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5 Tips for Attracting and Retaining Millennial and Gen Z Talent
Posted on: January 8th, 2019

Avenica CEO Brian Weed shares the top 5 strategies for attracting and attaining Millennial and Gen Z talent in the following article published on HR.com.

Having 56 million active workers in the United States, millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) compose the largest generation in the American labor force. That’s right: 35% of all American workers fall within the age group who’s developed quite the reputation for being notoriously fickle when it comes to their careers.

Unfortunately, there is evidence to suggest truth behind that reputation. A recent study by Gallup concludes that nearly a quarter of millennials have switched jobs within the past year. This rate is three times higher than that of any other age bracket. All the while, only 50% of surveyed millennials see themselves at their current employer one year from today, with 60% admitting they’re currently open to new opportunities.

Under pressure from mounting student loan debt and often not knowing where they fit in the workforce, many millennials rush into jobs only to wind up dissatisfied. Research indicates that a high number of millennials are disconnected from their careers, and generally lack passion for what they do. They show up, put in their hours, and collect a check until its time to move on. As the average cost to replace an entry-level professional is $15,000, this dynamic is costly to employers. Sadly, this phenomenon also prevents many millennials from the benefits and satisfaction of a successful, long-term career.

All of this raises the question: What can employers do to not just attract, but retain millennial employees?

1) Create Clear and Fast-Moving Career Tracks

Not unlike other age groups, millennials are always thinking about what’s next–especially when it comes to their careers. Its crucial for employers to establish distinct career tracks with detailed directions on how employees may advance to each level. This could include the restructuring of promotion and incentive programs to give smaller, more incremental position and salary raises, providing more consistent and positive feedback, and setting specific goals that make staying at a company more enticing and satisfying.

Employers should launch professional development opportunities such as education/tuition reimbursement programs and networking opportunities to demonstrate true investment in their employees, helping them to build the skills they need and want. Simultaneously, employers will be creating leaders within the company.

2) Provide Avenues for Young Employees to Explore Other Career Tracks Without Leaving the Company

Millennials and Gen Z’s have a higher propensity for changing their minds and/or wanting different experiences, so consider ways that enable employees to make lateral moves, or create rotational programs that allow inexperienced professionals to get experience in a variety of business capacities before fast-tracking them to a single role.

3) Give Them a Reason to Stay

Alongside competitive compensation packages that include 401K matching programs and comprehensive insurance offerings, provide benefits that allow employees to have flexibility when it comes to when, where, and how they work. Tools such as remote work options, flex schedules, and floating holidays are particularly beneficial as the workforce becomes increasingly diverse. The restructuring of PTO can also provide employees with a boosted sense of autonomy and responsibility for their work.

4) Ensure that Company Culture, One of the Strongest Recruiting and Retention Tools, Is as Strong as Possible

These days, employers must go far beyond the flashy tactics of having an on-site game room and fun company outings, and bring more focus to the company’s mission. Create, live, and work by a set of core values that represents your company’s mission. When millennials feel connected to a mission they’re far more engaged, willing to work hard and seize new opportunities.

5) Walk the Thin Line Between Challenge and Overworking

Allow involvement in higher-level projects and discussions to provide meaningful learning opportunities, and create goals that stretch their capabilities. Its equally important to keep said goals attainable, and keep tabs on individual employees workloads to avoid boredom or stress, two of the most prominent factors for driving millennials out of a workplace.

For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions. Learn more about our process, or find the right entry-level talent for your team here.

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Artificial Intelligence in Recruiting
Posted on: January 3rd, 2019

As time goes on, Artificial Intelligence strings together an expanding number of moments throughout our lives. From whose posts we see on social media to which advertisers target us and how, algorithms are constantly curating our interactions with digital content.

AI has undoubtedly lent a crucial hand in revolutionizing many industries, but not without trial and error. Take a look at Amazon, for example, who found themselves in hot water after developing an AI system to identify candidates most eligible for vacant positions. Shortly after launching the program, it was discovered that Amazon’s new recruiting tool was discriminating against women.

How did that happen? Well, Amazon’s computer models were likely trained to vet applicants by observing patterns in resumes submitted over a ten-year period. Most of those resumes had come from men, in a direct and entirely accurate reflection of the tech realm’s everlasting issue with gender inequality. Consequently, Amazon’s system began to favor male applicants, further perpetuating an already concerning industry trend.

In the end, Amazon recalled the software and released a statement assuring that “no candidates had been evaluated by the program.” But, as a 2017 CareerBuilder survey sources more than half of HR managers as expecting AI to be a common part of their strategies within the next five years, this case poses an interesting question for recruiting pros: Is AI in the hiring process foolproof?

While we at Avenica certainly appreciate and take full advantage of technology and the societal advances it’s brought along, we also understand—and have appropriately addressed—the associated pitfalls. That’s why when it comes to our hiring philosophy, we incorporate technology for efficiency and a human touch efficacy. Our proprietary process utilizes behavioral-based interviewing, career discovery, and personal matching. This is when a real, human member of our staff works with recent college graduates to identify unique skills and aptitude along with career goals and aspirations. Attaining these insights allows us to understand which types of entry-level positions is best suited for each candidate and their career path.

For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions.

Are you a college graduate ready to launch your career? Don’t leave your career path in the hands of an algorithm. Join our network today.

Ready to hire strong entry-level talent? Partner with us.

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Avenica CEO Discusses the Hidden Costs of Recruiting
Posted on: May 22nd, 2018

Avenica CEO Brian Weed shared his perspective on the hidden costs of entry-level recruiting with Talent Economy, discussing trends and best practices for employers seeking to hire at the entry level. Avenica believes that talent is an investment, but in the case of entry-level hiring, it’s often an investment in an unknown and unproven commodity, which makes it daunting for many employers. In the article, Brian shares ways employers can reduce the cost of hiring while not sacrificing longer-term outcomes. Read the article here

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Beyond Career Services: Additional Resources for Entry-Level Job Seekers
Posted on: May 14th, 2018

career help, entry level job

As a graduating college student counting down the last of your college days, there’s still time to leave campus armed with a solid job search strategy. The college career services office is a valuable resource and a great place to begin your journey, but many entry-level job seekers don’t look beyond career services, missing an abundance of third-party assistance in the process.

Unfortunately, many future graduates don’t even make it to career services. Avenica research shows that nearly 35 percent of candidates surveyed had never set foot in their campus career services office, while another 71 percent indicated they had only visited the office two or fewer times.

Getting help on campus should be a first step, not an end in itself. Before heading to career services, here are a few questions to consider asking:

  • What opportunities are you seeing for people with my degree?
  • How can I best market my extracurricular work and achievements?
  • Can you help identify any gaps in my résumé?
  • Can you connect me with mentors or assist me with networking?

Most career services professionals on campus are well-connected to alumni, local employers and additional third-party resources to help grads get a jump on career planning. However, it’s important to remember that they rarely have everything students need for an effective job search, particularly as students leave campus after graduation. Many of the best opportunities for entry-level hiring exist with small and mid-sized companies, which often do not recruit on campus or have strong relationships with career services. With an increasing demand for labor ­– particularly at the entry level – employers of all sizes need a more efficient pipeline to talent.

Campus career offices often rely on a relatively narrow network of connections to large employers that primarily recruit for local positions and seek specialized hires, such as information technology, business and engineering. For liberal arts grads, career services professionals often don’t know which jobs are a fit for English, history, political science or other liberal arts majors. This at a time that liberal arts degrees are again in high demand from many employers seeking sharp problem-solving skills, a breadth of general knowledge and an understanding of how to bring “soft skills” to bear in the business world.

Online job boards are another popular option for entry-level job seekers, but also fall short when it comes to matching grads with a future career. Upcoming graduates get a false sense of progress when they search job boards (e.g., Indeed) and find they can easily apply to a large number of jobs. Unfortunately, it’s easy for everyone else, too, which results in hundreds of applicants per position. To cut this applicant pool to a manageable size, most employers use automated filters to screen out candidates without full-time relevant experience and/or specific technical skills, which most upcoming grads don’t have.

As the entry-level labor economy continues to grow and shift toward a model more focused on skills than experience, it’s essential for job seekers to consider all of their options for help planning a future career. With career services as a starting point, grads and soon-to-be graduates should expand their toolset to include other resources designed for the entry-level job seeker.

Niche recruiting firms like Avenica, which focuses exclusively on entry-level college graduate job seekers, bring together a nationwide network of employers and thousands of eager graduates, with the goal of creating an ideal match of skills, interests and hiring needs for lasting career success. Unlike a traditional staffing agency, Avenica takes extra time to go deeper with entry-level candidates and understand their career goals instead of simply filling open positions. As part of the process, Avenica’s specially-trained talent specialists can help grads discover career possibilities they didn’t know existed, as well as prepare candidates for interviews, provide résumé assistance and much more. And unlike other services, Avenica is a free resource that is 100 percent dedicated to finding the right fit for entry-level job seekers.

You’re entering into one of the best entry-level job markets in decades. With both on-campus and third-party resources to help, grads can take full advantage of the current climate of opportunity and find future careers that are rewarding and fulfilling. Graduates shouldn’t think of these resources as a way to bypass the hard work of preparing for a career, but they can provide a competitive advantage to those willing to listen, accept feedback and take advice from experts in the hiring field.

Looking for a place to start your future career journey? Join the Avenica network and put our proprietary, candidate-focused model to work for you.

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Avenica Partners with Daniels Fund to Offer Career Placement Services to Daniels Scholars
Posted on: April 10th, 2018

Program gives Daniels Scholars a direct pipeline to entry-level careers through Avenica

MINNEAPOLIS (April 10, 2018) – Minneapolis-based entry-level recruiting firm Avenica announced today that it is partnering with Daniels Fund, a Denver-based private charitable foundation, with the goal of placing Daniels Scholars and alumni into entry-level career-track jobs with Avenica’s national network of clients.

The Daniels Scholarship Program provides four-year college scholarships for graduating high school seniors who demonstrate exceptional character, leadership and a commitment to serving their communities. The Daniels Scholarship Program encompasses much more than just financial support. Daniels Scholars become part of a community and gain access to personalized support and professional development, with the goal of helping each scholar succeed in college and ultimately become independent, successful in a rewarding career and actively engaged in their community.

“The Daniels Scholarship Program emphasizes the same characteristics we look for in our candidates, so this partnership is a great fit,” says Avenica CEO Brian Weed. “We look forward to helping the Daniels Scholars in their career exploration and planning, and I’m confident our clients will respond very positively to this group of capable graduates.”

Effective April 2018, Daniels Scholars have direct access to participate in Avenica’s process of assisting entry-level college graduates to find their “right fit” position and employer. This service will be available to current scholars preparing to graduate from college and Daniels Scholar alumni who have graduated within the last three years.

“Daniels Scholars possess so many of the qualities employers are looking for, and the Daniels Scholarship Program is designed to help them succeed in college and beyond,” said Linda Childears, president & CEO of the Daniels Fund. “We are looking forward to partnering with Avenica to give Daniels Scholars a highly effective resource to help them launch their careers.”

Founded in 1998 as GradStaff, Avenica improves efficiency in the entry-level job market by recruiting students and entry-level college graduates from 900 colleges and universities across the U.S. and helping them identify their transferable skills and discover career interests that fit those skills. Avenica applies its matching process to pair candidates with its clients’ open entry-level opportunities, prepares them for interviews and then hires them to fill those positions. Last year, Avenica filled nearly 1,500 professional positions across all major U.S. markets.

College graduates can apply with Avenica online at www.avenica.com. Companies interested in working with Avenica to build a customized entry-level recruiting and hiring program can contact Avenica via www.avenica.com or via email at hires@avenica.com

ABOUT AVENICA

Avenica is the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level career-track positions. Using a proprietary interview process that identifies skills beyond the resume and provides career coaching, Avenica opens new possibilities for candidates. Avenica partners with companies to refine job profiles and streamline the hiring process. A personalized matching process leads to the right fit for both candidates and clients, which results in better outcomes—very high candidate conversion and retention rates—at a lower cost. Avenica serves a national client base, and places thousands of recent graduates each year from seven offices throughout the United States.

ABOUT THE DANIELS FUND

The Daniels Fund, established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels, is a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming through its grants program, scholarship program, and ethics initiative. Visit DanielsFund.org to learn more.

 

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Why Experience Requirements Hurt Entry-Level Hiring Practices
Posted on: March 30th, 2018

Avenica CEO discusses why including experience requirements in entry-level hiring practices limits access to qualified candidates in an article written for the talent management and HR online publication, TLNT.com. Read the full article below or on the TLNT.com website.

For college graduates, nothing is more frustrating than applying for entry-level jobs that require experience. With degrees in hand, an eagerness to perform and a willingness to learn on the job, these prospective hires could be making a significant impact in the workforce. Even with unemployment near historic lows,and six million jobs remain open, the “underemployment rate” among entry-level college graduate job seekers—those aged 22-27 who are either unemployed or in jobs that don’t require their degree—remains at over 40%.

Unfortunately, employers are limiting their ability to hire a large group of high-performing entry-level personnel by setting the barrier of experience too high for many otherwise qualified candidates. This hiring strategy, which may help simplify the recruiting process by screening out more applicants, is holding back companies that need the best talent at the entry-level to stay competitive.

Experience is not the only predictor of success

Many companies hiring at the entry-level assume that candidates with even modest experience will be more beneficial for the company. However, that paradigm is being challenged by a new class of job-seeker: the high-performing entry-level employee (HPEL). These hires may lack direct work experience in a similar role, but they can bring other attributes, and less baggage, than their more experienced counterparts.

High-performing entry-level candidates are naturally more malleable to blend in with a company’s culture but also bring fresh perspectives to the table that are informed by learning, listening and intuition, whereas experienced hires may be more likely to get “set in their ways.” It’s important to also consider the intangible benefits that HPELs bring, such as teamwork, resilience and problem-solving abilities, and how these exceptionally driven candidates can translate their skills into action on the job. Still fresh from their academic experience, these hires will be adept at acquiring new skills because of their extensive experience learning how to learn.

The value of retention

Writing for Recruiter.com, Emily Elder explains an important risk when experienced hires fill entry-level roles:

“(T)here seems to be a disparity between entry-level job requirements and the proficiency level actually required to complete the day-to-day tasks in these roles. In today’s hiring market, companies tend to set high expectations, demanding significant qualifications and experience levels in their entry-level job postings. Once hired and onboarded, these highly qualified new employees often experience their entry-level workloads as repetitive, mundane, and without purpose. Discouraged and disenchanted with the organization, they leave. Failing to fully realize the potential of their highly-qualified employees, companies find themselves constantly recruiting for the same positions.”

Turnover is expensive — the all-in cost, including recruiting, training, and lost productivity, can be two to three times the annual salary for the position. To address this issue, smart companies are filling these roles with HPELs, which are a more natural fit with the positions. Given their desire to establish themselves and their resiliency, it’s reasonable HPELs would have higher rates of retention, promotion and professional success relative to experienced hires.

The businesses that continue to focus exclusively on experienced candidates when recruiting for entry-level positions run the risk of hiring technically-qualified candidates who may not be happy or last long with the company. In addition, technologies like applicant tracking systems are prone to screening out HPELs when employers place too specific skill and experience requirements in a job posting. By thinking more expansively and inclusively about entry-level hiring, companies can improve résumé flow and connect with candidates who may not have otherwise been noticed.

Getting the “high performing” part right

How can companies ensure they are attracting the right kind of entry-level hires among college graduates? As the first line of contact with prospective hires, a company’s message to entry-level job seekers starts with the job posting and job description. The goal should be to attract as many candidates as possible that are interested in the company, regardless of major subject in college or work experience. The job posting should be based on required skills and competencies — some of which can be trained — as well as experience, while making it clear that all interested candidates are encouraged to apply.

Companies should also prepare probing questions about transferable skills for interviewing candidates without professional work experience. Interviewers should ask these candidates for real-life examples of how they applied these skills successfully in a non-professional position, volunteer setting or team-oriented activity. These skills are often a more accurate measure of a candidate’s future success than work experience or even a college degree.
Simply put, a lack of work experiences should not be an obstacle to hiring quality talent; the transferable skills these candidates possess more than make up for any downside. While classroom learning is an important capability, for the new grad with little-to-no professional work experience, it’s life experience that counts. Employers that understand the value of non-professional experience will ask candidates about their success in sports, arts, leadership or entrepreneurship to gauge whether they possess the soft skills necessary for success in the workplace.

Finally, hiring companies should not automatically dump résumés that don’t tick every box of the job description and requirements for the position. There are many other indicators of future success besides work experience, coursework and a diploma. Companies should look beyond the usual and expected résumé fodder and consider how these HPELs can contribute.

The cost of inflexibility

Refusing to adapt to a changing hiring economy, particularly at the entry-level, and failing to cast a wide net in a competitive job market can have serious impacts on companies that desperately need to hire new talent. By taking a more expansive approach, companies can make their workplaces sought-after destinations for entry-level candidates.

Putting the “experience myth” to rest is the first step toward a new hiring paradigm, one that is here to stay as long as the need for long-term, sustainable talent exists.

For more than twenty years, Avenica has been the leading U.S. recruiting firm exclusively focused on placing college graduates into entry-level, career-track positions. Learn more about our process, or find the right entry-level talent for your team here.

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Forbes Article – Helping New Grads Launch In The Workforce – And Why It’s Vital To Companies
Posted on: January 23rd, 2018

It is easy to place blame on one group or another regarding the overall underemployment and overall career dissatisfaction new college graduates struggle with. Avenica CEO Brian Weed and Ryan Craig, Managing Partner with University Ventures discuss the companies’ role in solving these impactful issues in this recent article seen in Forbes. Smarter recruitment strategies and enhanced engagement plans are steps businesses must assess to both attract and ultimately retain new entry-level workers.

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Business Journals Shares 3 Tips to Close the Unemployment Gap
Posted on: January 4th, 2018

Avenica CEO Brian Weed shares some insightful information for employers looking to hire at the entry level and help combat the staggering underemployment gap in this article in the Business Journals.

 

More than 40 percent of entry-level college graduates are underemployed, either unemployed or employed in a role that doesn’t require their degree. Companies must take a proactive approach with self-evaluation to help ensure the right hire is made, therefore reducing costly turnover and promoting long-term retention.

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