How Are You Preparing The Future Workforce?

Recently, I was talking to Megan Burkett about her blog post that dealt with preparing college students and recent grads to make informed decisions when picking a major and career path. As we discussed our experiences with this, we reflected on the things we know now that we wish we knew then. Although life is about the journey and making mistakes to determine what is actually meant for us, I think all of us can agree that when it comes to our futures, we’d like to be a little more prepared. We would like to make sure that the decisions we make today are the ones that will help us get to our ultimate goal, even if there is some missteps and stumbling along the way. So in this respect- what are Gen Y and our future generations asking for? Some real, individual guidance.

Our teachers and advisers try to help us when it comes to deciding our degrees but more often than not, they aren’t able to give us the most informed overview of what this degree can do for us. Sure, they can throw around some general job titles that we might be able to land with a degree like that and maybe some of the required classes will give us an idea of some of the things we will be dealing with once we get into the working world. But the issue is: it’s so general. Many of us are left with little information to help is figure out what the next steps are to prepare for graduation and the working world. Do we take an internship? If so, what type of internship will be useful? What should we expect? Is the experience we get through these internships, college jobs, and classes going to be relevant to what we’re aiming for after graduation? Do we even know what we want to aim for outside of college?

More often than not, we are unprepared for what we’re going to face in the real world. What we thought a job or role would entail is completely different than we had assumed. We learn that we didn’t have right credentials or we need more experience and schooling to land the RIGHT job. We don’t know where to look or how to get noticed. We don’t know anything about company culture, searching for a company that has values that are aligned with ours, or the importance of a company that offers us a future beyond the entry-level job.

Our advisers, professors, mentors, and parents try hard to give us an idea of what we should expect but often times it’s not detailed enough to work for our individual questions and needs. Colleges and companies are taking great strides to perform career fairs and bring awareness to students, but is it enough? I don’t believe so.

I would love it if more mentors and leaders took the time to really listen to early careerists or students and provide better feedback to help them be proactive in an effective way. Teach these individuals about internships, externships, and other programs that will help them build the skills prior to looking for full-time work. Teach them the importance of networking, effective job seeking, and how to research company culture. If you’re a company, help create transparency and take the time to help these job seekers easily understand why they should work for you, what to expect, and determine if it’s a fit for them. Employment branding is important but sometimes these fancy words and campaigns don’t make much sense to people who haven’t had experience or business-know-how to determine the message. Bridge the gap and help them transition.

Gen Y will be dominating the work force before we know it. And with that being said, it’s important that we prepare them in the best way possible to ensure that our workforce will be strong from the get-go. What efforts are you making to help prepare, educate, and offer experience to the generations to come?

Photo Source

Connect with Megan on Linkedin

Advertisements

Job Shadowing as Part of the Interview Process

Recently, some business contacts and I were discussing some of the issues that HR and companies face in terms of turn-over. Of course, we dissected the many reasons why employees decided to voluntarily leave: pay; lack of advancement; culture issues; and so on. One of the other issues that I had mentioned was the fact that employees feel like they weren’t given a realistic preview of the job before accepting the role. This had us all thinking about our interview processes. Many interview processes have extended from a simple face to face into a longer interview cycle. These cycles can include phone screen, face to face meetings with several members of the team/organization, and presentations. Even after all of those different scenarios, employees still feel that this is the case. So what could we do better?

I thought about all of the interviews I’ve been a participant of over the years and considered the details. Many of the interviews were informative, both over the phone and face to face. The recruiters and hiring managers took the time to interview my skill-set and was also open to answering questions I had about the company, the day-to-day, and the expectations. And although that might seem sufficient, I realized it really wasn’t.

It wasn’t until I experience an interview that involved a 2 hour to half day job shadowing session that I really felt like I got a good sense of the job. In this session, I took time to sit down with multiple people in the organization: people I’d work directly with on a team; people that I would support; and department managers. In each of these instances, the person I was shadowing would take time to show me what their role entailed in a hands-on way. I was visually able to see their to-do lists, the systems they used, their processes, and so on. Additionally, I was able to take notes, ask them questions, and get a better understanding of how it all worked. This also allowed the person who was “interviewing me” to see how much I truly understood about the job and really actually see if the experience I claimed to have was legitimate.

In addition to getting a realistic view of the role, the company, and the people I would potentially be working with; this also gave the company an opportunity to get a deeper understanding of how I would fit in. They tested my knowledge, they saw how I was responding, and they saw how I interacted with different members of the organization. This was a fantastic way to not only see if the role/candidate was a match but if the candidate/company also had a cultural and value match. It helped me feel extremely confident when it came to deciding whether or not it I would be happy in this role and company. It ensured that surprises were limited and I knew what I was getting myself into. And vice versa.

Although recruiting and interview processes are extensive as it is, I would love it if more companies took the time to include this in their interview loop. I would be curious to know if this could help limit the turnover of employees, whether voluntarily or not. I know it made a huge impact and difference in my candidate experience.

Photo Source

Are You Giving Realistic Job Previews?

Recently, I had a nice discussion with Dr. Marla Gottschalk in regard to a study she did a few years back about Gen Y in the workplace. As we talked about some of the statistics she found during this study, I was quite interested when she mentioned the reasoning behind why a certain percentage of Gen Yers are unhappy and unsatisfied with their jobs. It turns out that a good portion of this is due to the fact that they were not presented a realistic job preview before they decided to accept a role with a company. As I researched this workplace issue more, I found that no matter what generation you’re a part of, there still seems to be this common issue. Are employers working too hard at presenting their company in the best light that they’re not giving realistic job expectations and previews?

One of the things I often like to research and write about is creating and promoting your employer brand, which is extremely important to do when it comes to attracting quality talent. However, it can come to the point where trying to make your company appear to be the “employer of choice” could actually hinder your ability to attract and retain quality talent. It has come to my attention that many companies are competing to be the best company to work for and often will try to paint an ideal picture of their company and the job. Of course, showing only the best side of your company will easily attract a ton of candidates but many of these candidates aren’t necessarily the right fit for your company, causing your recruiters to be overwhelmed. Additionally, some of the candidates that have applied could be a great asset to your company but can easily be discouraged when they learn that the job and company is what they initially were led to believe. In this situation, employees may have lower engagement and turnover numbers can increase. So, what can you do to ensure you find a happy medium?

  • Give a realistic overview of your culture:  this can help candidates see if your culture will match up with their personal values.
  • Give a realistic overview of the job details: many job descriptions have almost become like a marketing strategy. They are well written and enticing, however, people can get caught up in this rather than the actual job itself. Be sure to lay out a thorough job description.
  • Break down and give details about the day-to-day: take the time to break down the day to day duties. This can help candidates determine if they have the experience to perform these duties successfully and it can also help them determine if this is a job that they’d enjoy doing.
  • Give realistic timelines: many jobs talk about advancement opportunities (especially for top performers), and many candidates who accept a role may have a skewed idea on how quickly they can move up. Be sure to give realistic timelines on this.
  • Talk about the negatives: negative things about a job are realistic factors. I appreciated it when a recruiter once told me that there would be weeks where I could work 10-20 hours of overtime. It helped me know if this type of job would work with my lifestyle and other responsibilities. This also allowed me to not be surprised when my boss required me to be there on extremely demanding weeks.
  • Welcome your candidates to talk to multiple people in the department/job/company: it’s always a great idea to allow candidates to get multiple opinions on this. I once went to a job interview where I casually sat down with multiple people in the office. Having the time to talk to them in a casual way allowed me to see the truth behind the company, job, and so on and allowed me to appropriately decide if the job was right for me.

If you are an employer, it would be wise to consider the importance of realistic job previews. By giving the details (including the good and the bad), unqualified candidates can stop overflowing your inbox and ATS with their resumes. Additionally, candidates who accept the role can feel happier with the decision because they were well informed of what the job required and what the expectations were, which can ultimately reduce grievances and turnover.

 

Links:

Realistic Job Preview

Gen_Y_Survey

Photo Source