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

    March 17, 2017 by

     

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

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

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

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

    Don’t buy into the myths.

    Congress certainly provides guidance for government recruiting and hiring practices, and we definitely need to follow all regulations. A critical one is Merit System Principles and Prohibited Personnel Practices: agencies cannot give a competitive advantage to individuals who they actively recruit.  According to Hartwig, “We must meet public notice requirements through an announcement on USAJobs (for most jobs).  This means we cannot give individuals information that would help their chances in getting the job that is not otherwise available via the announcement.  We can answer informal questions, but nothing too specific about what the applicant should address in their application.”

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

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

  • Common networking mistakes to avoid

    August 09, 2016 by
    Dishonesty, moral dilemma, liar photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    As college students and recent graduates enter the workforce, they will likely meet people who can assist them with their job searches. When these opportunities arise, job seekers be prepared to take advantage of them. While some job seekers may not be the most outgoing in terms of personality, they can still be effective when networking. However, if students and grads don’t understand how to network, they can hurt their chances of building important relationships that can advance their careers. So as job seekers attend networking events, they must be mindful of what not to do. Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University, highlights common networking mistakes to avoid.

    “Blindly reaching out without knowing basic information about a person, the kind of details usually found through a quick Google or LinkedIn search, is a red flag signaling a bad start to the networking experience. A wishful connection will be less likely to engage if college students or prospective hires don’t bring any background knowledge to the table.

    Expecting a networking connection will “tell me what to do.” Before reaching out, know the information you want. It’s helpful to have an informal script handy. “My name is Sue Smith; I’m a business major and art history minor interested in an entry-level job working in the cosmetic industry in New York. I’m hoping to secure a summer internship. Could you share with me how you got into the industry and any suggestions or recommendations you might have?”

    Thinking the number of connections matters. Networking is about relationships, not numbers. Targeted outreach to people who share common interests makes networking effective. Two people may connect in an unlimited number of ways, such as graduating from the same school, being from the same hometown, choosing a similar academic path, or by an interest in a particular career. Whatever it is, a real connection matters.

    The first outreach is inappropriate or unprofessional. Treat networking opportunities as professional conversations. It’s easier to move from formal to casual than vice-versa. Having good manners and dressing appropriately (which is very different if you’re interested in a career in journalism versus a career on Wall Street) is critical in creating the first impression that builds your reputation.”

    Want to learn more about networking mistakes? Head to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University

    Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University

    With more than 25 years of experience in the private sector, nearly half assisting organizations with recruiting, interviewing, and hiring top talent, Mike Summers, Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has an insider’s understanding of what employers are seeking and helping students and recent grads showcase their academic skills and personal experiences. Wake Forest’s one, university-wide employer relations team means Summers has experience with and supports the employment search for students in all academic areas, teaching and empowering them to articulate the value of their education for today’s employers.

  • 10 most tricky HR questions for students

    July 16, 2016 by
    Interview photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    You know what the problem is when you graduate and start the interviewing process? You have perhaps half a dozen, perhaps twice that number of interviews under your belt. The people sitting there behind those big desks staring at you steely-eyed? They have done hundreds. That means they know the tricks, they know the strategies, and they know how to make you stumble. If you want to stand a chance at beating them at their own game, you have to be prepared.

    Why should I hire you?

    This one catches people a lot. They are afraid they will either come across as too arrogant or that they will not push themselves enough. The thing is that is not really what the question is about, and both those traps can be easily avoided if you realize that.

    This is not about you telling them how amazing you are. This is about you showing how much you know about them (which is everybody’s favorite topic). So show them that you know what the position entails and what skills will be required. After you have done that you can modestly admit that you have those skills (preferably with a few examples of where you’ve used those skills as showing is always better than telling).

    Why is there a gap in your work history?

    You have been unemployed for six months because you needed some time to chill out and get your priorities sorted. Or you spent some time living on a beach seeing if it is really true your skin turns green when you drink too many mojitos. Or you lived in your parents’ basements and played video games. Fantastic! You do not necessarily want to tell them that though.

    Instead, talk about how you used that time to make yourself a better person. Talk about freelancing work you did, social outreach, or how you spent your time searching for the perfect job (which is obviously the one you are interviewing for right now). Put a positive spin on things by showing how much you grew as a person.

    You have been fired from your last job. How did it make you feel?

    You have to demonstrate that you can take a blow without becoming either angry or resentful. So even if you are, burry that deep and instead tell them about how you used this as an opportunity to improve yourself so that nothing like this can ever happen to you again.

    What is your biggest weakness?

    A nasty question! There is no doubt about it. You better prepare to meet this one every so often, because a lot of HR managers have this one in their repertoire and like to throw it out there to see how you react.

    The right way to go is to remember that strengths and weaknesses can be different sides of the same coin. So if you have a weakness, admit it and then explain to them how in some situations it can be a strength. Alternatively, take your greatest strength and admit when it might actually be a weakness. That way you show you understand yourself.

    Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?

    This one is as much to see how you handle being put on the spot as to see if you will be honest. Remember, everybody is bound to have bad experiences occasionally. We are all human. So they are not going to believe you when you say ‘no, never.’ Instead think of something that did go wrong then admit that it was at least partially your fault and explain how you learned from it and how you will be better next time. That shows both humility and wisdom.

    Do not bag on your previous employer! That will raise all sorts of red flags. Yes, it they might be bad people, but this person sitting opposite you will not have a better impression of you if you decide to tell them that.

    Frustrated businesswoman screaming photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Tell about a day when you messed up at work

    Another one of those situations where you have to be honest and admit you have done something wrong. After all, nobody is perfect, and if you are not willing to admit you have screwed up you can wave the job you are interviewing for good-bye. Just like with the last question the trick here is to show what you have learned.

    How would you deliver bad news to a colleague?

    Here is your opportunity to demonstrate empathy and your ability to deal with a stressful situation in a grownup manner. So do not suggest you would send them a text or first let everybody in the office know so that you can all have a laugh. Instead, show them how diplomatic you are.

    Will you be out to take my job?

    Okay, here you can lie. ‘No’ is the correct answer. ‘I doubt I could do it as well as you’ is a good follow up.

    How did you prepare for this interview?

    Here is where you demonstrate that you care enough about the job to actually have researched the position (you did research the position didn’t you?). So tell them how you went to the website and read this that and the other. Here you get to show off some of the things you learned, including talking a little bit about the industry as well as what their company specifically does.

    Where would you really like to work?

    ‘Here’ is the right answer. Now you can be a bit honest and suggest that you want to ultimately move into another area in the company, but whatever you do, do not say another company name! That is a fantastic way to close the door on any opportunity to work there.

    Last words

    The most important thing to remember is that there will be other interviews and however many ‘no’s you get you only want one ‘yes’, so don’t get too stressed out. You will get there in the end. After that, you will have to go through the hard work of keeping the job. That is not exactly easy either, but at this moment, that probably feels more like a ‘wish I had that problem’ problem.

    Need more interview tips? Visit our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

    Dante Munnis, guest writer

    Dante Munnis, guest writer

    Dante Munnis is a blogger and idea maker from Stockholm who is interested in self-development, web related topics, and success issues. He shares ideas for students living a better life and building habits that stick. To get strategies for boosting your mental and physical performance, you can get in touch with Dante via Twitter.

     

  • Employee resource groups: Win-win for employees and employers

    November 04, 2015 by

    Even though “employee resource groups” begin with the word “employee,” both employees and employers benefit from these groups. On one hand, employees acquire a support system that helps them learn and grow professionally and personally. On the other hand, employers watch their workers perform better by learning new skills. ERGs are a win-win for employees and employers.

    College Recruiter is currently focusing on employee resource groups (ERGs), publishing the opinions of experts based on a series of questions. In today’s article, Angela Talton, Senior Vice President of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Nielsen, explains how employee resource groups benefit employees and employers. Continue Reading

  • Prepare for the Interview in 3 Stages

    October 09, 2014 by
    Young businesswoman shaking hand of male candidate during job interview

    Young businesswoman shaking hand of male candidate during job interview. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Congratulations on landing a job interview!  Now, it is time to prepare for the big meeting.  Remember, this is your opportunity to make a great impression as a candidate, which could potentially lead to getting hired.  The more prepared you are for your interview, the more confident you will be.  Michelle Joseph, a talent acquisition expert and CEO of PeopleFoundry says, “It’s so important for job seekers to understand the people they want to work for. With the job market being so competitive, it is no longer enough to have a good attitude and strong resume, you need to be able to fit seamlessly into a company’s culture.”  She discusses preparing for the interview in three stages in the following post. Continue Reading