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Posted April 11, 2016 by

10 job interview questions you shouldn’t ask

Bad job interview - concept courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Eviled/Shutterstock.com

Congratulations! You’ve landed an entry-level job interview. Now, it is time to prepare for the big day, which includes creating some interview questions to ask if you get the chance. Keep in mind, though, there are questions college students and recent graduates should not ask their potential employers during interviews.

1. How much does the job pay?

Asking about salary in an interview tells the interviewer you’re more concerned with money than the actual job. I’m not saying money isn’t important, but save this discussion for after you have received a job offer.

2. How many days of vacation do I get?

It’s not wise for job seekers to ask about vacation time before landing entry-level jobs. Focusing on time off without a job offer leaves an impression that you lack commitment to work.

3. Can I take time off during exams?

This question might indicate to employers that college students have trouble handling multiple responsibilities, or that school is more important than work. Even though school work is a priority for students, employers are considering what is important to them.

4. Can I use social media at work?

It’s probably obvious to most (if not all) of you why job seekers shouldn’t ask this question. Interviewers would feel you’re more concerned with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers than succeeding at the position you’ve applied for.

Businessman working from home on laptop courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

5. Can I work from home?

Asking this question can leave an interviewer wondering if you have an issue with coming to work regularly. Wait until proving yourself for a while on a new job before requesting to work from home.

6. What kind of job is this?

Please don’t ask this question. If you do, you might as well walk out of the interview. The interviewer expects you to know what kind of job you’ve applied for. You can find this information in the job posting and on the company website.

7. When will I get promoted?

Asking this question makes the assumption that a job seeker has won the position, which won’t impress the interviewer. Remember, you need to get the job first so concentrate on that. With a good attitude and hard work, you may eventually earn a promotion.

8. Do you want my references?

The interviewer is concerned about you, not anyone else. It’s great you have references but save them for later, and focus on nailing the interview.

9. Are there any background checks?

Asking potential employers about background checks raises a red flag in their minds that you have something to hide. If you’re sure of yourself as a job candidate, a background check or drug screen won’t bother you.

10. Did I get the job?

While I’m sure you can’t wait to find out if you got the job, avoid asking if you did in the interview. Unless you’re told otherwise, follow up to learn the employer’s decision. Don’t follow up too soon. It’s okay to ask the employer at the end of the interview about the timeline for filling the position—this lets you know how long to wait before calling to check on your status as an applicant.

In a nutshell, job seekers should wait until after they receive employment offers before asking questions related to issues primarily benefiting themselves.

Are you looking for more information to help you in your job search? Come over to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

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 29, 2016 by

10 reasons to reject job offers

Woman tears agreement documents before an agent who wants to get a signature courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Bacho/Shutterstock.com

Deciding whether or not to accept job offers could be challenging for college students and recent graduates. When considering a position, there are certain factors that might lead students and grads to turn it down. Here are 10 good reasons to reject job offers.

1. Job seekers should reject job offers if they don’t line-up with their competencies, interests, and values. College students and recent graduates should ask themselves whether they’re good at what they’ll be expected to do if hired, if the work will excite them, and if the work is consistent with their morals. If not, pass on the offer. A job needs to be more than a paycheck.

2. The job doesn’t offer career advancement. Can employees grow within the company? If job offers do not mention anything about advancement, workers will be stuck in a job without the chance for a potential career.

3. Opportunities are sacrificed. Depending on the job, college students and recent graduates may or may not meet a people who have the right contacts. Without networking opportunities, they might miss out on their dream jobs.

4. Reputation is damaged professionally. There is no shame in working somewhere to make ends meet, even if it’s not the job you want. However, a bad work experience can damage one’s reputation with recruiters and hiring managers. Students and grads should find jobs highlighting their skills en route to better career opportunities.

5. The job affects your spirit negatively. College students and graduates need to think about how they would feel in the job. If it does not satisfy them for whatever reason, they will be unhappy and won’t perform well. This creates a negative spirit in people and in the workplace.

Balancing work and life, and busy businessman in concept courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Crystal Eye Studio/Shutterstock.com

6. Hurts work/life balance. Work is important, but family is more important. If a new job will take too much time away from your loved ones, consider other options offering more flexibility for work/life balance.

7. Salary falls short. Students and grads should do their homework on how much money a job pays, and then compare the salary to the job offer. If the money isn’t what they’re quite hoping for and they believe they can get more, they shouldn’t accept the offer.

8. Money overtakes dreams. In contrast to the previous reason, the pay can be so good and becomes a bigger priority than pursuing your dreams. If students and graduates are tempted by money more than their dreams, they may regret accepting a new job later in life and wonder what could have been.

9. The hiring process isn’t structured. College students and recent grads should consider how they’re treated during the hiring process. Anything that seems questionable is a red flag and is not worth their time.

10. Bad timing. Even when great job offers come along, sometimes the timing isn’t right. While rejecting offers may seem crazy, don’t beat yourself up. A better offer could be waiting down the road.

Need more tips related to your job search? Follow our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube for career tips and motivation.

At College Recruiter, we believe every student and recent grad deserves a great career. We work to create a quality candidate and recruiter experience. Our interactive media solutions connect students and grads to great careers.

Posted February 23, 2016 by

4 ways to overcome lack of experience

Have you ever interviewed for a job and been rejected because of your lack of work experience?

When you’re applying for entry-level jobs or internships as a college student or recent grad, this is a pretty common experience. Even though the career services office on your campus may have barked at you incessantly about applying for internships and part-time job opportunities, and your parents breathed down your neck over break about doing seasonal work to make some extra money, you may find yourself with very little work experience to list on your resume at this point.

If that’s the case, today’s Tuesday Tip video and article are for you. College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, offers four quick tips in a 5-minute video.


If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

1. Lack experience? Get some.

Alanis Morissette should have added this to her lyrical list of ironies back in 1995. Recruiters don’t have much sympathy for job seekers without experience listed on their resumes, though. If you lack experience prior to the job search, the best remedy is to seek experience. The sooner you can gain experience, the better.

The worst thing you can do for yourself is to allow yourself the luxury of feeling bad about your lack of experience. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take action. A great first step is to register at CollegeRecruiter.com and search for job opportunities in your area.

2. List all experience.

If you can’t find a full-time job, settle for part-time employment. Combine a few part-time jobs if necessary. It’s best to find part-time employment in your preferred career field, of course, because this allows you to build a repertoire of skills you can use in that great entry-level full-time job you’ll land soon.

If you can’t find a paid part-time position, consider volunteering with a non-profit organization. You might be able to use the skills gained in your academic major to help the organization; this experience can be listed on your resume as well.

Don’t forget to list other experience on your resume as well, including paid and unpaid internships and your involvement in organizations both on-campus and off-campus.

3. Compensate with strong soft skills.

Soft skills are skills which you may have acquired as a college student (but not necessarily in the classroom); these skills are a combination of personality traits and habits which make you a quality employee and a pleasant person to interact with. Research shows that people with excellent soft skills tend to perform well at work; in fact, people with strong soft skills perform just as well (and sometimes better than) people with strong technical skills.

Some of the soft skills recruiters and talent acquisition professionals are looking for including communication skills, a strong work ethic, time management ability, problem-solving skills, and ability to work well under pressure.

When you’re in an interview, think about how you can sell yourself by demonstrating your soft skills. Think in advance how you would answer questions like, Tell me about a time when you faced a difficult problem. How did you solve it?

4. Seek additional training opportunities.

If you lack training which applies to the job opportunities you’re seeking, get some! There are multiple ways to seek training. You can take an extra college course in journalism, for example, if you want to write for your local newspaper but keep getting rejected when you apply for writing positions. You might also scour the internet and newspapers for local writers groups. These groups are free to join, and not only will you learn from other writers, but you might enjoy the fellowship and constructive criticism.

Ultimately, if you lack experience related to your career field, no one can gain it on your behalf.

It’s your responsibility to stake your claim in the world of work.

Taking steps in the direction of gaining work experience can be intimidating, but you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment each time you take one more step.

Why not take one more step forward today?

Work on the draft of your resume. Submit your final draft to the free resume editors at College Recruiter. Make an appointment with the career services department at your local university. Find out when the career fair will be hosted on your campus this spring. Register and search for jobs on College Recruiter’s website.

For more Tuesday Tips, subscribe to College Recruiter’s YouTube Channel, follow our blog, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

 

 

Posted February 13, 2016 by

Balancing academics and work as a college student

Photo of Anthony Taylor

Anthony Taylor, guest writer

Students go off to college, but it’s not the rosy life they see in the movies. There are bills to pay, tuition to afford, books to buy, and honestly, balancing finances at a young age is hard. Studying in college and concentrating on getting good grades is tough enough without throwing in a job into the mix. But the money has to flow in to either support the family or to support getting an education. Whatever the reason, here are a few tips to help college students juggle their working and studying lives.

1. Find a job with flexible hours: Let’s face it; students are in college now. There will be coursework and assignments with tight deadlines, and studying should always be a priority. An education will serve as the building blocks for the future so students shouldn’t push it in the backburner. They should find jobs where they can easily accommodate their studies, too, so neither one suffers. These jobs could be within the college campus, as those kinds of jobs understand the balance between work and study, and they can help college students manage their homework.

2. Manage time wisely: With so much on the line, it is wise to have a good time management schedule. College students should know where they spend their time. Many successful people plan nearly each moment of their day to get the most out of their 24 hours. Many times we end up wasting time and not realizing it when we could be putting it to good use. Use lunch breaks to catch up on math homework, or grab a few hours of work during a long lunch break in college. Those few hours can add up during the week. Students need to keep checking in to see if they’re on track per their schedules to know they’re not overcommitting themselves or falling short of their goals. If students know they function better in the mornings, they should get evening jobs so they can do coursework or assignments when they’re fresh and vice versa.

3. Have family support: This goes without saying; without a support system, college students will find it very hard to adjust both lives alone. Students should inform their managers at work, friends, or family to support them in this decision, and help them both personally and professionally. This kind of support will help students infinitely when they feel the pressure is too much, or they need help with managing homework.

4. Know what they want: College students should choose jobs wisely if they can. Students should think about how what they do now could benefit them in the future. Remember, everything can be added to their portfolios. If working in a store, think of inventory – managing time and stock. All of this could and should be interpreted as work experience, and this could boost entry into the working world by gaining experience, references, professional growth, and of course, the money.

5. Be creative in getting homework done: By having a job, college students are effectively cutting down on their study hours. Students must be smart about juggling their time, and try listening to lectures while working. They should also keep their managers in the loop so they get that support system. This way, students can learn, revise, and perhaps even do homework during work hours, which don’t require much brain activity like sorting mail, etc.

6. Take a mental break: It is important to have some time out from studies. Always having studies/ homework on the mind will stress students out, especially if they know they can’t do it during work hours. Allow a study free zone while at work. Know there is nothing students can do about it, so they should give themselves permission to relax. Many times we block ourselves, and take on more stress over things we cannot control. Those moments students are not thinking about studies could benefit them in the long run. This way, they can approach their assignments with a fresh mind.

Smiling college students holding hands at graduation courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

7. Stay focused on the end goal: The end goal should be graduating. Many times, once students start working, they find it hard to stay focused on education. It becomes easy to forget about studies and think about short term benefits, such as getting paid. This spending power lets many people forget about graduating. College students must find ways to motivate themselves. Keep pictures of graduates at their ceremonies or photos of people who managed to reach the pinnacle of their careers to have an aim and a goal to reach.

8. Research on future courses: Students should find courses relevant to them and their future interests. Don’t choose a random course because friends are taking it, or because somebody else has a strong opinion about it. Students need to discover what they are passionate about and what they see themselves doing in the future. Doing some research on courses will help them achieve their future goals.

9. Be smart financially: Money can flow through college students’ fingers like water if they’re not careful. Keep track on spending and where the money has to be allocated. If there are bills to pay, keep that money aside, or pay off debts before doing anything else. This helps students become more financially independent. This not involves their weekly paycheck, but also their tuition. Most colleges have hefty fees so be sure to enroll in a program where there are future benefits. Don’t get a job and go into debt due to careless spending, as this will cause a downward spiral.

10. Be passionate: Happiness can only come from within. College students should be passionate about the courses they will be taking; passion will get them through tough times. If students truly do something they love, they will excel in it. Be happy at the workplace. Find a job that is mentally stimulating or has a good work team. This makes a huge difference in students’ mental health and happiness, and when they’re young and balancing their work and study lives, this is very important.

The balance for managing studies and work can be a fine line, and one that should be carefully monitored so college students don’t end up suffering by their decision to work. This has become a recent trend, as many young students have bills to pay, and this enables them to gain work experience while also getting homework help and inspiration from their coworkers or family.

Need more tips for college students, check out College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Anthony Taylor is a writer, student and editor on student’s writing website. He loves reading, writing motivational stories and spending the time with his family. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+ for more interesting stories.

Posted January 01, 2016 by

Connecting the dots: Creating a 2016 career action plan

Most college students make a list and check it twice before leaving campus during finals week. Catch up on countless hours of missed sleep during fall semester? Check. Hang out with hometown friends and reminisce about old times? Check. Curl up in Dad’s crusty old recliner and watch every episode of “The Big Bang Theory” aired since 2007? Check.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

There may be other items that make the list but rank lower in priority because, let’s face it, they’re simply not as fun to complete—obtain seasonal employment, complete the FAFSA online for the upcoming academic year, fill out grad school applications, stop by the local architect’s office to ask about a summer internship opportunity, etc. The list could literally go on FOR-EV-ER, as The Sandlot’s Squints puts it.

Realistically, many students head back to campus in January without having completed the lower-ranking, future-focused tasks. This doesn’t seem like a big deal in January; the entire spring semester lies before you like a blank notebook. Sounds simple, right?

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

But a blank piece of paper gets you nowhere in terms of a future career or internship (and certainly generates little cash flow). And most people, not just college students, tend to put off today what can be done tomorrow. Unfortunately, employers and recruiters don’t feel your procrastination pain. They only care if you’re the smartest and best if you’ve actually applied on time and filled their needs for openings.

While you still have time and aren’t stressed by the pressure of spring courses, pour a cup of coffee, prepare to brainstorm, and draft a simple 4-step blueprint for action.

1. Accept your limitations and lower your expectations. This might sound like odd advice, but it will keep you from dropping the career-planning ball altogether. Most of us think more highly of ourselves than we ought; this causes us to set ridiculously high expectations and goals (AKA perfectionism). It’s been said that it’s unrealistic to plan more than 90 days out, so don’t do it. If you do, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you’ve begun. Eat that elephant one bite at a time.

2.Identify a few (3 to 5) key career-related goals that matter to you. These goals need to be directly related to obtaining an entry-level job after graduation or an internship during the summer of 2016. Perhaps you’re not interested in an internship but are interested in obtaining part-time employment during the summer that relates to your academic major or minor. Regardless, you might need help with this step. Who can help?

a) 
College Recruiter’s blog. Keep reading this month and follow our blog (via email, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn). During January, you’ll read about nothing but information related to helping college students plan for and obtain entry-level jobs after graduation and internships during the summer.   b) Your career services office on campus.

Let’s pretend your goal is to work for Target Corporation in entry-level management near Houston, Texas, and  you plan to graduate in May 2016. This is a pretty specific goal (which is good—the more narrow your focus, the easier it is to set goals and action steps).

Some career-related goals might be:

  • Develop a more polished resume (your current resume was drafted when applying for college three years ago and hasn’t been updated since) and learn how to write a great cover letter.
  • Improve phone/online interview skills since you live three states away from Texas and will most likely interview over the phone or online.
  • Learn how to convey your “campus life” experiences as transferable skills during interviews since you’ve only held one part-time job and feel insecure about your lack of real-world experience.

(Spoiler alert: Stay tuned to our blog this month to learn about all this and more.)

3. Define action steps necessary to help you attain your 3-5 goals. This step’s crucial; goals are simply idealistic dreams unless you take steps to realize them.

Let’s stick with our hypothetical you who hopes to work in entry-level management for Target Corporation near Houston, Texas, after graduating in May 2016. Here are some suggested action steps:

  • Update existing resume with part-time job, volunteer experience, campus involvement, and coursework relevant to future employment.
  • Submit resume to College Recruiter’s free resume review service (yep, FREE) and to campus career services office.
  • Follow College Recruiter’s blog this month for posts related to interview skills. Search College Recruiter’s blog for past articles and webinars related to interview skills.
  • Attend mock interviews and career fairs on campus—these are free and afford you valuable practice.
  • Work on revising your resume to reflect transferable skills and to reframe the way you think about your own skills, too.
  • Search for job openings with Target Corporation near Houston, Texas, on College Recruiter’s website after registering. Registering first is important because College Recruiter sends you new postings (saving you time and effort).

4. Get busy. Blueprints look impressive hanging on the wall, but they’re much more impressive when framed inside the buildings built by the very architects who drafted them in the first place.

Developing an action plan is tough brain work—but the real work kicks in when you crawl out of the comfy recliner (even though you have three more days of winter break) and begin implementing your plan.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The payoff may not be immediate, but pretty soon you’ll see results—the empty page will fill with a pretty cool image you created by simply connecting the dots by taking action all semester.

 

Posted December 18, 2015 by

How to eliminate stress at work

akansha arora

Akansha Arora

During the week, a lot of time is spent at work, and it is important that people have a stress-free environment there. Stress exists commonly at every workplace, and being efficient at your job can help you deal with it. But what about the environment; would you like to sit eight hours a day at a place where you cannot even smile at your neighbor? Of course not! Maintaining good relationships with colleagues creates a stress free environment and enhances your productivity. Here is how you can build good relationships with your coworkers. (more…)

Posted October 30, 2015 by

Creating work/life balance in employee resource groups

Employers must remember that employees are not just workers but people. That means work can’t always rule the day. Employee resource groups can be an outlet for employees to take care of themselves. Finding work/life balance produces happier and healthier workers.

College Recruiter is currently focusing on employee resource groups (ERGs) and is publishing the opinions of experts based on a series of questions. In today’s article, Julianna Akuamoah, Director of Talent & Development at Allen and Gerritsen, talks about culture as it relates to the well-being of employees. (more…)

Posted October 02, 2015 by

Diversity and inclusion: Bringing our best selves to work

Have you ever considered why we’re invited to parties? It’s probably because of who we are. Diversity is being you, not anyone else. When people are comfortable with themselves, inclusion follows.

To help explore these issues, College Recruiter recently hosted a College Recruiting Bootcamp on LGBT and other diversity hiring issues on Tuesday, September 29, at the Twilio headquarters in San Francisco.

College Recruiter has been publishing the opinions from a number of talent acquisition and recruiting leaders about why and how employers should diversify their workforces. Steve Humerickhouse, Executive Director of the Forum on Workplace Inclusion at Opus College of Business, shares his thoughts on the difference between diversity and inclusion. (more…)

Posted September 17, 2015 by

Benefits of Being Yourself at Work

A diverse workforce merges different ideas and points of view. By hiring employees with diverse backgrounds who feel comfortable with themselves, employers create a more inclusive work environment for all employees.

To help explore these issues, College Recruiter is hosting a College Recruiting Bootcamp on LGBT and other diversity hiring issues on Tuesday, September 29th at the Twilio headquarters in San Francisco. Join us.

Prior to that event, we’ll publish the opinions from a number of talent acquisition and recruiting leaders about why and how employers should diversify their workforces. In today’s article, Dr. Darren Pierre of the University of Chicago discusses a couple of benefits to being yourself at work. (more…)