Am I Mashed Up or Just Fried? A Journey into Social Recruiting (Part 3)

Chris Carlson

 

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

In my home office, there is a large neon sign that I picked up at an auction that says, “Buffet Open, All You Can Eat”. Every time we start to discuss social media and recruiting, I think of that sign. There are so many options from which to choose. You can eat from across the whole buffet and self-select those items you want to eat, or you can go to one of the specialty stations to be served a specialty item such as an omelet or a cut of meat. When approaching a good buffet (and there is only one that I will frequent which is in Vegas and you know which one it is), I am careful to review all the options before even grabbing a plate. Once I review my options, I develop a strategy based on how hungry I am and how much time I have. I have been known to relax between courses and to partake of king crab legs for hours.

It was this same approach in developing our social recruiting strategy. We took the time to really understand why we were going to this buffet, and we were careful to review our options in order to select the right ones to meet our needs. We realized that we couldn’t have everything on the buffet. We knew we had time to roll it out and to make a few trips to the buffet as we evolved our thinking. We also knew that we didn’t want to do something just to do it. It had support one of our key objectives which for us included (1) further personalizing our value proposition, (2) enhancing candidate engagement (3) being scalable and sustainable, and (4) building a long-term talent community. All of these objectives aligned to our “burning platform” or the key areas of opportunity for us. Each of you may come to different objectives for your efforts based on your rationale. It is essential in developing your strategy that you have clear objectives and that you design your efforts to support those objectives.

So we grabbed our plates and we started to select the components of our strategy. We wanted to look at short- and long-term initiatives that would allow us to make impact against our objectives with the resources available. Some members of the team had eaten at this buffet before and some had avoided this buffet all together. To ensure we all were on a level playing field, we reviewed the buffet – we looked at the most popular social media tools including but not limited to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. We reviewed how our organization was using these for marketing purposes. I will say here that a lesson learned is to make sure everyone knows that although these platforms support social networking, the strategy isn’t just about one-on-one networking with everyone and his or her mother. Everyone on the team has to understand that it isn’t about posting pics from the intern BBQ or that you have to have a special business handle. It isn’t about each person on your team picking a platform or everyone picking the same platform. It is about composing a balanced plate of options.

So our “small but very mighty” team approached the buffet. We realized as we started to map solutions against our objectives that we didn’t want all of those options right away. At least we recognized that we didn’t want them as a main course but rather as side-dishes to a larger “main dish”. For example, we wanted to leverage Twitter and LinkedIn to promote our interactive webinar series for students and career services and not as primary means of interacting. So our webinars were the main course that linked back to our objectives and the social media tool was the side-dish that complimented the effort. We continued to build our plates to include internal-facing initiatives such as a firm-wide campaign leveraging employees at the grass roots, enhancing our SharePoint site and sharing information broadly via Yammer and quarterly firm-wide teleconferences for all staff. It is starting to look like a composed plate with some real depth of flavors but we know that we need to continue to revisit the buffet to satisfy our hunger.

If this blog entry made you a little hungry for more, I am going to be sharing more about our lessons learned and additional trips to the buffet in upcoming blogs. Also, as a reminder, I am presenting in more detail at #NACE14. If any of you want to connect to share stories or best practices, reach out to me and we can start the discussion over the phone or via one of the social media tools. Who knows, maybe we can start a Twitter chat.

“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 and second installment on his journey into social recruiting? Read them now! Look for his next blog on May 15.

Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

kevin grubb

NACE Ambassador Kevin Grubb
Assistant Director at Villanova University’s Career Center.
Twitter: @kevincgrubb
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevingrubb
Blog: “social @ edu”.

You and I know it: the job search is a hustle. It’s applying, it’s writing, it’s getting LinkedIn, it’s tweeting, it’s interviews, it’s dressing to impress… it’s all of the above. Even more than that, it’s about people. The people you meet at the places you go. It’s “networking,” which can be a difficult concept for students to understand.

Networking isn’t linear. I’ve heard students say, “That’s not really applying to a job.” Sure, talking with someone who doesn’t necessarily have a position open or even the ability to hire doesn’t feel the same as hitting “apply” online. But, your relationships could be the differentiator in your job search success.

When I talk about networking, one of my favorite phrases to break down is, “I was just in the right place at the right time.” (See also: planned happenstance.)

Being in the right place in the right time isn't only about luck. (Image credit: flickr.com)

Being in the right place in the right time isn’t only about luck. (Image credit: flickr.com)

Some of the best career success stories I’ve heard from students are cut from this cloth: a story about a junior making a chance connection on a train ride home or the senior finding out her cousin could refer her for a job while at the Thanksgiving dinner table. At first blush, this phrase seems like someone just got lucky. Truthfully, luck has only a little bit to do with it. A lot about making it happen is up to you.

There is such a thing as being in the right place at the right time. But, the critical truth is that you have to put yourself in a bunch of right places and have the right attitude so that you’ll have the chance of experiencing a “right time.” The right place is not likely going to be your bedroom. It’s also not likely going to be the networking event you attend where you speak with no one.

So, when I talk about networking with students, I tell them: you could be the one to experience being in the right place at the right time. I follow up by showing them events on- and off-campus where they could meet with industry professionals (some good “right places”). I even tell them a story or two about taking advantage of chance meetings and how talking confidently about your goals beats talking about them sarcastically any time.

NACE blog readers, how do you explain networking to students? Are there any career advice phrases you like to break down? I’d love to hear about it in a comment.

Good Advice: The Best Graduation Gift of All

sue-keever-wattsSue Keever Watts
Owner, The Keever Group
Blog: http://keevergroup.wordpress.com/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/sue-keever-watts/0/aa/b60
Twitter: @SueKeever

 

50 Rules Your Children Won’t Learn in School was written by Charles J. Sykes in 1996. Sykes offers honest, sometimes harsh advice to students about the real world. Whether you’re about to say goodbye to students for the summer or hello to graduates who will soon join your organization, it’s a good time to revisit a few of Sykes’ words of wisdom.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: You think your teacher is tough? Wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping—they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes, and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

Read more from Sue Keever Watts.

 

 

The Assessment Diaries: Implementing NACE First Destination Standards

Desalina Allen

Desalina Allen, Senior Assistant Director at NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development
Twitter: @DesalinaAllen
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/desalina

If you haven’t been living under a rock (or trampled by a continual flow of student traffic) you know that the amazing NACE First-Destination Survey Task Force put together some guidelines to help career offices align the way we collect post-graduation outcome data for undergraduate students. You can view the standards, a sample survey, and an informative webinar hosted by Manny Contomanolis, who chaired the task force, on the NACE website.

The standards are not meant to give you a detailed, step-by-step, roadmap. Instead, they are guidelines are a framework to ensure that as a profession we are aligned in terms of our timeframe and the basic type of information we are collecting.

There is an emphasis on flexibility and professional judgment—acknowledging that institutions will add their own questions or adapt their surveys to ensure they are able to meet existing reporting requirements. Additionally, as mentioned in the webinar, these standards have and will continue to evolve.  

With that being said, I will be sharing details of how we are applying the standards to our existing first-destination survey process at NYU. I would love to hear and include other schools’ interpretations as well.  Please contact me or leave your comments below if you would like to participate!

The topics I will be touching on include:

  • Timeline: Defining our graduating class and planning for when and how to collect their placement information

  • Survey Instrument:  Designing and testing our survey; Ensuring the questions/data align with NACE standards

  • Survey Distribution/Data Collection: Partnering with schools to distribute the survey; Collecting information from various sources (electronic and phone survey, faculty, employers, etc.)

  • Data Analysis/Integrity: Verifying results, cleaning and analyzing information

Desalina Allen writes about assessment. She will be blogging occasionally about New York University’s Wasserman Center for Career Development process as an early adopter of the First Destination Survey Standards.

Read more from Desalina Allen.

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!

How Do You Handle Student LinkedIn Invitations?

Chaim Shapiro

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

I wanted to invite you into a Twitter discussion I was having about an issue that most career services professionals have probably had to deal with this at some point: How do you handle LinkedIn connection requests from students?

To me, the fundamental question comes down to whether a LinkedIn connection to a career services professional provides a real added benefit to students.  If it does, then I would argue that benefit MUST be extended (or denied) equally to ALL students.  If it doesn’t, then it is simply a matter of personal preference.

How do YOU handle student LinkedIn invites?  Please vote in the Flash Poll!  Disagree with my analysis? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

 

 

Chaim Shapiro

Shine Bright: How to Stand Out at Job Fairs, Networking Events, and More

Lakeisha MathewsLakeisha M. Mathews, Director, Career and Professional Development Center, University of Baltimore
Twitter: @RightResumes_CC
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/lakeishamathews/

Pop singer Rihanna’s 2012 song titled “Diamonds” topped the charts in more than 20 countries and became her 12th number-one single going quadruple platinum and selling more than 7.5 million copies worldwide. The song is about a couple’s love that is so strong it shines bright as a diamond. The chorus is my favorite part, where the singer chants: “Shine bright like a diamond…You’re a shooting star I see…So shine bright…We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky.”

It’s not the song’s love story that strikes me the most, but the vivid imagery of two people being able to stand out amongst a crowd. To me, there is a correlation between standing out in a crowd and successful participation in networking events such as job fairs. Knowing how you stand out and shine in a crowd is relevant for students looking for work, launching careers, and seeking to build professional brands in today’s chaotic and competitive workplace. Professional brands are built on the ability to determine what separates you from another job seeker. Instead of teaching our students to look, act and sound like every other job seeker, we must teach them to shine and stand out from others.

We have all heard the 55/38/7 rule which asserts that success is based 55 percent on what you look like, 38  percent on what you sound like, and 7 percent on what you say. Oftentimes, students attend job fairs and networking events but leave without having established new connections or serious job prospects, not because they weren’t prepared, but because they didn’t stand out. When asked why they failed to broaden their network, students usually place the blame on the employer—saying the employer was not really looking to hire anyone. I turn the table, placing the responsibility with the student, because it’s no longer the early bird that gets the worm, but the bird that shows up and shines bright!

Building a professional brand that shines and stands out at networking events starts with developing a strong self-concept. That is, understanding your strengths, interests, skills, and talents, which all combine to shape your professional brand. This is a challenge for most young adults and even some career changers. To help students of all ages and backgrounds develop a strong awareness of their brand and identify their value factors—areas they shine in—I use the 55/38/7 rule:

What I Look Like (Physical – 55 percent):
– Wearing appropriate and professional attire
– Ensuring a stylish polished look
– Understanding your best features and how to enhance them

What I Sound Like (Verbal & Nonverbal – 38 percent):
– Strong public speaking skills – confidence, clarity, conviction
– Positive nonverbals – handshake, eye contact, good posture, and a smile

What I Say (Content – 7 percent):
– Captivating professional pitch
– Ability to articulate what you have to offer
– Thorough knowledge of the company and/or industry

It’s important to note that as career professionals, we probably spend more time working with a student on what they say and less on what they look like and how they speak, both of which carry weight in the employment process. Successful professionals and those who rise to the top of their company or industry are noticed first for how they look and sound before anyone cares to hear what they have to say. Challenging students to work on all three areas of their professional brand will help them develop an authentic professional brand that shines bright in the labor market.

Read more from Lakeisha Mathews.