By Bob LaBombard, CEO, GradStaff
When Elizabeth and Ryan graduated from college, they didn’t have jobs and frankly didn’t know what jobs would fit their skills and abilities. Elizabeth was a psychology and history double major, but didn’t want to pursue graduate school; Ryan was a biology major, with a minor in chemistry, but had no interest working in a laboratory.
When they applied for jobs, they were like a lot of new grads. Both were bright and motivated, but lacked an understanding of what value they brought to the workforce and what employers would have an interest in their backgrounds. Further, they had a lot of questions about how to conduct a job search. As CEO of a national firm that hires over a thousand new grads every year, I see stories like this every day.
According to our research, they are not alone. Only about 20 percent of graduating seniors actively use career services during their senior years. Further, 60 to 70 percent of new grads don’t know where their education and skills fit in the workforce. Combine these stats with the fact that over 75 percent of new jobs are created by employers with 500 employees or less, companies that typically don’t interview of campus, and it’s easy to see that the entry-level job market is highly inefficient.
Other trends are also having an impact. For example, the larger companies that typically dominate college recruiting significantly reduced on-campus recruiting after the recession. Now, college recruiting is much more targeted, with advances in technology making direct interaction with college students much easier. Initial contacts are often made through social media and interviews are often completed using video interviewing techniques.
Further, corporate college recruiters are also focused on high demand majors in computer science, math and engineering or high performers in other majors with high GPAs. They know that the majority of college grads can be easily hired through less expensive conventional recruiting methods after they graduate. The net result of all these factors is that fewer than 30 percent of graduating seniors have a professional job at graduation.
This has led innovators to develop a variety of ways to make the entry-level job market more efficient. From job posting sites targeted on the entry-level to online skills assessment and career counseling to third-party recruiting and placement firms, this market is seeing a high level of activity.
Since new grads typically don’t have direct experience in the positions they are seeking, one way to solve this problem is to match the transferrable, or soft, skills possessed by the candidate with positions that require those same skills. Important transferrable skills include critical thinking, time management, effective communication, leadership and initiative.
Since the beginning of 2012, Prium Inc., a provider of managed care and medical intervention services located in Duluth, Georgia, has used a third-party career matchmaking firm to recruit, interview and select qualified candidates on behalf of Prium for their entry-level positions.
Michael Gavin, Prium’s President, says, “Outsourcing helps take the college recruiting burden off our shoulders. More importantly, it’s incredibly effective for finding the skills and talents we need.”
Prium’s experience underscores the value employers see in the outsourced college-recruiting model. Most small and medium employers like Prium don’t hire in the volume to justify building their own college recruiting programs. Using this approach, positions are filled quickly with highly qualified candidates.
Since January 1, 2014, candidates from many of Georgia’s great colleges and universities, as well as candidates from other regional and national colleges, have started careers at Prium. For colleges and universities throughout the country, the “matchmaking” model helps them offer their students a proven job search option.
Both Elizabeth and Ryan are thriving in their roles at Prium. Reflecting back on being placed at Prium, Elizabeth said “I never thought I would be working in the healthcare industry and I hadn’t heard of Prium prior to interviewing. I never would have found this job on my own.”
The labor market is changing rapidly at every stage of the process. Colleges, job-seeking grads and prospective employers all need a more efficient way to evaluate and select the right entry-level hires. Hearing success stories from young grads like Elizabeth and Ryan shows how effective an outsourced college-recruiting model can be in matching great candidates with rewarding careers in industries like insurance and healthcare – careers that most new grads would never consider.
About Bob LaBombard
Robert J. LaBombard is CEO of GradStaff, Inc., a pioneer in developing an innovative entry-level career matchmaking business model and serving nine U.S. cities, including Atlanta. GradStaff helps recent college graduates discover how their transferrable skills translate into the workforce and then matches them with great entry-level jobs.