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

Posted March 21, 2018 by

Does on-campus recruitment result in age discrimination against older workers?

 

Many employers value building a pipeline of talent out of college and developing that talent into future leaders. Does this strategy imply embedded age discrimination? Two years ago, Steve Rabin, a 53-year-old CPA who unsuccessfully applied to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”), filed an age discrimination lawsuit against PwC. If his lawyers are successful, the class action will collectively represent Rabin and all other unsuccessful PwC accountant applicants who were 40 years or older, from 2013 to the present.  (more…)

Posted June 09, 2017 by

Strategies for recruiting data analytics and related skills

 

Do employers truly understand their own dire need for data analytics, or more broadly, data science and analytics skills? A new report says that by 2020, new job postings that require these skills will hit 2.72 million. There is a concerning gap between the expectations of educators and the expectations of business executives when it comes to getting students ready for the job market. That is according to a study released by the Business-Higher Education Forum and PwC.

If you are like most employers, in the next several years you will prefer job candidates with data science and analytics skills. And yet, only 23 percent of educators believe their graduates will possess those skills.

The report makes concrete suggestions for both employers and higher education. Here, we will highlight the recommendations for employers who need to harness skills in data science and analytics.

What exactly are data science and analytics skills?

According to the report, “The term analytics refers to the synthesis of knowledge from information. It’s one of the steps in the data life cycle: collection of raw data, preparation of information, analytics, visualization, and access. Data science is the extraction of actionable knowledge directly from data through either a process of discovery, or hypothesis formulation and hypothesis testing.”

People who need to make data-driven decisions include directors in Human Resources, Marketing, IT, and the C-suite. Data science jobs include systems analysts, data administrators, business intelligence analysts, data engineers and much more.

This skills gap affects much more than just data scientists. Jobs from the C-suite to the frontlines are increasingly affected by the need for analytics. According to the report, this is a revolution. “As with the revolution in work brought on by the personal computer (PC) 30 years ago, data science and analytics, hand in hand with machine intelligence and automation, are creating a new revolution in work.”

Businesses who do not attract and retain talent in data science and analytics will eventually be outcompeted.

What does a business do to attract and retain skills in data science and analytics?

The report details four recommendations to employers:

  1. Look beyond the diploma and hire for skills, too.

It’s time to admit that a degree is only a proxy for skill sets. While recruiters can argue the effectiveness of using proxies, it just doesn’t work with DSA skills. The market for these skills is full of disconnected dots. STEM grads are not necessarily prepared to use DSA in business, and business grads are not necessarily taught DSA skills. There is a growing number of DSA degrees, but they haven’t been around long enough for many recruiters to trust their viability, let alone assume they will make the list of annual campus visits.

Where does this leave us? According to the report, “It is left to hiring managers and recruiters to determine how candidates meet skill requirements in this changing environment. To do that they need two things: 1) a common nomenclature to trade in DSA competencies and skills; and 2) a closer, more collaborative relationship with higher education aimed at creating programs that will provide job candidates with the skills they need.”

Researchers have identified skills common to data science jobs across broad skill groups. Those are:

  • Applied domain skills (research or business)
  • Data analytics and machine learning
  • Data management and curation
  • Data science engineering
  • Scientific or research methods
  • Personal and interpersonal communication skills

Employers shouldn’t expect to find all of the above skills in one individual. Rather, they should use these skill groups as a guide to forming teams whose members collectively have a full skill set.

These skills fall into three categories that employers should assess: data analysis, decision-making and problem-framing: (more…)

Posted December 01, 2016 by

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

Startup business people working at modern office courtesy of Shutterstock.com

dotshock/Shutterstock.com

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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Posted November 11, 2016 by

Workplace mentoring: part of your inclusion strategy

Mentor coaching two employeesIn a scramble to create more inclusive workplaces, many companies have implemented mentoring programs. The programs live in the Diversity and Inclusion space because often, minorities and women benefit the most from having a mentor. Research by Catalyst has found that female employees with mentors increase their salaries by 27% compared to women who do not have a mentor. Having mentors, says Kerry Stakem at PricewaterhouseCoopers, is “like having your own board of directors.” Depending on your situation, you seek help from different board members. If you have or want a mentoring program, think through these tips and examples.

Set your objective. “One of the main mistakes many organizations make when starting a mentoring program is not having a goal or program objective,” says Lori Long. Long is a business professor at Baldwin Wallace University who specializes in understanding and promoting effective workplace management. There are four objectives commonly found among mentoring programs, according to research done by APQC. Those are: “the transfer of discipline-specific knowledge; career pathing and counseling; the development of business acumen and soft skills; and the dissemination of “insider knowledge” about an organization’s structure, norms, culture, and professional networks.”

Get everyone involved. Even if your program is intended to help women and minorities catch up to their White male counterparts, you should include all employees in the program. Often companies may only provide the opportunity to participate in the program to certain groups of employees, thus excluding some employees that may really benefit from such a program,” says Long. Plus, given the disproportionate number of White males in senior leadership, you likely need their participation as mentors. It’s a numbers game.

Many companies, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and Boston Consulting Group, assign mentors to all employees. To make a match, organizations may use demographic or personality questionnaires. Lori Long says that one approach is “to host mentoring networking events to allow potential mentors and mentees to meet each other informally.   Then the program can ask mentees to request their preferred mentors. “She believes mentees should make the request. The formality of the networking event can ease the intimidation of asking someone “Will you be my mentor?”

PwC recognizes that not all matches are made in heaven. Employees can change their mentor every year during PwC’s open enrollment. Kerry Stakem, PwC’s Northeast Talent Acquisition Leader, says “If it’s not working then it’s doing neither side any good.” If an employee swaps their mentor for someone who they prefer, their buy-in goes up and participation becomes more voluntary. A voluntary evolution of the mentor-mentee relationship is key. They will naturally build a trusting relationship.

Mentoring can evolve into sponsorship and advocacy. If the mentor-mentee relationship goes well, the mentor can become more of a sponsor. While a mentor can be passively available to guide their mentees’ development, a sponsor is more active. Lori Long says that the “sponsor’s role is much more proactive and can usually have a more significant impact on one’s movement within an organization. “ A mentor is good. Even better is a sponsor, and a real advocate is ideal.

At BCG, Matt Krentz leads the Global People Team. Their mentors, he says, are responsible for tracking their mentee’s engagement and watching for someone in the company who can be a sponsor, and hopefully an advocate. An advocate is someone who more naturally puts themselves on the line for someone else.

It should be reciprocal. Advocates and sponsors should benefit from the relationship too. Employees being advocated for should help their advocates look good. Kerry Stakem says that aside from the warm fuzzies of helping others develop, mentoring others builds her own leadership and listening skills.

One company that is doing this right is Sodexo. They have programs for mentoring women at all levels, from entry-level to senior management. Here’s what they do for their entry-level hires (excerpt from BCG’s recent report, “The Rewards of an Engaged Female Workforce“):

“French food services and facilities management company Sodexo is globally recognized for its commitment to diversity. …Sodexo launched mentorship programs at all levels, many targeting high-potential women and focused on operational roles. For example, promising junior women are offered networking opportunities and exposure to female leaders through virtual webinars. …“It’s a high-touch process,” says Anand, “but that level of people investment is part of our culture.” …Selected employees get matched to senior mentors, who are chosen through a similarly rigorous process and trained in good mentorship practices. The program matches people across business lines to ensure broad exposure for mentees. Most important, it works: women in the program are promoted significantly faster than their peers.”

If your goal is to create a more inclusive workplace, a mentoring program can be part of the solution, but not the whole solution. Inclusion must be a core value and be integrated into the fabric of the organization.

 

lori-longLori Long is a Professor at Baldwin Wallace University and instructs courses in human resources and general management. She holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources through the Human Resource Certification Institute. Lori is also the President of LK Consulting, LLC, a human resource management consulting firm and she is the author of “The Parent’s Guide to Family Friendly Work” (Career Press, 2007). Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

 

kerry-stakem-pricewaterhousecoopersKerry Stakem is the Northeast Market Sourcing Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers with specialties in Assurance, Tax and Advisory Recruiting. She is excited by opportunities to connect people with their passions through her work.  Connect with Kerry on LinkedIn.

 

 

matt-krentz-boston-consulting-groupMatt Krentz joined The Boston Consulting Group in 1983. He is a Chicago based Senior Partner and head of the firm’s Global People Team, which is responsible for attracting, developing, and retaining top talent across all cohorts. He is also a member of BCG’s Executive and Operating Committees, as well as the Consumer and People & Organization practice areas. Connect with Matt on LinkedIn.