Hiring Through Coronavirus: Tips for Employers

Insights

Hiring Tips and Recruiting During Coronavirus

Avenica

LinkedIn

Everyone is struggling with the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus. Clearly the most important priority is the health and wellness of our families, friends, and communities—particularly those most at risk.

But the economic impact is important, too.

So far, most of the indicators are pointing down. Industries like travel, hospitality, conventions and events, food service, entertainment, sports, and performing arts have essentially shut down. The airlines, for example, have slashed the number of flights available and instituted hiring freezes. The hotel industry has already lost more than $1.5 billion in cancelled bookings. While mass layoffs haven’t happened yet, it feels like it’s only a matter of time until they do. According to some sources, up to 80 million jobs—more than half the jobs in the U.S. economy—could be at risk, depending on how long the crisis lasts.

Some Employers Thriving—And Hiring

But the news isn’t all bad. Some businesses are busier than ever—and are in full-on hiring mode. Amazon.com is planning to hire an additional 100,000 employees as consumers turn to online rather than in-person retailers. Grocery chains like Kroger, Safeway, and HEB are also adding employees. The health care sector is suddenly scrambling to hire more workers. Video conferencing and online collaboration tools like Slack and Zoom have also seen big growth in recent weeks and have been used increasingly to aid with hiring and recruiting during Covid-19.

The coronavirus is uncharted territory for the U.S. economy. But there are still companies that need to hire new workers, even during recessions and down times. If you’re in that fortunate position, here are some helpful hiring tips while coronavirus continues to disrupt our daily lives:

Hiring Tips During Coronavirus Pandemic

  • Get Social. As we all hunker down at home, social media use is skyrocketing. Your social media channels are more powerful than ever. Use them to promote open positions and link them directly to your application process. Ensure that your channels are active, up to date, and optimized for search engines. Encourage your employees to spread the word through their networks. Use these platforms to find passive candidates. Think about hosting online events to promote your open jobs. And use the data these platforms generate to see how you’re performing.
  • Place More Emphasis on Assessments. Many companies use online assessment tools to gauge candidate skill levels and fit. While in-person interviews aren’t an option, consider placing more of the screening burden onto assessments while recruiting during quarantine.
  • Be Transparent. Transparency is always important, but with the uncertainty around recruiting during coronavirus, it’s crucial—especially because the face-to-face element is missing. Be clear with candidates about timelines, steps in the process, and more. Show them that you value their interest in the role.
  • Get the Process Online. Many companies already have a lot of their hiring process online (not surprisingly, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are leaders here). If your company isn’t there yet, now is the time to accelerate this transition at your company—explore an applicant tracking system, online assessment tools, online videoconferencing applications, and more.

Bonus Tips: Online Interviewing

  • Make Sure Your Technology Works. When you host a virtual meeting, do you spend the first 10 minutes getting everybody logged in? Now is the time to work out the bugs in your video conferencing tools—and make sure recruiting and hiring managers know how to use these technologies.
  • Practice. Being on video conference doesn’t feel natural to most people, and recruiting during quarantine demands a little extra patience. Take time to practice looking into the camera, speaking clearly, and getting comfortable with video interviews.
  • Be Professional. You may be talking via Skype or Zoom, but you’re still conducting a job interview. Dress and behave with the same professionalism that you would for an in-person interview.
  • Be Prepared. Familiarize yourself with the candidate—and the role—just as you would in an in-person interview.
  • Get Rid of Distractions. Go someplace where your phone, pets, or children won’t compete for your attention.
  • Make Your “Office” Presentable. Make sure the background of your video looks as professional as you can make it (no piles of unopened mail on your dining room table!).

Thinking Long Term

These are challenging times. And we’re all reacting hour-by-hour to this unfolding crisis. But if you look ahead, you’ll see that the steps you take today can improve your recruiting and hiring process in the long run. Improving your technology, optimizing your social channels, getting better at online interviewing—those are all things that will pay big dividends long after the coronavirus has subsided.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

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Make Working Remotely Work For You

Insights

Make Working Remotely Work For You

Nicole Peterlin

Director of Human Resources

LinkedIn

Regardless of your position, experience, or industry, working remotely can be challenging and stressful. It’s critical to strike the right balance of working at home and living at home, so we’re able to work together productively and effectively, while minimizing as much stress and confusion as possible.

To be the most productive at home, it’s all in the set up. Here are a few key ways to get your work from home arrangement set up to help you in being productive, balancing work and home priorities, and alleviating feelings of isolation.

Set up communication processes

This set up might be the most critical to get right for effectively working with others remotely. With phone calls, text messaging, emails, instant messaging, etc. there are a lot of ways to get your lines crossed. Create communication flows, norms, and expectations with your direct supervisor, peers, and direct reports that work for a variety of situations. Because people can’t just swing by your desk or catch you in passing, you’ll have to adjust the way you interact with each other, balance and rebalance communication flows, and find times in your day where you’re connecting with others and replying to emails. It might take a few rounds of adjustments to get right, but more communication and built-in processes can reduce confusion, minimize duplication of work, and ensure you’re connecting in meaningful and effective ways.

Set up a space

Designate a specific room or area to work from to create a mental and physical boundary between working and living. Being in the right space can help you be in the right frame of mind for being productive. Set it up ergonomically as best as you can to support your physical health and wellbeing.

Set up your tech

Ensure you have all the tech and equipment you need—work with your people managers, IT departments, or HR managers to ensure you have all your environmental needs met. Do you have (or need) a computer or laptop? External keyboard and mouse? A second display screen? Make it as close as possible to the in-office working environment you would create for yourself.

Set up a schedule (and stick to it!)

Get ready as if you were physically commuting to work—shower, get dressed, do your hair, eat breakfast, and then get to work.

Set timers and plan out your day—not just your meetings—on your calendar to ensure you’re managing your work time and taking enough breaks; take a bio-break, take a lunch break, make time to get up and take a lap around the house as if you were in the office.

Set up video capability

Embrace and prioritize virtual face to face calls. Not only will it help to break up some of the isolation and help to clarify any work-from-home communication confusion, it will help establish and foster strong relationships. We all know we don’t like the video feature, but if we do it together, who cares?!? Plus, just think of all the pets you’ll get to meet!

Set up boundaries

Create an end-of-day routine and stick to your “normal” work hours as much as possible. When you never actually “leave for the day,” it can be easy to just keep going.

Turn off the computer. Step away. Burnout is real.

It’s hard to draw a sharp distinction between work and home when you work at home—but committing to do work things during work times and home things during home times will help you maintain boundaries.

Whether by choice or by circumstance, remote work is on the rise and here to stay. The skills and work ethic required to effectively work remotely, like time management, discipline, organization, and self-direction, will always be valuable given the ever-changing landscape of the work and professional worlds. More and more companies are helping to better support remote employees, but it’s incumbent on individual employees to do what they can, as well, to be their most productive and best work selves.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

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Now Hiring: Opportunities During Outbreak

Insights

Now Hiring: Opportunities During Outbreak

Avenica

LinkedIn

As we face unprecedented times for our public health and our economy, it’s difficult to even conceptualize the impact on the labor market. Millions of people around the world have been asked to work from home, if possible, but what happens to those who can’t? What about those whose positions require their physical presence, whose employers have had to temporarily shut down to further prevent the spread of COVID-19? What happens to gig economy workers who are faced with the unfathomable choice between earning an income and staying home to protect their health?

What we do know is this – the current situation is enabling a tectonic shift in demand towards the organizations on the front lines who have been stretched beyond their limits. Medical providers and grocery stores have emerged as the clear leaders in a global pandemic, and as such, those frontline industries are doing the most dramatic hiring during the coronavirus pandemic. As a native Texan, it’s no surprise to see beloved grocery chain H-E-B offering free curbside service and delivery, changing store hours to allow for comprehensive restocks, and encouraging neighborly behavior that puts community above individuals. The quick and creative change in their operating model demands more team members on the ground, and they are working to hire baggers, cashiers, and stockers. You can find a wealth of short-term opportunities on H-E-B’s careers site. Other grocery stores nationwide, like Kroger, are also hiring during the pandemic.

Similarly, e-commerce giant and customer-obsessed Amazon is struggling to meet demands and is doing a considerable amount of hiring during the coronavirus pandemic. As common household items fly off the shelves, more Americans than ever before want contactless delivery to keep themselves safe and at home. Amazon is therefore looking to add an additional 100,000 associates into their fulfillment workforce. Virtual opportunities are available, too.

Some cities across the US have also taken the extreme measure of limiting restaurants to curbside, takeout, and delivery orders only to aid distancing and quarantining efforts. But who will deliver the food? Restaurants and service-based apps like Favor and UberEats are simultaneously waiving delivery fees and hiring delivery drivers at a clip. Interested? You can check out Favor and UberEats.

Who’s Hiring During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

In addition to the specific roles above, there are other industries looking to fill their staff during the Covid-19 crisis.

  • Grocery stores
  • Healthcare providers
  • Warehouse and inventory staff
  • Delivery personnel
  • Construction
  • Food delivery

Volunteer Opportunities During the Pandemic

If you are an hourly worker looking for a temporary opportunity, consider looking into employment with the organizations working the front lines. And if you have the luxury of good health and a steady income, consider giving some of your time as a volunteer. Look for health organizations who need help, like local public health departments who need to staff hotline volunteers and data entry professionals. National organizations like Meals and Wheels are also looking for volunteers to help deliver meals to seniors, one of the most vulnerable populations in the fight against COVID-19.

But above all, be safe, be healthy, and be a community – the Avenica family is always here to help.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

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Bring Your Whole Self to Lead

Insights

Bring Your Whole Self to Lead

Lauren Olson

Vice President of Growth Strategy

LinkedIn

By: Lauren Olson, VP Client Solutions – North Region

On Thursday, March 5th, I attended the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) AIM: A Women’s Leadership Conference. The event was jam-packed with influential women leaders covering topics from self-care to accountability to effective leadership. Between speakers, we had the opportunity to network with peers from across the state and support local women-owned businesses. There were so many takeaways from this conference that can be applied whether you’re a leader or strive to be one in the future.

Here are just a few of my personal favorites and highlights.

Anne Behrendt, CEO of Doran Company and powerhouse leader, kicked off the event with inspiring words about effective leadership. She stressed that this does not come through reading books about leadership but though learning from each experience, learning from yourself and others, and, in turn, doing great work. Anne then laid out three key characteristics of an effective leader:

  • Strategy: having a vision, a goal, and a plan; being thoughtful, intentional, and calculated.
  • Accountability: leading from a place of experience and knowledge, owning responsibility and consequences-good and bad.
  • Vulnerability: recognizing areas for growth and development; being a genuine, authentic person.

Knowing yourself was a theme that carried throughout the conference, and Anne did a great job of breaking that down into relatable context. Her message was simple but impactful, “In order to be a great leader, you need to first understand who you are and your natural strengths.” Be you. Be genuine. Show yourself. These were three soundbites that I made sure to jot down in my notebook. Anne encouraged us to be continuous learners and be willing to accept feedback. This is great advice for anyone, whether you have direct reports or are leading through expertise and/or inspiration, because regardless of role or level or experience, we can always learn more and get better.

I loved hearing Anne talk about the moment she realized that she was a natural-born leader. While she had always known growing up that she gravitated toward leadership opportunities, it was while working as a barista at Starbucks and being passed over for a “key holder” position, that she affirmed that she had the drive and passion to be a leader. The frustration and disappointment of being passed over for a promotion are feelings we can likely relate to.

The next panel of speakers, all business owners from a variety of industries, was equally inspiring. Angela Pritchard Spiteri of the Pritchard Company said something that struck me the most. “It doesn’t matter how you got your seat, it’s how you use it,” she said. In truth, there are a million routes a person can take to find their career path. Sometimes it’s through a great connection, mentorship, career matchmaking (like what we do at Avenica), or, like many, you’re among the thousands every day trying to compete and differentiate on a job board. Regardless of how you got there, own your leadership seat and know that your perspectives, insights, and talents are needed.

As the event continued, more and more inspiring women spoke about what leadership means to them and how to lead fulfilling lives. We often hear the word “balance” when referring to leading fulfilling lives in work and at home, but it was refreshing to hear, one by one, each speaker dismiss this term and commit to the reality that balance is not realistic. The idea that balance can exist between family and work is an outdated notion. For working mothers, specifically, the teeter-totter of prioritization is more closely a representation of day-to-day life. Companies that support this notion and norm create the most effective workplaces and leaders.

The next speaker, Stephanie Potter, owner of Holistic Life Coach, SMP, drilled down on self-care and why it is so crucial in today’s busy world of being constantly connected to our work life. We have laptops, work from our phones, and receive constant notifications and reminders. Being able to intentionally step away and practice some key steps to improve mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing are more important than ever. Stephanie asked the thought-provoking question, “What would it feel like to live your most fulfilling life?” Whether you are a college student or seasoned leader, we all have different priorities, motivations, and personal/professional goals. It’s about recognizing what motivates each of us and taking intentional actions to reach our goals. Knowing that overlooking our personal health and wellbeing—something many of do on a daily basis—can impact our performance and productivity, Stephanie encouraged us to incorporate movement into our day. This doesn’t mean you need to run a marathon tomorrow, but just get moving. Go for a walk, stand at your desk, do 10 push-ups between calls (shout out to Rhoda Olsen of Great Clips, Inc. for this – more on her later). The point is, every one of us can take small steps to improve and prioritize our health and overall wellbeing.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that Rhoda Olsen, CEO of Great Clips, was one of the best speakers I have ever seen and heard. Her story and her leadership style spoke to me on so many levels. Rhoda’s stage presence and ability to drive key messages was impressive. She made us laugh, and as a result, we remembered her words. She said to remember that, “Every interaction counts.” Regardless of the stage you’re at in your career, whether  interviewing for your first entry-level position, on the front lines interacting with clients, or leading at the highest levels, bring your best self, your ‘A’ game and know that any interaction has the potential to change your career and life. One great client experience can lead to a referral can lead to a promotion; one great conversation can lead to an introduction can lead to a job offer; and one great teachable moment for one of your employees can lead to their higher productivity can lead to better business performance.

Beyond these examples were many more inspiring moments and stories. However, I will leave you with one final quote from my friend and dynamo leader, Emily Nicoll of CBRE. Emily spoke on the Caregivers panel and shared these words, “one category [of your life] impacts all categories.” As many of us know and have experienced, our home life impacts our work life and vice versa. Giving ourselves the opportunity and time to learn, grow, and prioritize our lives appropriately is increasingly important as we navigate and weave in and out of personal and professional obligations.

A huge shoutout to ACG AIM for organizing this impactful and inspiring event and to the leaders/speakers for bringing their perspectives and whole selves to the conference.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

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Your Online Presence Could Help You Get a Job

It’s possible that you’ve managed to make it all this way in life without joining a single social media platform, but for the other almost 90% of you social media participants, ask yourself these questions: what would someone see if they searched for you online, and could what they find hurt your chances at getting a job?

It’s with hope that each candidate a company hires, not only can fulfill the duties of the position, but helps to further solidify their culture and fulfill their company mission. As such, you as a job seeker should assume you will be fully vetted to ensure you’re fit for the position and company. That absolutely means they’ll be Googling you and creeping on your social media. Assuming we’re all fully aware of the negative effects inappropriate language and photos can have, as well as, discriminatory comments about race, religion, gender, etc., let’s discuss how social media can actually help you in your job search efforts.

For most people, social media is far more than just a way to stay connected with friends and family. It’s an extension of your personal brand, and, because it’s your own curated content of thoughts, words, and photos, it reflects the way you want to be represented and seen. So why wouldn’t you make every effort to make yourself look good?

Google yourself

What pops up in association with your name will influence what people think about you. To know what others will see and get a comprehensive overview of your online presence, simply Google yourself. There’s content out there that you do have control over, so get started with identifying what you can clean up. Obviously if you’ve made a news headline or have a criminal record, you have little to no control over that content, but anything you’ve posted on and from your social media sites, you have ultimate control over. You can either set your social media profiles to private and continue to post freely, or you can remove the content directly from your personal accounts you wouldn’t want hiring managers and recruiters to see.

Add to your Google results by creating your own website or blog to publish stories, images, videos; becoming a contributor to an existing website or blog; and joining forums or discussion group. Add content to your social media that shows you engaging in good times with friends and family and with your community. Show your personality, lifestyle, hobbies, and interests in fun, positive ways so hiring decision makers get a sense of how you’ll fit into the company.

Move beyond building a network

If you haven’t already, get on LinkedIn. Keep your profile updated, search available opportunities in “jobs”, and build your network. But go beyond basic, get engaged and be an active participant. Build your professional brand by sharing articles that speak to the kind of professional you are and want to be, and show potential employers/peepers your unique perspective through professional, thoughtful commentary. Consider the content you share carefully and know that you will be judged—positively or negatively—on it. Just make sure it’s an accurate representation of the person and professional you truly are.

Now back to those of you who haven’t taken the plunge, what do you think your absence says to recruiters and hiring managers? For good or bad, it allows others to make and pass their own judgements. They could be positive impressions—this person prioritizes and values true interaction and connection and that’s why they’ve stayed away. But they could also be negative—this person is antisocial, has something to hide, or can’t go with the flow and has to go against the grain (could be seen as positive or negative). Obviously, you have to make the choice for yourself, but more and more, people are taking to online research before making hiring decisions. If you can control your own narrative and online reputation—for the most part—you should do so in a way that puts you in the best possible light.

These efforts can take time. If you’re still a college student, start now so you have a robust online presence by the time you’re ready to begin your job search. But it’s truly never too late. No matter where you are in your career, you should always monitor and make improvements. As with your resume, your online presence is like a living document that develops, evolves, and grows as you do.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

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Employers Demand Too Much, and it Makes Hiring Harder with GB

Insights

Employers Demand Too Much, and it Makes Hiring Harder

Avenica

LinkedIn

If you consistently struggle to find the right candidates for your company’s open positions, it could be because you’re looking for candidates who are so perfectly qualified and so perfectly experienced that they don’t actually exist. Like a “purple squirrel.”

Managing Director of University Ventures and author of A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College Ryan Craig recently addressed this topic in an article on Forbes.com. He’s an insightful commentator on the intersection between education, hiring, innovation, and technology. And in his latest piece, he’s hit on a big obstacle to hiring. Employers who are looking for purple squirrels by demanding too much from job seekers.

Overstuffed Job Descriptions

Over the past decade or two, job postings have begun to burst at the seams with the number of required skills, experience, and qualifications. Craig explains the problem succinctly: “Incorporating every conceivable qualification in job descriptions helps explain nearly 7 million unfilled jobs while tens of millions of talented and motivated workers—particularly new and recent graduates—struggle with underemployment.

One recent study found that 61% of full-time, entry-level job postings required 3+ years of experience. That same study calculated that the rate of required-experience inflation is rising by 2.8% every year. Extrapolate that over a few years, and you can see how job descriptions have become bloated and unwieldy.

Why Are Job Descriptions So Crammed?

  • The Influence of the Great Recession. A recent study showed that, during the Great Recession of 2007 – 2009, job postings saw an 18% increase in education requirements and a 25% in experience requirements. Why? Because unemployment rose and employers could afford to be demanding. But even after unemployment rates fell, employers kept cramming more stuff into their job postings. Another outcome: more and more jobs now require a college degree, even if they didn’t only a few years ago.
  • The Rise of Digital Job Postings. Online postings, for those with the resources, can be easy to manage. Which means employers can post novel-length job descriptions and keep them open for months while they wait (in vain) for the perfect candidates. However, most hiring managers don’t know how to effectively use job-posting sites, and don’t get us started on the AI and algorithms that can be discriminatory and/or auto-pass qualified candidates who aren’t using enough “key words.”
  • Lack of Ability to Measure Key Skills. Increasingly, employers are realizing that so-called “soft skills” really are essential skills—the kind of abilities that apply in any job. But they’re notoriously hard to measure. So the college degree has become a stand-in for those skills.
  • The Disappearance of Corporate Training. Over the past few decades, American corporations have undertaken a relentless effort to cut costs. One of the things on the chopping block? Training programs. A survey from a few years ago found that while 80% of entry-level hires expected their new employer to offer formal training, less than half of those companies did so.
  • Employer Inexperience. Particularly at small or midsized companies, the HR department (if there is one at all) may be staffed by people who don’t have much experience writing job descriptions. Even at large companies with robust HR functions, they may struggle to understand the technical and “soft” skills that are required for every role. When they don’t know what skills to feature, they throw them all in.
  • Employer Fears and Pressures. Many employers worry that if they don’t cast a wide net, they’ll never land the right candidate. So they include every possible skill. Others fall victim to groupthink – they get in a room with coworkers, dream up an impossible wish list, and then convince themselves the job requires every last skill. Others sink money into recruiting fees or other hiring costs and then figure that—to get their money’s worth—they’d better get absolutely everything from their candidate. And still others forget that their current best performers had to learn things on the job and weren’t perfect candidates when they were hired.

Big Consequences

Unfortunately, this is a big issue that impacts both sides of the hiring equation.

On the Employer Side…

  • Jobs are Harder to Fill. This is an obvious one. When you stuff your job postings with every possible requirement, you’re fishing in a much smaller pond.
  • Companies Pay More for Talent. A recent study by the Harvard Business School found that for many middle-skill jobs, there is no significant performance difference between workers who have college degrees and those who don’t. But degree holders can command a higher wage – so by demanding college degrees, even for roles where they’re not necessary, employers are forcing themselves to pay more. Similarly, by demanding ever higher amounts of skills—skills that fetch a higher wage—employers are costing themselves unnecessarily.
  • Higher Turnover. In that same Harvard study, researchers found that college graduates are more likely to leave a role where a degree isn’t really necessary.

On the Worker Side…

  • Getting Screened Out. Thousands of employers use software to screen job applications, looking for specific skills. And because the skills in job descriptions are inflated, there is a huge talent pool that is invisible to employers.
  • Pressure to Earn Expensive Credentials. As employer demands rise, workers feel they have no choice but to earn college degrees or obtain other pricey credentials and certifications—often taking on huge debts in the process.
  • 2018 study found that 43% of new college grads were underemployed in their first job—earning an average of $10,000 less than grads who find employment appropriate for their qualifications. And this wage gap compounds year after year—leaving many workers stuck in a rut of lower-paying, lower-prestige jobs.

There’s Gotta Be a Better Way…. Right?

Clearly, employers need help (a) figuring out what their jobs really require, and (b) finding candidates who may not have every skill right now, but who have big potential. In his Forbes article, Ryan Craig advises employers to engage with partners who combine skills training and staffing—training job seekers and placing them in roles on a probationary basis so that employers can “try before they buy.” (Avenica’s model is similar to this).

Ultimately, there won’t be one solution but many. Employers need to rediscover the value of employee training programs. AT&T is already doing this, committing more than $1 billion to retrain workers over the next several years. Employers need to rediscover the potential in their job candidates—hiring for the person, not the resume. And they need to re-examine the way they write job descriptions to focus on the skills and abilities that truly matter.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

Related Articles

Finding Talent in an Environment of Increasing Underemployment

Insights

Finding Talent in an Environment of Increasing Underemployment

Avenica

LinkedIn

Employment rates in the U.S. have risen every year since the Great Recession of 2008–2009. And today unemployment is at near-historic lows. While that’s great news for many job seekers, hiding behind those seemingly impressive numbers is a phenomenon that’s far less positive—one that impacts entry-level job seekers most of all.

It’s underemployment.

What is underemployment? Underemployment happens when someone is in a job for which they are overqualified/overeducated—typically a bachelor’s graduate in a role that doesn’t require a degree. It’s your local barista or bartender with a bachelor’s, and it’s the English literature major who decided against pursuing further education to become a college professor and is working in retail until they decide what to do when they “grow up.” It’s also a “foot-in-the-door” job, such as a journalism major working the mailroom or front desk of their local paper or a sports performance major folding towels at a health club. And it’s also when someone would prefer to work full time but can only secure part-time employment. There are many different skills that can come from someone who is considered underemployed; customer service, time-management, perseverance, and often managerial skills.

First-job underemployment has lasting effects

Where you start has a big impact on where you end up. A 2018 study found that 43% of new college grads were underemployed in their first job—earning an average of $10,000 less than grads who find employment appropriate for their qualifications. And this wage gap compounds year after year, affecting promotions along with salary increase schedules and amounts. Workers who are underemployed at the start of their careers are more likely to struggle, even decades later—stuck in a rut of lower-paying, lower-prestige jobs.

Underemployment obviously has negative consequences for individual workers, but there are big ripple effects as well. Underemployed workers will have less income overall, which means they may be less likely to pay off their student loans, buy a home, pay medical bills, or move out of their parents’ homes.

Finding talent in an environment of increasing underemployment

A certain amount of underemployment will always be with us. Some new grads take more time to find their career path. Others may choose careers that don’t fit their area of study. Still others may lack the motivation or interest in pursuing roles appropriate for their credentials.

Although researchers and experts differ on the exact numbers around underemployment, most agree that it’s growing. But why is that?

Multiple factors are at work. College enrollment has grown since 2000—meaning more new graduates are pursuing a finite pool of jobs. Previous generations of workers are holding onto their jobs longer, further reducing the number of higher-skill positions. The trend toward contract, gig, or part-time roles means many recent graduates find themselves with less than full-time work. And the skills required for today’s jobs are more complex and changing rapidly, so many graduates are leaving school without the skills and abilities needed to be successful in the roles available. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t suited for the work or position.

Finding the right candidate with the right motivation, determination, and personality to fit into a company’s culture is difficult enough without adding on all the skills that are required. The one thing you can teach in all of it are the technical “how to do the job” skills required of the position. Our philosophy and the advice we consistently give to our clients is to find the right candidate, train for the rest. It’s something we do every day; find high-potential talent, provide coaching and mentoring, and arm them with the training and technical skills needed to be successful in the positions our clients need. We know it’s far more difficult to train or teach someone on soft skills and people who don’t have the right determination and tenacity—no matter their skill set—are never going to be the right fit either.

The unemployment numbers can seem discouraging for those actively seeking entry-level talent, but high-potential recent grads who are motivated and willing to learn are everywhere—maybe even at your local coffee shop.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

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3 Useful Things to Know About Hiring Gen Z’s and 4 Tips for Retaining Them

Insights

3 Useful Things to Know About Hiring Gen Z’s and 4 Tips for Retaining Them

Avenica

LinkedIn

Hiring entry-level talent has never been easy. In fact, 41% of employers say that entry-level positions are the most difficult to fill. One reason being that understanding the ever-changing incoming crop of young professionals and their shifting motivations has and will always be a challenge. And just when we finally start to understand the Millennial mindset, a new, even larger generation emerges to fill our entry-level roles and keep us on our toes. Generation Z is bringing a new perspective into the professional world that will undoubtedly shift the strategy for how leaders will manage their teams.

Gen Z is all about individuality
Even more than their Millennial predecessors, the Gen Z population enjoy being a unique asset to the team more than just a cog in a company. They seek uniqueness in their future employer, whether that be in office environment, mission, or culture. In terms of actual workload, Gen Z’ers may prefer more solo work and private spaces versus collaboration and teamwork.

Gen Z is more selective <
Gen Z job seekers place a large amount of importance on a company’s culture and mission, as they want a brand they can get behind and feel good about supporting through their own work. Because they see the company they work for as an extension of their own personal brand, Gen Z will quickly spot anything that doesn’t align with their values.

Gen Z thinks fast
According to Fast Company, Gen Z have “highly evolved eight-second filters” that allow them to sort through and assess information in order to form an opinion. That’s not a lot of time to work with. If you plan on hiring Gen Z employees, you’ll want to learn quickly how to get their attention and keep them engaged.

4 Tips for Retaining Gen Z Talent

  1. Develop clear and fast-moving career tracks
    1. Create distinct career tracks with clear direction on how to advance to each level
    2. Restructure promotion and incentive programs that give smaller, more incremental promotions and salary raises, giving more consistent positive reinforcement and closer goals that make it more enticing to stay
    3. Create professional development opportunities that help them advance in those career tracks and build other skills they need and want
    4. Create ways young employees can explore other career tracks without leaving the company. Gen Z’s along with their Millennial elders 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 and are then more prepared to choose a track.
  2. Provide benefits that allow flexibility
    1. Working remotely, flex schedules/hours
    2. Floating holidays–especially beneficial as the workforce becomes more and more diverse
    3. Restructure PTO that gives employees more autonomy and responsibility for their work
    4. Tuition reimbursement programs to increase retention and build leaders internally
  3. Create a strong company culture
    1. Company culture is one of the strongest recruiting and retention tools
    2. Go beyond the flashy tactics of having an on-site game room and fun company outings and bring more focus to the company’s mission
    3. Create and live/work by a set of core values that represents your company’s mission
    4. People will be more engaged and move beyond just being their role or position when they feel connected to the mission
  4. Challenge without overworking
    1. Boredom and stress are equally common as factors for driving young professionals out of a workplace.
    2. Allow involvement in bigger, higher-level projects and discussions to provide meaningful learning opportunities, and create goals that stretch their capabilities but are attainable.

The Gen Z workforce brings a new set of challenges, but they also bring new energy and ideas and are savvier when it comes to digital spaces and technology. Recruiting and retaining the right Gen Z employees will be essential in addressing the challenges of tomorrow and remaining relevant in an ever-changing market.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

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Five Ways to Identify Future Leaders in Entry-Level Candidates

Insights

Five Ways to Identify Future Leaders in Entry-Level Candidates

Avenica

LinkedIn

Previously published on HR Daily Advisor.

How to identify leadership

Everyone knows a great leader when they see one. Yet, if you ask ten people to describe the characteristics of a strong leader, you’ll probably get ten different answers. True leadership is an evolutionary process where successes and occasional failures have helped develop leadership abilities in equal measure. No two leaders have the exact same background and experiences, but, quite often, great leaders are made up of the same qualities.

Leadership qualities can be hard to identify in job seekers, especially college graduates entering into the job market for the first time upon graduation. Without years of work experience, examples of leadership are often not as obvious on an entry-level resume.

How, then, would you know that a political science major, who was a performing cellist in college and whose only work experience is as a restaurant server, is a gifted leader? Obviously, it’s more than just asking, “are you a leader?” The key is identifying the skills that true leaders possess.

We’ve had more than twenty years to observe and study college graduates on the job hunt, and, based on thousands of interviews and monitoring their progress after hire, here are five attributes we believe most leaders have in abundance.

1. Leaders solve problems

Because they are high achievers who understand the value of a “well-oiled machine,” strong leaders look to find ways to improve systems, processes, and procedures. They are adept at analyzing problems, thinking critically, and offering solutions.

2. Leaders have a strong sense of initiative and urgency

Time is money. Leaders understand how to prioritize work, utilize resources, and deploy teams/people to efficiently and effectively complete projects. They often have an innate ability to recognize and seize opportunities, capitalizing on quick action and decision making.

3. Leaders listen and communicate effectively

Leaders speak from a place of understanding, authority, and direction. First, they are active listeners. They seek to understand, asking questions, accumulating information, and gaining insight. Leaders are direct, thorough and clear, leaving no room for misunderstandings or confusion on expectations. And perhaps most importantly, leaders are respectful and thoughtful in their communications.

4. Leaders have courage

Leaders know that you can easily lose ground, customers, market share, etc. if you aren’t always pushing to grow and progress. It’s about seizing opportunities and being able to foresee the outcomes of taking calculated risks. Yes, this comes from experience and having great business sense, but it’s also about making tough decisions, trying new things, and always learning from every situation.

5. Leaders motivate people

This one’s big. Everyone’s different and is motivated by different things. Leaders get this. They know the universal truths: set clear goals and expectations, create positive work environments, and foster teamwork and collaboration. But beyond that, great leaders know that whether it be professional development, leadership opportunities, competitions, or bonus pay, finding the right mix of motivators can drive productivity, reduce turnover, and increase employee engagement. All good things.

Consider each of these tenets when interviewing prospective hires. For the new grad with no professional work experience, look to real life experiences; ask open-ended questions that allow the candidate to cite real-life examples in each area where they have exhibited leadership behavior.

Surprisingly, you might learn about how a candidate identified a problem with long wait times at the restaurant he worked at during college and created a solution that both decreased wait-times and increased sales. Or, you might find out about the time a candidate rallied her basketball team to push through what looked to be a losing season to make it to their division playoffs through her ability to effectively motivate her team.

Leaders aren’t made in the classroom. Important innate skills are developed and honed through a series of life experiences unique to each individual. As a hiring manager, finding the diamond in the rough is challenging but rewarding work. The trick is knowing how to mine them and then giving them an opportunity to shine.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

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The Millennial Turnover Problem

Having 56 million workers in the United States, millennials compose the largest generation in the American labor force. That’s right: 35% of American workers fall within the infamous generation that’s developed a less-than-favorable 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 21%, or nearly a quarter of millennials have switched jobs within the past year. Keep in mind, this rate is three times higher than that of any other age bracket. Only 50% of surveyed millennials see themselves at their current employer one year from today, while 60% admit to being actively open to new opportunities.

Under pressure from mounting student loan debt and often not knowing where they fit in the workforce, millennials rush into jobs and eventually wind up dissatisfied. Research indicates that millennials are extremely disconnected from their careers, generally lacking passion for what they do. They show up, put in their hours, collect a check and then move on. As the average cost to replace an entry-level professional is $15,000, this costly phenomenon simultaneously prevents many millennials from the benefits and satisfaction of a successful career.

Our goal at Avenica is to place college graduates into the “right-fit” career-track; entry-level positions at companies offering strong professional growth and development opportunities. The result of this proven approach is better job satisfaction and lower turnover, and the results are compelling: at clients who have embraced its approach, Avenica placements have 2-year company retention rates that are double the average for entry-level hires in professional roles.

Unlike other platforms that depend on algorithms to match likely candidates to open positions, we use a behavioral-based interview process that is much more predictive of candidate success. This approach identifies the candidate’s transferable skills—a balance of cognitive and soft skills—as well as their interests and passions from a career perspective. Blending these insights enables us to understand the types of entry-level positions in which the candidate will be happy and succeed.

Candidates who are highly qualified for an entry-level position are often overlooked because they didn’t major in X, score Y on their SATs or complete Z number of industry internships. To avoid these simplistic screening methods, we look beyond the text on a resume, simultaneously working side-by-side with candidates and hiring managers to personally understand both sides and ensure the right fit for an open position. In the age of automation, we’re putting the “human” back into “human resources.”

We’ve found success in recognizing that when it comes to talent, a good retention strategy is equally as important as an attraction strategy. To date, we’ve successfully placed thousands of recent grads with gainful career opportunities in the United States. With offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and St. Louis, Avenica operates nationwide and serves a broad range of industries.

The job market may be daunting, but we’re up for the challenge of helping you kickstart your career.

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

If you’re interested in partnering with us to develop or hire your workforce, let’s talk. If you’re a job seeker, please join our network to connect with an Avenica Account Manager.

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