Why Recruiters Ignore Students’ LinkedIn Invitations

Andres TraslavinaAndres Traslavina, Director of Global Recruiting, Whole Foods Market
Twitter: @traslavina
LinkedIn: http:www.linkedin.com/in/traslavina

I receive a number of daily invitations from people I don’t know, including students, who want to connect on LinkedIn.

My first reaction when I see such invitations is to ignore and delete. However, I changed my views on this a while ago based on my understanding of the fundamental differences in people’s relationship talent and circumstances.

Personalizing an invitation is one common “tip” or advice provided by recruiting and networking professionals.  So why do people keep sending me impersonal invites?

Here are my theories:

  • They have not received or read anything that implies this is bad practice. In addition, LinkedIn makes it easy to ignore what would, under other circumstances, be a bad practice. LinkedIn’s objective is to continue to grow their user base.
  • They simply want to quickly grow their network and want to spend the least amount of time doing it.
  • Success for the sender depends on building as many connections as possible.
  • People’s circumstances and perspectives are very different: Active candidates, networkers, passive candidates, happy employees, sales professionals, etc.

Naturally, I am compelled to connect with those who have interests in common with me. In recruiting, this natural ability helps me discover commonalities between me, or the brand I represent and the potential job candidate.

All recruiters know how to research candidates, and often use their available social channels to accomplish this. If you truly enjoy this process, you are a natural recruiter. If you enjoy the process of “hunting” for people without necessarily feel eager to connect and you are great at it, you are a natural sourcer.

These are two different sets of talent. Can you have both? Absolutely.

My point is that for individuals like me, a non-personal invitation will not likely “push” the right button. In summary, my advice coincides with most recruiting professionals: “Personalize your invitation, it takes one minute.”

However, the next time you receive an “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” think about their circumstances and the differences in our natural abilities to connect with others.

Follow Andres on Twitter @traslavina or connect with him on LinkedIn (just make sure it’s personalized).

 

Am I Mashed Up or Just Fried? A Journey Into Social Recruiting (Part 2)

Chris Carlson
Christopher Carlson, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition, Booz Allen Hamilton
Twitter: @cciCarlson
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ccicrc

Picture it: NACE 2012, I remember sitting, listening to a panel of my counterparts and experts talking about social media and recruiting, and thinking, “Oh dear, is that right for us?” After that session there was another session and another. Panic soon ensued. I knew how to post pictures on Facebook and I had a LinkedIn page, but I have trouble keeping up with the requests on those as well as my e-mail. How are we going to handle individual engagement with college students from every campus via social media??? After several other sessions, more experts, and more articles, I was even more distressed.

After calming myself down and taking a deep breath, I realized that this is just a change. Change isn’t scary; after all, I am a Change Management Advanced Practitioner. Let’s start at the beginning: Moving into social recruiting, whether as a primary thrust of your strategy or just a component, is going to require change. With any change you need to be able to articulate a “burning platform” or a rationale for the change. Before you build a strategy and pick an approach or even figure out on which social media to be present, it is important for you to determine the “why”.   Phew, ok, I had a starting point. Then, I needed to figure out if this made sense for us.

To start building the case, it was necessary to do an environmental scan to determine the trends across our industry. I began searching the NACE website as well as other related sites to track key trends related to social recruiting and university recruiting. I began to see some interesting data related to how students were identifying positions. A recent survey by Collegerecruiter.com [Agrawal, Sanjeev, “How Companies Can Attract the Best College Talent”, March 17, 2014, Harvard Business Report] quantified that trend when it was noted that the number one source of college students finding a job was through their friends followed closely by job boards. It is becoming clear that social networks may be fueling the job search at the university level. So, I quickly realized that my first goal was to understand how to tap into that social network.

Our team has always reviewed data around majors and schools to identify any specific trends. When we started to review our own data, we quickly started to see some additional emerging trends one of which was somewhat antidotal related to on-campus activities—“where were the seniors in computer science?” We were finding freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in the Fall, but seniors were slowly dwindling. We also saw that competition for talent, overall, was on the rise which was confirmed by NACE data around on-campus activity. We had to make some assumptions based on what we were seeing. We had to assume that more companies were converting their interns and that competition was heating up, especially for technical majors. We made a concerted effort to target our on-campus activities to specific departments and were seeing results. We also knew that we had worked to brand ourselves more in the technical space and again, were seeing results. However, when we looked at projected demand and the current pipeline, it hit us. We realized that we had to strike early and often to reach a highly competitive pool of candidates and we had to cast a much wider net—four, five, or even 10 “core” schools can’t deliver the pipeline that our firm needs anymore. So, how do we sustain and scale that to reach a pipeline that will meet our needs?

We then had to look at our own team, our resources, and our service offerings. Could our “small but mighty team” engage in a new endeavor into the social recruiting world? Do we have to add 10 more schools, and then 10 more schools to build that pipeline? How could we leverage the enthusiastic employee base to our advantage without breaking the bank?

An inventory of our organization, historical demand, our budget, and our team’s competencies was the additional step necessary for us to norm around our “burning platform.”  Clearly we couldn’t replicate our winning on-campus strategy across any additional schools. We would burn out and fail to provide that personal touch that students like.

It was clear: We had to go into the social recruiting space. Our next major step would need to be focused on how to leverage social media to achieve our objectives. (I would encourage you to explore your business case before going into the social space and make sure it is the right path. Do you have a clear understanding of your demand? Make sure you understand how it can enhance your program. If you have a successful on-campus approach and are seeing the results you need, then you may not need to jump into the pool head first. You may want to wade into the water. My team will probably tell you that I more than likely bumped my head on the bottom of the pool when I dove in.)

In the next blog, I will explore how we began to execute and obtain support for our leverage of social media in our program. We are still learning and would love to connect with others to chat more about this—perhaps a networking circle or a Tweet chat. Of course, please come see me @NACE14 where I will be presenting on this topic.

“Everyone Is a Recruiter” will be presented on Tuesday, June 10, at 3:30 p.m. See the #NACE14 Itinerary Builder for details.

Did you miss Christopher Carlson’s first installment on his journey into social recruiting? Read it now! Look for Part 3 on May 6!

Of Rousseau and Resumes: Helping Humanities Students Gain the Home Court Advantage

Janet R. LongJanet R. Long
Principal, Integrity Search Inc.
Blog: http://inyourownvoice.wordpress.com/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/janetrlong/
Twitter: @IntegritySearch

Collaborating with and supporting humanities students may represent some of the most challenging—and rewarding—opportunities for career advisers.  Outside of applying directly to graduate programs, these students can face challenges because their paths to internships and permanent employment are often not as well defined as those for more career-specific majors.

Yet, as a longtime recruiter (and full disclosure: former English major) who has successfully placed hundreds of one-time English, philosophy, and psychology majors, I propose that the greater challenge may be an initially uncomfortable fit with traditional job-search methods. The philosophy major who has thought far more deeply about Rousseau’s writings than resume writing may not instinctively pivot to a dialogue about “branding” or self-expression through scannable keywords.  For career advisers, the real gold lies not in portraying these tactics as a necessary evil but in helping students discover how their natural strengths and inclinations can best serve them in the search process.

For starters, amid the ongoing debate about the marketability of a liberal arts education, employers say they want the critical thinking skills that are, in fact, the cornerstone of a foundation in the humanities.  In the well-publicized 2013 survey conducted for the Association of American Colleges and Universities more than 90 percent of employers agreed that “a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major.”

The real question is how to guide our students in applying the well-developed critical thinking muscle to navigating the job marketplace.  Without suggesting a one-size-fits-all approach, here are some places to jump in:

1. Start at the Beginning—Before talking about a student’s resume or a specific job posting, probe for the thought process behind the original selection of a major or course of study—and how that thinking has evolved.  Recruiters like this question too, even for more experienced candidates, because it helps to construct a useful narrative. The reasons are less important than the student’s/candidate’s ability to demonstrate such qualities as self-reflection and an interest in both acquiring and applying knowledge.

2. Open the Floodgates—As West Chester University Assistant Director of Career Development Amanda Mitchell astutely shares, “the key is to help these students understand the capacity of the degree they are pursuing.  Liberal arts students in very specific courses of study may underestimate the breadth of their career options.  For example, while a psychology major could pursue an advanced degree to become a counselor, he or she could also immediately apply an undergraduate degree in a variety of fields, including marketing or business.” As a recruiter, I can validate this perspective:  some of the most impressive candidates I have interviewed for early-career roles in marketing and management consulting have roots in the humanities and social sciences.

By just changing the lens through which they view their major from restrictive to expansive, our students may experience the kinds of “aha moments” that blow their job explorations wide open. You might recommend Smart Moves for Liberal Arts Grads by Sheila Curran and Suzanne Greenwald for a highly accessible, case-study based approach. The format will also expose your students to the kind of storytelling that will serve them well in job and internship interviews—did you know that Chief Storyteller is an actual corporate job title?!

3. Become a Translator—Help your student demystify jargon-y sounding job-search terms like “branding” and “value proposition.” Draw parallels between these phrases and verbal constructs that are more familiar to liberal arts students.  For example, finding central themes in a work of literature really isn’t all that different from identifying common threads in your student’s academic and co-curricular experience to date.

4. Compare and Contrast—While other students might find the following suggestion the ultimate in geekdom, no one aces the classic compare and contrast exercise like the humanities major.  Leveraging strengths in research, analysis, and written expression, consider encouraging your student to draft a very informal essayor even a steam-of-consciousness-like journal (the actual format is less important than the exercise)examining prospective career options.  For example, a political science major might compare and contrast opportunities in government service versus nonprofit associations and foundations.  You can guide your students to core resources such as  “What Can I Do This Major?” as a starting point, and encourage them to deepen their explorations through online publications, associations and informational conversations with alumni.

Added bonus: Should this process lead to a targeted career direction, your student will already have lots of meaty data to draw on during actual job or internship interviews. Recruiters love to probe for such qualities as sincere motivation and resourcefulness.  What better way for a student to demonstrate these attributes than by walking a recruiter or prospective employer through a thoughtful research process and key learnings about a field or specific organization?

5. Highlight Communication Skills—I may have saved the best for last.  While many humanities students take their strengths in oral and written expression for granted, employers are bemoaning the lack of these skills in the workplace.  As a recruiter, this is probably the number one complaint I hear from employers about recent graduates.

From cover letters to resumes to LinkedIn profiles and electronic portfolios, humanities students have a clear home court advantage. You can help them to recognize this and encourage them to differentiate themselves through the sheer power of the written word. In a future post, I will explore some concrete ways to help them maximize this advantage.

And here’s some really encouraging late-breaking news to share with your students—the Association of American Colleges and Universities just published a survey showing that the long-term return on investment for liberal arts majors, reflected in annual earnings, actually exceeds that for some “pre-professional’” majors.

There is so much more to say about this topic. NACE members, what practices have worked best for the humanities students you advise and support?  Your responses need not be in essay form.

Outcomes Data: Let’s Own the Opportunity Ahead

Marilyn MackesMarilyn Mackes, Executive Director
National Association of Colleges and Employers
Twitter: @NACEMarilyn
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/marilyn-mackes/8/210/a70

There is very little these days that policy makers agree on—no big news there. The BIG NEWS is that our profession has an opportunity to lead in an area that many in the public and private sectors do care about and will most certainly impact the work we do in the future.

What is it that the President and legislators in both parties agree on? The need for detailed outcomes data about college graduates and their first destinations after receiving their degrees.

In 2013 we saw a number of federal and state initiatives launched to meet the growing demand for accountability and transparency about college outcomes.

  • In February 2013 in his State of the Union Address, President Obama introduced the College Scorecard designed to provide data on affordability, value and employment potential by institution. http://collegecost.ed.gov/scorecard/
  •  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nearly 20 states have moved formally to performance-based funding for higher education institutions and the majority of states report interest in doing so.
  • Numerous efforts from both parties are being proposed by federal lawmakers to collect and report data about the value of education and the specific first destinations of college graduates.

What does this tell us? The demand for hard data is real and the expectation for data delivery is imminent. The time is NOW if our profession wishes to lead in determining how we can best collect and report data about college graduates and develop the means to do so.

In January at our Advocacy Mashup in Washington D.C., NACE will be releasing Guidelines for First Destination Surveys, developed and reviewed by NACE members. More than 150 members provided commentary and recommendations related to the formulation of these guidelines.

Those attending the Mashup will have the opportunity to discuss the scope and content of the Guidelines as well as consider how to strengthen the data collection and reporting for their institutions. They will also look at how we as a profession can come together to meet the demands being placed upon us externally for accountability and compliance. We hope you can be part of that conversation—but if you can’t, it won’t end there. We look forward to engaging our members in this discussion on an ongoing basis and encourage your participation in the future.

Let’s make sure we don’t let others pave the way for what is certain to happen. Let’s create opportunity and strengthen the role of our profession as we come together to provide high quality and timely data about the outcomes of our graduates.

For more information about the Mashup or to register, go to http://www.naceweb.org/events/advocacy-mashup.aspx.

Tweet With Dan Black on NACE Black Friday

Chaim ShapiroChaim Shapiro
Website: http://chaimshapiro.com/
Twitter: @chaimshapiro
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chaimshapiro

It is the last week in November and Thanksgiving is on everyone’s mind.  This really is the quintessential American holiday.  My wife is already busy cooking up a storm for all of our guests for our first Thanksgiving in our new house.  I have assumed my usual role – staying out of the way and trying not ruin (or eat) any of the food (if Charlie Brown needs a meal, I CAN make some VERY good air-popped popcorn).

Black Friday IS famous for it opportunities to get those things you have always wanted, from HDTV’s to fancy clothes hangers (also known as exercise machines).

There is a lot of talk this year about the creeping “Black Friday.”  As I understand it some people seem very upset that retailers are opening early and conflicting with the ancient rituals of the day-like NFL football.  

Fear not, NACE is going to have a Black Friday of its own this year. Fortunately, you won’t have to run out in the cold, or leave the Thanksgiving Dinner cleanup to someone else to participate  You see, NACE Black Friday is a Twitter Chat on Friday, December 6th from 2-4 PM ET with the aptly named President of NACE, Dan Black at #NACEBlackFriday.

If there is anything you have wanted to know about NACE, but were afraid to ask, this is your chance! I can personally attest that NACE is very receptive to member feedback, and Dan has made member engagement a high priority for the year. So please, come with your questions and your suggestions.  This is your chance to become more active and take whatever is on your mind straight to the top!

So grab whatever iteration of turkey leftovers you may still have (how come there is never pumpkin pie leftover?) and join #NACEBlackFriday.  No. You won’t get an HDTV, but your $.02 will never go further to help chart the future of NACE. Perhaps you can even start with a suggestion as to what to call this event next year when President-Elect Sam Ratcliffe is in charge!

All kidding aside and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I do want to express my thanks to the NACE staff.  It has been a true honor for me to take a more active role in NACE the last couple of years, and  have been fortunate enough to see the dedication and professionalism of the NACE staff first hand.  Their hard work makes all of the things we take for granted from NACE come to fruition.  Everyone in our profession owes them our sincere thanks!

Ask All Your Questions on Black Friday

If you want the answer to a question about NACE or would like to make a suggestion for a new program or benefit, who should you talk to? Well, the easiest thing to do is buttonhole Dan Black, NACE President, 2013-14.

On Friday, December 6, Black, the eponymous spokesman of @NACEBlackFriday, will answer questions and take suggestions in a Twitter chat. Anyone who wants to pose a tweet should use the hashtag #NACE BlackFriday to get his attention.

Ask him about the new membership model. Get his thoughts on the direction NACE is going. Make suggestions for new programs.

Here’s how to participate:

Log into your Twitter account. If you don’t have a Twitter account, go to twitter.com and register—it’s free.

Open a window for your tweet by clicking in the box with the quill pen at the upper right corner of your screen. Using 140 characters or less, ask your question or post a comment. Be sure to include #NACEBlackFriday in your tweet.

Here’s an example:

My #NACEBlackFriday question is: How can I get on a NACE committee?

Click on the little “Tweet” button in the bottom right corner of the tweet box.

If you want to follow the full conversation, search for #NACEBlackFriday. You’ll see the questions asked, the answers, and comments from your colleagues.

Twitter for Job Search: Be the Smartest Candidate in the Room

20111112_weinberg-048-Edit-web[1]

A post by NACE Guest Blogger, Pamela Weinberg
Website: www.pamelaweinberg.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/pamelaweinberg/
Twitter: @pamelaweinberg

For most job seekers LinkedIn is the “go-to” social media site. (I will talk about LinkedIn in another post.) I have been encouraging students lately to take to Twitter to get the most up-to-date information about the companies and industries they are interested in and to build their personal brands.

Here are some tips you can share with students about using Twitter for the job search:

  • Follow companies where you would like to work. You will have real time information on hiring, expansion, and new product development. And when the time comes for an interview, you will be completely up-to-date on company happenings.
  • Follow industry experts. Not sure who they are? Check out www.listorious.com to see who the top tweeters are in each industry.
  • Retweet relevant posts. Your twitter posts should reflect your career interests and aspirations. A student interested in a marketing position should follow and repost interesting and topical articles about marketing.
  • Search for jobs: Websites such as www.twitjobsearch.com list many positions only found through Twitter. Why? Because employers want to hire those who are social media savvy.
  • Connect Directly: Someone that you follow say something interesting and you want to comment? Go right ahead! It’s a great way to develop relationships with experts in your chosen field. Anyone on Twitter can be sent a direct message by placing the @ before their Twitter handle in the message box.

Want to get started? Tweet me at @PamelaWeinberg!

Expanding the Reach of Our NACE Membership

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University
LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/marcjgoldman
Twitter: @MarcGoldmanNYC

I have always been proud to be an active NACE member, volunteering my time and efforts for the betterment of our profession and the chance to connect with colleagues across the country and the world.  In the past, from a financial standpoint, it has been challenging to share this membership with my team.  I have wanted my staff to feel like a part of our profession on a grander scale and to benefit from such a robust wealth of resources, information, and support as much I have throughout the years.

Until this year, I was a member under our institutional membership status, and one staff member also had an e-membership.  Now, under the new tiered membership system, our member fees increase by only about 50 percent, but this allows FIVE professionals in my office to have full membership instead of TWO!  As soon as I saw the NACE e-mail promotion of this new system, I called NACE to adjust our 2013 membership status, so my team could reap the same rewards from NACE that I have enjoyed for so many years.

The Spotlight online newsletter and extensive survey reports issued by NACE will be shared across our two campuses and members of our team much more easily.  NACE website information, Principles, white papers, best practices, and networking will be easily accessible by members of my team when they choose to research and explore for their own professional development and the improvement of our office.  Member rates for conferences and webinars will also extend to more team members, making the case for their attendance and involvement an easier one to make to upper administration.

There are clear gains in sight for our future with this new model of membership.  My team will be better informed and more involved with a greater sense of commitment to our field and our professional organization.  I have always tried to emphasize a team approach to effectively functioning as a college career center.  In spirit, our staff structure is as flat as we can possibly make it.  I believe NACE has taken a great step forward in making this more feasible than ever before.  Thank you, NACE!

NACE Membership: Making It Personal

Dan BlackDan Black, Americas Director of Recruiting, EY LLP
2013-14 NACE President

LinkedIn: Dan Black
Twitter: @DanBlack_EY
Ernst & Young LLP

Among the items I always carry with me are my car keys, my phone, and a reminder that, every day, I need to personally connect with at least one NACE member. Why? Because I believe in the power of networking and, when a personal relationship develops, it reinforces the strength of the profession.

Empowering members to make personal connections—to people, resources, and professional development opportunities—is central to NACE’s new membership model, which was designed by a task force of NACE members to break down the layered complexity of previous structures and provide expanded benefits to all members. I was proud to be a member of the task force and very excited to see the new model being rolled out.

What does this mean for you? The first key benefit is inclusivity. Under the new model, you can bring more people from your organization into the fold and help them develop their own professional expertise. It promotes the learning, networking, and engagement of staff at all levels of your organization.

The second key benefit of this model is access. You and your staff will have expanded access to “non-benefit” resources. For example, I participate in all of the surveys NACE generates for employers. Under the new membership model and because I am a survey participant, all the members in my organization will now have access to these surveys’ research reports. Being able to operate from the same foundation of information and resources is important to my organization since we strive to attract, engage, and hire top-level candidates as “one team.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re part of a large corporation with a global recruiting presence or you’re a one-person career services office at a small college—you will benefit from NACE’s new membership model. It will give you greater access to the information you need, the development opportunities you want to take advantage of, and the personal connections you want to make.

Make the change today! You don’t have to wait until your scheduled renewal to take advantage of the new structure. Bring membership benefits to more people in your operation right away by contacting the NACE Membership Team at customerservice@naceweb.org or 610.868.1421.

Strategies to Help Students Get the Most from Their LinkedIn Experience

Espie SantiagoEspie Santiago, NACE Guest Blogger, is an assistant director of career counseling at the Stanford University Career Development Center
Twitter: @espie_s
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/espiesantiagoOn Friday, August 23, my colleague Bev Principal and I will be conducting a session on “Strategies to Help Students Get the Most from Their LinkedIn Experience.” As career services professionals and employers, we all know that LinkedIn is a mandatory tool in today’s job market, but it can be challenging to convince students of its value without structured programs. It’s even more challenging when faculty and academic departments on your college campus don’t use LinkedIn themselves, and therefore don’t support or encourage students to use it. We’re excited to share with you how we, at the Stanford University Career Development Center, were able to successfully grow our LinkedIn program amongst students, faculty and staff, thereby helping students get the most from their LinkedIn experience. Ours is one such success story, but we’re also anxious to hear anecdotes from others on the do’s and don’ts of building social media programs at your respective organizations.

I am really looking forward to meeting fellow social media enthusiasts throughout #NACESocial!