June 27, 2018.
“7 Tips for Small Businesses Competing with Large Employers for Talent,” Collegeforamerica,com, Workforce Insights, June 28, 2017.