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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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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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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Navigating the Professional World
Posted on: October 25th, 2017

So, you’ve landed your first professional job out of college – congrats! With the relief of job searching coming to an end, it can feel like the hard work of setting a good impression and showcasing your strengths is behind you. But in many ways, this work is just beginning. Beyond excelling at your day-to-day job, there are a number of ways to continue to set a good impression with your boss and colleagues. Here are five ways to navigate the professional world like a pro:

1. Dress to impress
Just because you saw one of your co-workers wear a hoodie to work last Friday, does not make it the new normal. While dress codes may vary, seek to dress on the more professional side and take pride in a well-maintained physical appearance. Not sure what to wear? Good rule to follow is that it is always better to be over-dressed then under-dressed!

2. Keep your social media clean
Your online persona is just as important as your workplace behavior and can go a long way to show maturity. Regardless of privacy settings, you should assume that anything posted online is public information. From photos to opinionated posts, only share what you’d be comfortable sharing with your boss and/or the senior leaders at your company.

3. Approach your work with humility
Some of the most attractive qualities in a new hire are the eagerness to learn, the openness to assist outside of the job description, and a willingness to do typical entry-level work (aka “grunt work”). Aim to be resourceful, but don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know the answer. Offering to pitch in on projects or tasks that are outside of your job description—as long as you are getting your assigned work done—is a great way to offer added value. Also, recognize that some of the work you may do won’t be glamorous, but that can be the nature of entry-level jobs; keep a positive attitude, and before long, you may be managing the person doing that work!

4. Drink responsibly

Navigating your first corporate happy hour can be exciting, but it’s important to remember that you’re not at the pub with your friends. Regardless of what your other co-workers are doing, limit your alcohol intake to what you can stay in control of and responsible for.

5. Keep your emotions in check
With most jobs come with a certain level of pressure, uncertainty and even conflict. Keeping your emotions in check is a sign of maturity and responsibility. Confide in friends and family when you find yourself getting emotional, but stay committed to keeping your composure in a work setting.

Although the initial, formal interview process is over, you are now informally interviewing for your first promotion. Be yourself, but recognize that your interactions (at all levels of the company) are making an impression and impacting your future prospects within the company. When in doubt, look to role models and professionals above you who are well respected to emulate their behavior and/or seek mentorship and advice.

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Why New Grads Still Struggle to Find Good Jobs
Posted on: December 19th, 2016

CNBC recently featured an article written by GradStaff CEO, Bob LaBombard, focusing on the state of recent college graduates entering the workforce. The article highlights the findings of a survey conducted by GradStaff, which asked over 500 recent grads to reflect on the success of their current job search. The survey showed that new grads aren’t necessarily struggling due to tough competition or bad luck, instead the data showed that the majority of recent grads are simply unsure about where they fit in the workplace or what to apply to with their major. The numbers behind these statistics show that there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of preparing graduates for their job search and life after college. You can read the full story by following the link HERE.

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Webinar – Job Search Strategies for Graduating Seniors
Posted on: November 2nd, 2016

On Thursday, November 17th, GradStaff hosted a Job Search Strategies Webinar for current college seniors. The webinar is designed for anyone who has been unsuccessful in their job search thus far or for those who are still unsure where they fit in the workplace or what to do upon graduation. From learning how to identify your unique transferable skills to developing your network and chasing after a referral, this webinar is focused on all things job search related.

You can expect to walk away with a better understanding of how to establish your own professional brand as it pertains to your unique skills, how to navigate and take action within the entry-level job market, and how to develop a planned out strategy for your current job search.

To download a PDF version of the slides, click HERE.

You can also watch the webinar in full below:



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The Role of Small Businesses in Economic Equality
Posted on: October 18th, 2016

GradStaff CEO Bob LaBombard was recently part of the discussion panel at the 52nd annual Gustavus Adolphus Nobel Conference. Year in and year out, the conference covers a wide range of social and scientific issues, with this year’s main discussion gearing toward “economic balance in everyday life.” LaBombard, and other panelists, pointed to the slowdown of growth and development of new small businesses as a big contributor to the slow decline of the middle class.

With over 70% of new jobs in 2015 being created by companies of 500 employees or less, it is obvious to see that if this decline continues, it could cause an even bigger problem within the economy, as well as create more challenges among young job seekers. GradStaff understands how important small businesses are to the U.S. economy and strives to help these businesses find great employees for their entry-level job openings. The future of these companies lies in the hands of new graduates, and the future of a lot of recent graduates currently rely, and will continue to rely on jobs created by small businesses. To learn more about the discussion, you can read the full article by following the link HERE.

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5 Ways Colleges Can Help Grads Become “Career Ready”
Posted on: September 20th, 2016

This fall, millions of incoming college freshman said goodbye to their parents and hello to dorm life as they begin their exciting journey into the next phase of their lives. Many would say that the purpose of attending college is to prepare students and make sure that they land a good job after graduation. If that’s truly the case, why is it that only 25% of college students will have a job upon graduation? This eye-popping statistic is starting to create more and more noise, as colleges are beginning to emphasize career focused programs and opportunities for their students on campus. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done, and GradStaff CEO Bob LaBombard shares his thoughts on what colleges can do to increase the amount of students having that good job lined up upon graduation. You can read his full article featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution HERE.

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