Tag Archives: recruiting

Anatomy of a Career Center

This post could also be known as “The Many Employer-friendly Spaces Under our Roof.”

Those who’ve visited our blog before may have picked up in previous posts that there are people at the Career Center who are here solely to work with employers. Though, for today’s post I wanted to discuss the spaces in our center dedicated to employers. Some of these areas are here only for employer use, while others have double-duty and help both recruiters and students. Here’s a visual (take note of the blue shady areas!):

Let me offer some details on the less-obvious ones…

  • Interview Rooms: Can be reserved (for free) by employers hiring for full-time jobs or  internships
  • Library: Can be reserved by employers looking to host “drop-in” hours (much like a professor’s office hours). 
  • Training Room: Can be reserved (for a charge) for employers looking to host info sessions and networking events. Employers who volunteer to host workshops will also find themselves using this space.

Hopefully offering this as a visual really shows just how much of our center is available for you. The good news? Anytime an employer is coming to recruit on campus and to use one of these areas, we will help get the word out about your visit.

 Interested in a tour?  Let me know!

-DBO

Will you refer me to a faculty member who can recommend their best and brightest? (FAQ 8.0)

Answer:  Well…that’s actually not as easy as it sounds. There are thousands of faculty members on UCI’s campus. While it’s possible that some of them are open to responding to employers in between their teaching, research and other academic commitments, others may simply not have the time to help. Some will even refer you right back to the Career Center, which is really the hub of campus recruiting. There are many that have great relationships with the Career Center, and we trust that they use their own professional judgment when it comes to supporting their students’ career efforts. We don’t ask them to dip into job placement on top of that.

You can also look at it this way – is a professor’s opinion of “best and brightest” the same as your HR Office’s? What about classroom culture vs. office culture? Even when they do have the credentials that our faculty members do, they are still strangers to you. How do you know that you will agree on what is best for your organization? So, unless you already have a relationship with a specific faculty member, we recommend that you not spend the time researching and reaching out to folks you haven’t met for hiring recommendations. Their responses will likely vary, and you’ll be putting in a lot of time with no guarantee of results.

All things considered, can we stop you from contacting faculty members? Well, no. But for the reasons outlined above, we recommend that you work with the Career Center and conduct traditional recruitment on campus. Trust me, we have plenty of options for you!

If I tell you what I’m looking for, can you send over a student to work for me? (FAQ 7.0)

Let me start out by saying that we love helping employers. Love, love, love it. In fact, we have a team of folks whose duties include supporting employer recruiting efforts. However, as much as our roles involve helping off-campus folks, we ultimately have to keep what’s best for the students and for the university in mind. Which brings us to a question that we get fairly often…

Question: If I tell you what I’m looking for, can you send me a student employee?

Answer: I’m afraid not. The size of our student body makes it impossible for us to know the skills and qualifications of each student, so we are not able to recommend individuals. It’s simply not fair for us to only recommend from the small (in comparison) pool of students we know individually on a campus that has tens of thousands of people. On top of that, we don’t know your office culture well, so we are unable to discern what kind of person would be a good personality fit for your team. Lastly, most students that we encounter want to know what they are getting into before they begin a job.  Ultimately, we want to see students happy with their career choices, but as you can imagine, the chances of that would likely go down if we were to pick jobs for them.

This is what we are trying to help you avoid.

That said, we can give you some suggested recruiting strategies to help you find your desired candidates, and we’ll do our best to support you along the way. Hopefully you agree that this is the best of both worlds!

For those that are ready to learn about what services and resources are available, feel free to reach me via email at dena.o [at] uci.edu

Can you email out my job description for me? (FAQs 6.0)

Answer: Ooh. Probably not. First, this is may not be as effective as you think. Email is fluid – inboxes fill, messages go to junkmail, things get deleted on accident (or on purpose), subject lines are skimmed, important messages are missed. However, ZotLink is a (semi) permanent home for the opportunity that students can know and trust. We recommend that you put your posting in a secure place, like ZotLink, so that students know how to find it. On top of that, it’s rare that a student will search for jobs in their inbox. They go to ZotLink for that. Wouldn’t you want your opportunity to be in the mix?

Something else to consider – what would happen if all 1,899 jobs that are currently active in ZotLink were sent out via email? Or even if 10% were sent? Students would block all Career Center emails and they’d likely stop paying attention – I know I would!  Simply put, we do want Career Center services to be confused for spambots.

More often than not, instead of sending a message through the Career Center, I’ll encourage the employer to target particular student organizations. Contact information for most is available via UCI’s Campus Organization homepage, so employers can send emails themselves. Side note – if an employer wants to reach one of our Club Affiliates, we can help with that, too (logos of current Club Affiliates are on the employer homepage of ZotLink). On the rare occasion that the Career Center helps send out a bulk email, it’s handled on a case by case basis, with a targeted audience in mind.

This is what we are trying to help you avoid.

 Hopefully this sheds some light on things! 

Until next time,

DBO

To Fair or not to Fair, that is the question…

A common query from employers who are new to student recruitment is “what should I do first?” There are so many options for performing outreach to our campus , that I get why there is some confusion over how (and where to begin).

Often, employers are already familiar with the idea of Career Fairs, and assume that’s where they should begin. For some, that is a great idea. For others, their budget and efforts may be better spent elsewhere. I’d like to suggest that employers considering Career Fair attendance ask themselves the following questions…

  • What exactly are my hiring needs? That’s right, hiring needs. As tempting is it may be, a Career Fair is not a place to come advertise products or services (in fact, we don’t allow it). I recommend that you should be actively looking to hire for at least 2-3 openings/internships in the near future, whatever that means for your organization. The more positions, the better, and the more chances that a student can make a long-term career out of them, the better.
  • Do I see value in having face-to-face interactions with potential employees?  Online/digital applications are very common these days, so it’s no surprise that many of the employers who attend career fairs have electronic apps. In fact, many have to decline paper resumes that are offered to them by students. As a result, when there is no exchange of paper, there is little happening aside from the conversation between the recruiter and the student.  Does your company value such interactions?  Which brings me to…
  • Am I okay with the possibility of talking for 5+ hours? What it really comes down to is whether or not you (or your company’s representatives) can maintain a positive attitude toward each student who approaches your table after a long and tiring afternoon. I have (unfortunately) seen recruiters who wear their exhaustion on their face, and it negatively affects the interactions they have with potential employees.
  • Do I see long-term benefits to having UCI students aware of our opportunities?  You’ll likely spend time talking to students who will be ready for your next wave of job opportunities, but you’ll also meet students who have another year or two of school (or more) to finish before they’re ready to take on work. Are you okay if not every conversation you have results in an immediate application?  To piggy-back on that, there will be students who notice your presence, but who don’t talk to you.  How does that sound to you?

All right, it’s no secret what the answers to these questions should be. What I’m hoping employers understand is that career fairs can be great investments for many, but not everyone. If you only need one student for a part-time opportunity that starts immediately, it’s not your best bet. But if you want to build a pipeline of future graduates and develop long-term relationships, it’s a great way to begin. For those specifically interested in UCI Career Fairs, further details are available here. And, for those joining us later this month (or after), be sure to check out last fall’s Top 5 Career Fair Tips (for recruiters).

-DBO

 

Is timing really everything?

For those who are working closely with us here on campus, you might already know that today is the last day official day of class for the Fall 2011 quarter. Which means…next week is Finals Week!  And shortly after that, campus will start to get very, very quiet, as students head home for the holidays. The reason I’m bringing all of this up is to address just how the academic calendar can affect recruitment and hiring.

Granted, not every employer can hire around a school schedule, we certainly get that. ZotLink never closes, so you are absolutely welcome to post your positions as they become available. But, for those who do have the luxury of choosing when to recruit, we suggest keeping the following in mind…

  • UCI is on a quarter system, meaning we have three 10-week academic terms per year – Fall, Winter, and Spring, plus Summer quarter, which is its own entity.  A link to our academic calendars can be found here.
  • The first week of each quarter can be hectic for students – changing schedules, fighting for space in classes, settling back into a routine, etc. It’s not an ideal time to put up a new posting, if you can avoid it.
  • The last week of classes, along with finals week, are also not the best times to recruit. For most, the priorities will be finishing up with academics and going home. 
  • And of course, ZotLink activity is quieter during actual breaks.  UCI Student Housing is closed for breaks/holidays, so going further with hiring steps (interviewing, etc.) can also be tough during these times. 

Is it still possible for you to successfully recruit during parts of the year when ZotLink is quieter? Yes, of course. I wouldn’t say that timing is everything, but when it comes to recruiting, it’s certainly  something.  It nevers hurts to keep the ebbs and flows of the academic calendar in mind as you plan out your  recruiting schedule.

Speaking of schedules, a heads-up that next week, four staff members from UCI (including me) will be representing the Career Center at the annual MPACE Conference in Portland. Get ready for some live blogging coming your way from Oregon!

In the meantime, have a great weekend!
-DBO

Wise words on Employer branding…

My, my, my…that word ‘branding’ gets thrown around a lot these days, doesn’t it?  In a few minutes I’m going to an Events Council meeting to learn more about it, so it’s been on my mind today.

Here at the Career Center, we are certainly not immune to the power of branding. We’re conscious of not only our own brands (on-campus and off-campus), but also the brands of our employers. On that note, I wanted to share some words of wisdom from my colleague Michelle Foley (who single-handedly ran Employer Relations AND OCI before I came on board), who recently said that “Campus recruiting has a lot to do with building a brand.  At UCI it takes employers engaging in at least one activity per quarter a full academic year to achieve student recognition.  Once recognition is achieved the activity level should be maintained for another academic year to solidify the reputation.”

Something to think about, right?  The main idea here is that steady, long-term involvement can lead to recruitment success. Keep in mind that this is a suggestion for employers who expect to do consistent hiring over an extended period of time, and who want to build a solid pipeline of candidates from UCI. I realize that can sound like a lot of work, but the good news is we have staff members dedicated to helping employers develop and maintain a level of involvement that is appropriate to them and their business needs (ahem…I am one of those staff members).

Either way – let me know how we can help. That’s what we’re here for.

See? We really are helpful.

Until next time,
DBO

PS  – There is absolutely still hope for employers who do not hire as frequently. Many can often still find success while maintaining a smaller presence on campus. Some quick, inexpensive ideas can be found here

Why aren’t more students applying to my posting? (FAQ’s 4.0)

This question helps me revisit that childhood dream of becoming a detective, since there is never a clear, one-size-fits-all answer to give.  It usually takes a little bit of digging to determine how to answer this question. Here are some of the many things we have to consider when someone brings this topic up:

  • What time of year/academic quarter is it?
    Indeed, there are times of the year when ZotLink is quieter. Midterms, finals, spring break, summer term, the list goes on. All of these shifts in the calendar mean that students are either busy or away, and that they are checking ZotLink less often.  There are also times when recruitment season is in full swing and it’s busier on ZotLink, meaning that you will have more competition with your posting.
  • How much (and what kind of) information is in the posting?
    Our students are very savvy. Clear, concise, error-free descriptions that demonstrate your company’s professionalism are going to be appreciated. Blank sections, vague information, or unclear messages will deter applicants.
  • How is the position described, and named?
    I can certainly understand the desire to stand out and showcase your company’s personality, though if you have a creatively-named position, be aware that not everyone will understand it.  Calling a Sales Representative a “Life Changing Relationship Builder” may match your company’s values, but it won’t make sense to those who aren’t as familiar with your lingo or personality.
  • What type of position is it?
    There are some types of opportunities that are simply more popular among our student body than others. Personally, I believe that nearly every internship, entry-level or junior position has a spot on ZotLink (we have over 40,000 students and alumni registered), but that doesn’t mean students are equally interested in all of them, unfortunately.
  • Is the compensation fair?
    There are a number of things many people (students or non-students) expect to get paid to do. Calling the experience an “unpaid internship” does not change that, and might lead to a less-enthusiastic applicant pool. On a related note, if your position is unpaid, but it shows up next to four identical opportunities that ARE paid, that will affect someone’s decision whether or not to apply.
  • What else do students know your company (from online sources, the news, word of mouth, etc.)?
    You could have the most perfectly-worded, perfectly-timed, well-compensated position in the world, though if a student knows someone who had a miserable internship experience, or who doesn’t like working with your organization, that may inhibit their application. In addition, if your organization has received bad press or has negative reviews online, that will also be a factor. 

Please keep in mind that you don’t have to figure everything out by yourself – my colleagues and I are here to work with employers and ensure that your recruiting efforts are going as smoothly as possible. I’ll gladly talk to anyone wondering how to maximize a posting.  Deep down, I like that detective feeling!

Until next time,
DBO

Top 5 Career Fair tips (for recruiters)

All right friends and readers – here it is! Now that our Fall Career & Graduate School fairs have wrapped up, I can share the Top 5 Tips I learned (for recruiters)…

5) Wear (or bring) comfortable shoes
Seriously. You might be standing for 5+ hours. When hosting tables during a previous job, I often wore sneakers or flip-flops that weren’t visible to anyone else (thank goodness for floor-length table cloths). Then, I changed into my stiff shoes for the walk to lunch or to my car. Most people had no idea I did this…until now.

4) Bring reinforcements
You do not need to take on the entire fair by yourself! It’s not uncommon to see two, three, four, or more representatives at one table. See if there are any recent college graduates in your organization who can spare a few hours to relate to the students. Or, better yet, see if there are any alumni in your company who can come represent (we’ll give them special nametags and pins)

3) Understand where the students are coming from
Please take a moment to remember what it’s like to be in a student’s shoes juggling career fairs and job applications with classes, homework, club meetings, group projects, study dates, internship hours, academic planning, home life, etc. Some students may be able blend right in with the experienced candidates you work with, others are still learning about what it means to be professional. Don’t be surprised if you encounter some of each.

2) Care for yourself
Take advantage of the tea and water available to you, or bring your own throat lozenges if you prefer. You will likely be talking a LOT.

1) Let staff know if you have any questions or concerns
There is much we can do to help you have a smooth and successful fair experience. Need water or a snack? Check. Want a quick route to the bathroom or to a coffee stand? Check. Have a question about our student body, or academic programs? Check. Is your table wobbly, or do you need another chair? Check. We can help with all of these things, if you ask us in time. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything we can do if we don’t find out about an issue until you give us your evaluation at the end of the fair. So, please don’t be shy. You will see dozens of us circulating at the fairs – let us know what you need!

Looking forward to seeing you next time!

-DBO

Highlights from Fairs 3 & 4

Hello again!

For those keeping track, we are now through four of our five fall fairs – the Work-Study and On-Campus Employment Fair, the Engineering, Science and Technology Fair, the Fall Career Fair, and the Graduate School Fair.  Big day! Time sure flies when you’re having fun, right? All that’s left for this quarter is our Law School Fair (next Monday, October 31). Hopefully many of you enjoyed the first unofficial pictorial posted back on 10-14. In that same vein, here are some more photo highlights from our events on 10-20 and 10-24 for your viewing pleasure…

As it turns out, the Fall Career Fair had many things in commong with the Engineering, Science & Technology fair held the week prior...

...including location, steady student traffic and strong employer representation.

Though, grad fairs look a little different. This is a "before" picture of yesterday's event, which had over 100 graduate schools represented.

Here's a "during" shot, with table tents and students as far as the eye can see.

Graduate School Fairs are also a bit more casual.

Though my unbiased (ahem) professional opinion is that you'll still find that staff is friendly and professional...

(As are our new friends tabling)

...especially after we've had our coffee (seriously. This part is important)

Lastly, I think this one speaks for itself - two our fabulous Peer Advisors helping with take-down.

photo credit: All photos courtesy of our fabulous marketing guru, Joanne.

I’m looking forward to reporting back after we finish our final fair fair on Monday – Until next time!

-DBO