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Posted July 29, 2016 by

The best and worst career advice your parents ever gave you

It is only natural that you will seek your parents’ advice when you are getting ready to start your own career. After college, this is the source of many widely-awaken nights and several concerns and you should be able to rely on your folks for guidance on this matter.

And you are very likely to follow what they tell you, especially if they are successful people. But, the thing is that sometimes they might mislead you just out of trying to keep you away from frustration and disappointment. Or, in other cases, they might not know your industry of choice well enough to understand its particularities.

Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

Photo courtesy of StockUnlimited.com

So here is a curated list of the best and worst career advice that parents have given to their children. This way, you can prepare yourself to identify better when you should follow their lead and when a thank you and a smile should be the end of it.

# The Worst

So, let’s start with three pieces of advice where parents got it all wrong then.

You must get a degree.”

Most parents still think that if you don’t get a degree from a university, you are ruined for life. That you will never be able to get a good job or even to provide for yourself, as the best opportunities are available only for those with a wall full of certifications.

But, while it can be true for some careers, which require specific qualifications and licences, such as medical doctors and law professional, it isn’t mandatory for everybody.

There are many companies out there happy to contract talents that have never been to any university but who have proved themselves as capable of doing the job better than their competitors. And this is because a large number of these businesses are owned and run by people who also have no degree, for starters.

Of course, you need to develop several skills so to be employable, but most of them can be acquired and improved through technical courses, workshops, e-learning, and even self-taught.

Plus, there isn’t anything stopping you from becoming an entrepreneur yourself, and you won’t need any certification for it.

A job exists to pay your bills. You don’t have to enjoy it.”

You will spend from eight to who-knows-how-many hours in your job in the future. And the day has only 24 hours, and you will be asleep through other 8 hours, plus all other mandatory things you must do, such as eating, commuting and having a shower.

So, yes, you might not need to be absolutely in love with your job, but you must like it enough so to avoid that it will turn your life into a nightmare. Something has to attract you about what you are doing, from your daily tasks to your colleagues and boss, or you won’t be able to cope with it.

You can do anything you want.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t true. It is lovely to hear that but we all know that there are some skills that we just don’t seem able to learn them the right way.

You might dream with the idea of becoming a surgeon, but you know you have never managed to cut a piece of paper following a straight line, for example. Or you wish to become a professor, but get bored when trying to write a 20-page assignment.

So, yes, you can learn enough to become an average professional, but if you want to stand out from the crowd and be successful in your career, you will have to identify your strengths and choose a path where they can be improved and bring you proper results.

# The Best

Now that we survived all those bad ideas, let’s have a look at three pieces of advice from parents that you should really take into consideration from now on.

You have to work hard to get what you want.”

Nothing could be more true than it. The time when you used to lie down on the sofa and ask money to your parents is long gone, as you probably already noticed. And it won’t get any better.

So if you want anything in life, you will have to work for it and hard. You will have to put it as your top priority, get your time organised, make sure that you know what you want, and be persistent about it, even if the challenges start to seem too overwhelming to you at some stage.

Don’t lose your integrity.”

No matter what you are aiming for, you should never lose your integrity. If nothing else, it will guarantee that you sleep well at night with a clean consciousness.

It is very easy to think that bending some rules, or even ignoring them altogether, is a fair way to get a job or a promotion. That is a dog-eat-dog world, and if you don’t do it, someone else will do it anyway. So you protect and look after yourself first.

But while this is understandable, it is a resource that can backfire quite often. If you lie about your skills, for example, you know that you will be unmasked sooner or later. If you do anything morally or criminally wrong so to protect yourself or your job (or somebody else in your job), you will get yourself in trouble at some stage.

And the price you will pay for it certainly won’t be worthwhile.

A job doesn’t define the person you are.”

So, yes, you prioritize your career above everything in the beginning, even relationships and family, and this is OK. But, it doesn’t mean that, if you fail, you will have failed as a person as well.

A job is just part of what you do in life, and there are so many variables gravitating around it that you can’t be accountable for everything that goes wrong there. For starters, it is also a responsibility of your boss to make sure that you get your work done correctly, not only yours.

You might be a much better professional in another company, or maybe in another career. There is nothing wrong in making changes. Also, you shouldn’t take criticism personally – what is being said is about the task, not about you as a person, remember it.

To Sum Up

Our parents certainly are the first people we should look for advice when we are trying to start a career for ourselves. They have been there, they know us well, and want the best for us, so they will support us in our journey to the best they can.

On the other hand, exactly because of it, be ready to understand that some of their suggestions might be just wrong or not suit your needs or of the path that you chose. So learn to listen to everything, and then to evaluate what you will do or not with the information you got from your parents.

 Want more great career advice? Follow College Recruiter on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Patrick Cole, guest writer

Patrick Cole, guest writer

About Patrick Cole, the author:

Patrick Cole is an entrepreneur and freelancer. He is also a contributing blogger for several websites. Patrick loves self-education and rock music. Connect with Patrick via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter

Posted April 16, 2016 by

6 apps for college students

Long gone are the days of card catalogs, Trapper Keepers, and other broken systems our parents had to wrestle with in order to do A-grade productive work. We are a generation of cyborgs forever enhanced by technology such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and the apps these machines enable.

LD prod/Shutterstock.com

LD prod/Shutterstock.com

Okay, so maybe calling us a generation of cyborgs is a bit of a stretch, but to be successful a system is necessary. Thankfully many of us are lucky enough to take advantage of a plethora of great applications that make having a system a little simpler which makes being a student a little more manageable and a little less stressful.

Task Management is basically what life boils down to once you’re on your own and you don’t have mom and dad forcing study habits on you and trying to instill within you the virtues of priority. This is why it is imperative that you replace your parents with a task management app. My personal choice is Todoist. Todoist is a minimalist to-do-list app with all the features needed to keep tabs on what needs to get done and when. The app features natural language dictation, which basically means that instead of having to click through various tabs and settings to create a task, just type, “Algebra homework Thursday at five pm” and Todoist will create a task titled, “Algebra Homework” and remind you to do it at five-o’clock Thursday night. Todoist is available on almost any platform for free and is easily the most intuitively designed to-do application there is. There are, however, many other options like Wunderlist or Anydo if Todoist isn’t right for you.

A Calendar App like a to-do app is there to help you prioritize what you need to be doing and when and where you need to be doing it. However, instead of making lists of each individual task, a good calendar app allows you to quickly block out sections of time to plan out your day and easily view that day so it can be kept up with. The app I use is called Fantastical which also has natural language dictation like Todoist. Fantastical also syncs seamlessly with your Google Calendar, your iCloud Calendar, and any other calendar you might be tied into.

However, in spite of Fantastical’s inclusion in my productivity system, it is not the calendar I would recommend. Instead consider Sunrise Calendar. Sunrise Calendar has basically all of the same functionality as Fantastical, but it’s free and available cross-platform whereas Fantastical has a hefty price tag of $4.99 and is available on both IOS and in the Mac App Store.

Note Taking apps are a no-brainer. Try as you might, you are not going to do well in any lecture based class if you can’t take notes. App developers know this, and that is why there are too many note taking apps to count. Fortunately one sticks out above the rest, and that is Evernote. Evernote is the note taking app for any project really. The app finds use well out of college to collect recipes, shopping receipts, bank statements and some even use it as a word processor. Evernote takes any kind of note from text notes to audio recordings. Once a note is taken you can organize them all by notebooks or by tags or by ways I haven’t even tried yet. Evernote is free to use, very powerful, and accessible on just about any device. If you don’t like Evernote, you can try Microsoft’s OneNote which ties in nicely with the Microsoft ecosystem if that’s your thing. You could also just use Microsoft Word or Google Docs, but Evernote is a cut above the rest in my opinion.

File Storage apps for the most part go unnoticed and just sit there on your computer screen or tucked away into a folder on your phone, but they are far more useful than we give them credit for. Day one at college you are going to receive about a thousand syllabi. Do yourself a favor;  tuck all the hard copies away into a folder where you can find them later for back up. Then ask your professors to send you the syllabi digitally and save them all to an app like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Onedrive. This way you will always be able to access them and tweak them to accommodate snow days or when your professor moves a test around. It doesn’t really matter which of these apps you decide to use; just pick whichever one offers the most free storage possible.

Finally, in a category all their own are Miscellaneous apps. These are the apps that don’t really fit in any of the other categories but are still hugely helpful. First is Flux. Flux is actually a piece of software you can download onto your computer that will change the type of light your computer emits throughout different times of the day. At night Flux adjusts your computer screen to stop using blue light which can mess with your sleep patterns and switches to a less disruptive red light. The change on the screen is subtle, but when you have to pull an all-nighter and need to get a few hours of sleep, you’ll be happy to start the day feeling a little more refreshed than you otherwise would have.

Next is an app I use almost every day called Pocket. Pocket is a digital “pocket” where you can tuck things into to be viewed later. Reading an interesting article but have class in ten minutes? Save it to Pocket. Your roommate sent you a funny fail compilation, but you have a paper to write? Save it to Pocket. Pocket also has an article view function that takes the articles you save and converts them to plain text while removing advertisements and page-fluff. Finally an app that automates your life! If This Then That or IFTTT for short lets you create little recipes that help eliminate pesky tasks. One example is If I tag an article in Pocket “#research” Then save it to my research paper notebook in Evernote. I could go on and on, but for the sake of article length just download these apps, give them a whirl, and thank me later.

Billy Stidham, guest writer

Billy Stidham, guest writer

I coasted through high school and was never a productive student. I put all my homework off until the last minute if I even did it at all. However, during my senior year, I started to take my grades and the idea of college seriously. Once I got to college I lacked basic study habits. I had no system, but now these apps have turned me – a super procrastinator – into a cyborg of proficiency.

Billy Stidham is a writer and blogger. Hoping to earn a living by writing, Billy is pursuing his Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. You can follow Billy on Twitter @I_R_Beast  and on Linkedin.

Posted March 30, 2016 by

Narrowing your candidate pool

When recruiting college students and recent grads, it’s important to narrow your candidate pool as you go through the college recruiting process.

This article and accompanying three videos, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, feature The WorkPlace Group experts Dr. Domniki Demetriadou, Partner and Director of Assessment Services, and Dr. Steven Lindner, Executive Partner. The videos are part of a 15-video series featuring The WorkPlace Group experts.


If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

Employers can become overwhelmed by the number of candidates in the candidate pool, depending on the size of the employer and number of internships and entry-level jobs available. The process of narrowing down the pool typically begins with resume review.

Individuals apply in numerous ways: resume books, walk-in applicants, job boards, career fairs, on-campus interviews, etc. Regardless of how candidates apply, resumes must be reviewed. WPG uses a resume checklist which is scientifically constructed. Reviewing resumes objectively allows employers to make clear inferences about candidates’ qualifications.

In high volume situation, particularly for employers with large college recruiting programs, WPG recommends using a web screen to narrow the candidate pool. The web screen allows employers to quickly qualify or disqualify candidates. Next, employers conduct either a phone screen or video-based interviews. This step helps the recruiters get to know the candidates on a deeper level.

After conducting these screening steps, the employer would interview the candidate face-to-face: either an OCI (on-campus interview) or an interview on site at the employer location. This would help the employer to decide whether to hire or not hire the individual and to decide whether to conduct background checks, drug screenings, and other necessary paperwork.


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The qualities employers should be looking for when recruiting candidates can vary depending on the organization and the job function/position. The WorkPlace Group develops an ideal candidate profile featuring the requirements for the position and nice-to-haves when working with employers. Employers should also consider what learning objectives they want to set for each position—what do they want student interns to learn? By working through this process before interviewing candidates, employers can eliminate the problem of hiring the wrong candidates for positions.

The last video offers specific tips for narrowing the candidate pool.


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1) Focus on soft skills in interviews, not technical competencies, when interviewing interns and recent grads. Employers must remember that students are students, not polished professionals.

2) Use situational questions, not behavioral interview questions. Ask “can do, not have done” type questions. Students won’t necessarily be able to draw upon past experience when answering interview questions, but they can explain what they might do hypothetically. They can demonstrate problem solving skills when answering situational questions.

3) When hiring for technical roles, focus assessment at the right level. You can’t expect new grads to be experts in technical areas; you can expect them to have an appropriate level of skill based on their education and level of experience, though. Talk to them about their projects in particular classes to gain insight into their studies.

Always be as rigorous and scientific as possible in the interview process.

 

For more tips on college recruiting from The WorkPlace Group, subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out all 15 videos featuring experts Dr. Domniki Demetriadou and Dr. Steven Lindner.

Follow our blog, and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Dr. Steven Lindner, Executive Partner, WPG

Dr. Steven Lindner, Executive Partner, WPG

Dr. Steven Lindner is the executive partner of The WorkPlace Group®, a leading “think-tank” provider of recruitment services assisting companies ranging from small, fast growing businesses to multinational Fortune 500 companies. He is an expert in Talent Acquisition and Assessment, has appeared in many radio and TV interviews and a frequent presenter at HR conferences.  He writes weekly employment articles for the NY Daily News and holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Stevens Institute of Technology.

 

 

 

Dr. Domniki Demetriadou, Partner and Director of Assessment Services, WPG

Dr. Domniki Demetriadou, Partner and Director of Assessment Services, WPG

Dr. Domniki Demetriadou, is a partner and director of assessment services of The WorkPlace Group®, a leading “think-tank” provider of recruitment services assisting companies ranging from small, fast growing businesses to multinational Fortune 500 companies.  Demetriadou is an expert in Talent Acquisition and Assessment, and a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the American National Standards Taskforce. She is a frequent presenter at HR conferences and has led many multinational recruiting programs. She holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The Graduate Center at Baruch College, CUNY.