March 20, 2017 by Anna Peters
There is a public perception that liberal arts graduates are somehow less valuable. Dr. Ascan Koerner with the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota will tell you why the opposite is true. College Recruiter connected Dr. Koerner with Todd Raphael of ERE Media to learn what his team is doing to make sure employers understand the relevancy of liberal arts students and graduates. A video of Todd Raphael’s and Dr. Koerner’s discussion is below.
According to Dr. Koerner, we have seen more public discussion in the last 5-10 years about the value of higher education, generally speaking. The arguments for what is valuable have primarily focused on STEM education. (That is, science, technology, engineering and math.) Some believe that in order to be competitive in an international job market, one really has to be focused on STEM. At one end of the spectrum, we see the Governor of Kentucky, who has questioned why universities even have liberal arts programs at all. This makes liberal arts students—and their parents—nervous. Dr. Koerner says that at the University of Minnesota, students are asking how liberal is helpful in their careers. He says their belief in the value of liberal arts has never wavered, “but the question hasn’t been posed to us in such stark terms.”
Employers already value liberal arts, but they don’t realize it
Overall, employers already know the value of liberal arts. The problem is, they don’t recognize it as liberal arts. When you ask employers, for example, what they value, they cite competencies that are quintessential typical liberal arts. At the top of their lists are analytical/critical thinking, communication, leadership, ethnical decision making, and engaging diversity.” Employers know what they value, but the job candidates—the liberal arts students—aren’t always good at explaining their own value. So while colleges and universities bear some of the burden of convincing employers, students bear most of that responsibility. A philosophy major may embody the exact skills needed but when you ask him how his education prepared him for a career in corporate America, he has a hard time. That is why it is so important to engage and prepare students for answering those questions. When the students eloquently explain their own competencies, that is more convincing to an employer than if the institution were to explain the overall value of liberal arts grads. Continue Reading
October 28, 2016 by Anna Peters
Guest writer Martin Edmondson, CEO and founder of Gradcore
It feels like there is an ever-growing consensus among employers that university graduates should emerge fully formed, perfectly skilled and immediately work ready. The phrase ‘oven ready’ graduates appears far too often for my liking. It oversimplifies what is ultimately a very complicated issue: How do you match the supply of skills and people with the demands of the economy, when both are moving targets? In other words, how much should employers compromise when searching for the ideal candidate? How much should they training should they assume?
This is such a significant issue in the UK that the government has created a ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ for universities. One of its goals is to tackle “skill mismatches” in the economy. (Go figure that the same government is now limiting their own access to skilled talent via immigration clampdowns.)
Every employer presents unique circumstances. So it’s critical for employers to examine their fundamental approach to hiring with a few questions such as:
- What characterizes the hires you make that are successful, and those that are not?
- What is the most critical factor for fit with your organization – skills, values, attitude etc?
- How recently did you evaluate what is really important in the people you hire?
- If all the evidence says that those people are not available for that price in this place, which one of those variables are you prepared to change?
Here is the challenge: So many employers are seeking candidates with the skills that are in shortage areas. This is typically around digital and software roles where there is a major disconnect between employer requirements and the quality and quantity of graduates available. Employers (and policy makers who are trying to solve these problems) should try one of the following:
1. Grow your own
This is the long game, but often one of the most successful approaches if you have the time. Recruit graduates who have the core attributes or values that suit your organisation, but need to develop their skills further. Then put in place the structured training that will develop them. This could be in house training, or delivered under emerging models such as degree-apprenticeships.
2. Think differently
Stop looking at the really obvious candidates. This could be described as the Blue Ocean approach, getting away from where everyone else is fishing. Recently I saw a very interesting post from a company called Talla about mapping resumes using neural networks. This visual approach helps you to appreciate that people who superficially have seemingly different backgrounds are actually remarkably similar. Each of the dots below is a resume. This shows how different titles share characteristics:
3. Up the budget
Sometimes you simply need to either increase the budget in order to reach a wider audience, or increase salary to attract the necessary skills. While it’s never ideal, there are clearly certain economic realities that are hard to escape.
Underlying all of this is a bigger societal question, which will be answered differently in different countries:
Whose job is it to make a person employable?
Is it the role of the education system and teachers? Employers? Parents or the state? Or are we all solely responsible for our own development? All play a part, but the prevailing national answer to this question goes a long way to deciding the expectations employers have of graduates and vice versa.
Look forward to discussing this and lots of other topics around college recruiting at the College Recruiter Bootcamp in Washington DC on December 8.
Martin is the CEO and founder of Gradcore, a social enterprise focused on graduate employment and employability. Martin has more than 15 years of experience in graduate recruitment and Higher Education. He founded Gradcore, and over the last decade has led a wide range of graduate recruitment and employability projects. These include running global graduate schemes for a range of large employers, delivering employability performance improvement in universities, and chairing the UK and European Graduate Employment Conferences. Martin was a member of the steering group for the ‘graduate recruitment in SMEs’ report for the UK government and has written for a wide range of newspapers and websites. Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.
April 27, 2016 by William Frierson
While face-to-face interviews have not become obsolete, new interviewing methods are becoming more popular today. Video and phone interviews not only benefit job candidates but also benefit recruiters. Recruiters can save time and learn more about candidates to make the best hiring decisions. Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany, explains why video and phone interviews are effective in college recruiting.
“Video interviewing benefits both candidates and hiring managers. For an organization, pre-recorded screening questions create a consistent candidate experience by asking the same questions to applicants the same way. Candidates benefit because the technology is easily accessible and simple to use — just hit record.
Before in-person interviews, companies want to know the basics such as candidates’ skill sets, ambitions, what they can contribute to the company, etc. All of this valuable information is easy to gather through phone and video interviews.
The problem many organizations face when recruiting college students and recent graduates is a skills gap they possess and the skills needed to get the job done. While these interviews don’t fix the skills gap, they give recruiters a better understanding of the candidates. Recruiters can evaluate them more efficiently to avoid eliminating top talent who may not communicate their potential as clearly on their resumes, as they can when responding to specific questions. This affects the quality of hire, the most important measurement that tells employers how well their hiring teams recruit.
When using video interviews, recruiters are effectively finding high quality candidates and eliminating those who fall short. Additionally, they are reducing time to hire significantly and improving their return on investment (ROI).
We use our own talent management platform, which offers a video interviewing feature that seamlessly integrates candidates’ recorded responses with the applicant tracking system. This allows the entire hiring team to engage by watching the recordings at their convenience and collaborating by providing feedback through the platform.”
Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
April 14, 2014 by William Frierson
Job seekers, if it is getting difficult to find entry level jobs, the following post might have a reasonable explanation why.
However Borwein’s project, in which she’s tallied up the demands made by employers in job advertisements posted in the “entry-level” sections of three major Canadian career websites, is eye-opening. Preliminary results…
January 28, 2014 by William Frierson
Would you like to advance from your entry level job? If so, then improving your skills is a good idea. Learn some ways to do so in the following post.
A job seeker commented about doing very well at the job interview; then, apparently, performing poorly on a test of her skills specific to a software package required for the job. She isn’t alone; this scenario plays out far too often…
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