ARTICLES, BLOGS & VIDEOS

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

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 26, 2019 by

How Important are Internships and Co-Ops?

Employers ranked identifying talent early through internships and co-ops as the most important recruiting factor.

It can be a bit confusing trying to determine what employers want from you as a student or recent grad. While teachers often focus on education and technical skills, surveys show that employers are looking for soft skills, such as being a good communicator and having the ability to work well in teams. The truth is that candidates need to be well-rounded, with a balance of necessary skill sets. However, among all the factors that employers consider, it appears that gaining experience and demonstrating your talents through internships and co-ops ranks at the top of the list.

Specifically, a recent survey of employer members of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicated that those mostly large employers are most concerned with “identifying talent early through internships and co-ops,” with 94.9% indicating it as “very” or “extremely” important.

This makes sense when you consider the value of experience from both the students’ and the employers’ standpoints. As a student or recent grad, working in an industry, company or job function, allows you to determine whether you’re really interested in pursuing this career. A job description is one thing, but actually doing the work is another. From the employer’s view, your experience means you have successfully demonstrated your skills and may require less training to get up to speed. In other words, you start with an advantage.

While grades are important, the ability to apply your skills in a real-world situation is critical. Internships and co-ops give you a chance to put what you learned in the classroom to use. Again, not only do you learn what tasks you excel at and what areas you may need to improve upon, employers find it “less risky” to hire someone who has proven themselves.

Finally, internships and co-ops help you build a reputation and form relationships. While you may or may not receive a job offer from your internship company, your supervisor can be a great reference or write a recommendation that helps you land your dream job. Or, a co-worker could introduce you to someone who is hiring at another company. Networking can be powerful!

If you’re still trying to decide if you should apply for an internship or co-op, or just spend next summer chillin’ on the beach, here are a few stats to consider:

  • Your competition has experience: In 2018, over 84% of U.S. college grads had at least one internship or co-op on their resume.
  • Potential job offers: Approximately 50% of students who intern/co-op accept positions with their intern/co-op employer after graduation. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), participation in multiple internships in college helps students to secure employment or enter grade school within six months of graduation.
  • Higher starting salary: Studies by NACE show that graduates with internships and/or co-op experience reported a 9-12% higher salary, on average, than those without similar experience.

Not only do internships and co-ops help you grow personally and professionally, they give you a significant advantage during your job search.

Sources:

2018 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report, National Association of Colleges and Employers

“Just how important are internships and co-ops?” by Katy Arenschield, June 2017.

“Study Shows Impact of Internships on Career Outcomes,” by NACE Staff, October 11, 2017.

Posted August 19, 2019 by

After the Interview: What Not to Do

As Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” (If you don’t know who Tom Petty is, stop reading now and go listen to some of his music!) While a job interview can be very stressful, waiting to hear back can be even harder. If you prepared for the job interview and answered the questions to the best of your ability, you’ve done everything you can, and now it’s out of your control. Or is it?

Even if you aced the interview, you could jeopardize your chances of getting the job by:

Apologizing or “correcting” your responses.

It’s human nature to replay the job interview in your mind. But, obsessing over what you might have said differently or wishing you could take back a comment is a waste of time and energy. A more productive idea is to write down things that you’d like to do differently in the next job interview or examples you want to include. However, never include an apology or correction in your thank you letter or follow-up communication. Chances are, the interviewer didn’t even notice the “error” you made or the remark you wish you hadn’t, so why point it out? Second guessing yourself shows a lack of confidence.

Harassing the hiring manager.

It’s standard practice to send a thank you letter within 24-48 hours of the job interview. Once you’ve done that, don’t communicate until the date the hiring manager told you they’d be in touch. Unless you have a very urgent question or something major comes up, there’s no reason for you to contact the hiring manager.

Should you email or call to let him or her know that you’re still very interested in the job? No. What about a quick note to ask about the status? Again, no. Hiring managers are inundated with messages already. Don’t reach out again until a few days after the date he or she told you that you’d be hearing from them.

Posting anything about the interview on social media.

If you had a great job interview, it can be tempting to share your excitement about the opportunity or experience on social media. You might even think it’s cool to tag the company. However, you don’t know what the company’s social media policy is, so by posting you might be violating their standards unknowingly. Play it safe and keep your thoughts private, and brag to your friends and family offline.

Ghosting the hiring manager.

If you accept another job offer or you’ve decided you don’t want this job for any reason, send an email to the hiring manager to let him or her know. Thank the hiring manager for his or her time and the job interview, then explain that you’ve chosen to pursue another opportunity. The hiring manager will appreciate that you took the time to keep him or her informed and will remember your good manners. The business world is smaller than you think, so it’s very possible that you’ll cross paths again at some point, so don’t risk burning bridges.

Finally, don’t stop your job search or quit your job, no matter how well the job interview went. Nothing is official until you receive a formal job offer and sign a contract. Even if the hiring manager hints that the job is yours, another candidate may come along who is a better fit, or the manager’s manager may decide that you’re not right for the job. Any number of scenarios could occur.

It can be hard to be patient, especially if the job you interviewed for is an opportunity you’re really excited about. But, remember, patience is a virtue and proper etiquette is important.

(This article is based on “What Not to do After a Job Interview,” by Ashira Prossack, Forbes, July 2019)

Posted August 12, 2019 by

Wanted: Soft Skills that Set You Apart and Make You a Valuable Employee

Congratulations! After years of hard work, you’ve graduated and now feel confident that your education has given you the technical skills you’ll need to get the job you want. That’s great. But, lots of other graduates possess the same degree and meet the technical job requirements, so what will set you apart? What are the skills employers want?

According to a 2019 Cengage survey of hiring managers and human resources professionals, employers want college graduates who have “soft skills” as well as technical expertise. What’s more, they’re having difficulty finding candidates who possess these soft skills. Specifically, the skills employers want include:

1.The ability to listen. The most in-demand skill was the ability to listen; 74% of employers said this was a talent they valued. It doesn’t sound hard to do, but research shows that a whopping 90% of people are not good listeners! We spend far too much time practicing the art of talking and not enough time learning to really listen. Good listeners can discern the hidden meaning vs. the literal meaning. For instance, a lot of communication lies in the tone, emotional cues and body language of the speaker. To be an effective listener, you must, as they say, “read between the lines.” Listen for the tone of voice and pick up on non-verbal cues, which involves your full attention. Effective listeners also gain understanding vs. simply getting an answer to a question. Many people stop listening after they think they’ve gotten the answer they want but fail to truly understand the full meaning. Again, this requires attentiveness and, in some cases, asking for clarification or more information. Other attributes of a good listener are letting the speaker finish without interrupting, waiting for the speaker to finish before formulating a reply in your mind and listening with an open mind. There is a key difference between hearing and actually listening.

2. Good communication skills. This goes hand in hand with listening. Most problems in the workplace stem from poor communication, which is why employers place such a high value on this skill. In today’s digital age, this means solid writing and speaking skills, both in person and over the web with video conferencing and email. Clarity, grammar, spelling, enunciation and organization all play important roles in effective communication. You can begin demonstrating these skills with your cover letter and resume—and of course, during your interview.

3. Attention to detail. This is defined as “the ability to achieve thoroughness and accuracy when accomplishing a task.” Again, on the surface, this doesn’t sound that hard to achieve. However, being thorough and accurate involves planning, organization, and the ability to break down a big project into manageable steps. To demonstrate this skill, come to interviews prepared with examples of assignments or work that involved thoroughness and accuracy. (A word to the wise: If you have spelling or grammatical errors in your cover letter and/or resume, it shows that you are not paying attention to detail!).

4. Time management. No matter the industry, being efficient and meeting deadlines are important to a company’s overall performance. An employee who can manage multiple projects at a time, keep track of deadlines and use time resourcefully is a valuable asset and it allows managers to focus on more important tasks than micromanaging every employee! Start demonstrating this skill by showing up on time for interviews and then discuss projects that involved successful time management.

5. Critical thinking and problem solving. Every job comes with its own set of challenges and unexpected setbacks. How will you handle them? Companies want employees who can objectively examine information to determine the best way to solve problems. A valuable employee is one who can find creative solutions to problems and act, instead of being stymied by obstacles. Come to interviews prepared to provide examples of how you’ve successfully handled problems or implemented solutions.

While these five soft skills made the “most wanted” list, other important talents that employers are looking for include initiative, teamwork, emotional intelligence and digital literacy.

“There is a need for more soft skills training, both in college and on the job, and today’s learners and graduates must continue to hone their skills to stay ahead,” said Michael Hansen, chief executive of Cengage.

Companies can train employees in technical skills, but soft skills are much harder to teach. Therefore, by demonstrating that you possess these sought-after skills from the first touchpoint in your job search to the final interview, you can grab an employer’s attention and set yourself apart.

Sources:

  • “Survey: Employers Want ‘Soft Skills’ from Graduates,” by Jennifer Bauer-Wolf, Insidehighered.com, January 2019.
  • “7 Skills Employers Look for Regardless of the Job,” by Ashley Brooks, Rasmussen.edu, October 2018.
  • “90% of People are Poor Listeners. Are you the Remaining 10%?” by Rima Pundir, Lifehack, 2019.
Posted August 02, 2019 by

How to Use Your Disability as a Strength When Applying for a Job

Lois Barth is a Human Development Expert, Speaker, Life and Business Coach, and Author of the book, “Courage to SPARKLE; The Audacious Girls’ Guide to Creating A Life that Lights You Up.” Lois will be a panelist at the College Recruiting Bootcamp on D&I at EY on December 12th in New York City.

Did you know that bones that were broken and healed properly are stronger than bones that have never been broken at all? It’s a fact, as well as a great metaphor for those with disabilities. As a life and business coach, I often tell my clients to use that fact in an interview, not harping on the disability, but being strategic in sending the message that adapting to, and in some cases, overcoming a disability, makes them a far stronger candidate than someone who has never gone through adversity.

There are, in fact, many ways to turn a disability into a desired ability when applying for a job. Of course, it all depends on the type of disability, the position and the company culture.

Start with Some Research

There are many factors to consider about a company before applying for a job. I guide my career-coaching clients who are getting ready for an interview to think of themselves as an investigator out to solve a mystery. Begin the process by looking at the company on a broad-stroke level. What does the website tell you about the organization? You can learn a lot about the culture from the messaging, the use of buzz words (such as diversity, inclusion, team engagement), company values, charitable contributions, community involvement and recent initiatives. Additionally, pay attention to the images: Do they include photos of employees who are diverse? Do the images reflect a company that is more conservative, or one that is more progressive?

You can also Google them to discover any current or past newsworthy trends in both their industry and their organization that may impact hiring. For instance, if they just received a “Best Places to Work” award, it’s likely that their culture is positive and inclusive. On the other hand, if you find a backlash for recent marginalizing of a group, you may want to steer clear. Review sites like Glass Door can be tricky because it’s usually the employees who have extreme experiences (they either love it or hate it) that take the time to write, which means you’re not getting the full picture. You may, however, notice themes among the reviews.

Once you get a company overview, take a deeper dive into the job description. What are the primary functions? Whom are you serving? What core competencies are they looking for and is your disability an asset (it often is) or a deficit? How do you spin it to either show how your disability will make you a better candidate or at the very least, won’t hinder your performance?

Use Story-Selling to Make Your Pitch

Recently I worked with a client whose disability was fairly obvious from the get-go, but given his non-profit focus, it was an asset, because he had overcome so much to get where he is and the job that he was interviewing for was serving an underserved and neglected population. I strongly suggested that he lead with his “story-selling pitch” which was a wonderfully touching story about learning to deal with his disability, and how, in the process, he learned so much about empathy, persistence, critical thinking, and determination, all of which were desired qualities for this position. Within the story, we weaved in his hard skills that embodied a whole slew of accomplishments that were germane to the position. The interviewer became intrigued and after several interviews with board members, he was offered the job.

If your disability is blatantly obvious and may be perceived as a deficit, but nobody’s talking about it, using a well-crafted story that highlights the key qualities the employer is looking for can be very impactful. Many job descriptions list qualities such as critical thinking, determination, adaptability, and self-starter, to name just a few, that people who have successfully navigated their disability have had to develop.

However, if your disability may bring to question functionality and the ability to perform a job, then that needs to be addressed head-on. It’s best to do this in a fluid, conversational tone, using examples from the past to dispel any concerns a potential employer may have.

As a rule, I suggest candidates do more listening than talking. Ask thoughtful questions and focus on being interested versus interesting, which works for people with or without disabilities! Don’t play the disability card, but don’t try to avoid it either. Rapt attention, genuine interest, enthusiasm and energy are rare these days, which means demonstrating these qualities will take you far. Of course, you also need the hard skills to back up your competency.

Finally, don’t be afraid to bring humor to the situation. When appropriately stated, humor can go a long way to dispel any tension that may be present. It shows that you are not overly sensitive, that you have a sense of humor and humility, but you’re not ashamed of your disability. In general, people hire people they like; people whom they can relate to and trust, regardless of a disability.  

Know Your Strengths 

One of my colleagues had very intense dyslexia and ADHD. She couldn’t sit still for more than 20-30 minutes, and paperwork that should have taken 10-20 minutes took hours and was tortuous. On the positive side, she was amazing with people, could pivot on a dime, had tons of energy and loved making people feel special. She was also hilarious, passionate about health and loved helping people.

Fortunately, the health club where she was working saw her strengths and was smart enough to move her from a stifling mid-level administrative position to a sales job where she could meet and greet clients. Her people skills, creativity and natural curiosity about others, made her very good at this position and, in turn, the position made her very happy. Within the first month, she became head of sales.

Before you begin applying for positions, take a realistic assessment of your strengths: What do you bring to the potential employer? Do your abilities mesh with the job description and the qualities they value? Again, be sure to do your research on the industries, companies and jobs that provide a good fit with your unique assets.

For instance, if someone has ADD, a job that demands constant switching of tasks or mostly short-term projects takes advantage of this person’s proclivities. Meanwhile, someone with OCD may excel at a job that requires being very precise and detail oriented. For people who don’t pick up social cues and operate at their best by themselves, a strong analytic research job that requires long hours of solitary focused work may be a perfect fit. In other words, depending on the job, “alleged disabilities” may be a huge benefit.

Do Your Research. Lead with Enthusiasm. Make it About What You Can Provide.

Those are the three main takeaways when applying for any job. Remember, you may have a disability, but you are much more than your disability. You’re a whole person, with skill sets and talents that are valuable to the right employers. With every disability, there is another ability that has gotten strengthened to compensate. That’s why, even though it’s become quite PC, I do like the phrase “learning differences.” We all have challenges and we all have assets. Nobody’s exempt from the human being club that’s full of complexity and diversity. The more you embrace it as just one of the many facets of your humanity, the more you can celebrate (and sell) the one-of-a-kind gem that you are.

Lois Barth is a Human Development Expert, Speaker, Life and Business Coach, and Author of the book, “Courage to SPARKLE; The Audacious Girls’ Guide to Creating A Life that Lights You Up.” Lois supports her clients to overcome their negative self-talk, manage stress and advocate for themselves and dynamically create the next chapter of their life. She has worked with over 800 clients and on a professional level has helped them in every area from career transition, interview skills training, communication and building their business. The creator of Smart Sexy TV, she has been the makeover life coach for SELF Magazine; Fitness Magazine and Fit Blog (Sears) as well as the “Stress Less–Thrive More” Lady for C.T. Style TV (ABC Affiliate). A sought after expert, Lois has been quoted and published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, College Recruiter, SELF Magazine, to name a few.  Her speaking clients include L’Oreal, Women in Banking, Capital One, Mid-Atlantic Women in Energy, Society of Women Engineers, and the American Heart Association to name a few. 

Join Lois Barth, along with your fellow university relations, talent acquisition and other human resource leaders from corporate, non-profit and government agencies 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

For more information and tickets, go to: http://www2.CollegeRecruiter.com/BootcampOnDIatEY

Jon Kestenbaum, Talent Tech Labs

Posted July 26, 2019 by

Find The Right Paid Interns With Targeted Job Postings

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective. Case in point, when Talent Tech Labs* wanted to hire two paid interns, they tried posting the positions on a number of job boards with disappointing results. Frustrated by the lack of response, they asked College Recruiter for a recommendation.

Simple but Effective

Because Talent Tech Labs wanted to hire two students or recent graduates, versus dozens or hundreds of candidates, our team suggested using a $75, 30-day job posting ad. As part of our standard implementation, the posting included their logo and YouTube video at no additional cost. Studies show that the quantity and quality of candidate responses greatly increase when employers include at least one of these elements in their postings. 

According to Jonathon Kestenbaum, Managing Director of Talent Tech Labs, “Although we posted the same job on a bunch of job boards, half of all the applicants we received and both hires came from College Recruiter. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.”

Targeting Makes the Difference

We attribute this success to the fact that College Recruiter’s audience is exclusively college students and recent graduates. By targeting the right candidates, employers can maximize their budgets, while improving response.

Because we work with companies of all sizes, we know that the recruiting needs of every organization is unique. Not every employer has the resources to use multiple recruiting tools and plaster their job postings on every available job board. That’s why our targeted approach is more effective for small- to mid-sized companies. We’ve found that many smaller employers are looking for candidates that have recently graduated and trying to find their first or second job or students seeking internships, which is our sweet spot!

And because our online job posting process is fully automated, it’s quick and easy. In other words, you don’t need an entire human resources team to get the job filled.

Making Great Connections

Of course, we offer more than simple job postings. 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.

“We view every client, big or small, as a valuable partner,” noted Faith Rothberg, Chief Executive Officer, College Recruiter. “Whether you want the value and ease of online postings, or customized, interactive solutions, we believe in creating a great candidate and recruiter experience and we’re passionate about customer service. That’s why we go the extra mile to offer free company logo placement and YouTube videos with our online job postings, while many other job boards charge extra.”

Start filling those open positions today with targeted online job postings that get results! Get started and post your job HERE. (link to pricing page on CR website).

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.

About Talent Tech Labs

Talent Tech Labs is on a mission to elevate the state of the art in recruitment technology and bring innovation to the world of talent acquisition software. Based in New York City and Palo Alto, Talent Tech Labs brings the language of vendors like College Recruiter together with the language of employers and other buyers to help vendors, buyers, analysts and practitioners understand what these tools do, how they solve business problems and where each falls in the acquisition process. In essence, Talent Tech Labs provides a structure that allows everyone to look at TA technology through the same lens and learn how these tools practically solve actual recruitment problems.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Posted July 18, 2019 by

New, free job search engine for career service office and other sites from College Recruiter

College Recruiter believes that every student and recent graduate deserves a great career.

About 2.5 million students and recent graduates of one-, two-, and four-year colleges and universities use our website a year to find part-time, seasonal, internship, and entry-level jobs. They do so at no charge. Our revenues come from employers who pay to advertise the jobs with us. 

Do you have students who search your site but don’t find a lot of jobs which match their interests, perhaps because they grew up in another state and want to find a job back there? Just have your web developer drop this code onto your resource page or wherever your students would go to search for a job:


<!– begin iframe-board –>
<div class=”iframe-board”>
<iframe style=”width: 100%; height: 800px;” src=”https://cr.careersitecloud.com/” frameborder=”0″></iframe>
</div>
<!– end iframe-board –>

Your students will have instant access to thousands of internships and entry-level jobs. They can search by category, location, keywords, and even sign up to get new jobs emailed to them. When they see jobs of interest, they’ll click the ones of interest and go straight to the employer’s website to apply. To be clear: they will not be sent to College Recruiter or any other job search site.

There’s no fee to add this new feature to your site, which should make it far easier for your students to find the jobs they want. What we get out of it will be more candidates going to the jobs advertised by our employer customers, which will make them happier and that will, in the long run, make us happier.

Want to see what the search looks like. Here you go!

Posted July 15, 2019 by

Can I Text You?

Can I Text You? (Is it okay to use text messages during a job search?)

Scrolling though job listings and even applying for jobs on your phone’s web browser is becoming more commonplace. But, is it okay to communicate via text with prospective employers?

According to Jackie Ducci, CEO and founder of Ducci & Associates, a talent acquisition agency in Washington, D.C., the answer is “no.” “It is rarely, if ever, a good idea for a candidate to text a potential employer during the job search process,” says Ducci.

Unless you’re specifically asked to send a text by an employer, you should skip texting for several reasons:

1. It’s too informal. Texting is convenient and used more than calling or emailing these days. However, while its perfectly fine for friends, partners and even co-workers in some cases, it’s still considered too informal by most employers. Remember, you’re trying to be professional and create a good impression.

According to some recruiting experts, an inappropriate thank-you note after a job interview is worse than sending no thank-you note! For instance, handwriting a note on casual stationery would be considered too informal, as would a text. This is especially true if it’s a conservative industry/business.

2. It’s a missed opportunity. Even though it’s more intimidating to call and talk to an employer, it gives you an opportunity to really communicate with that person and make a human connection. Talking conveys tone of voice and inflection, which are lost or often misconstrued in texts. It also allows you to answer questions and expand on subjects. In other words, talking is better for two-way communication, which helps build relationships.

If you’re writing a thank you letter (and most experts agree that you should), it gives you an opportunity to reinforce your qualifications, express your enthusiasm for the positions and the company, and demonstrate your communication skills.

3. You don’t know how the person feels about texting. According to a Gallup poll, sending and receiving text messages is the most common form of communication for many Americans under 50. However, while you and your friends may use texts as your primary means of communication, others might take offense to receiving a text. Text messages can seem “flippant” or dismissive, which may cause the employer to feel that you’re not taking the job seriously, even if that’s not the case.

Of course, the exception to this is if the person has already texted you first. For example, if the employer texts you first to ask for more information or schedule a follow-up interview, then it’s fine to text back. In general, however, save the texting for keeping in touch with friends or urgent messages with already-established business contacts.

Now, having said all that, don’t be surprised if texting becomes more accepted in the future. TopResume’s career expert Amanda Augustine says she wouldn’t be surprised, at least for newer professionals, if texting becomes a commonplace thing. After all, everyone is looking for ways to save time and be more efficient. So, don’t be shocked if the recruiter or hiring manager from your next interview follows up via text. If that happens, feel free to text back!

Sources:

“Can I text a thank you after a job interview?” by Rose Mathews, Chron.com, 2019.

“Forget the phone – your next employer wants to interview you over text messages, by Courtney Connley, CNBC, March 2018.

“This is one thing you should never do during a job search,” by Jennifer Parris, The Ladders, May 22, 2018