The Employer Perspective: Career Tips from America’s Top Companies

blahIn what remains a tight market, what are the most effective ways to find good jobs ? What are the keys to winning the interview? And, once we are there, how do we get off to a good start?

To help us answer these questions, Inc. magazine asked America’s fastest growing companies how they hire and retain their best employees. Broken down into four critical areas of the job hunt – the search, the selection, the interview and what we’ll call the “start” – let’s walk through what the employers said.

The Search

In the survey, employers reported:

  • Co-worker and peer referrals remain the #1 method to find top talent – 33%
  • Referrals by former colleagues – 27%
  • Social media (especially LinkedIn) – 15%
  • Applications through Human Resources – 12%
  • Recruiters – 8%

What do these results mean for college students and recent grads?

First and foremost, it shows that personal relationships matter.

  • Stay in touch with friends who graduate and connect with them on LinkedIn so you are up-to-date on their employer and position within the company
  • Connect with peers and managers via LinkedIn during internships so you expand your network and can easily communicate with them after it ends
  • Build your network with informational interviews throughout your college experience so you can tap their network when the job search starts

The Selection

This part of the survey, despite the increasing influence of social media in the hiring process, showed little change over previous years:

  • he interview remains the #1 factor that determines who gets hired – 42%
  • A close second is the subjective assessment for cultural fit – 30%
  • Recommendation from a peer/co-worker – 13%
  • Experience on resume – 5%
  • References – 2%

What does this mean for college students and recent grads?

  • Interviewing does not come naturally for most people (like public speaking) so practice, practice, and more practice is critical to increase confidence.
  • Up to this point, students have achieved “success” based on GPA, volunteer and work experience. So “Cultural fit” is new for most students and can be heartbreaking if it’s not understood. To assess culture: learn everything you can about the mission of the company, how they serve their customers, how employees work together, etc.
  • For employers, many students have equivalent academic and extra curricular experience, so they need to assess and differentiate students based on how effectively the student will perform in their work environment. Come prepared with examples to show you will fit in at that company.

The Interview(s)

Employers reported the following characteristics of a typical job interview:

  • Let the conversation flow – 33%
  • Focus on skills and knowledge – 25%
  • Focus on unique interests and competencies – 16%
  • Focus on personality – 9%
  • Use structured questions – 4%

What do these results mean for college students and recent grads?

  • Don’t let the word “flow” fool you, as this does not mean meandering or lack of a plan. The interviewer always has a strategy to assess skills, knowledge, interests, competencies and personality.
  • Know ahead of time how you want to tell your story so it flows naturally within the conversation, as well as the timeframe scheduled.
  • So you are prepared, learn as much about the company and the interviewer ahead of time, and prepare solid, relevant questions to ask.

The Start

How do employers acclimate their newest employees?

  • Informal mentoring – 48%
  • Formal orientation – 27%
  • Shadow week – 11%
  • Sink or swim – 10%
  • Weekly review – 4%

What does this mean for college students and recent college grads?

  • These results, which show formal training now occurs in about 1 in 4 companies, indicate our new reality: new college grads and interns must walk in with a plan  and take the initiative when it comes to successful on-boarding with a company.
  • Be purposeful as no one cares about your success more than you do!

Learn everything you can about every employer that schedules you for an interview. After all, the more we know about how companies are hiring today, the better chance we have of getting hired!





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Onward!


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Career Onward AuthorAbout the Author: Lori MacNeil is an EdTech entrepreneur, Career Onward founder & CEO, who is passionate about improving internship and job outcomes for college students. Follow Lori and the Career Onward team on Twitter!



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