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Posted September 19, 2019 by

Employing People with Disabilities Shouldn’t Be a Challenge

(Note: Both interviewees, Paula Golladay and Gerry Crispin, will be panelists at the upcoming College Recruiting Bootcamp on D&I at EY on December 12th in New York City.)

While there has been an increased effort over recent years to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, the focus has been primarily on gender and ethnic diversity. That leaves out a large and important group—people with disabilities. Although the Americans With Disabilities Act became law in 1990, many would agree that employers have failed to live up to the promise of this act.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 29 percent of Americans ages 16 to 64 with a disability were employed as of June 2018, compared with nearly 75 percent of those without a disability. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities who are actively seeking work is 9.2 percent—more than twice as high as for those without a disability (4.2 percent).

Fortunately, a recent study (the first of its kind) has dispelled many of the misperceptions about employing people with disabilities. In fact, the results, as reported by Accenture and the American Association of People with Disabilities, show that companies that hire people with disabilities outperform other organizations, increasing both profitability and shareholder returns. More specifically, revenues were 28% higher, net income was 200% higher and profit margins were 30% higher.

As it turns out, employing people with disabilities is good business.

“Persons with disabilities present business and industry with unique opportunities in labor-force diversity and corporate culture, and they’re a large consumer market eager to know which businesses authentically support their goals and dreams,” said Ted Kennedy, Jr., Disabilities Rights Attorney, American Association of People with Disabilities. “Leading companies are accelerating disability inclusion as the next frontier of social responsibility and mission-driven investing.”

So, how do job seekers with disabilities find opportunities, address their disability with potential employers and advocate for inclusion? We talked to two experts on the subject to answer some common questions. While you’ll find more agreement between our experts than not, there are some differences in opinions, which provides some thought-provoking insights to consider.

1. Should job seekers with disabilities bring these to the attention of a prospective employer and, if so, when and how?

Paula Golladay: This can be a touchy area, and one that’s very personal. Overall, you are not required to disclose the fact that you have a disability, unless hired under the authority of Schedule A. Schedule A refers to a special hiring authority that gives Federal agencies an optional, and potentially quicker way to hire individuals with disabilities. The other exception is if your disability requires a special accommodation. For instance, if you have a mobility issue, you need to disclose this to ensure that you can gain access to and navigate the building. In general, I tell people to wait to disclose their disability until they must do so, because, unfortunately, people still have biases.

Gerry Crispin: Absolutely and fearlessly. It’s better to learn whether acceptance is an issue as quickly as possible. However, timing is essential. If the hiring process will require an accommodation for testing, interviews, etc. then you must make the disclosure upfront. If an accommodation to the job itself will be necessary, then I’d suggest discussing the disability at the end of the interview as a precursor to employment—assuming you’ll be offered the job. If your disability/different ability is not relevant to the job, than it should not be an issue. If you demonstrate that you have trust issues before there is evidence to be concerned, then you’re leading with a negative attitude. Let the employer’s representative, the hiring manager or the recruiter be the one to accept your disability, or not; selecting you based on your ability to do the job alone, and then manage the evidence they present regarding acceptance accordingly.

2. Is it easier for those with disabilities to find career-related employment with some employers than others and, if so, how should job seekers identify which employers are more likely to hire someone with a disability?

Paula: Yes. For instance, the federal government has a mandate to hire a certain percentage of people with disabilities each fiscal year—12% with non-targeted disabilities and 2% with targeted (more severe) disabilities. Of course, some federal agencies do better than others at fulfilling these requirements. And, certain jobs have medical or physical requirements to consider. In addition to the federal government, I would look for a business that owns one or more contracts with the federal government of at least $10,000 annually. These companies must meet similar hiring mandates. Do your research. Disability.gov lists information on user-friendly sites designed for those with disabilities. Also, every public college or university is required to provide career services for people with disabilities.

Gerry: There are many ways to find employers that are more likely to hire those with disabilities. Employers typically want to publicize their commitment to diversity and hiring candidates with disabilities. If you do some research and look at the career section on companies’ websites, you may find evidence such as photos of employees with disabilities, testimonials, videos of employees with disabilities doing their jobs, and employee affinity groups dedicated to mentoring and promoting opportunities and acceptance of people with disabilities. Companies may also display awards they’ve received from national disability organizations or feature case studies. In addition, you may note whether the company is involved with community activism and/or philanthropy that is consistent with the values of people with disabilities.

3. Some employers, particularly those which are small, have little experience managing employees with disabilities and so may be reluctant to extend an offer of employment to a disabled job seeker. What should a disabled job seeker do when they encounter such an employer?

Paula: Technically, that’s discrimination, but it’s usually very difficult to prove. Certain questions are illegal, in which case you are within your rights to say, “You can’t ask that.” For example, an employer can describe the job and ask if you are able to perform the functions, but cannot ask “Are you disabled?” or “Have you ever filed a worker’s compensation claim?” The best thing to do is to be your own advocate and demonstrate that your disability doesn’t affect your ability to do the job. It may not be fair, but it is a reality that disabled persons must often go the extra three miles to prove themselves. Come to interviews prepared to address potential issues. You must sell yourself and your ability to do the job. In truth, your attitude can be your biggest barrier or your greatest asset. Be knowledgeable and confident in your behavior.

Gerry: Ask them “Are you aware if any of your employees have friends or relatives with disabilities—here or, perhaps with a different employer? What have you learned from them about how people with disabilities want or need to be treated?” Their answers will tell you whether it’s useful to move forward.

4. Is there a difference between diversity and inclusion and, if so, what?

Paula: Oh, yes there is! As mentioned in the introduction, employers are making an effort to increase diversity, but when it comes to making people feel included, they often fall short. For example, if there’s a meeting or a company function that an employee with a disability is unable to attend due to accessibility or telecommunications issues, then the company is not being inclusive. It could be as simple as making restrooms accessible, or more complex, such as offering accommodations for those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, or those with cognitive issues to take part in presentations, meetings, etc. To advocate for inclusion and acceptance, you must own and accept your disability. If you can’t accept your disability, then how can you expect others to do so? Overall, it’s important to be positive and address issues professionally.

Gerry: I’m told there is, mainly by folks who believe that diversity is too aligned with more traditional issues around race and compliance. To me, inclusion tends to point to how we are all diverse…and the same. If there is a difference, then diversity tends to focus on what we can see—observable behavior, gender, skin color, etc., while inclusion offers a path to how we might all behave to ensure we understand, respect and learn from our differences.

Right now, the labor market in the U.S. is very tight, and yet, many people with disabilities remain unemployed. The Accenture analysis reveals a very inspiring statistic: Hiring only 1% of the 10.7 million people with disabilities has the potential to boost the GDP by an estimated $25 billion! Perhaps, once companies begin to realize the economic benefits, as well as the fact that diversity of all types provides fresh insights (especially into developing and marketing products and services that meet the needs of diverse consumers), they will embrace the idea of creating both diverse and inclusive workplaces.

_________________________________________________________________________

Paula B. Golladay

Paula Golladay’ s previous employment was within the profession of a Sign Language Interpreter for over 25 years. Currently, Paula serves as the Schedule A Program Manager for the Internal Revenue Service. She has helped the IRS develop leveraged partnerships nationwide to include, but not limited to, colleges and universities, non-profit organizations vocational rehabilitation centers that foster employment for Individuals with Disabilities (IWD). Paula has developed presentations that encompass all aspects of disability employment. In addition, she has presented on topics such as disability culture and diversity and inclusion. Paula has been recognized by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Department of Labor (DOL) and other federal and private sector organizations as a subject matter expert regarding Schedule A hiring, promotion and retention. She has participated in local and national workshops both within the interpreting field and employment arena. Her expertise regarding how to prepare a federal resume is well recognized by established partnerships.

She has presented previously at Deaf/Hard of Hearing In Government, now Deaf in Government, Amputee Coalition of America, Freddie Mac, Internal Revenue Service national and local conferences. She has been an invited panel member for various college and university disability awareness events. She has presented at Veteran’s Day events, as well as several National Disability Employment Awareness events. Paula is one of the contributors of the development and evaluation of the anticipated OPM Special Placement Program Coordinator training curriculum.

Paula has received several awards in her career as the Schedule A Program Manager. In 2018, she was honored by receiving The Careers and the disABLED Employee of the Year award.

Gerry Crispin

Gerry Crispin describes himself as a life-long student of how people are hired.

He founded CareerXroads in 1996 as a peer community of Recruiting leaders that today, in its third decade, includes 130 major employers who are devoted to learning from and helping one another improve their recruiting practices for every stakeholder…especially the candidate. 

In 2010, Gerry co-founded a non-profit, Talentboard, to better define and research the Candidate Experience, a subject he has been passionate about for more than 40 years. Today the ‘CandEs’ has firmly established itself around the world and establishes benchmarks for employers each year in North America, Europe, Asia and soon South America as a ‘bench’ that shares their Candidate Experience data and competitive practices.

In 2017, Gerry helped launch ATAP, the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals.

Additional Sources:

Getting to Equal: The Disability Inclusion Advantage 2018, a research report by Accenture and the American Association of People with Disabilities

“Hiring People with Disabilities is Good Business,” by Ted Kennedy, Jr., New York Times, 2018.

Join Paula and Gerry, along with your fellow university relations, talent acquisition, and other human resources leaders from corporate, non-profit, and government organizations at the:

College Recruiting Bootcamp on D&I at EY
Organized by College Recruiter and hosted by Ernst & Young
Thursday, December 12, 2019
9:30 AM – 2:30 PM (EST)
Ernst & Young World Headquarters
121 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
GET YOUR TICKETS: www.CollegeRecruiter.com/BootcampOnDIatEY

Posted September 16, 2019 by

Things You Should Know About a Company Before Applying

As a job seeker, statistics say you have all the power: today’s tight job market puts applicants in the driver’s seat as they shop around for the right position. You also possess another type of power­—the ability to access mountains of information about companies with a quick internet search. It’s wise to take advantage of that ability and research companies before you send out a slew of resumes.

Important Clues

Think of yourself as a “job detective” when you research companies that you’re interested in. Sure, salary and benefits are a huge consideration, along with job responsibilities, but what about the aspects that aren’t always advertised? Here are five things you should know about a company before considering a position:

1. The company’s reputation.

According to a recent survey, 95% of employees said insight into a company’s reputation is important. This should be considered basic background information that encompasses many areas. For instance, does the company have a reputation for burning out employees with unrealistic workloads and long hours? (Some companies see this as a badge of honor!). What is their turnover rate? Do employees complain about lack of training or poor management? Has the company been involved in lawsuits regarding discrimination? If a company has a bad rep, you’ll find evidence on the internet if you dig deep enough.

2. The company’s stability.

Before you commit to working for someone you should get a feel for how long they’re going to be around. Of course, nothing is certain, but a company’s stability is fairly easy to gauge. Are sales, and more importantly, revenues increasing or decreasing? What is the overall trend for the past five to ten years? If the company is a start-up­—which could offer the potential to grow along with it­—there may not be profits yet, but you can still look at growth trends. It’s also fair to ask about plans for growth in an interview.

3. The company’s policy on flexibility.

For many of today’s job seekers, the ability to work remotely, participate in job sharing or other flex options is a very important perk. Thanks to numerous studies that show that workplace flexibility can improve work-life balance, boost productivity and improve employees’ mental and physical health, more companies are offering some type of flexibility. If this is high on your wish list, be sure to check out the company’s policies.

4. The company’s opportunities for growth and development.

Unless you want to stay in the role for which you’re applying forever, it’s a good idea to find out if the company offers training, leadership programs or educational assistance. Also, do they outline career paths and tend to promote from within? Many companies will provide information on career development on their websites, particularly if they support growth and development.

5. The company’s values and culture.

“Fit” is a two-way street: companies want to find the best candidate for the position and their company culture, and you want to find the best company for your personal strengths and values. Lots of companies will say they’re a “great place to work,” but what exactly does that mean? Do they provide insights into the day-to-day work environment? Do they support the community or other charitable causes that are important to you? Do they proudly display photos from company team-building events? Does the mission statement or company values sound like they mesh with your own values? Do they have a formal or informal atmosphere? Decide what means the most to you and then look for a company that offers the best fit.

While you can glean a lot from a company’s website, don’t stop your search there. As you research companies, look for online reviews, as well as how the company responds to negative reviews (there are websites dedicated to company reviews). You can also check out the company’s LinkedIn page, do some research on the leadership, talk to people in your network, and look for general news about the company.

You may not find the perfect fit, but with some research, you can get closer to the mark!

Posted September 09, 2019 by

Why are so many college grads out of work?

If you’re a recent graduate and have been frustrated by a lengthy job search with poor results, you’re not alone. Despite low unemployment, many college grads are finding it difficult to land a job. Recent stats from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) show that the average college graduate needs 7.4 months to find a job.

The problem, according to surveys, is that employers are not impressed by today’s college graduates. More specifically, research shows that business leaders are not happy with the level of “career readiness” colleges are providing students. What’s more, students seem to agree. Research shows an increasing number of graduates feel that the colleges they attended haven’t done a very good job of preparing them for a professional career.

If this news isn’t bad enough, research also shows that today’s graduates face higher levels of unemployment than previous generations, in stark contrast to the current near record-low unemployment rate of 3.8%. The advice site AfterCollege reports 83% of college grads leave school before lining up their first job.

So, how do you beat these odds? Adjust your expectations and make sure you have the right skills.

Career coaches and other experts say that many grads have unrealistic expectations when it comes to their first professional job. More grads are unwilling to start “on the ground floor,” but that’s exactly where most recent grads begin their careers. Of course, starting positions, salary and career track vary by industry.

It’s okay to start in an entry-level position if the employer has discussed opportunities moving forward and outlined what the typical career path is within the company. Experts suggest interviewing for positions that may seem “below” your target but asking questions regarding opportunities and clearly stating your goals. Many large companies start everyone (regardless of grades and experience) at the same level as a way of training new employees and determining their skills. Ultimately, it might be better to start in the mailroom of the company you want to work for than to take a higher-level position in a business you’re not really interested in.

Next, make sure you have a well-rounded skill set. Today’s employers place a high value on “soft skills,” such as critical thinking, attention to detail and communication. (For more, read “Wanted: Soft Skills that Set You Apart and Make You a Valuable Employee” www.collegerecruiter.com/blog/2019/08/12/wanted-soft-skills-that-set-you-apart-and-make-you-a-valuable-employee/  If you feel like you could use some improvement on skills such as communication, ask for help from other professionals. Also, be sure to demonstrate these skills on your resume by providing examples. Most employers respond to experience more than coursework and grades.

While it may be discouraging to put all that time and money into getting a degree and then not get the job you want right out of the gate, persistence and patience do pay off.

Sources:

“Despite low unemployment, many college grads are out of work,” by Mark Huffman, Consumer Affairs, 2019. National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)

Posted August 01, 2019 by

Job Search Tips to Help You Find the Right Opportunity

While there may be more job openings than qualified applicants, that doesn’t mean finding the right opportunity is easy. In fact, searching for a job is hard work! And, like any task, it requires some “best practices” to get good results. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your job search.

Broaden your scope.

Instead of simply looking at specific job titles, take the time to look at the skills the company is seeking in a candidate. Job titles can differ among industries and organizations, so why limit yourself to a title. Matching your skill set to those required for a position can ensure a better fit and provide more options including some that you may not have considered.

Decide what is non-negotiable.

More is not always better. You could send out as many applications as possible and hope for the best, or you could narrow your search to positions and companies that offer a good fit. Finding a good fit includes knowing what you’re unwilling to accept. Make a list of things that are deal breakers. For instance, you may not be able to relocate due to family obligations. How far are you willing to commute each day? Are flexible hours a nicety or a necessity? Is a positive corporate culture high on your priority list? In other words, do some research before sending out applications and start with those companies that fit the bill.

Keep good records.

Being organized can help you in several ways. First, even if you receive a rejection, there could be another opportunity at this company in the future. Or, there may be something about the job description that really resonates with you and could lead you in a new direction. Second, if you do get an interview, you will want to refer back to the job listing to prepare. Finally, if you receive specific feedback from a company, it may help you change tactics, revise your resume or improve your cover letter.

Customize your cover letter and resume.

Jobs are not one size fits all. Just as you’re looking for a job that fits you, every company is looking for the “right” candidate with specific experience, skills and personality. With that in mind, be sure to tailor your cover letter and resume for each position you apply to, highlighting the experience and skills that the employer is seeking. Also, if you’re working off a form letter or template, be sure to double check that all the names are correct before sending it!

Prepare for the interview.

Don’t just show up. Remember, you’re trying to set yourself apart from other candidates, so come prepared with information about the industry, the company, the position, and if possible, the person you are interviewing with. Doing your homework will not only make you feel more confident, it will also demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and your willingness to go the extra mile.

Have questions ready.

Most people will wrap up an interview by asking the candidate if he/she has questions about the company or position. A surprising number of interviewees don’t come prepared with questions and fumble needlessly to think of something to ask (especially when you may already be nervous). Stand out from the pack by preparing a few thoughtful questions in advance. This is also a great opportunity to learn more about the company, it’s culture and the position. For some great questions to consider, read “8 Questions Job Seekers Should Ask.” https://www.collegerecruiter.com/blog/2019/07/01/8-interview-questions-job-seekers-should-ask/

Don’t forget to respond.

Manners matter! Always send a thank you note within a day or two of your interview. Make sure it reflects your enthusiasm about the position by sharing why you’re excited about the company and the job. To keep the conversation going, you can ask another pertinent question. Also, it’s a good idea to let some of your personality shine through instead of sending a standard, formal thank you note. After all, you want them to remember you!

(This article was adapted from “10 Job Search Tips to Help You Find Your Best Opportunity Every Time, by Nina Zipkin, Entrepreneur, 2010.)

College Recruiter is the leading job search site used by students and recent graduates of all 7,400+ one-, two-, and four-year colleges and universities who are searching for internships, part-time jobs, seasonal work, and entry-level career opportunities. Our customers are primarily Fortune 1,000 companies, federal government agencies, and other employers who want to hire dozens, hundreds, or thousands of students and recent graduates per year. Our mission is to connect great organizations with students and recent graduates.

Posted November 29, 2010 by

Tips on Taking Advantage of the Holidays When Searching for a New Job

With unemployment at double digits throughout much of the country and with serious concerns about joblessness weighing on the nation, “job” shopping is a holiday priority for many. Even though a layoff or job change can put a real damper on one’s Holiday spirit, now is not the time to slow your networking and job search efforts.

Total Career Success, a career transition firm specializing in helping individuals transition to better jobs for better pay and advance their careers, encourages job seekers to use the holiday spirit to their advantage. Ken Dawson, CEO, shared, “A common misconception about the Holiday season is that business ceases when the festivities begin. The holidays are a social time, with parties, association functions and increased travel. Smart job seekers use these holiday events to reconnect with old friends as well as develop their professional and personal contacts. Networking during the holidays more than any other activity will further their job hunt and position them to be ahead of their competition come January.” He recommends the following tips to ensure success in holiday job searches:

  • Attend holiday parties and join the festivities. You can make excellent contacts, which may otherwise take weeks to uncover. Given that the number one reason people find new positions is a positive attitude, be sure your holiday spirits include being positive and upbeat about your future.
  • Be open about your job search and share information not only about what you are seeking, but exchange information you have gained which can benefit others. Remember giving is better than receiving, and in this situation it will create better results for you!
  • Use your holiday cards, hardcopy or electronic, to update your friends, associates and family on your current status. A note on a card is an upbeat way to get the word out. Then follow-up to personally exchange greetings and contacts.
  • If you’re going to be traveling, plan ahead, notify potential employers, and let them know you’ll be in town and would like to drop by. The out-of-towner has the psychological advantage over someone locally.
  • Don’t hesitate to network with potential employers during the holiday season. With many companies in the midst of budget planning, managers may have tips on positions opening after the first of the year. And with company activities slowing during the holiday, it can be an ideal time to call a manager who may be catching up in his or her office.
  • Don’t fall into the temptation to wait the holidays out by surfing the internet. Online job leads are most productive when integrated with your networking. And be careful when posting your resume on the internet – many online resume services are not secure. Be sure the internet sites on which you post your resume have a posted privacy policy.
  • Use the holidays to organize your job search. Do your homework, research companies, and be prepared for increased activity after the first of the year.

Sheryl Dawson, co-author of Job Search: The Total System, said, “Whether out of a job or anticipating the ‘axe’, you shouldn’t use the holidays as an excuse not to pursue new opportunities. Many job searchers make the false assumption that the holidays are a bad time to search. Rather than slowing down job search activity, step up the pace.” Following the techniques of Job Search: The Total System, job seekers can use the holiday season to organize their job search campaign, target companies, formulate strategy, establish their goals and develop an action plan. Dawson went on to share, “The holidays can actually be an ideal time to prepare your job strategy so you can enter the New Year confident of your ability to sell yourself. The goal is not to simply get a job, but to advance your career and get a better job for better pay and a better life!”

Dawson added, “Of course the holidays are a perfect time to make contacts. Job seekers shouldn’t think they’d spoil the fun by letting people know they’re looking for work. With a cheerful attitude and a professional approach, a holiday job seeker has a definite edge over those who wait until after the New Year. Most of all, constructive activity helps eliminate the temptation for the job seeker to get down in the dumps during the holidays. No one likes a party pooper! Stay positive, flexible and proactive. Remember, you only need ONE job so do not focus on the unemployment statistics. Rather, focus on what you have to offer an employer – your skills, competencies and value. If your industry is down and you must consider alternative careers or industries, concentrate on your transferable skills. There is a job or opportunity that is right for you.”

Posted October 29, 2010 by

Leading Businesses Launch Training Initiative to Prepare U.S. College Students and Young Professionals for the Workforce

Today, Business Roundtable and HR Policy Association announced the release of JobSTART101: Smart Tips and Real-World Training, an online course for college students and recent graduates that introduces the professional skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. Even in a time of soaring unemployment, a survey revealed that 61 percent of U.S. employers report difficulty in finding qualified workers to fill vacancies at their companies. JobSTART101 addresses the gap between employers’ needs and workers’ skills by helping students understand the real-life challenges and expectations of the workplace.

The United States needs a well-equipped workforce that is prepared for the challenges of today’s job market. However, many college graduates do not have an opportunity to learn what employers expect and have not developed the professional skills that will help them succeed after they are hired.

“While our nation remains focused on job creation, it’s equally important to focus on ensuring that our workforce has the skills and training needed to succeed in today’s economy. Business leaders are concerned that many entry-level employees lack the communication and analytical skills that are necessary for sustained job success,” said William D. Green, Chairman and CEO of Accenture and Chairman of Business Roundtable’s Education, Innovation and Workforce Initiative. “JobSTART101 helps prepare new employees meet the challenges of the job market which is essential to building a competitive workforce.”

JobSTART101 is a first-of-its-kind course that’s free and available to college students and recent graduates nationwide. The course includes interactive components such as videos and course workbooks that cover topics ranging from how to communicate and solve problems to how to develop a professional persona that helps drive a career for long-term success. It is designed to be engaging and fast-paced, with the option for students to complete the entire course in approximately 90 minutes or tackle the six topical modules one at a time.

“A student or young professional who spends 90 minutes with this course will be a more productive employee and experience greater satisfaction in his/her first job without having to undergo extensive – and expensive – coursework or training,” says Alexandra Levit, an expert on business and workplace issues and the online instructor for JobSTART101.

Prior to today’s release, a group of college students provided feedback on the course. Six institutions participated in the pilot evaluation: California State University at East Bay, Coppin State University, DeVry University, Duke University, Northern Virginia Community College and University of Michigan. The majority of students reported that the course engaged their interest and included useful information and relevant examples that would help prepare them for situations they would face at work.

The need for JobSTART101 was identified by The Springboard Project – an independent commission of thought leaders convened by Business Roundtable – who recommended specific actions that would help Americans get the education and training they need to succeed in the evolving economy. The experts urged employers to better communicate workforce needs and expectations to students and increase American’s workplace readiness and competitiveness.