The Business Case for DEI in 2024 | April 24th at 12PM EST

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May 19, 2023

Internships create future leaders – when done right.

A strong internship program can open doors in workforce planning and build future leaders from the ground up. As internship season comes once again, it is worth remembering strategic value internships generate… when they’re done right, that is.

Interns generally are more likely to stay at an organization longer.

But companies can further inflect those numbers. Interns who feel like they belong at a company are twice as likely to report seeing themselves staying at their first employers for 5+ years, as opposed to interns who felt they did not belong.

Engaging in meaningful, enjoyable projects is a top predictor of intern satisfaction.

For an internship to be successful, all interns should be able to complete at least one meaningful, enjoyable project. Ideally, this is a project they can feel proud to share in their portfolio and discuss in future professional interviews. Ask leadership to attend or be involved with final intern presentations if possible. This goes a long way.

Securing the buy-in that leads to a strategic internship program may require a reset on how leaders view University Recruiting.

It is an investment with strong ROI if resources are prioritized to provide positive, fulfilling experiences that encourage intern conversion and retention. It can be a cost center if done wrong.

“University Recruiting is a staple, and it will always be a constant. It is the lifeline to our firm. The talent who we bring into the entry-level space, the ability to train, develop, and cultivate talent is what makes us successful.” – University Recruiting Leader, URC Member

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May 19, 2023

How to Optimize the Recruitment Funnel

One of the top two current priorities consistently talked about by the recruiting leaders in our memberships is “Optimizing the Recruitment Funnel.”

Though the spike in current attention is notable, the threshold focus on the topic is not; recruiting leaders often act like expert watch-makers, tinkering and tweaking aspects of their process from a perch to ensure it runs optimally.

More interesting than the fact of the focus, however, is how leaders are going about optimizing their recruitment funnels. In particular, two categories of tactics prove most common.

1. Proactive, Focused Audits

When a problem – or opportunity for improvement – is clear, leaders run focused, proactive interventions. These interventions are typically narrow in scope – focusing, for example, on updating the post-offer follow-up process, or the DEI careers site.

2. Reactive Idea Generation

Many leaders also rely on a steady stream of inbound information to spark adjacent ideas. By tracking, for example, the small, detailed tactics of their competitors, recruiting leaders are able to consistently question parts of their processes with a tangible, credible alternative in mind.

Some leaders focus more on one input – reactive or proactive – over the other. But, the recruiting leaders who most maintain forward progress often deploy the two in tandem – evolving their processes with intentionality while simultaneously staying open to inbound inspiration.

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April 17, 2023

The Recruiter to Talent Advisor Evolution

Transitioning recruiters – and recruiting teams – to talent advisors might be the most talked-about topic in Talent Acquisition right now. Why? Well, there are a few main reasons.

First, there are long-term strategic benefits and short-term tactical benefits to the transition; work goes better for hiring managers when they follow the guidance and advice of the recruiters who know their industry. But, there’s a larger force at play.

The last year has shown recruiters and recruiting teams the costs of not having a strategic seat at the table. When requisitions were high, recruiters were asked to perform at superhuman levels. When the market turned, many (but, of course not all) recruiting leaders felt they did not have a seat at the table when organizations were deciding how to contract.

The challenge, of course, lies in operationalization. How is it that recruiting leaders can position their teams as strategic talent partners to the business? There are many actions that help, but our research suggests that most of the impact can come from optimizing the recruiter & hiring manager relationship.

From what recruiting leaders tell us, effectively incorporating insight and data into hiring manager interactions is what most quickly repositions recruiters as talent advisors. I recently shared this slide with TA leaders during a webinar. It’s just a glimpse at what access to and knowledge of relevant data looks like in a recruiter’s evolution to talent advisor.

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March 24, 2023

How will Silicon Valley Bank’s failure impact candidate sentiment? Lessons from the Great Recession.

Silicon Valley Bank’s failure is a recession-era job-seeker’s worst fear. With recent economic concerns, candidate priorities have shifted towards the practical. They are looking for stability, job security, and competitive pay – rather than meaning, purpose, or personal fulfillment.

Normally, that means a shift in interest from historically riskier bets (like startups or growth-stage companies) to historically safer institutions (like banks, insurance, or manufacturing).

However, to see a major banking institution fail, in a matter of days, throws a wrench in that paradigm. If a top 20 bank is not just at risk of layoffs but at risk to fail entirely, is any company safe? Is any industry?

In assessing how SVB’s failure will change how candidates view companies, it is useful to look back to lessons from the bank failures of 2008 and 2009.  Here are a few lessons from the Great Recession:

  1. The Banking Industry’s Brand Bounced Back: Though banks came under PR fire, their status as desirable, stable-seeming employers came back relatively quickly. This might suggest that SVB’s failure will not dramatically alter candidate views of the industry, at least not long-term.
  2. However, Winners & Losers Emerged: When candidate scrutiny is high, individual employer brands can change. The banks that kept recruiting and did not lay the most people off came out on top; those the recession devastated are still struggling today. SVB’s failure will cause candidates to scrutinize companies’ actions in the present. And, they’ll remember them well into the future.
  3. Promises Taken with a Grain of Salt: Stability is a staple value proposition of banks. SVB’s failure, like those in 2008 and 2009, will likely increase candidate skepticism of company promises. Employers will need to back up what they put forward.

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February 28, 2023

Layoffs: What’s really going on?

Layoffs have been making headlines for a couple months now, which reasonably leaves employees, job seekers, and recruiting teams uneasy. Any layoff is unwanted, unfortunate, and sometimes crippling. But, how widespread are they really?

Our TalentScope and Labor Market Monitor data paint a slightly more nuanced picture of the job market than headlines might suggest. The tech industry has contracted, but the job market overall has expanded. More, industries that have shown recent periods of growth continue to expand much more than tech is contracting. Even more, 2022 saw the fewest layoffs of any year in the last decade.

So, what’s really going on? If the job market is growing, why are we reading about layoffs constantly?

The answer may lie more in who is laying off employees than how many employees are laid off. The tech industry has represented the pinnacle of American employment for over a decade. They are the most desirable jobs. They pay well. They are always growing. To see those is unsettling. It is abnormal. And, thus, it is headline worthy.

And, in a larger sense, this tech contraction adds to a broader trend. Through the 2010s, candidates were focused on finding their ‘dream job,’ their work family, and purpose. Over time, a global pandemic, ongoing news of layoffs, and economic uncertainty (among other things) have in some ways crushed the employer utopian dream. Instead, candidates are more concerned with job – and subsequently, financial – stability.

Advice for employers: Treat candidates and current employees as if the market were still tight – because it still is, and employees will recognize that again soon. The way you respond to economic uncertainty today will continue to impact your employer brand, reputation, and ability to recruit talent for years to come.

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February 02, 2023

New Year, Back to Normal? Not so fast.

After years of flux, companies are beginning to settle back into what feels more normal. While we may not find ourselves using the word “unprecedented” quite as often, Talent Acquisition is not suddenly simple.

With nearly two open positions for every one hire and an ever-expanding scope of complex expectations placed on Talent Acquisition and University Recruiting leaders, they are stretched incredibly thin. To be successful, their teams must break down silos, so recruiters are empowered to be and are leveraged as true strategic talent advisors, instead of just requisition fillers.

The dynamic shift from tactical to strategic allows recruiting efforts to be aligned through every step of the process, from the Head of TA to the hiring managers, recruiters, and candidates. A team of strategic talent advisors can consistently adapt and innovate as candidates and recruiting evolve, as opposed to relying on a post and pray model.

But, make no mistake – this dynamic shift is less about major transformation and more about perfecting the fundamentals to create a solid, sustainable foundation.  It’s more important than ever, as demand for top talent increases and supply decreases with no sign of slowing down.

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December 22, 2022

What’s the most interesting thing in recruiting right now?



What is the most interesting thing happening in recruiting right now? So, the most interesting thing I am seeing in recruiting right now is this perplexing paradox between the objective competitiveness of the recruiting market and the subjective feel that the recruiting market is uncompetitive right now or should be uncompetitive right now. Now, this might be best exemplified through a little bit of a story.

So, a couple months ago, right when we started seeing a lot of tech companies doing really unfortunate layoffs that hit a lot of the industry, a lot of recruiting leaders in other industries at companies that were still hiring saw this and thought, “Huh, that’s interesting. Why don’t we do some focused, targeted outreach to those tech employees that might have lost their jobs in a very targeted, concerted way?”

They thought, “This is fantastic. We’re still hiring. We usually have great and very real jobs that we can reach out to them about.” So they mobilized sourcing teams. They started doing outreach. But, what was the result? What came of this? What came of it from a lot of employers was almost no responses from people who might have just lost their jobs. And this was really perplexing for a lot of leaders. They were thinking, “We’ve got great real jobs, we’ve got great jobs, we’re reaching out to people who just lost their jobs. Why in the world are we not just getting a disproportionate overflow of responses?”

We don’t have concrete data on this as to why this dynamic popped up. But I do have a strong theory, and my theory is that just because these employees lost their jobs does not mean that they lowered their standards. In other words, they weren’t just looking for a job even though they just lost a job. Rather, they were still in the mindset that they were looking for the right job. And they weren’t going to rush to take a job in the interim.

This is reflective of the broader recruiting environment that we are seeing and that we are feeling right now. There is this theory, this feeling, that because a lot of the headlines focus on layoffs and on contractions and different specific pockets of the industry, there’s this feeling that the recruiting market should be much easier right now. It’s like the recruiting leaders saying these people just got laid off from their jobs, so we should be getting an influx of responses. But the truth is actually very different because there’s actually something like 1.7 open jobs right nor for every candidate that might be looking for a job.

In other words, the recruiting market is still extremely competitive. So, that’s the most interesting thing that I’m seeing in recruiting right now is this perplexing paradox because this subjective feel that the recruiting market should be less competitive right now and the objective reality that it is actually still very, very tight.




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December 21, 2022

2022 was a year of paradoxes for Talent Acquisition leaders.

Employees quit their jobs in droves, while TA leaders faced pressure to start cutting positions. Candidates gained (close to) unprecedented buying power, while headlines focused on layoffs and recessionary precautions. And, most recently, recruiting has maintained extreme levels of competitiveness. Employee burnout and productivity losses became endemic, while inflated salaries went on the rise. Needless to say, it has not been an easy year to be a talent leader.

Our job is to help recruiting leaders with theirs. To that end, we study job candidates and map emerging trends to help leaders navigate the constantly shifting landscape of Talent Acquisition. Through quarterly employer benchmarking, monthly candidate pulses, strategic studies, macro tools, advisory services, and more, we studied everything critical to recruiting leaders: economic uncertainty, labor market competition, internal mobility, retention, quiet quitting, the Great Resignation, among others. The inputs and outputs were substantial:

  • 10,000+ Candidates Surveyed
  • 200+ Employers Studied 
  • 250+ Custom Inquiries Answered 
  • 60+ Studies Published 

We’re looking to 2023. But before jumping forward, we thought it worth reflecting, once again, on just how privileged we feel to serve TA leaders in their hardest work.

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December 21, 2022

University Recruiting is hard and this year was no exception.

University Recruiting had to pivot more in the last two years than almost any other industry. The pandemic sent everything virtual. The Great Resignation and other trends created a candidate’s market. Competition skyrocketed despite whispers of an upcoming recession. The residual impacts of COVID-19, a growing focus on DEI, and uncertain returns to campus added pressure to recruiting teams already under stress.

We’ve tracked these challenges over the course of the year to pinpoint underlying trends driving forward this new era of UR. Through quarterly employer benchmarking, monthly student pulses, and strategic studies, we dug into everything from economic uncertainty to the Great Resignation, return to in-person recruiting, reneges, timeline tension, and more. The inputs and outputs were substantial:

  • 15,000 Students Surveyed
  • 200+ Employers Studied 
  • 250+ Custom Inquiries Answered 
  • 60+ Studies Published 

We’re looking to 2023. But before jumping forward, we thought it worth reflecting, once again, on just how privileged we feel to serve UR leaders in their hardest work.

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