• [video] How to negotiate offers: tips for discussing salary and benefits

    July 07, 2017 by

    Negotiating offers by discussing salary and benefits can be intimidating for an entry level job seeker. If you haven’t done your research, you won’t know what to ask for. When you are given a job offer, that is the moment when you have the most leverage to negotiate, so make sure you are prepared so you don’t miss the opportunity.

    College Recruiter spoke with Marky Stein, who consults Fortune 500 companies, presents at colleges and universities about career development, and is a bestselling author of career planning books. This is Part 1 of 2 of our conversation with Marky to hear her advice for entry level job seekers about negotiating salary and benefits. Here she provides tips for what to expect, how to prepare for negotiating and ideas for what to negotiate. Part 2 will continue the conversation and will address the gender pay gap and when to ask for a pay raise. Continue Reading

  • 7 free marketing strategies that can lead to job search success

    June 06, 2017 by

     

    Are you a recent college grad trying to figure out how to best market your skills and fit your job search into an already busy life? Are you concerned that it’s summer and you’re still trying to find a paid internship? Are you wondering how parents can appropriately – or inappropriately help your job search? Are you a female college grad who aspires to become a leader in your field?

    If so, then read on. Because we have tips and advice for all those questions – and more.

    1. Develop a focused job search

    Many recent college grads simply read job ads and send in resumes, without a plan. Francis says coming up with a job search plan, which includes a list of requirements one would like in a particular job/field, can help created a more focused job search, and target specific jobs or employers. Making a chart that outlines previous experience – part-time jobs, college coursework, clubs or organizations, project work, or previous internships, and jotting down successes from those experiences can help a job seeker realize the successes they have, and then, when they understand those successes, they can start perfecting how they discuss them with employers.

    That also builds confidence.

    Don’t think that part-time college job in retail or the restaurant industry, or other field, matters? Think again.

    “Check back in with previous managers and colleagues to brainstorm all the things you’ve done and skills you’ve developed that may allow you to feel more confident in your abilities,” says Francis.

    Once you have a clearer sense of your own experiences, what you desire in a job, company and what job titles to look for, now you can start your search. If you start before then, you’ll be wasting time.

    2. Ask your career development center for advice

    Meet with a career counselor at your college or university. Even if you have graduated, these professionals are here to assist with job search tips, connecting graduates to a mentor, interview prep, and more.

    “Different schools have resources that are specific to their students and their majors,” says Christine Francis, Career Counselor at Hamline University’s Career Development Center. For example, if you graduated in data science, “the counselor may be able to connect you to alum who studied data science who may be able to help brainstorm next steps and get you connected to companies of interest or great internship programs.”

    Francis offers these tips for recent grads seeking to find an industry specific internship:

    • Post on social media that you’re seeking a paid internship in data science. “The more specific you are in your request, the better your networks will be able to help you,” says Francis. The key is to be as specific as possible, no matter the industry/career one is pursuing.
    • Check job boards to search for internships and job like College Recruiter, recently named #1 job search site for students and recent grads.
    • Use LinkedIn to connect with your school’s LinkedIn alumni group, and see where students or current alums are interning, or currently working. If there is a connection at a target company, reach out to that person and connect.
    • Once connected, start to develop a relationship. Don’t make it all about your needs, and be willing to return any favors to help the new connection. Eventually though, the goal should be to meet with these connections to conduct informational interviews.

    3. Practice, practice, practice, to develop career confidence

    It’s easy for recent college grads to be timid in the job search. That’s only natural. In addition to writing a great resume, practice interviewing, conducting mock interviews (many college career centers also offer these services), informational interviews, or getting involved in networking events and industry associations can help a recent college grad develop confidence in the job search. Many people are timid or fearful because of the newness of being in the job search for the first time. Getting involved and becoming active can help recent college grads develop confidence over time. In addition to working with career development professionals, recent college grads could also consider working with a career coach.

    “Figuring out where your low confidence is coming from is essential in determining how to overcome this,” says Francis.

    4. Start building a professional network

    The first steps to marketing your skill often starts by understanding what employers want. Unfortunately, in some instances or fields, women need to figure out how to get past male-sounding job descriptions. In addition, many female college grads may be timid if they are not finding other females, or leaders, within their chosen field, to learn from. This is where networking, or finding organizations/opportunities to volunteer or participate in industry-related events can help make connections and open doors, while also building career confidence. For example, a new grad seeking a data science career may not know where to find a female data science mentor or leader.

    “There are plenty of women in leadership types of groups or roles for STEM occupations,” says Francis. “These groups are set up to give women support and to feel more confident in their roles.”

    Remember, good old fashioned networking is still very effective.  Inviting professionals in your network for coffee or a quick lunch is good for building relationships and getting others interested in working on your behalf to help you find your next position says

    “You can start small, with just a few people and ask them to consider introducing you to others you may connect with and send your resume or portfolio to,” said Melissa Greenwell, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of national retailer The Finish Line, Inc., and a certified executive coach who helps women understand how they can leverage natural strengths to become business leaders, discussed how female college grads can become future leaders. “You will be surprised at how quickly your professional network will grow,” said Greenwell. “It will also take time. People are busy, so be patient. And don’t let your new networks go stale after you’ve landed the job. You may very well be able to repay a favor and you never know when you may need to reach back out to them in the future.”

    In a previous College Recruiter article, 6 rules for women who want to become corporate leaders, Greenwell said some job seekers, especially those just starting their career, focus on job titles versus opportunity. Don’t sacrifice doing what one loves for the sake of a title. Instead focus on the work itself.

    “People who succeed in whatever they’re doing are people who have aspirations and goals, are willing to work hard and put forth extra effort, communicate clearly, consistently and often, and most importantly, work for the good of the enterprise and bring others along,” says Greenwell, also the author of Money On The Table: How to Increase Profits Through Gender-Balanced Leadership. “Women specifically are driven to work for a purpose and can capitalize on that special drive.”

    5. Ask for helpful parents, not helicopter parents

    Many college grads have parents who are ready to help their child with the job search. That’s great, if done correctly. The main thing to remember is, this is the real world now, and employers expect recent college grads to take initiative, and own their career/job search. Read this article to learn how helicopter parents hinder college grads in detail.

    “Believe it or not, recruiters and hiring managers are seeing a surprising influx of parental involvement in the job search, recruiting, and interviewing process,” says Brandi Britton, district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. “As a staffing firm, we’ve heard our share of helicopter parent stories and experienced some unique situations with moms and dads ourselves.”

    The reasons for mom and dad getting involved are simple, says Britton: Recent college grads may not have as much job search experience and therefore turn to their parents for guidance.

    “The job search process can be extremely challenging and daunting,” says Britton. “Parental support and advice throughout the process can help you stay positive and on track.”

    But…

    “Although most parents mean well with their efforts, they need to know where to draw the line to avoid hurting their son or daughter’s chances of securing a job,” says Britton.

    6. Find a mentor to develop as a professional

    Anyone can learn from a mentor. However, there are students who can especially benefit by having a mentor help tap them into a network that might normally be just beyond reach. For example, some studies show that entry level women with a mentor show faster career growth than women without mentors. How can one find a mentor?

    “Think about past professors, staff at your school who have supported you, or maybe a new contact – someone you admire in your field,” says Francis. “Set up a meeting to ask for help and tips on how to market yourself.” And when you land that first job, ask if the organization’s has mentorship program.

    7. Try something different: Find a way to stand out in the job search

    Don’t be afraid to try something different in the job search. Employers like creativity, and those who take risks. And while this seems old fashioned, it’s inexpensive, and different. In addition to applying online for a job, mail your resume to the employer too. (Don’t skip the online part–following the directions of every job ad is important.)

    “I’m often asked if sending paper resumes is a thing of the past,” says Greenwell. “In general, it is. However, you never know when one will make it to someone’s desk and cause them to take notice. It’s a relatively low effort and low cost marketing strategy to implement, so my advice is to send them.”

    Once the resume is mailed in, take it even further.

    “The follow up is important, which I would recommend come in the form of a follow-up email,” says Greenwell. “That email shouldn’t necessarily ask for action to be taken, but rather an invitation to reach out to you if they would like to learn more about your qualifications. Personally, I believe phone calls are relatively ineffective, though leaving a voice mail message to thank someone for reading your resume can’t hurt. Again, the goal is to stay visible.”

    Another option to consider? Build your own web site. It’s a built in marketing tool.

    “Building your own website is another interesting marketing strategy,” says Greenwell. “There are many tools available to build your own in a cost-effective and simple manner. This is a good way to display your experiences and interests, and to bring your resume to life. Highlighting educational accomplishments, learning adventures and volunteer experiences is critical. Aside from email, phone and a link to your LinkedIn profile, other personal information should be omitted.

    It’s normal for recent college grads to fear the unexpected, or not know how to approach the job search soon after college. Follow these tips, and over time you will become confident, connected, and in time, hired!

    Want more career advice and job search tips? Then stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connect with us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube

  • Work abroad: Why recent college grads should conduct a global job search

    May 09, 2017 by

     

    Jobs that require travel or allow recent college grads to work abroad can help build cultural awareness, strengthen one’s ability to navigate through dynamic environments, and cultivate a level of agility, which is required by most employers today, says Ayana Pilgrim-Brown, assistant director of career competencies at the Center for Student Professional Development within Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

    It’s no secret working abroad can help recent college grads land that first job. That’s why recent college grads seeking frequent travel to exotic locations, should explore options as tour guides, travel consultants, and within the airline industry, says Pilgrim-Brown. For a business student who wants to solidify his or her status as a global business professional, jobs in consulting, supply chain management, and sales offer the chance to travel to vast locations throughout the world. New graduates who aspire to make a difference in the world should consider non-profits and non-governmental organizations. There are several pathways in the areas of development and humanitarian assistance, adds Pilgrim-Brown. And for the multilingual applicant, there are solid prospects using language skills as a TEFL instructor, translator, or interpreter.

    “Job seekers should do their due diligence to make sure these opportunities are formalized and in writing with agreeable terms of employment,” says Pilgrim-Brown.

    Rustic Pathways is a non-profit organization that facilitates educational experiences for students through travel and philanthropy.

    “Traveling equips recent college grads with a unique and necessary skill set that will help them create successful careers,” said Chris Stakich, CEO of Rustic Pathways. In fact, Stakich is quick to credit how traveling throughout the world for work the first four years of his career helped build professional skills necessary to become CEO.

    “Most of my success has been a result of living out of a bag for the first four years of my career,” he says.

    In addition to service opportunities–such as working with Peace Corps, or with a multinational organization or large employer, or through a non-profit–there are more opportunities than ever for recent college grads to work abroad, and get paid to travel. There are also training opportunities, such as the Rustic Pathways Leader Corp program, which are designed for recent college grads looking to make the transition from college to career.

    Traveling for work, and working abroad, teaches these important soft skills that employers covet, says Stakich:

    Continue Reading

  • The job seeker’s guide to identifying and avoiding job search scams

    March 16, 2017 by

     

    Fake email addresses. Copycat web sites. Requests for personal information before a job is offered. Interviews conducted only via instant messaging. Promises of salary that are too good to be true. Requests to submit payment to move to the next step of the job search.

    These are just a few of the dirty tactics scumbags use to try and scam job seekers, including inexperienced job seekers like recent college grads and entry-level job seekers. The threat is real, and like any online or cyber threat, the people conducting the fraudulent activity are often trying to gather information to steal one’s identity or money.

    The team at College Recruiter takes the threat of job search scams and fake job postings seriously, and has implemented a multi-step process that identifies and blocks the vast majority of identity thieves and other scammers from ever posting a job to College Recruiter. In fact, every single job advertisement placed on College Recruiter goes through an in-depth verification process to prove the job posting is legitimate, and all ads are verified through actual contact with a human with the employer posting the job ad – something not every job board can claim.

    “Here at College Recruiter, we take these fraudulent attempts very seriously and work daily to ensure all the jobs that are posted on our web site are from verified employers to protect our job seekers from applying, interviewing, and becoming victims of identity theft,” says Dani Bennett, Sales and Client Services Manager at College Recruiter.

    In the article Rise of Recruitment Scams Hurt Both Job Seekers and Employers Alike, the team at  global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray, & Christmas identified some recent and unfortunately, popular job search scams. What may be surprising to many is that these scams don’t just target small companies. Here are some examples:

    1. Scammers created a false ad for Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest metals and mining corporations. When a job seeker responded, the person who received the email asked for additional personal information, such as tax files, driver’s license, and birth certificate. Scammers then used this information to open credit cards and bank accounts. The messages from these so-called recruiters sound legitimate. In the Rio Tinto case, the recruitment email included an application with the company’s name and logo.

    Remember, anyone can set up a fake web site or email account, for example through free email providers like Gmail, Yahoo!, or Hotmail. College Recruiter, however, will not accept any job postings that use a free email provider to receive job applications.

    1. In another incident in Houston, scammers set up an actual interview, via Google hangout, using the name of a reputable company, and then offered a position. The scammers then asked the job seeker to move around large sums of money, in this scenario, up to $3,000. To carry this out, they sent fraudulent checks made out to the job seeker to start a home office, then asked the job seeker to forward that money to a third party vendor.

    “Any time a company asks you to pay or hold money for them, you should immediately see red flags,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. “A credible employer would never ask their employees to move money through their personal accounts. That’s why companies have accounting departments.”

    1. In July, Shell Oil, one of America’s largest oil and natural gas producers with over 22,000 employees, posted a notice on its careers site warning job seekers that scammers were using the Shell name and logo to recruit for positions.

    Besides the obvious problem for job seekers, the toll these scams can take on a company’s reputation is huge, says Challenger. Most employers don’t know these fraudulent job postings are out there until they are contacted by job seekers who have figured out it’s a scam and contacted the legit company directly. By then, the company reputation is already damaged with those job seekers.

    “From a recruitment perspective, once a company’s brand has been associated with these fraudulent ads, it may be difficult to attract the talent needed when a position becomes available,” says Challenger.

    College Recruiter Founder Steven Rothberg added, “Some job boards, like College Recruiter, have formalized, proactive, anti-fraud measures in place, but many job boards are more reactive and rely upon their users to complain about fraudulent postings before the job board takes any action.”

    Not only do cyber criminals post fake job ads, unethical recruiters also post fake job ads, often on sites where they can post free job ads. Why would they do that? To act like they are “well-connected” and have a long list of candidates to choose from. A recruiter may submit these resumes to the employer for which they are hiring for, to show activity – which employers value when working with recruiters – and that they have an active pipeline of candidates, when they have no intentions of responding to, interviewing, or hiring these employees.

    How can a job seeker spot a fraudulent job posting, or job search scam? Follow these tips from the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota:

    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

  • Creating mobile job applications: Experts share best practices [video]

    February 22, 2017 by

     

    What changes should an organization make to ensure their job application is truly mobile friendly? College Recruiter spoke with Chrissy Toskos, Vice President Campus Recruiting at Prudential Financial.  Chrissy shared how Prudential allows, expects and accommodates mobile job applications, and the success they have seen because of their changes. We also are including insight from College Recruiter founder and president Steven Rothberg, who adds a birds-eye view of employers trying to attract entry-level applicants with mobile applications, and how they measure their success.

    Read the blog post below, or watch the video here:

     

    What changes are necessary to make a good mobile job application?

    Chrissy Toskos: Prudential was an early adopter of mobile applications, having introduced it in January 2015 when less than 20% of Fortune 500 companies had this capability. The mobile application was launched with the intent to provide an easier and more modern way for students to apply for internships and full-time positions at Prudential.  We created a student friendly application by reducing the number of fields that the students are asked to complete which resulted in a shorter application and significant increase in applications.

    We eliminated duplicate content and created specific parameters to ensure that the information captured from each candidate is accurate and specific. By tailoring the language and reorganizing the application to the student perspective, we found a significant increase in submissions and accuracy of completed applications.

    Steven Rothberg: Over the past two years, the percentage of traffic to College Recruiter from smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices has increased from 15 to 50 percent. The huge and likely permanent increase in the share of traffic coming via mobile versus websites is only exasperating a problem that many employers have.

    Do you notice a difference in quality between non-mobile and mobile job applications? 

    Chrissy Toskos: We have not seen a difference in the quality of applications via mobile device vs non mobile device since the processes mirror one another. After applying via mobile device, students are asked to submit their resume online to fully complete the application process.

    There’s no difference in quality between the mobile and non-mobile versions of the Prudential Application. Both application platforms provide applicants with a user friendly look and feel when searching, applying and submitting an application. The only functional difference is for applicants that need to upload a new resume in that the mobile application will not allow for resume uploads. Therefore, applicants need to save their submissions and later access their account via a non-mobile device to fully complete and submit their application. Once their resume is updated in the system, applicants can apply to jobs with ease via their mobile devices. 

    What challenges come with mobile job applications and how do you respond?

    Chrissy Toskos: We have found that we may have to reach out to candidates with a reminder to upload their resumes after they have applied.  Other than the follow-up this has been a seamless process allowing us to provide a more accessible way for students to apply to positions at Prudential.

    As mentioned above, one of our ongoing challenges is the inability to upload a new resume to their profile. We are currently monitoring the system functionality to solve for this current challenge.

    Steven Rothberg: The majority of employers make little to no effort to accurately and automatically track their sources of candidate traffic, applicants, and hires. Many rely upon candidate self-identification such as “how did you hear about us” drop-down boxes or, even worse, asking candidates during an interview. Studies show that drop-down boxes are very likely to provide inaccurate data, and it is likely that interview stage questions provide even worse data. These employers would be better off collecting no data than collecting data which is that inaccurate.

    Even if the employer is trying to automatically and accurately track their applicant sources, it is very difficult to do so accurately when candidates use mobile devices. One problem is that it is likely they will conduct their initial research on their mobile but then come back hours, days, or even weeks later on a laptop or another device that allows them to upload a resume. Tracking across multiple devices is very difficult and often impossible.

    Another and lesser known problem is that many tracking systems rely upon the use of cookies but those are blocked by mobile apps and many of the most popular mobile browsers such as Safari. Simply put, if your tracking systems rely on cookies, then you aren’t able to accurately track mobile traffic.

     

    Chrissy Toskos

    Chrissy Toskos is the Vice President Campus Recruiting at Prudential Financial. She leads the transformation of Prudential’s multi-faceted campus recruiting strategy to identify and invest in the long-term engagement of top talent while providing innovative practices for building a leadership pipeline for the company. Connect with Chrissy on LinkedIn.

     

     

    Steven RothbergAbout Steven Rothberg: Steven’s entrepreneurial spirit was evident from an early age. Disciplined in fifth grade for selling candy during math class and in college for running a massive fantasy hockey league, Steven managed to channel his passions into something more productive after graduate school. A fully recovered lawyer, Steven founded the business that morphed into College Recruiter and now, as its visionary, helps to create and refine the company’s strategy and leads its business development efforts.

     

    Want to stay on top of other expert advice around college recruitment? Connect with College on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

  • Sneak peek at government internships: Securities and Exchange Commission

    December 21, 2016 by

     

    The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. If you are interested a government internship, especially related to economics, investing or the stock market, consider the SEC. We heard from Temeka Thompson, the Recruitment Outreach Program Manager at SEC. She shared about how they hire and utilize interns.

    Sometimes interns are seen as performing grunt work only. What’s the attitude at Securities and Exchange about interns?

    Temeka Thompson: Interns are considered valued contributors and perform a wide array of duties and responsibilities while on their internship. Legal students conduct research/fact finding, prepare briefs and memorandums for high profile cases. Business students can find themselves leading marketing campaigns, auditing and investigating programs for effectiveness. Our managers who utilize student programs believe this is an excellent opportunity to fill entry level mission needs with fresh, energetic talent, whom they highly enjoy collaborating alongside.

    How do you identify the stronger candidates? What are the metrics you might use?

    TT: In addition to reviewing the completed application, the resume with any financial services or legal experience is key.  One of the oldest; yet tried and true methods of identifying great interns is face to face interviewing or even now, virtual interviewing. Applicants who have the ability to address behavioral questions, have a history of taking the initiative and eagerness to learn and contribute are the interns that typically succeed and are in a better position to compete for full-time positions upon graduation.

    How do you convert strong interns into full-time employees?

    TT: The process is organic.  Internships are working interviews and the interns who exhibit the ability to produce, takes pride in their work products and the mission of the SEC and perform really well are in a better position to compete for full-time opportunities. 3Ls/Judicial Law Clerks (current & pending)/Legal Fellows can apply to our Chairs Attorney Honors program (a highly competitive and prestigious entry level attorney hiring program) and our Business Students have the opportunity to apply to any Pathways or full-time opportunity that best fits their skill sets.

    (Big thank you to the SEC for hosting the College Recruiting bootcamp this month!) 

    Are you ready to advance your career? Register with College Recruiter to get the latest jobs emailed to you! And don’t forget to follow us on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Tweak your application process to be more respectful

    December 14, 2016 by

     

    The same tools that save recruiters time often make the application process feel robotic and cold, at least from the job seeker’s point of view. As you work to woo people into your company, it would be a bad idea to turn them off. You can use time-saving technology and still be respectful and applicant-centric.

    Your employer brand will suffer if you don’t take steps to be respectful.

    Any negativity that a candidate experiences can go viral. Your employer brand doesn’t just depend on the culture you create for current employees. The experience you create for potential employees, including everyone who never gets an interview, is also part of your company brand. Recruiters may groan at having to sift through 500 resumes for a single position, but that’s a gold mine for branding. That resume stack represents a captive audience. Unlike your passive followers on social media who you wish would just click “like” occasionally, those job applicants are eagerly waiting to hear from you.

    Recruitment skills are like sales skills, so recruiters: sell your brand and your company’s experience. Don’t overlook how important your own customer service skills are. Your candidates are your customers.

    Don’t risk losing the top candidates

    When you treat candidates like a herd of cattle, think about who you are losing. Employers large and small consistently place soft skills at the top of their wish list. Those skills include integrity, dependability, communication, and ability to work with others. A candidate with high integrity will drop out of the race quickly if they sense that a recruiter doesn’t regard them as worth more than a few seconds of their time. If you lose integrity from your pool, what do you have left?

    Juli Smith, President of The Smith Consulting Group, agrees that the lack of respect for candidates has consequences. “It can be very devastating to hear nothing.  Even bad news can be taken better than radio silence for days or weeks.” Candidates may have gotten used to being treated insignificantly during the job search, but that doesn’t mean they’ll put up with it for much longer. As companies start to figure out how to treat them better, you don’t want to be the last company standing with a humorless, disrespectful and overly-automated job application process.

    A few little tweaks can make a difference

    Like other great salespeople, good recruiters know how to read people. Let your recruiters bring their own humanness to the process. Don’t stifle their instincts to be respectful by automating every step of the way. If they truly have no time to insert a human touch along the way, then ask the most jovial member of your team to come up with better automated responses to candidates. Compare these two auto-emails:  Continue Reading

  • How employers should deal with helicopter parents

    December 09, 2016 by

    Parental involvement during the job application process is on the rise, as we are all well aware. For older generations, the ways parents get involved may seem shocking, but it does no good to just scoff. Employers should know how to respond to both candidates and parents when they get that phone call from a mom or dad.

    Feedback for candidates

    It is entirely possible that a candidate’s mom or dad is intervening without their child’s knowledge. This might be to the utter embarrassment of the candidate, but it is important for them to be aware. Brandi Britton is District President of  OfficeTeam. She says it’s important to “reinforce that behind-the-scenes parental involvement is totally fine, such as reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews or offering networking contacts, but direct contact with companies is inappropriate.”

    After you’ve made it clear to candidates that you would rather not deal with their parents, make sure they know you are not going to discount them in the application process. This is important: an applicant’s skills are independent of their parents and you should not punish them for their parents’ behavior.

    Being proactive may be the best approach of all. Christy Hopkins of Fit Small Business suggests providing applicants with an FAQ that accompanies your confirmation of their application. Those FAQ may be exactly what a parent may want to know, like pay rate, number of hours, application timeline. If the applicant forwards it to mom or dad, hopefully you have just avoided that awkward phone call.

    Feedback for parents

    Have the same response prepared for every parent. This preparation saves you time and ensures objectivity. Hopkins suggests something along the lines of:  “Thank you so much for emailing/calling me to say hello. I appreciate how invested you are in your child’s success, and I can understand since I am a parent. However, in order to keep things fair for every applicant, I cannot talk about our selection process. Thank you very much for understanding.”

    If you are like many HR professionals, it is annoying to deal with parents. However, as recruitment marketing becomes more strategic, remember that each interaction with any stakeholder presents an opportunity. “Being approached by a job applicant’s parent, or indeed anyone closely connected to the candidate is an opportunity to build your employer brand,” says Kevin Mulcahy, author of The Future Workplace Experience.

    It’s  not your job to teach them a lesson, but Joanie Connell at Flexible Work Solutions includes a scare tactic in her response to parents. She tells them, “We find that applicants whose parents call in are less serious about the job than applicants who contact us directly.” This response is fine as long as you are not actually discounting the candidates’ applications.

    Be fair

    While it may be tempting to take all this into account in your hiring decision, be careful. Presumably most candidates do not have their mom or dad calling you, so beware of introducing an additional measure that only applies to one or two candidates. However, if a candidate reacts badly to your feedback, that may tell you something about how they may behave as an employee.

    This may go without saying, but don’t take parents up on their attempts to influence your decisions. If they contact the hiring manager outside of HR, the manager should know to politely decline, noting the importance of privacy laws.

    Embrace the change!

    Enterprise is a company that embraces the relationship with parents during recruitment. They see that it builds a stronger relationships with candidates. They invite parents to interns’ final projects, and has a Bring your Parent to Work Day.

    Maybe parental involvement doesn’t have to be annoying. Recognize that Millennials’ relationships with their parents are just different than those of Baby Boomers. Not worse or better, but different. You may call it hand holding, but many of the changes that Millennials’ present can be good for all of us. For example, more positive feedback, more work-life balance, and perhaps a mentor are good things for all your employees, not just the twenty somethings.

  • How recent college grads use gamification to stand out in the job search

    December 01, 2016 by
    Startup business people working at modern office courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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    Employers are constantly looking for new ways to recruit and assess new talent and hires. The standard method of asking candidates to submit a resume and go through an interview process works for some employers – but not for others.

    Because of that employers are now using gamification to recruit and assess recent college grads.

    “Today’s employers face the challenge of recruiting and hiring recent college grads and Millennials, the largest generational demographic in the American workforce,” says John Findlay, co-founder of Launchfire, a digital engagement shop that turns boring content and mandatory training materials into a fun, easy-to-digest, game-based learning experience. “Many companies are finding that using game-based learning and gamification, which integrate points, badges, competition and role-playing, can be used to effectively attract and assess candidates.”

    When using “games” as a recruitment tool, employers are looking to assess problem solving, creative and critical thinking skills, says John Reed, senior executive director for Robert Half Technology. Although they are meant to be engaging and somewhat entertaining, recent college grads must treat these games as carefully as one would any actual professional assignment.

    Large employers such as Google, Microsoft, Deloitte, PwC, Cisco, Domino’s Pizza, and Marriott International are among the many employers using gamification as part of their recruiting strategies.

    “If you’re hoping to gain employment with the organization, you should take all gamification exercises seriously and remember that this is all part of the interview process,” says Reed. “Don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s a professional reflection of you and this is, most times, your first impression with hiring managers and you want to put your best work out there.”

    Some colleges and universities are already introducing gamification to its students in hopes of better preparing them for the job search, and for real-life gamification-focused recruitment processes. Kaplan University uses gamification as a way to better prepare students and recent college graduates for the job market. Kaplan University has a main campus in Davenport, Iowa and headquarters in Chicago, and serves 42,000 online and campus-based students.

    “Career Development doesn’t just happen, it’s an ongoing process of building skills and abilities and we’re utilizing gamification as a way to reinforce and reward career development with our students,” says Jennifer Lasaster, Vice President of Employer and Career Services at Kaplan University.

    Kaplan University students are invited to participate in an internal CareerNetwork that was built with a video game developer and includes badges and quests for students who build and receive critiques on resumes and social media profiles, read field-related and career related articles, practice interviewing, review, and apply for jobs. Students are introduced to Kaplan’s CareerNetwork through classroom interactions and begin to accumulate points and badges throughout their time as a student, and can continue to do so after graduation.

    The team at Kaplan has also built a feature for students to compete against each other in a resume showdown that will premier in 2017. In that scenario, Kaplan partners with an employer who shares a job description. Students are then encouraged to submit their resumes for that job. Five resumes are then selected for competition. Personal information is blocked out and the recruiter provides feedback to students on how and why one resume is declared the winner.

    “This teaches students the importance of customizing their resume for each job, and that a quality job search is much more valuable than just taking one resume and sending it to various employers,” says Lasaster. “It’s also a great way for employers to receive resumes and feel like they are making a difference by teaching students what they need to do to apply for jobs at their company.”

    “We’re using gamification as a way to better prepare our students for the real world,” added Lasaster.

    The reality is, whether or not one is involved in a gamification-based recruiting process, recent college grads should still treat the job search like a game, says John-Paul Hatala, Ph.D., Director, Research and Development for SnagPad, a tool that enables career professionals and the job seekers they support to learn about and manage job search activity in a visual and strategic way.

    “The most important challenge job seekers face today is conducting a strategic job search,” says Hatala. “In order to win this game, the idea is to think of it as going from step-to-step in the typical hiring cycle. The length of the cycle depends on the type of job/industry.”

    For example, if a recent college grad is looking at an entry-level position, the cycle might be eight weeks until interview or job offer, says Hatala. So if a job seeker has applied to a job but hasn’t heard back in four weeks, move on to focus on the next opportunity.

    “The more cycles you get involved in, the greater your chances of getting an interview or hired,” says Hatala. “This way you can stay realistic about your chances of a getting a particular job and move on to the next. This will help maintain a level of motivation that is necessary for a job search.”

    Many projects that can be used during the gamification process are based on actual business issues or reflect what a new hires responsibilities will entail. Findlay points out two ways recent college grads can use gamification to their advantage in the recruiting process:

    1. Experience a “Real” Work Culture: Do you ever wish you could experience a company’s culture before you even take the time to apply for the position? Many companies are using simulations to allow prospects to live a week in the job. This not only allows the candidate to better understand the role and their job responsibilities, but helps sets realistic expectations about what they could expect in the position. That way if candidates don’t like the experience, they don’t have to apply, saving everyone time.
    2. Is this position for me? New college grads often think they are interested and qualified for one position when in reality, another type of position may be a better fit. Game simulations can be used to introduce candidates to positions that they may not have otherwise considered. This not only shows candidates the wide variety positions that could fit their skill set but gives applicants a realistic preview of what the work really looks.

    “Use this opportunity to analyze the kinds of projects you’ll potentially be working on and be honest with yourself about whether or not these are aligned with your goals, strengths and desired career path,” says Reed. “While you should be presenting your best work, you should also evaluate whether or not the work is something you’d enjoy long term.”

    While you’re the one being assessed for a role, this is also your chance to get deeper insights into the organization.

    “Before you get to the in-person interview, the gamification process will let you choose whether or not you’d like to move forward with the process,” says Reed. “Take the time to get a feel for the culture and organizational goals of the company and use this opportunity to make a sound decision about next steps.”

    Game on!

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