Your Application Does Not Go into a Black Hole – 5 Misconceptions of Campus Hiring

by Kelly D. Scott

As a campus recruiter, I speak with many students and career development personnel about the hiring process. I’ve sat on many panels and participated in countless campus recruiting events dedicated to answering common questions including, “What happens to my application once I apply online?” and “Do thank-you notes really matter?” Throughout these conversations, I’ve noticed that there are a few common misconceptions that students share surrounding the hiring process. As a result, I’ve outlined five of these misconceptions in an effort to provide clarity around the hiring process. I’ll admit, as a former applicant myself, it can feel a little mysterious.

  • My application goes into a black hole when I apply online. We live in an online (connected) world of instant gratification. When you Google something, you can almost guarantee you’ll find an answer immediately. The online job application process is built to make it easy and quick for applicants to submit a resume. In some cases, such as when you use LinkedIn, it is literally three clicks! That said, it is not surprising that it feels like once you apply to a position online and fail to hear anything right away that your application fell into a black hole, never to be seen again, but that’s simply not the case. To ensure a fair hiring process, recruiters look at all applications until the job is filled. Generally speaking, the best time to apply to a job is when it is first posted. The reason being, most hiring managers want to fill their roles as quickly as possible, thus the sooner you apply, the more likely the chance that you’ll be considered for an interview. There is less competition given the limited time the position has been posted.
  • Career fairs are a waste of time. Believe me, career fairs feel overwhelming for both the students and the recruiters, but are never a waste of time. Recruiters attend career fairs for a variety of reasons. One being that it’s a great branding opportunity and an effective way to meet future candidates. Just because we may not have the role you’re looking for now, doesn’t mean we won’t have it in the future. Career fairs are a great opportunity to make a positive first impression and share your interest in an organization. Often times, we are actively recruiting for roles, hosting on-campus interviews shortly after the fair, and encouraging students we meet to apply.
  • All full-time jobs and summer internships are already filled by early spring semester, so it’s too late to apply. By and large, this is true for many roles, specifically finance, accounting, and analytics roles as well as rotational programs, but there are still internship and other full-time opportunities available in the spring. At Liberty Mutual, our claims, underwriting, and technology roles are still open. If you’re interested in the finance sector, I always encourage students to make sure to reconnect with us in the early fall to be considered for next year.
  • It’s bad if I apply to more than one or two roles. It makes me look desperate. This is absolutely false, if you’re applying thoughtfully. When I see that a student has applied to a few roles, it shows their interest and desire to work with our company, which is always attractive to a recruiter. However, if the student applied to too many (think: 10+ roles) in one swoop, it can look like they’re just throwing in their application to anything and hoping for the best, which is not a good strategy. When I see this approach as a recruiter, I think that the candidate maybe hasn’t thought through what they’re really interested in or read the job descriptions carefully.
  • The company doesn’t really care if I renege on my offer, they have a lot of applicants. Reneging on an offer is a terrible idea. It is unprofessional, reflects poorly on the applicant and creates more work for the organization. Yes, it is likely there are a lot of applicants for the role, however after somebody accepts an offer the recruiter declines everyone that has applied so they are not waiting to be contacted. As a result, when somebody reneges on an offer, it is likely that the recruiter will have to repost the position and start the entire process over which can take months. Instead of reneging on an offer, candidates should always feel comfortable asking for an extension to their decision deadline. We always do our best to accommodate this type of request as we understand accepting your first position post-college is a big deal and requires serious consideration.

A lot goes into campus recruiting, but it really comes down to good customer service and ensuring that there is a fair and equitable hiring process in place to ensure we find the best candidate for the aligned role. Now that I’ve confirmed for you that your application does not go into a black hole and applying to more than one role is okay, go land your next dream job.

NACE college members can pick up a student-directed version of this blog in Grab & Go on NACEWeb.

kelly d. scottKelly Scott, Campus Recruiter at Liberty Mutual Insurance
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellykonevichscott

Teach Students About Leadership

by Ashley K. Ritter

I teach a class at North Park University about career development for seniors. It amazes me that every time I teach the course, students come in expecting to focus on concrete goals. It’s as though they expect me to say, “Here’s a resume, here’s a cover letter. Now you are prepared for a job.” And who can blame them for this assumption?  In my experience of coaching college and college ready students for about 10 years, I have learned that students feel a strong sense of anxiety about the road to finding a job. They are afraid it will require them to abandon who they actually are and morph into some other professional self, unknown to themselves and unknown to others in their lives. Much of the course, instead, is focused on teaching students how to get in touch with their personal stories, identify what lasting character qualities and strengths it has built in their lives, and finally how to articulate that in the appropriate way to employers and others as a “professional brand.”

We know from the NACE 2016 Job Outlook Data that employers now look to leadership as one of the most sought after attributes in a new hire as well as the “ability to work on a team, communicating, and problem solving.  But what does effective leadership actually look like in the life of a new graduate? What builds the beginning of an effective leader? I would argue that it is more than leading a club or group on campus, though these experiences are essential and important practice. Teaching students to demonstrate and use emotional intelligence is an essential element to building the kind of leadership skills most needed in today’s workplace.

Daniel Goleman (2004) explains in his article, What Makes a Leader, that qualities of self – awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill are imperative. So imperative in fact, that in his study of over 188 companies, these qualities were twice as likely to be correlated to excellent performance as IQ or technical skill (Goleman, 2004, p.2). This is just one reason why the liberal arts, paired with a dose of experiential learning and workplace readiness, is still an important part of what makes candidates work ready.

We must continue to actually teach students what leadership is and how it relates to their own life and career development process. In Becoming a Strategic Leader, Hughes, Colarelli, Beatty, and Dinwoodie (2014) articulate why it is so important that leaders throughout a workplace have the ability to look both internally and externally for answers to organization problems. They write: “It involves an exploration and examination of one’s behavior, values, and identity as a leader and therefore includes potential answers that challenge a person’s sense of self. That is, these are not questions about what one does, but instead are questions about how and who one is (Hughes, et al, 2014, p.40).”

Bringing yourself to work is more important than ever! The authors go on to say, “They (leaders) still seem to fail to turn their perspective inward toward their own behaviors that support the leadership culture and practices they are trying to create in others (Hughes, et al., 2014, p. 41).  Teaching students how to engage in this type of reflection is not just paramount to gain employment but also to remain successful in their careers for years to come.

So that’s why, later today, I will go into class. I will look my students in the eye and ask them who they are, what their stories are, and what the bigger culture or collective picture is of whom they are a part. I will empower them with the courage to seek these answers. And by the end, my students will hopefully have eradicated the image of an “empty self” going to the workplace, but instead, a more whole, full, and confident self will emerge, ready to lead.

References:

Goleman, D. (2004) What Makes a Leader? Harvard Business Review, pp. 1-11.

Hughes, R., Beatty, K. Dinwoodie, D. (2014) Becoming a Strategic Leader. San Francisco, CA: Jossey – Bass.

(2015, November 18) Job Outlook 2016: Attributes Employers Want to See on New College Graduates’ Resumes. Retrieved from http://www.naceweb.org/s11182015/employers-look-for-in-new-hires.aspx

Special thank you to Dr. Christopher Hubbard who recently shared with me some of the materials used in this post.

Ashley RitterAshley Ritter, human resources recruiter, Swedish Covenant Hospital
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ashleykritter
https://twitter.com/AshleyKRitter

 

Getting Ready for the Spring Job Market After Winter Break

by Lisa L. Simmons

Winter break is over at most campuses. Students are returning to classes, and employers are preparing to target them for job and internship openings.

Are your students prepared to engage with employers? The following can help them shake off the winter break cobwebs and RECOVER in time for spring recruiting.

Recruiting System Profile Audit
• Ask students to log into your university recruiting system.
• Have them ensure that their information (GPA, major, graduation date…) is correct.
• Encourage them to complete their profile as thoroughly as possible.

Employment Search Plan
• Ask students to make a list of organizations that are their “Plan A.”
• Encourage students to not limit themselves to the most attractive and in-demand employers where the competition for available positions is substantial. Have them research other organizations that they would also consider. These will be their “Plan B.”
• Ask them to set up search agents on your university recruiting system and other job boards that will help them identify open positions.
• Advise them to research their targeted organizations, the organizations’ industries, and the functional area in which they are interested.

Cover Letter Review
• Encourage them to review their cover letter.
• Advise students to describe what they can do for an organization rather than what they want it to do for them.

Official Transcript Request
• Have students order their latest official transcript from the registrar so they can have it on hand if required by an organization.
• Remind them that they may also need an unofficial transcript in case they must upload it to a system with maximum document size requirements. (Watermarked documents are usually large.)

Visit the Career Center
• Encourage students to touch base with a career coach to review their resume and cover letter, discuss their goals, and iron out their job / internship search plan.
• Provide mock interview (in person or virtual) opportunities so that they will feel comfortable if they are selected for an employer interview.

Expand Network
• If students are not on LinkedIn, ask them to set up an account.
• Advise them that networking can lead to employment.
• Encourage them to look for friends, family, and alumni who are working at their targeted organizations and build a relationship. LinkedIn has a tip sheet that can assist them.

Resume Review
• Have students review their resume
• Tell them to include any experience they may have acquired over break
• Ask them to make any necessary revisions, such as GPA.
• Have students recheck their contact information, and caution them to be responsive to employers, the career center, and employer relations contacts.

Best wishes for a successful spring semester!

(A student version of this blog is available in Grab & Go on NACEWeb.)

Lisa SimmonsLisa L. Simmons, Associate Director, Employer Experience, Wake Forest University
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/llsimmons
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CareerConduit

Collaboration: More Isn’t Always Better

by Kathy Douglas

Collaboration is taking over the workplace. — Rob Cross, Reb Rebele, and Adam Grant

Teamwork, collaboration, stakeholder engagement—these are all buzzwords in job descriptions where interactions with clients and colleagues are integral to getting work done.   “Over the past two decades,” according to Rob Cross, Reb Rebele, and Adam Grant in their article in the Harvard Business Review, Collaborative Overload, “the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50 percent or more.”

What are the implications of this change in the workplace?  Workloads become lopsided — when “20 to 35 percent of value-added collaborations come from only 3 to 5 percent of employees.”  Women bear a disproportionate share of collaborative work. Top collaborators are in demand by colleagues, and tend to burn out fast. Top collaborators are often not recognized by senior management, and studies show that they have the lowest levels of job satisfaction.

As advisers, we encourage students to enter the work force with enthusiasm and to go the extra mile. Take on additional duties, we counsel. Do an extraordinary job.  But according to Cross, Rebele, and Grant, while “a single ‘extra miler’—an employee who frequently contributes beyond the scope of his or her role—can drive team performance more than all the other members combined…this ‘escalating citizenship’…only further fuels the demands placed on top collaborators.”

Should we then be telling our students a different story?  Should students entering the work force in large companies and organizations temper their enthusiasm when it comes to collaboration, and if so, how?

Part of the answer lies in knowing the nature of collaboration and collaborative resources, which Cross, Rebele, and Grant discuss.

Part of it lies in the corollary to the authors’ assertion that: “Leaders must learn to recognize, promote, and efficiently distribute the right kinds of collaborative work.” Namely, employees (and the students we advise) must also learn to recognize their own work, promote themselves, and create effective boundaries to avoid collaborative overload.

I think the message career advisers convey can still insist on doing a great job and expanding one’s role in ways that are in line with one’s talents and interests.  But I think it’s also important for students, before entering the work force, to develop strategies to avoid collaboration overload and the burn out it can generate.

As Cross, Rebele, and Grant aptly note: “Collaboration is indeed the answer to many of today’s most pressing business challenges. But more isn’t always better.”

Kathryn DouglasKathy Douglas, Senior Associate Director Career Development Office, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/douglaskathy
Twitter: @fescdo
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Yale-FES-Career-Development-Office/134339426609741
Website: environment.yale.edu/cdo

Career Services Programs that Engage Employers

Irene Hillman

Irene Hillman, Manager of Career Development, College of Business, Decosimo Success Center, The University of Tennessee Chattanooga
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/irenehillman

College career fairs can feel like a blur. Hundreds of college students—many of them prepared, but just as many of them unprepared— shuffle in and wander from table to table giving employers their pitch. Employers return the favor and point these young professionals to their websites to apply for positions. It’s a way to build visibility on both sides—company and candidate—but creating a meaningful connection simply isn’t in the cards.

So, how can colleges support the authentic engagement needed for their students to build relationships that will help them launch careers and their employers to gain in-depth access to a targeted and valuable candidate group? Here are some methods being used by the College of Business at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to provide some inspiration.

Take the Freshmen Employer Tour

The Company Tour Program was developed specifically for entering freshmen to help tie them into both the UTC and business community very early on in their college careers. The college develops a schedule of bi-weekly tours for approximately 20 students (lasting one to two hours) into the facilities of the area’s top employers and these students gain access to companies to learn more about the area’s economy, explore potential employers, and network with Chattanooga’s business community in a very familiar and engaging fashion. This encourages students to think about how their degrees can be leveraged and their academic learning can be applied following graduation, motivating them to be better students who are engaged in networking within professional circles of the city.

Invite Employers to Lunch

Through Bridge Luncheons, the College of Business invites businesses seeking a way in which to connect with current students, pending graduates, or alumni to sponsor a business meal. This series brings business students and local or regional organizations together in an intimate setting over a served lunch where candid and interactive dialogue can occur. Typically this is used by companies as a recruiting venue for open positions. Such events are an effective means for companies to spend quality time with multiple candidates at once and serves, in many cases, as a first and simple step in the vetting process. Bridge Luncheons are by invitation only based on the criteria set by the sponsoring companies and students receive e-mails requesting an RSVP if they care to attend. It is also an ideal place to practice business meal etiquette.

Jennifer Johnson, UTC accounting student (Class of 2015), says “The luncheons have given me an opportunity to connect with local businesses and to build relationships with their owners and employees before joining the work force.”

She adds, “I am very thankful that UTC has provided me with the opportunity to participate in these luncheons because they have helped ease my apprehension interacting with potential employers and colleagues.”

As an additional perk beyond assisting students transition from students to professionals, colleges can consider such luncheons as a minor revenue stream since a reasonable flat rate can be charged to companies and remaining funds (after catering and room costs are covered) would be retained to support other career services activities and events.

Pair Students With Professionals

The Business Mentor Program is available to sophomore, junior, senior, and graduate students. Experienced professionals support students who are paired in a mentoring relationship based on common professional interests in order to guide students toward best practices for career success. Valued employers are encouraged to nominate a seasoned professional to the Business Mentor Program. The program provides a great opportunity for professionals to counsel and influence the next generation of business leaders and increase the work force readiness of future recruits. Undergraduates may even engage in the program for academic credit (one credit). The course integrates academic learning with business world application and experiences. Students meet in class for one month to prepare for the mentoring relationship and then pair with mentors for the remaining weeks of the semester.

Use Feedback From the Professionals

The semiannual Resume Week and Mock Interview Week events are another way to help recruiters and students engage in effective networking and develop significant dialogue. During Resume Week, the college seeks out a few dozen professionals (hiring managers or recruiters) whose careers align with the College of Business academic programs and invites them to participate in the event. Students visit the centrally located student lounge with their resumes to give managers and recruiters from participating companies a chance provide their professional opinions through a 15-minute resume review while networking one-on-one with these high-impact business people.

Bios of the volunteers are provided to students so they can plan who they want to meet. We encourage students to dress professionally and bring a business card to make a great first impression on our visitors.

Abdul Hanan Sheikh, UTC human resource management student (Class of 2015),  summarizes the impact that the Resume Review event has had on his career launch: “By attending this event, I received remarkable feedback, which helped me make adjustments to my resume. This event helped me get more engaged in networking effectively. It was a great opportunity for me to make connections with business professionals from around Chattanooga. Furthermore, I believe these events helped me land my first internship last fall and then my summer internship as well, and those positions gave me the experience I needed in HR to feel confident about finding a great job after graduation. So now I have a strong resume and solid experience.”

A month following Resume Week, the college holds a similarly arranged series of events for Mock Interview Week. Not only do students walk away with invaluable advice on developing a robust resume and interviewing successfully, but they get a chance to ask questions about launching their careers to people with realistic answers. And the hope is, as a result, a connection is made and networking flourishes between the student and the professionals with whom they have met.

Engaging with employers need not be an awkward or hurried venture that happens once a semester. When students are provided multiple opportunities for directed networking, relationships can unfold in an enriching manner for our students and our employers!

 

 

Practice Interviews and Anxiety

Kara BrownKara Brown, Associate Director of Career Development, Gwynedd Mercy University
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brownkara
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmercyucareers

A key issue that I have noticed with the majority of practice interviews that I conduct with students is anxiety. Often during a practice interview I observe symptoms of anxiety including: pressured speech, agitation of hands and feet, sweating, increased heartrate, nervous laughter, and sometimes crying. I am quickly able to identify these symptoms because in addition to my career counseling background, I also am trained in clinical mental health counseling.

While interview anxiety can be uncomfortable and difficult to address with students, I have found it to be extremely important to discuss. In some cases, anxiety can be linked to fear, lack of self-confidence, and/or lack of experience. It is important to address these issues head on before the student goes into an interview.

What can career counselors/advisers do to help?

Address it. Whenever we are in an uncomfortable situation we tend to want to ignore it. However, ignoring the anxiety that a student is experiencing in regard to interviewing could potentially continue to worsen the anxiety. Therefore, address the issue with, “I notice that you seem anxious. Tell me about that.”

Actively listen. Listen to what the student is telling you. For example, I had a student explain that they did not feel qualified for the position that they were applying to. So I went through each job requirement, and asked the student to give an example of how they met that requirement. The student felt more confident because they were able to verbally reason why they were qualified for the position.

Encourage practice. For some students, continuing to practice for an interview can help boost their confidence and decrease their anxiety.

Provide anxiety reducing techniques. There are several techniques that anyone can use to reduce anxiety. This may require a bit of research to find which one would work best for your students. While working with students with interview anxiety, I typically recommend that they use the technique of “being present.” I explain to them that while they are sitting in the lobby prior to going in for an interview, they take a few slow deep breaths, and notice what is going on around them. For example, what does the room look like? What do you smell? What are you feeling? I find that this process helps to lower a student’s anxiety by refocusing their attention on to something else.

Refer. There may be situations in which a student’s anxiety is so severe that they may require counseling services. It is important to have a referral process in place with your university’s counseling service in case these kinds of situations were to occur.
After you have conducted a practice interview with a student, make sure that you follow up with that student to find out how the interview went for them. Ask these students, “What went well? What did not go well? Did anything surprise you?” This kind of follow up allows the student to self-evaluate, and also helps to maintain their connection with your career development center.

Career Readiness: Exploring Leadership

KKathryn Douglasathy Douglas, Senior Associate Director Career Development Office, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/douglaskathy
Twitter: @fescdo
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Yale-FES-Career-Development-Office/134339426609741
Website: environment.yale.edu/cdo

The effective leader is someone who can communicate rationally, connecting relationally, manage practically and lead directionally and strategically. The head, the heart, the hands and the feet are all effectively engaged in the leadership process.Australian Leadership Foundation

Leadership: Leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals, and use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others. The individual is able to assess and manage his/her emotions and those of others; use empathetic skills to guide and motivate; and organize, prioritize, and delegate work.Career Readiness for the New College Graduate, A Definition and Competencies, National Association of Colleges and Employers

 

Most of us lead in unique ways everyday but can’t articulate how. And most people, when asked to talk about their leadership, default to examples of being the top person in charge of a team, of a club, of a project. Students I work with often get stressed if they have not been the captain of a varsity team, served as a board member or been the treasurer for a social club, stating I don’t have any leadership experience.  The majority of people I counsel on this topic think first of charismatic or natural born leaders—the rare individuals with big personalities who motivate others through inspiration.

Leadership as defined by NACE’s Career Readiness for the New College Graduate goes beyond the “natural born leader” definition by focusing on the interpersonal, on empathy for guiding and motivating, on emotional intelligence, and on the ability to organize, prioritize, and delegate. The Australian Leadership Foundation draws from ancient Greek philosophers and the ontology of the human in naming four essential areas of effective leadership: Praxis, Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. A quick google search will provide another host of leadership definitions, theories and models, including:

  • Transactional
  • Transformational
  • Servant
  • Free-Rein
  • Autocratic
  • Democratic
  • Supportive
  • Situational
  • Participative

For the visual learner, a google image search will also uncover an array of colorful charts, graphs and diagrams depicting many current leadership models, theories and styles—a bounty of choices to consider when thinking about how to frame one’s own leadership preferences and style.

Google leadership models

 

What kind of leader are you?

While encouraging a student to do the research necessary to develop their own definition of leadership, I usually suggest that they begin with leadership model images that appeal to them. It is relatively easy to then follow the links to read about theories and types of leadership.

Some questions to think about while researching models:

  • Have I held many official leadership positions in my life so far?
  • Do I tend to foster collaboration? How?
  • Do I prefer to do everything myself, or am I able to delegate?
  • Who is my favorite leader?  Why?
  • Can I describe one specific example of my favorite leader’s leadership?
  • Am I the volunteer note-taker who may go unnoticed but who develops an agenda based on group consensus and sends it out by email ten minutes after the meeting?
  • Which of these models resonate with me?
  • Do I insist on my own compelling strategy and sell it?
  • Do I regularly advise and mentor peers?
  • How do I define effective leadership?

The Importance of Team

As team models are integral to leadership models, I also refer students to the Margerison-McCann Team Management Wheel. With its holistic symbol, the circle, it illustrates the varied and equally important roles required in a group to accomplish goals.  And in many leadership models, these team roles are also leadership roles.  The majority of students I work immediately relate to one or more parts of this wheel—Creator/Innovators, Thruster/Organizers, Controller/Inspectors, Linkers, Concluder/Producers—and are quickly able to articulate their unique leadership style.

This model also helps students recognize peers in new ways. They may realize that a group member they are annoyed with who has trailed off at the conclusion of a project was, in fact, extremely active in the idea generation and organizing phase of the project and has already made a vital contribution. They may recognize that a team member who has not made a significant concrete contribution has actually been actively managing group dynamics and keeping communication lines open (The Linkers).  They might newly appreciate the range of roles and types of leadership on their team, including their own.

Recognizing one’s natural leanings and the roles one typically assumes on a team is key to discovering and articulating one’s leadership style. Likewise, understanding the leanings and roles of others is extremely important.  By delving into specifics, by thinking, talking, and writing about them, we unearth a wealth of interesting material for describing leadership.  When we develop our own definition of leadership, we make a frame.  And in that frame, we can see a concrete illustration of our leadership.