Lessons Learned at #NACE14

ongDavid Ong, Director, Corporate Recruiting, Maximus, Inc.
Twitter: @dtong2565
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/dave-ong/0/604/513

It’s been two weeks since the 2014 NACE Conference, and I’ve finally recovered from the profound lack of sleep that I experienced in San Antonio. (For those of you that weren’t there, the non-stop networking combined with the excitement in the city from the Spurs NBA title win turned our hotel complex into a never-ending celebration chamber!)

With my batteries now re-charged, here are a few general observations from the conference:

1) Our profession is in a very dynamic phase—Is it just me, or was anyone else just in awe of how many critical issues and trends are hitting simultaneously. From First Destinations to OFCCP to Big Data to STEM Education……It’s clear that the game is changing big time! The conference was the perfect opportunity to exchange ideas with my peers, my customers, and our affiliate members.

2) Our future looks bright—If the conference first-time attendee session was any indication, we’re in great hands. The new attendees seemed so highly engaged, inquisitive, and truly excited about being NACE members and they wanted to know how to get more involved, which bodes well for all of our members. Every year this group gets bigger. Case in point: We typically split the newcomers into groups of about 15 people, and we assign past or present NACE board members to facilitate discussion. To our shock, we actually ran short on NACE board representatives! (Kudos to our terrific conference co-chairs Maura Quinn from Liberty Mutual and Fred Burke from Baruch College for stepping in to facilitate!)

3) We have some great leaders at NACE—How can anyone not be impressed by the performance of our fearless leader, Dan Black of EY? The guy attended almost every organized event, chatted with virtually everyone he met, enlightened (and entertained) us with his “Early Show” interviews of NACE award winners. He threw down the ultimate challenge to our members with a new member outreach proposal. He also did a great job with the passing of the torch to President Sam Ratcliffe of VMI, who did a wonderful job of welcoming first-time attendees and gave us an enlightening glimpse into the college recruiting future. Like many of you, I’m really psyched to see what Sam has in store for all of us now that he’s the president!

One last comment….There is real power in blogging—I’ve got to be honest….When the folks at NACE asked me to consider writing this blog, I was a little hesitant. Questions like “What am I going to write about?” “Will anybody read it?” and “If they read it, will they fall asleep?” all entered into my head. Thankfully, the NACE conference changed my view of blogging after I had several encounters with attendees who recognized me from the blog photo (Note to self: Pick up a gift for our company photographer.) and asked to take a selfie with them, which promptly got posted on social media outlets (Other note to self: Learn to take selfies from above not below.) I heard from other NACE bloggers that they had similar experiences to mine, so a huge thanks to those of you that took the time to let us know that you’re enjoying this latest communications outlet from NACE!

That’s it for now….Next NACE stop for me: the Summer of 2014 Board of Directors meeting in Boston.

You’ll find a list of NACE’s Board of Directors on NACEWeb. If you’re interested in becoming a member of the NACE Blog Team, contact Claudia Allen.

Top Companies Hire ‘Blindly Applying’ Interns

Smedstad-HeadshotShannon Smedstad, CEB Employment Brand Director, Global Communications & Engagement Team
Twitter: @shannonsmedstad
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/shannonsmedstad

Eighteen cities. Eighteen companies. Eighteen interns about to embark on the internship adventure of a lifetime. And, when students initially applied, they had no idea of where in the world they would end up. That’s just one aspect of BlindApplying.com that makes it exciting!blind applying

In its inaugural year, the Blind Applying project received a whopping 10,000 applications primarily from students across Europe and Asia. Each student submitted just one application that was then considered by participating companies.

Think of it as the NFL draft of the internship world. College students who apply anticipate a call from any one of 18 top European companies, including Accenture, Bayer, Daimler, BASF, EY, Merck, and Bertelsmann.

Stats on Blind Applying

  • Nearly 50 percent of students had business-related degrees, followed by approximately 23 percent from engineering programs.
  • The most represented applicant countries included Germany, France, Portugal, Italy, India, and the UK.
  • 56 percent of students heard about the program from Facebook.
  • There was an approximate 50/50 split between male and female applicants.

Changing the Lives of Students

As if interning in Paris, Tokyo, Munich, or Sydney wasn’t enough! The lucky 18 interns—who began their paid internships this summer—each receive sponsorship for travel and housing costs. Students are also encouraged to share their internship adventures via their individual Blind Applying blogs.

It’s Happening Again in 2015

When surveyed, the top two reasons so many students participated were the convenience of applying to 18 opportunities using just one CV submission, and a chance to go global. And with more than 80 percent of applicants indicating that they would apply again if offered the chance … it’s on again for next summer! 

Who is Behind Blind Apply?

Driving this project is the Entrypark team of the global research firm Potentialpark, based in Stockholm, Sweden, and the HR community has already taken notice of the team’s innovative work. Blind Applying has received the HR Excellence Award and the Trendence Employer Branding Award.

The team plans to ramp up the program next year. The goal is to offer 30 unique internship opportunities with 30 top companies.

Are U.S. Companies Ready to Hire?

From a workflow process, students apply online and their CVs are reviewed. If their background is a suitable fit, CVs are presented to participating companies. Once a company has selected their top candidates, interviews are conducted. It’s not until the interview phase that students know who’s considering them.

What do you think? Would your company consider participating in something like this? If you’re interested in learning more, please contact Bjorn Wigeman.

 

Am I Mashed-Up or Just Fried: A Journey Into Social Recruiting (Part 5)

Chris Carlson

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

About two months ago now, our team had our annual Spring Strategy Session. During this session, we reviewed data, as we always do, and started to think about 2014-2015 activities.  However, this year was unique because we invited our digital marketing team, our recruiting marketing team, and our learning and development team to join us.

It was a great!   We did a deep-dive on designing our approach to social recruiting through every stage from “awareness” to “conversion” for both the general audience and the targeted audience.  We became more aware of how to reach and influence candidates. We looked more closely at how we leverage each category of recruitment marketing—paid, owned, and earned.

Several key initiatives resulted from that session across each of those categories.  One of the most consuming of which is content development.  How do we ensure compelling content for those we are recruiting for short-term demand and those we want to engage for future demand? We had a few a-ha moments for sure and thought we had covered a lot of ground.  My head stopped spinning as much as it had in the past.

Then came #NACE14, right on the heels of our session.  BAM! My head started spinning again.  There were several sessions that really provided additional insights into customizing digital content to specific audiences. In addition, there were a few sessions that added to my playlist of words that are sure to be used by my team as part of new drinking games. Of special note would be two specific sessions (don’t worry, I will not plug my own) that I found of great interest that helped me understand more about content and how it can drive recruiting.

“Content is king, but context rules” was not only a great quote from Tammy Garmey from TMP in the Candidate Experience 3.XO session, but became my personal battle cry since leaving #NACE14. In the session she co-presented with Joe Howell from EMC2, they discussed how EMCbuilt a personalized digital content delivery experience for candidates. They showcased the technology platform they leveraged that would sort through the vast amount of content available and present what would be meaningful to a specific candidate.  The technology leverages information about the candidate and suggests content.  Big data and advanced analytics and all sorts of concepts come into play.

Whether your realize it or not, you and I are already seeing this approach applied to us every time we open our browsers or log onto a social media tool.  There is an  advertisement—on your screen probably right now—that someone thinks will be of interest to you based on your online behaviors, cookies, and other key data.   This workshop really brought it home to me that it is so critical to think about how you manage your content and more importantly how you deliver that content in a personalized way. We need to think about attracting the computer science major differently from the history major, just like we would on campus in person. Again, in social recruiting, one size does not fit all.

One of the other great sessions focused on gamification, my new favorite word. It was a SmartTalk given by Danelle DiLibero of RMS. She walked us through how RMS partnered with the developer of a very popular online game that had a direct correlation to their business. They embedded key messaging into the game that would provide real insight into the type of work that RMS does, as well as links to their careers site. Their efforts supported their culture of innovation and provided a vehicle for their employee value proposition. I can definitely see the benefit of this approach. Our team has had greater success with supporting competitions than we have at career fairs. My head is still swirling with the possibilities as our firm is about problem solving for our clients and we look for people who have a passion for solving problems.

It is going to be a fun year as we continue to evolve and formalize our approach to social recruiting, especially after #NACE14 and I will continue to share stories of our progress. On the day I wrote this blog, my Yahoo horoscope confirmed that it is going to be fun: “It’s a great day to try big, crazy ideas—even if they seem too big or crazy to work out. Consider it a day of experimentation and you are sure to learn some new, valuable things.”   Look out y’all it might get a little crazy!

This is the fifth in a series of blog about using social media in recruiting.

What Happened in Vegas…Didn’t Stay in Vegas

ongDavid Ong, Director, Corporate Recruiting, Maximus, Inc.
Twitter: @dtong2565
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/dave-ong/0/604/513

So it’s official, I’m now a NACE blogger! For those who don’t know me, I manage corporate and campus recruiting activities for MAXIMUS, a professional services firm in Reston, Virginia. I’ve also been a long-time NACE member (for nearly 15 years). After serving on the Board of Directors from 2011-2013, I will soon be the new Vice President, Employer, starting this July.

As I prepare for these new responsibilities (which you’ll be hearing about in the coming months if you follow this blog), I find myself occasionally reminiscing about my early (aka, clueless) years as a NACE member. So join me for a trip down memory lane to my first official NACE event—the 2001 Conference in Las Vegas—and how it impacted my career.

If you’re a newer member, you might not be aware that up until 2001, the NACE conference was an every-three-years event. Thankfully, the NACE leadership team had the strategic vision to change it to an annual conference (more on a couple of these leaders later).

So just how did these three-days in Vegas change the course of my career?

I established new relationships. Back then, I had just finished my first year of recruiting for Citigroup in NYC, and was busy building relationships with several new schools from which I’d never recruited. One of those schools was New York University, whose career center was headed by Trudy Steinfeld (#nyuwasserboss). To get to know her team a little better, I invited Trudy and her staff to join my team for a “refreshment break” on the first afternoon of the trip.

Obviously, we spent a good deal of our time talking about recruiting initiatives, but we also veered off to more social conversations where we immediately hit it off. That first conversation not only established a connection between my employer and NYU, but also created the beginnings of an invaluable friendship. Today, I can count on Trudy for guidance and advice (and the occasional refreshment break).

I met NACE leaders. This conference was my first exposure to the NACE leadership team. As (lady) luck would have it, I met then-NACE President, Kathy Sims from UCLA right after the opening session. She was so welcoming to me, a relatively new member of NACE. [On a side note, having served on the Board of Directors, I now know the President has a crazy conference schedule, so the time she took to get to know me is even more impressive.]

Kathy asked about my background, my goals for the conference, and when I was going to start recruiting at UCLA (naturally)! And, being a great leader that she is, she asked me if I was interested in becoming more involved with NACE. Flash forward 10 years and Kathy was one of my nominators for the Board of Directors and provided me with a ton of advice and encouragement when I decided to run for Vice President. You may be aware that Kathy has announced her retirement from UCLA, so I have many bittersweet feelings as I write this.

I experienced a range of emotions. I remember the gamut of feelings running through me from the start of the opening session all the way to the end of the conference. Nervousness because I didn’t know many other attendees. Confusion over what sessions to attend. Frustration at not being able to remember the names of everyone I met. Awe of all the learning opportunities. Appreciation for the generosity of my peers as they shared their knowledge. And that was all okay because I got so much out of the experience.

Fortunately that year, what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas. The networking that took place led to relationships that lasted well beyond the initial three-day conference. So whether you are attending this year’s conference for the first time (or second or third or fourth, for that matter), I hope that you will make the most of your experience. Track me down, tweet me at the conference, or just stop to say hello. If you can’t attend this year, start thinking about next year—trust me, it will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make!

NACE14 attendees! Register for any of five free webinars based on popular workshops at the conference.

Am I Mashed Up or Just Fried? A Journey Into Social Recruiting (Part 4):

Chris Carlson

 

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

I am happy to report that my team has created a new drinking game based on my journey into social recruiting. They have to drink every time I use the word “webinar”.   Webinars have become an obsession of mine as I view them as a way to have virtual engagement and I think serve as a strong vehicle for sharing information. They also allow us to harness the enthusiastic employee base that we have and I have been so thrilled with the willingness our employees to participate in our initiative. I do feel for my team though as several of our team meetings have ended up looking like a TV network program scheduling meeting and I am sure my colleagues racked up quite a large number of drinks (not during work, of course). Part of my obsession comes from the need to address the objectives I discussed in Part 3 of my series and serve as a primary vehicle to address one of the two components of social recruiting that I see as essential.

From my perspective, there are two critical components of building a social recruiting strategy. The first is really about content and how you push your message out there or “branding”. To start down this path, we looked at different components of traditional campus recruiting and discussed how they translate into a virtual world. The content that is developed for the virtual world needs to be both engaging and compelling so that individuals will return time and time again.

That component takes some time to develop as you need to think about

  1. how you feed your message across all the outlets,
  2. how you highlight your employee value proposition, and
  3. how will you enhance the candidate’s experience?

You can’t just tweet: “We have jobs!” or “Hey you! Here is a job for you”. People will get bored with that very quickly. There will be a need to translate the key messaging from your traditional campus information session into virtual messaging and balance that messaging with your technical and functional expertise that you share in classroom presentations or case competitions.

You also have to think about how to touch as many candidates if not more with these messages in quick hits like a career fair and then drive those connections into actual pipeline.  There are a number of companies out there that do a tremendous job with this component and have been doing so for a while so it is important to think about how to set yourself apart. It was this component that led to my team’s new drinking game.

The second component from my perspective is one that many old school recruiters may appreciate—“direct sourcing”. As you may recall, I grew up in recruiting and learned how to start with a list of five names and turn those into a pipeline and this background is the cornerstone of my recruiting philosophy.

I think the sound of directly source to identify talent in the college recruiting world doesn’t always seem like a popular approach with some people for a variety of reasons. However, it is what I know and is always forefront in my mind. I know that I want computer science majors who have internships, so I am going to go after those candidates. There was a time in our team’s past where they wouldn’t let me get a hold of a resume book because they knew I would be contacting candidates into the wee hours of the night and I would be firing off e-mails to the team with candidates who responded with interest.

I truly believe once a recruiter, always a recruiter. So you and I both know that there are candidates out there who don’t want to go to a webinar and for that matter, do not want to go to an in-person career fair, but they are candidates we still want to reach. I guess if you sat in a hallway on campus with some donuts you might reach some of them (I know I ALWAYS stop for a donut), but that is going to require a lot of donuts and a lot of manpower in a lot of hallways.

NACE reported that there are more than twice as many jobs for computer science graduates as there are graduates. So part of our strategy is about direct outreach. I will be honest: we are still reviewing and testing a variety of methods and tools other than me staying awake all night e-mailing every computer science student, and I don’t want to give away too much about some of our thinking around this one. Suffice to say, you have to spend some time thinking about this one.

Looking at how to integrate these two components has kept me up many a night. You are not going to be able to recruit a candidate if you don’t have a compelling employee value proposition or brand. Likewise, you can brand yourself all day long, but you may not ever reach the candidate pool you want without some good old-fashioned direct sourcing. So as I watch a variety of reruns and infomercials late into the night, I sit and wonder how to feed the student’s need to feel engaged if I don’t go to campus. In essence, how do I offer that virtual donut? (Mmmmmmm….donuts) And that, my friends, is our greatest challenge and where I think the greatest transformation within university recruiting is taking place—tapping into the social networks.

Look out for additional entries highlighting my journey into social recruiting. As a reminder, I am presenting on this topic in more detail at #NACE14. Also, if any of you want to connect to share stories or best practices, reach out to me and we can share some virtual donuts. I do like the donuts and the doughnuts.

“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, second, and third installments on his journey into social recruiting? Read them now!

Using Facebook to Easily Connect Students and Employers

Smedstad-Headshot

Shannon Smedstad, Employer Branding & HR Social Media, Geico
Twitter: @shannonsmedstad
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/shannonsmedstad

Before we jump into the meat of this post, I’ve got a few initial questions for you …

EMPLOYERS: Does your company have a career-related Facebook page?

CAREER CENTERS: Do you have a Facebook page?

BOTH: Could you be doing more with your page?

If you answered “yes” to two out of three of these questions, please keep reading.

Most people know that Facebook is good for sharing photos and status updates. But, what if we could use Facebook as a virtual career fair platform? How exactly would that work?

facebook_logoThe Magic of Facebook for College Recruiting

You can access Facebook from anywhere: desktop, phone, dorm room, or in-between classes. You can chat with an individual or group. You can share information and link to jobs. Some recruiters already use Facebook to connect with job-seeking students.

As the manager of a corporate career page on Facebook, I have now successfully led three virtual career fairs … right on Facebook!

  • June 2013: More than 230 people engaged with recruiters over a two-day virtual career fair. Hires were made!
  • November 2013: We took a more targeted approach and attracted 75 students to our page during a one-day fair. It cost us less than $50.
  • April 2014: Co-hosted a virtual career fair with a collegiate honor society and grew our followers by 3 percent in one day and organic reach was the highest it’s been year-to-date. It’s still too early to know if we’ve made any hires—my fingers are crossed!

Advice and Lessons Learned

When it comes to social media, you have to be willing to take some calculated risks and try new things. Social platforms are designed for real time communication; we just have to be creative in our thinking to create opportunities to do just that.

To me, these Facebook career fairs fall into the low risk/low cost/potential high reward category. It’s all about the planning, promotion, human resources, and execution of the plan, not how much it costs. Here are some of my top tips for anyone interested in hosting your own virtual event:

  • Determine your audience and whether you have any existing partners that will work through this idea with you.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to create a targeted, multi-channel promotional plan.
  • Visual imagery is important in attracting talent and sharing details of the event.
  • Schedule a pre-fair call with the recruiters to talk through what to expect and how you might want to handle certain requests or situations.
  • Make sure that your page (booth) is properly manned during the allotted career fair time, and for a day or two after (questions continue to trickle in).
  • Measure results using Facebook Insights, ATS data, and feedback from the entire team to determine whether the event was successful and worth doing again.

Since our most recent event, we’ve had two student organizations reach out with interest to our team. When you can bring people, technology, and opportunities together for the greater good … it’s a beautiful thing. Thanks, Facebook.

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!

Am I Mashed Up or Just Fried? A Journey Into Social Recruiting

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

Reading regular updates on corporate engagement and investment into social media suggests that it is becoming a critical piece of corporate recruiting strategies.  The influence of social recruiting and media on university recruiting continues to evolve.  Many traditional campus recruiting models are being challenged by new paradigms in means of communication.  Our team has been in the process of evolving our social recruiting strategies for university recruiting, and when asked to contribute to the NACE Blog, I thought it would be appropriate to develop a series of blogs designed to share more about my personal journey into social recruiting.

Let me start the series by sharing a personal perspective.  I hate to confess this, but I learned recruiting in a small office back in the day when recruiting was done by putting an advertisement in a local paper and that was pretty much our only strategy.  We opened the envelopes of those who applied and proceeded to review them, and put them into two piles—qualified and not-qualified.  I still remember counting the months and years of experience on each of the qualified resumes with a red pen for review by the hiring manager and the EEO officer. We thought 150 applicants was a lot.

Over the years, I recruited during the introduction of the Internet and job boards. I still am close with some recruiters who were in the chat room of the original OCC, which became Monster. We went from 150 applicants per  job posting to thousands. They came in from all over the world. Technical recruiting exploded, but it was still contained in the confines of job boards and postings. Throughout this whole period, some things remained constant in university recruiting—posting positions, career fairs, on-campus interviews, meeting professors, and student group meetings. Technology advanced a greater ease in posting as we didn’t have to mail a flyer anymore, but still nothing dramatic happened.

Fast forward to now…every student has a smart phone and/or a tablet. Career services staff leverage social media to keep students informed and even trained. There are apps like Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine that allow individuals to communicate instantly and to large numbers of people.  My head whirls sometimes just thinking about it all. Should I be mashing something so I can “mashup?” If I am on Twitter, am I twittering or tweeting, and why am I putting a hashtag in front of everything? Do I have to write in complete sentences?  Who are these people and why do they want to connect with me?

Our team met just over a year ago to review the changing landscape on campuses and within our business. We reviewed our resources, outreach, tools, and historical metrics.  We discussed our challenges and opportunities. We then started to realize that we needed to embrace a remote, social recruiting strategy. We started down that path and are still moving in that direction. Over the coming months I am going to discuss the transition from traditional campus recruiting to embracing this “brave new world.” I will be discussing processes, lessons learned, and best practices.

In true social media fashion, I encourage you to share your stories with me as well. We can mashup together, and I hope you will continue to follow me down my #journey. I will also be presenting at #NACE14 on this topic in more detail.

Everyone Is a Recruiter, best practices on establishing a social recruiting approach that takes into account both internal and external tools and audiences, will be presented by Christopher Carlson and Courtenay Verret, Talent Acquisition Program Associate, American Red Cross.

Read part 2 of Christopher Carlson’s “Journey Into Social Recruiting.”

The Trouble With Job Postings

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

Teaching students to navigate and reply effectively to job postings—whether through internal referral systems or external job sites—is a tenet of most career development curricula. There are valuable skills to teach, from developing pointed, persuasive communication to learning to think from an employer’s perspective.

The question is, do these skills go far enough?  Are we preparing today’s emerging graduates to become tomorrow’s passive and complacent  job seekers? The trouble with job postings is that they represent only a snapshot of potential opportunities out there. What’s more, they drive large volumes of traffic to a relative handful of jobs, creating instant and intense competition for every role.

When working in private practice with mid-career job seekers, I encourage them to use the 80/20  rule when it comes to postings. That is, to spend about 20 percent of search time replying to advertised opportunities, and the remaining  80 percent using these postings as a springboard to inform a more pro-active approach.

It’s not too early to give our students the gift of this perspective.  Beyond first-destination landings, it will empower them to propel their efforts beyond the too-frequent black hole of applicant tracking systems designed to weed out rather than invite in.

Here are three ways to help our students look at and leverage job postings to get ahead of the curve:

1) Target employers of interest. Never mind if there’s not a current posting related to a specific area. If this employer is in hiring mode, more relevant roles may develop at any moment. Encourage your students to follow companies on social media, seeking  informal introductions to  internal recruiters. This helps the recruiter as well, who is often measured on metrics such as “time to fill” open roles. Having a talent pipeline for tomorrow’s openings is a strategic advantage—and it allows for informal dialogue before a cast of thousands applies to a specific posting.

2) Looks at what’s trending. On Twitter and beyond, the advertised portion of the job market is a researcher’s paradise! For instance, your students can look for common job titles and descriptive language, even in areas outside of their target geography. This gives them the right vocabulary to use when seeking out networking connections as well as to suggest potential titles and skill areas on their own resumes and LinkedIn profiles.

3) Go for the bold.  Many students already have a dream company in mind when they come to you for help and guidance. Take a tour together of the company’s website and job listings, Twitter feed, LinkedIn page, etc., and help them learn to identify challenges waiting to be solved by a smart, passionate new graduate. Show them how to put this insight to use with existing institutional resources such as alumni networks as well as their own emerging networks. Sometimes it pays to take a risk and reach out to higher-level individuals—it’s an old hiring tenet that you can get referred down the food chain but rarely up!

Have your students tried these techniques?  What are some success stories?