• 7-steps for successful federal government recruiting [tool and video]

    March 17, 2017 by

     

    To be a successful in federal government recruiting, you need deep knowledge of staffing systems and federal hiring practices and laws. However, you must also be willing to use innovative technologies and alternatives to posting on USAJOBS. College Recruiter spoke with Kyle Hartwig, ­­­­­­Senior Human Resource Specialist with the National Institute of Health (NIH). Hartwig developed a tool for federal government recruiters who are engaged in targeted outreach. The tool has 7 steps which guide recruiters in finding and engaging talent for hard-to-fill positions. There is a link below to the full 7 steps. Here you can read a summary and watch our 5-minute interview with Kyle to hear major tips and takeaways.

    This tool attempts to address unique challenges in federal government recruiting.

    According to Hartwig, a lot of agencies are afraid of doing active outreach. The reason is that they are concerned about is ethics. There are very stringent laws associated with hiring. Thus, HR specialists in agencies across government often shy away from taking real steps to find talent for unique roles. More often than not, many federal agencies don’t feel they have the freedom to recruit and find their own talent. With strict or even confusing federal staffing regulations, recruiters often opt for simply posting the opening on USAJOBS, or a few other places. After that, they just wait to see who applies. Hartwig says he built this tool because “we owe the American public our best efforts to keep our agencies fully staffed and running at capacity to fulfill their missions.”

    In another vein, many federal HR specialists are unaware of the specific competencies necessary in each role they recruit for. Understanding those competencies would allow them to actively pursue ideal talent. Hartwig says that this is possible. “I’ve found proactive and specific talent sourcing and outreach to be a challenge in the Federal government but not impossible.” His tool allows HR specialists to use best practices while also following federal guidelines.

    Don’t buy into the myths.

    Congress certainly provides guidance for government recruiting and hiring practices, and we definitely need to follow all regulations. But there are myths out there that perpetuate assumptions about recruitment and hiring practices. Hartwig says, “Don’t immediately think there’s a regulation against this, or there’s a law that prohibits this,” or there is a reason not to employ certain recruitment practices. Many times, Hartwig says, if you investigate further, you’ll find these are myths. Don’t be afraid to expand your outreach to beef up your candidate list. Hartwig says he is often confronted with the assumption that outreach is easy. Wrong. Outreach—the kind that results in high quality hires—takes a lot of work. “Working with an entire hiring team, and finding the exact target skills of the desired candidate is not easy.” The 7-step tool, however, breaks it down into a methodical process.

    The seven steps in the tool are not ground breaking. They are quite simple: Continue Reading

  • Diversity recruitment lessons from law enforcement: Inside the research

    March 06, 2017 by

     

    College Recruiter is introducing a regular feature called “Inside the research”. We will dive into recent research that can be applied to practitioners in recruitment, HR and talent acquisition. 

    Policing and race relations are topics of national interest these days. A study from the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice1 looked at how several law enforcement agencies market their opportunities to communities of color, and their success in diversity recruitment. Drawing a parallel between police and corporate recruitment highlights just how much effort recruiters must put into hiring diversity. That is, if you want results. Here are six lessons that recruiters can glean from this study.

    Understand that institutional racism is around us. “Police agencies have been criticized for what is perceived as institutional racism in the recruitment, retention and promotion of Blacks and other racial minorities,” write the authors of the study, titled “Recruiting for Diversity in Law Enforcement: An Evaluation of Practices Used by State and Local Agencies.” While police have been in the hot seat, recruiters of all sectors and industries must turn the mirror upon themselves. Many would agree that institutional racism exists in business across the board.

    Put your money where your mouth is. The authors write, “Today’s typical police recruitment campaign is managed almost exclusively using advertisements in those news publications that cater to the greater (White) community at large.” As a recruiter you might be thinking, but we advertise across many different channels, including Facebook, which is very diverse! That may be true, but try doing a little exercise. Compare all the places where you advertise, and how much money you spend on each channel, to your recruitment goals. If you have a goal around diversity, you have to put your advertising dollars where your mouth is.

    Police agencies desperately want to hire diversity, precisely because they know they have a trust problem with communities of color, particularly the African American community. The study points out what should be common sense: “When citizens see that a police department has personnel who reflect a cross-section of the community, they have greater confidence that police offers will understand their problems and concerns” (Streit, 2001). The study found, however, that these agencies are just not putting their money where their mouths are. There are points of contact in the community where recruiters may connect with more of their targeted candidates—churches, hair salons, shopping malls, for example—and yet the agencies studied here did not take advantage these opportunities.

    Be aware of hypocrisy. Companies who include diversity in their core values, and especially companies who flaunt their inclusive environments, would be wise to check their authenticity. The study reminds us of what we already know about policing: “when community partnerships are seen as being superficial, agencies risk alienating candidates who might be aware of hypocrisy where such activities are inconsistent with reality.” (Syrett & Lammiman, 2004). You should communicate your commitment to diversity, but just saying it doesn’t make it so. Effective diversity recruitment makes it so. Continue Reading

  • Assumptions that hurt hiring practices

    February 24, 2017 by

     

    Hiring assumptions are everywhere. They often reduce the effectiveness of the hiring process. Admittedly, it’s impossible to remove all potential subjectivity and bias from a hiring process. Even as we’ve introduced more technology into recruiting (for example, Applicant Tracking Systems), a human being–a flawed human being–makes the final decision after some person-to-person meetings. A candidate’s dress, speech, overall manner, specific responses to questions, and more can potentially trigger biases and assumptions in even the most level-headed hiring manager. Confirmation bias is hugely powerful psychologically, and we can’t ignore that.

    However, let’s call out some of the biggest hiring assumptions. Perhaps increased awareness can help us to be more vigilant, and minimize the impact of our biases on recruiting and hiring. Some of the most common hiring assumptions include:

    Assumption #1: “The perfect candidate is always out there somewhere!” This is an ideal, but often not the reality. To find the best candidate for a given job, a hiring manager/HR professional needs to understand three different concepts: (1) the work itself, (2) the current composition of the job market for that type of role, and (3) what other jobs in that geography (or remote) are offering. Internally at companies, HR and hiring managers tend to understand (1), but less so (2) and (3). If you need an “agile scrum manager,” and your local market just hired dozens of that role, then when you go to hire, it’s a depleted market. The perfect candidate may not be out there, and it may be better to delay the posting instead of hiring someone short of your needs because of this hiring assumption.

    Assumption #2: Complicated hiring processes weed out less passionate candidates: Many times, companies will create intense early-stage (top of funnel) hiring processes. For example, their candidates must take written tests, complete projects, etc. The theory is logical: having these as mandatory will weed out less-passionate “passive” candidates. Unfortunately, though, this is also a hiring assumption that can backfires. Intensive, jump-through-hoops hiring demands can end up just being barriers, and weed out highly-qualified people, who may simply choose not to apply. Additionally: if your hiring process is very demanding, that might be fine. But please make sure it correlates with competitive compensation at the end. No one wants to prove a skill set 17 times over to then be offered an under-market salary. Continue Reading

  • Don’t ask, “Do we have to pay interns?” The answer is always yes.

    February 13, 2017 by

     

    A common question in the space of college recruitment and talent acquisition is, “Should interns be paid?” Sometimes, unfortunately, the variation is “Do we have to pay interns?” In fact, there are over 7.4 million Google search results for that latter question, with the No. 1 hit typically being this ProPublica article asking “When is it OK not to pay an intern?” However, I look at it from the other side. In short: you should and need to pay interns. 

    First of all, paying interns is a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) issue. In the broadest terms, government and non-profits do not need to pay interns, whereas for-profit companies do need to pay interns. The U.S. Department of Labor actually developed six criteria for determining whether an intern can work unpaid. (You can find everything on the sexily-titled “U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet Number 71.”)

    The fourth criterion is worded as “… the employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern …”

    As College Recruiter president Steven Rothberg puts it, “I defy anyone to provide an example of an internship designed to deliver absolutely zero value to the employer.”

    Continue Reading

  • Millennials, Millennials, Millennials! (Or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Next Generation)

    February 08, 2017 by

     

    For a Gen-X professional like myself, all the recent talk about millennials in the workforce can make you feel a little bit like Jan from the Brady Bunch when it seemed like all she ever heard about was, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”. These days, it’s almost impossible to pick up an HR trade publication or even a top-tier business publication and NOT read something about, “Millennials this,” or, “Millennials that.” With all this talk about millennials, if you are not part of the generation that was born between 1980-2000, it’s hard not to feel like the neglected middle child. Except it’s not our metaphorical over-achieving older sibling who’s getting all the attention, it’s our hipper, hungrier, younger relation that’s nipping at our heels, hogging the spotlight and challenging our assumptions.

    But the truth of the matter is, with millennials making up more than 50 percent of the workforce and growing (they surpassed that milestone in 2015, according to Pew), there is no longer any denying the current and ongoing impact they are having on the way businesses operate today. And that’s a good thing. Millennials are precipitating change in many important and significant ways, I would argue for the better.

    As baby boomers continue to retire, companies are facing the challenge of attracting and retaining millennials to replenish their ranks. With this backdrop, understanding the kind of corporate culture millennials desire and the forces that motivate them is key. But when you dig a little deeper, you will find that many of the same forces that motivate millennials also have a broader positive impact on the entire workforce, no matter their generation or demographic.

    Millennials: They aren’t as different as you think

    There has been a lot of talk about how millennials are different from other generations, but the latest studies show that may not really be the case. The differences between the older and younger generations have more to do with age and life stages than with the different generational experiences they had growing up.

    Millennials share many of the same long-term career goals as older workers. These include making a positive impact on their organization, helping to solve social and environmental problems, and working with diverse people. They also want to work with the best, be passionate, develop expertise and leadership capabilities, and achieve both financial security and work–life balance. In fact, only a few percentage points separate the number of millennials, gen-Xers, and baby boomers who claim these as their top goals.

    That doesn’t mean that companies don’t need to adjust and evolve to attract and retain millennials; it just means that the changes they make will resonate with, and increase employee engagement among, all their employees, not just the youngest. And while there are technology solutions that can help out in this area, technology alone won’t compensate for a corporate culture that doesn’t focus on showing workers true appreciation.

    How to stop worrying and embrace the millennial transformation

    If you’re a business looking to boost millennial appeal and improve overall employee engagement, consider making the following changes:

    Emphasize a broader purpose. Create excitement around the company’s mission and purpose by connecting to broader social causes and cultural movements.

    Encourage collaboration. Break down silos and encourage collaboration between diverse teams across your organization. Use team-building activities to help employees get to know each other and build interdepartmental connections.

    Provide frequent feedback. Recognize contributions. Encourage employees to develop their skills and expertise by providing with training opportunities along with frequent feedback. Create a culture that recognizes and rewards achievements.

    Provide opportunity. Look for employees who are ready to take leadership positions and give them the chance to show what they can do. Hire and promote from within rather than bringing in outside experts.

    Reward and recognize. According to the “Happy Millennials” Employee Happiness Survey, 64% of millennials want to be recognized for personal accomplishments, but 39% of them report that their companies don’t offer any rewards or recognition. Show employees you appreciate and value their hard work by recognizing and rewarding their efforts and achievements.

    Getting the most out of millennials and other generations in the workforce requires creating a culture that encourages, supports and rewards success. When companies do this it has a positive ripple effect across the entire organization, regardless of generation. So don’t fear or resent the millennial onslaught. Embrace them and the positive changes they are bringing to a workplace near you.

     

    Josh Danson, AchieversJosh is Director of Content Marketing at Achievers. An accomplished marketing and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience in the fields of marketing and PR, Josh graduated from Kenyon College and lives in San Francisco with his wife and 9 year-old daughter. In addition to work and family, he is passionate about music, politics and fly fishing (not necessarily in that order). Twitter: @dansonshoes

  • Disciplining and terminating employees: A guide for first-time managers

    January 26, 2017 by

     

    For many managers, especially first-time managers, giving candid, constructive feedback is the toughest part of their jobs.

    And that’s why disciplining and/or terminating employees is so difficult for recent college grads and entry-level managers, says Don Maruska, founder and CEO of three Silicon Valley companies author of How Great Decisions Get Made and Take Charge of Your Talent.

    “Many supervisors shy away from giving effective feedback because they fear how employees will react,” says Maruska, who earned his BA magna cum laude from Harvard and his MBA and JD from Stanford, and also previously led projects for McKinsey & Company, a trusted advisor and counselor to many of the world’s most influential businesses and institutions. “When they finally give the feedback, they often have built up such frustration that the feedback becomes an unproductive battle rather than a positive step forward.”

    Because many managers lack the proper training, preparation, or confidence disciplining or terminating an employee, they may ignore the situation. That’s the wrong approach.

    “Don’t let the sun set without giving feedback on any performance that isn’t on target,” says Maruska. “That may sound like a tough standard, but every day that goes by only makes the situation more difficult.”

    Tips for disciplining an employee

    Lois Barth, a human development expert, career/life coach, motivational speaker and author of the new book, Courage to Sparkle, says managers should look to educate and create consensus versus simply just disciplining an employee, or scolding them for poor performance or breaking company rules or policies that don’t quite warrant termination. When there is a situation when you have to discipline someone, focus on their behavior versus them as a person, says Barth.

    “As a manager, when you can call out their behavior versus their value as a human being, people will feel less defensive,” says Barth. “Instead of punishing the employee, use your authority as a leader to educate them on why that policy is in place. When people can wrap their mind around the why they are usually pretty good with the what.”

    Maruska provides this highly effective formula for providing feedback when disciplining employees that yields constructive results:

    Intention: State your intention clearly in terms that show what’s in it for the employee and the firm. For example, “Sam, I want you to be a productive and successful contributor to our team’s growth.”

    Observation: Describe what you observe in objective terms. Think through your feedback so that you can deliver it in ways that identify behavior rather than challenge the person’s worth. For example, “When the sales reports arrive after noon on Friday, our team can’t get the results out in time for the sales people to plan next week’s priorities.”

    Request: Make it simple, short, and direct. For example, “Sam, will you give me a plan for how you can reliably deliver the sales reports by noon each Friday?”

    Confirmation: Be clear about your agreement. For example, “I’ll look forward to your plan by the close of the day tomorrow. OK?”

    Tips for terminating an employee

    Terminating an employee can be stressful and nerve-wracking for first-time managers. Managers who have access to HR departments, or legal resources within their company should utilize those resources before terminating an employee. It may even be beneficial to have HR lead the meeting, and/or be present in the room during the meeting. HR can also provide the terminated employee with information on paperwork, issue the final paycheck if applicable, and provide any other legal, contractual information, or papers to sign. If it’s a small company, don’t hesitate to ask the company owner or other leadership to be in the room when terminating an employee. Eric Meyer, a partner in Philadelphia-based Dilworth Paxson LLP’s labor and employment group, recommends at least two people be present during any termination meeting. The reason, says Meyer, is so one person can take notes of what is said. If there is litigation, this will avoid a dispute about what was actually said.

    In some cases, a termination is obvious, and warrants nothing more than a straight-forward statement, simply saying “thank you for your work, but we have decided to terminate your employment.” Be prepared for the employee to be frustrated, especially if they don’t feel it’s warranted.

    If the conversation goes deeper, do not attack the individual.

    “Terminations get messy when the terminated employee feels that his or her self-worth is on the line,” says Maruska. “You need to separate performance from the person.”

    If feedback is given during a termination meeting, especially if an employee is let go through a layoff, or because the company is downsizing, highlight the strengths of the employee, and tell the employee you’d like to support them in their next step or opportunity. “This is not only more humane but also quicker and cheaper than making the termination a contest of wills,” says Maruska.

    And finally, practice before you go live with either a discipline or termination meeting. Being straightforward and clear can be a tough transition for recent college grads, especially new managers who are now managing friends, so find opportunities to practice giving feedback with another manager, colleague, or friend. Focus on your tone, body language, and non-verbal cues to come off polished and professional. Most of all, be confident in your delivery.

    Having difficult conversations is difficult. But it’s part of what it takes for millennials to be a good manager. Follow these tips and prepare now to succeed later when terminating or disciplining and employee.

    Want more management tips and career advice? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • How Millennial managers are different

    January 23, 2017 by

     

    Contributing writer Ted Bauer

    When Millennials become managers of others, what can we expect? How do they manage differently?

    We’ve been managing in similar ways for generations now (maybe as far back as 1911), but in the last few years, Millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation. Right this second, being younger and all, Millennials aren’t running many companies yet. But they are managing: some research says 62% of global workers have had a Millennial boss at least once. 

    One important distinction here is that oftentimes, Millennials see themselves as leaders even if the job title doesn’t back that up. That was a key finding in a recent report from The Hartford. Here are a few other trends we see in Millennial managers:

    The work-life balance issue: Millennials are known for demanding work-life balance, but when they become managers, they are actually struggling with work-life balanceBeing young, they might feel they have more to prove in a role, and thus feel more pressure or spend more time at work. Other research has backed this up, calling Millennials one of the biggest workaholic generations. If you work for a Millennial who spends 12 hours+ per day at work and you feel the need to match or exceed that, this aspect of Millennial managers could be a con.

    Less command and control. More collaboration: This is a big theme of Millennial managers, with the common logic being that they grew up in more group activities — and thus feel comfortable in that setting. This is a very good thing, as one study has shown command and control management styles are literally taking years off people’s lives.  Continue Reading

  • Rugby championship: A unique college recruitment solution

    January 20, 2017 by

     

    If you think rugby has nothing to do with recruitment, think again. A Rugby championship was the unique solution to a recruitment challenge that Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company encountered. Jessica Choi, Assistant Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity, shared details with College Recruiter.

    What challenges was Penn Mutual facing that prompted the unique solution of sponsoring the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship?

    LIMRA states that the current average age of a financial adviser is 56 years old.1 From an industry perspective, we needed to find a way to connect with recent graduates and college students in order to get in front of the new generation of financial advisers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 300,000 advisers will be retiring over the next 10 years, which means there will be a 27 percent increase in adviser roles in this space.2 This is a tremendous opportunity for the life insurance industry, and connecting with the rugby community has been a great way for us to engage with college campuses and their students, coaches and administration in a different way. The rugby community is so welcoming and enthusiastic and has been a positive recruiting partner for us in this space.

    What does the Collegiate Rugby Championship say about what it’s like to work with Penn Mutual?
    The number one response that we get from the participants of the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship and outside rugby events is, “Thank you.” Because of our true support of the game and through our partnership with United World Sports, we have been able to make an impact on the growth of rugby in the United States. Rugby continues to grow and we are optimistic that we can provide career opportunities for ruggers, whether they are students, new graduates or alumni.

    What changes has the company seen since starting its rugby sponsorship, in terms of hiring trends?
    In terms of hiring trends, we take on a multi-faceted approach, so we employ other efforts in addition to rugby. We hired a chief marketing and digital officer because we strive to be a progressive company with a social engagement strategy. Typically you don’t see an executive with “digital” in his or her job title. Through our omnichannel marketing strategy and increased social media presence, we feel as though anyone who is engaged with us knows that we are growing and hiring.

    We have also changed from recruiting talent to attracting talent. We now get more phone calls from talent, asking about the organization more than ever before. I believe it’s because we’ve shifted the model in terms of attracting, not recruiting, talent to Penn Mutual.

    Why are relationships important at Penn Mutual, and how does the company live that value?

    Focusing on relationships is one of our core values at Penn Mutual. One of the things that differentiates Penn Mutual from other companies is the fact that we live and breathe our values every day. My fellow colleagues live their passion and everyone is truly passionate about our purpose to empower our clients to live life with confidence. We’ve all been able to learn about the impact life insurance makes on people’s lives and we utilize different techniques to keep the company moving forward in innovative ways. We truly live the company’s values and feel a sense of belonging at the company.

    What are Penn Mutual’s overall college recruitment strategies?  Continue Reading

  • How to prevent high turnover

    January 16, 2017 by

     

    Contributing writer Ted Bauer

    Turnover is a concern for businesses. While exact loss numbers around employees departing is hard to track, most CFOs agree that it hits the bottom line. There are obviously intangible issues with turnover, too. The remaining employees (a smaller number) have to share the same (or greater) workload, stressing them out. And certain employees are huge knowledge bases or social connectors. Losing them can strip your business of valuable resources well beyond any cost incurred hiring and training the replacement.

    On top of all this, there is some belief that Millennials change jobs faster than Boomers. (Statistically, though, average U.S. job tenure is about 4.6 years — and in 1983, it was 3.5 years. So Millennials have actually gotten more loyal to companies.)

    How can turnover be prevented, regardless of generation?

    Let’s begin with a little science. Paul Zak is a specialist in researching oxytocin (a chemical in your brain). He gave a popular TED Talk in 2001. Oxytocin is one of the biggest drivers of trust-based relationships in humans, and more oxytocin release — which is tied to much greater happiness and less corporate turnover — tends to come from autonomy over work as opposed to increased compensation.

    There’s Idea No. 1, then: focus less on compensation as a driver of behavior, and more on providing employees with autonomy over what they can do, i.e. do not micro-manage them at every turn.

    The second idea is something called “The Hawthorne Effect.”

    Per Wikipedia, the Hawthorne Effect is “when individuals modify or improve an aspect of their behavior in response to being observed.” This all comes from a place called Hawthorne Works (get it?) in Cicero, Illinois and some experiments done with light bulbs. If you make the room more bright — increase the light bulb, in other words — workers end up being more productive. But if you dim the light bulb again, productivity drops back to normal (or below-normal levels).

    The modern application of the Hawthorne Effect, then, is that if you’re more responsive to worker needs, those workers will be more productive. Care about employees. Listen to them. Engage with them. Be supportive of them.

    Too often, we think we can solve an issue like turnover or low employee morale/engagement with a new software suite. We can solve accounting issues that way, or even business process (BPO) concerns, but engagement and turnover are distinctly people issues. You solve people issues by investing in people, not technology. That’s the big takeaway here.  

    Want more recruiting and retention advice? Stay connected to College Recruiter on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Takeaways from College Recruiting Bootcamp

    January 06, 2017 by

    Photo from exaqueo.com

    We asked a few people who attended last month’s College Recruiting Bootcamp about their takeaways. Several weeks after the event, they are still thinking about our conversations regarding relationships, data and metrics, and work culture.

    Cassandra Jennings, University Relationship Manager, FDM Group: The greatest takeaway from the bootcamp experience is that no matter the industry or company, we have a shared need to connect and build campus relationships that are successful and make a difference to the bottom lines at our firms.  Though technology is ever changing, students still need to connect and we need to wade through all of the external noise and help students understand who we are, what we do and how we work in an honest and down-to-earth voice.

    Along with the challenges of messaging, we also need to keep an eye on meaningful metrics to help us communicate the importance of university relations and the positive impact it makes on the business.

    We are a few weeks away from the bootcamp and I’m still thinking about how our company, FDM Group can convey our brand on campus in a meaningful way.  We hired more than 600 students in 2016 and anticipate that our campus recruitment numbers will increase exponentially this year as our business continues to grow in North America. This is an exciting time at our firm and we need students to understand that this is a great opportunity to get valuable work experience and a great place to launch a career with us.  Continue Reading

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