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Posted July 16, 2016 by

10 most tricky HR questions for students

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.

 

Posted March 05, 2016 by

What is career counseling

Photo of Veranda Hillard-Charleston

Veranda Hillard-Charleston, guest writer

Do people believe their current career trajectories feel like a hopeless game of grasping at straws? Maybe they’ve been thinking, “I don’t know what I want to do with my life” or “I don’t know what jobs I can get with my major/degree.” Having a long list of “I don’t knows” in the career department certainly doesn’t lead to increased life satisfaction. Luckily, there’s a solution: career counseling.

What is career counseling?

Career counseling is a goal-oriented process targeted at helping people gain better insight about themselves and what they want out of their careers, education, and lives.

According to Boise State University, the counseling element is one-step in a lifelong process of career development. Therefore, the object of career counseling is not to guide people in making better career decisions today. Instead, the focus of this process is to equip people with the self-knowledge and expertise needed to improve their careers and life decisions over their lifespan.

A career counselor is generally a master’s level professional with a background in career development theory, counseling methods, assessments, and employment information and resources. A professional will hold a confidential session with people to identify their unique values, interests, skills, career-related strengths and weaknesses, and personal goals in order to determine which resources they require and which course of action is most appropriate in helping them achieve these goals.

A career counselor can even help people separate their own career-related goals from those of others, such as parents, teachers, and friends who may be pressuring them to choose a specific career path.

Do I need career counseling?

Whether they’re freshmen in college or five years post-graduate, college students and recent graduates can benefit from the services of a career counselor. Since career development is a lifelong process – and people’s interests and skills are steadily changing – the earlier they gain insight about themselves and learn how to make career-related decisions, the better. If job seekers’ current dialogue is filled with “I don’t knows,” career counseling is a smart choice for them.

Possible career counseling for bank credit presentation of important issues courtesy of Shutterstock.com

frechtoch/Shutterstock.com

Maximizing from the counseling experience

So college students and recent graduates made the choice to get career counseling and scheduled an appointment. Their part is done, right? Wrong. A common misconception about career counseling is people show up, and an expert tells them exactly what career choices are best for them. In truth, career counseling is not a one-sided, quick solution to academic or career dilemmas. Consider the following:

• Job seekers are not simply there to receive. The counseling experience requires participation. An honest examination of job seekers is vital for the career counselor to guide them in the right direction. Together, they might uncover their career interests, but they must take action to continue down the right path.

• People must narrow down their goals. Coming in with a broad desire to “Figure out what they want in life” just won’t cut it. A clear-cut objective is necessary so each session has structure and both parties can tell when their work together is complete.

• Job seekers have to continue the career development process beyond counseling. A good career counselor can help them define their interests and values, identify goals, and provide resources and strategies for reaching these goals. Still, the important work is done by job seekers. They have to actually use these resources to pinpoint internships or job opportunities appealing to them and constantly consider how different opportunities match their interests, values, and skills.

Career counseling offers people a safe and confidential place to explore their career passions and identify areas in which they are experiencing difficulty. It is a collaborative relationship – the client and the counselor work together to discover the client’s true career goals and work to overcome any obstacles. However, the client must be devoted to career development and willing to do the work to truly benefit from the experience.

If you want more career advice, go to College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Veranda Hillard-Charleston is Chief Contributor for MastersinPsychologyGuide.com. She received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Veranda has more than five years of experience as a trained mental health professional.

Posted February 26, 2016 by

Focusing on branding in college recruiting

In recruiting college students, recruiters should focus on employer branding. An employer brand represents what a company stands for; it’s why or why not job seekers will work for a business. Brian Easter, Co-Founder of Nebo Agency, explains how his company recruits college students with care and dedication.

Photo of Brian Easter

Brian Easter, Co-Founder of Nebo Agency

“Nebo’s success has been a direct result of our human-centered approach to doing business. It’s because we respect users we’re able to craft successful, long-term strategies for clients over short-term gains; it’s because we love and value clients we build lasting relationships with them; and it’s because we see culture as our competitive advantage we’ve been able to fill the Nebo ranks with the industry’s best people.

As such, we fiercely defend our culture by standing up for our employees at all times. We will fire and have fired clients on the spot when they question the value of our employees’ hard work. Like we’ve always said, Nebo was started to repair a broken industry, and it’s a goal we have in mind at every step.

We’d put the growth opportunities at Nebo against any other agency. More than half of our management positions are staffed by people who started as interns or in entry-level positions. We promote from within to maintain our culture, and we think it’s important to reward good work. We hire people who have potential to grow with the agency, meaning they are passionate, intelligent, have integrity, and want to make the world a better place. We hire people who have a greater mission. Nebo promotes based on merit and does not withhold promotions to make new employees “pay their dues.”

This manner of care and dedication to our employees translates to how we recruit and attract college students to Nebo. We are actively involved with a number of southeastern colleges, particularly the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, in part because of their vicinities to our Atlanta office, but also because we are an office divided with proud Bulldawg and Jacket grads. Throughout the year, we attend career fairs, advertising, marketing, and PR organizational events, as well as host agency tours.

Whenever we plan an appearance at a college event, we don’t settle for just distributing basic fliers. We want our presence to reflect our unique culture at Nebo. Whether that means a contest guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar, giving away a drone or scholarship money to someone with the most compelling tweet, or personalizing t-shirts to embrace each school, we want students to know we are as excited to be there as they are. We always strive to provide every student with a remarkable experience with the Nebo brand.

Every year, Nebo receives thousands of resumes with a large majority from current college students, so we like to think our approach to engaging college students is working. We’ve made it our mission to create a place where the industry’s top talent comes together to help clients make the world a better place.”

At College Recruiter, we believe every student and recent graduate deserves a great career, and we are committed to creating a quality candidate and recruiter experience. Our interactive media solutions connect students and graduates to great careers. Let College Recruiter assist you in the recruiting process. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook for more information about the best practices in college recruiting.

As Co-Founder of Nebo, Brian Easter brings international experience to his role along with a proven track record of helping organizations reach their digital marketing objectives. Under his leadership, Nebo has enjoyed 12 straight years of growth, has never laid a single employee off, and has won over 100 digital awards in just the past years alone.

Posted February 22, 2016 by

Recruiting and training HVACR technicians

An HVAC technician searching for a refrigerant leak on an evaporator coil courtesy of Shutterstock.com

David Spates/Shutterstock.com

Attracting HVACR (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration) technicians and instructors has been challenging for recruiters and hiring managers. There is an opportunity to get college students and recent graduates interested in HVACR jobs if their recruitment and training efforts are strong.

The next generation of Americans, Generation Z students, are about to enter the workforce, and many Gen Z students are unaware of the opportunities available in the HVACR career field.

The oldest of Gen Z students are to complete high school. Some will enter the military or the workforce, and most will attend a one, two, or four-year college or university. The oldest of Gen Z was about 10 years old at the height of the Great Recession and spent most of their formative years witnessing and, in many cases, suffering from the financial turmoil. As compared to their Gen X parents at the same age, Gen Z’ers are far more likely to favor career paths with low student loan debt, opportunities for advancement within their organizations, work/life balance, and a good, stable, living wage.

Trades such as HVACR provide all of those benefits, but few young adults are aware of that fact. More than anything else, the industry needs better marketing of its career opportunities. It should make a concerted effort to deliver presentations in the nation’s high schools, just as the military and some other professions do.

“One option for HVACR industry leaders is to live stream informational presentations on YouTube to build a massive and therefore search engine friendly repository of these presentations and have the presentations delivered by recent graduates of those schools. Graduates can share their stories including their challenges. Authenticity and peer-to-peer communication matters greatly to young adults. A message that everything is great or a great message delivered by a Baby Boomer will not resonate,” notes College Recruiter’s President and Founder, Steven Rothberg.

Another way to recruit HVACR technicians and instructors is to have the employers work with educators on developing strategies to qualified students. They can also collaborate on encouraging these students to enroll in training programs, which will create a workforce in waiting. In order to train more technicians and instructors, one option is establishing financial support through local and regional employers in the career field to create training programs.

College students and recent grads can be potential candidates for jobs as HVACR technicians and instructors. However, there must be a more proactive approach when it comes to recruiting and training.

At College Recruiter, we believe every student and recent graduate deserves a great career, and we are committed to creating a quality candidate and recruiter experience. Our interactive media solutions connect students and graduates to great careers. Let College Recruiter assist you in the recruiting process. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook for more information about the best practices in college recruiting.

Posted February 12, 2015 by

Moving Up the Ladder: How to Be Promoted In 5 Steps

Saurabh Tyagi

Saurabh Tyagi

When you start a new job, there are a lot of things on your mind, and getting promoted to a higher position is definitely one of them. However, promotions are not a given. Earlier, when there was little or no competition and technology was outdated it was easy for workers to progress along specific career paths. However, the same is not true anymore. Here are some time tested strategies that you can work on to get promoted to a higher position, no matter which industry you work in. (more…)

Posted January 20, 2015 by

How to Be a Strategic Career Explorer

Mark Skoskiewicz

Mark Skoskiewicz, Founder of MyGuru

Whether you’re concerned with success in high school, college, a job search, or a specific career, it turns out that who you are (your background, skills, talents, etc.) is actually less important than what you do (the strategies you follow, plans you put in place, and effort you expend). Most people don’t necessarily find this intuitively true, but lots of research has been done to back up the point.

Here’s the main point of this article. You need to manage your academic life and professional career like a CEO manages a business: by researching, developing, and implementing strategies. (more…)

Posted July 09, 2014 by

The Best Paying Wall Street Jobs & How to Make It There

Saurabh Tyagi

Saurabh Tyagi

As a college graduate there are good chances that you must have dreamt of flying in private jets, cruising around the world in your own private yachts and dining out at some of the best restaurants like Noma. But all the good things in life come for a price, and to pay that price you have to have a well paying job (unless you have inherited a goldmine from your father). Wall Street has helped create many rags to riches stories. Here are some Wall Street jobs which can help you translate your dreams into reality with general career advice to make it there. (more…)

Posted June 27, 2014 by

3 Tips to Work Smart in Your Entry Level Job Search

If you are a recent graduate searching for an entry level job, here are three tips in the following post to help you work smart in your job search.

You’re ready for the responsibilities and rewards of a real-world career. But there’s a problem. You have the training, but not a lot of experience. You want to break into a new career, but so do thousands of other recent graduates whose resumes are painfully similar to your own.

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Posted January 09, 2014 by

Searching for Entry Level Jobs? Try These 7 Strategies for Your Job Search

Young professionals, if you’re having trouble in your search for entry level jobs, the following post has seven strategies to consider for your job search.

When I was teaching a workshop to college students recently, I asked how many would be comfortable standing up and talking about what they’re really good at. Not many were. But being able to do so is one of the many requirements of getting an “A” in the

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Posted October 21, 2013 by

How Will Colleges Adapt to New Populations?

Michelle Asha Cooper

Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D., President of the Institute for Higher Education Policy

American higher education is grappling with issues that will significantly alter its landscape. And some postsecondary leaders, confounded by these changes, have wondered how they should adapt. While the current era of postsecondary education reflects a significant moment in our nation’s history, it is important to remember that this is not the first–not even the second or the third–time that our colleges and universities have had to adapt to new populations. Throughout the 20th century, seminal legislative efforts–GI Bill of 1944, Civil Rights Act of 1965, and Higher Education Act of 1965–helped to make higher education accessible and affordable for millions more Americans, and in turn, changed the face of the nation’s college campuses.

While it is true that projected population declines will decrease the number of high school students in the college pipeline, we must acknowledge that our current system operates inefficiently now. As it stands, less than two-thirds of high school graduates go directly to college, thereby leaving behind a sizeable pool of students from disadvantaged backgrounds who could benefit from some form of postsecondary education. In 2010, just over half (52 percent) of low-income high school graduates enrolled in college the following fall, compared to four-in-five (82 percent) high-income graduates. If these trends persist, opportunity gaps will continue to grow even absent a shift in student demographics. (more…)