By Micaela Alpers, President - CareerTEAM, Education Division. Talent Acquisition & Retention, Performance, Coaching, Career Development
Creating a winning Career Services team starts by hiring outcomes oriented staff. Institutions stuck in the past often target a “career counselor” type to this role. These individuals tend to spend a disproportionate amount of time individually coaching students, and less time cultivating employer networks.
During a recent conference presentation, we asked all the Career Services audience members how much time they spend with employers. The answer…5%...FIVE PERCENT! If we can all agree that employers are the ultimate customer of our institutions, this statistic is frighteningly low.
At face value, there are a lot of reasons why Career Services team members weren't spending enough time with employers. Too much compliance reporting, student coaching, workshop requirements, etc...But when we dig a little deeper, the reason for that 5% answer is too often because these individuals are more comfortable working with students that hunting for employers…this is a hiring profile issue.
At Career TEAM we recently did an internal audit of our own top performers in employer engagement and it was determined that the following 5 attributes are key indicators to an individual’s success in a Career Services role:
1. Consultative Sales Approach - Can they listen to employer needs and properly position our institution as a value added human capital solution?
2. Intrinsic Curiosity - Are they curious and intelligent enough to proactively stay abreast of industry changes and use that information to drive customer needs, anticipate problems, and think outside the proverbial box for potential partnership options?
3. Ability to Confirm Commitments - A series of confirming commitments throughout the interview process with students and employers will indicate their ability to close the BIG DEAL - You're Hired!
4. Passion - Everyone working with barriered populations needs to be passionate about the students served, and the lives that change within the four walls of our institutions. I've never seen anyone stay longer than 2 years that doesn't genuinely wake up everyday fueled by the ultimate outcome of our work.
5. DRIVE - Will they take ownership of failures, recognize the lessons learned, and move on to the next win?
These folks are the Brand Ambassadors of our institutions. If we can't trust their ability to successfully represent our mission with the most important stakeholders to our institutions success, it's time to reevaluate the talent acquisition, process - and fast!