What Employers Want Career Centers to Know
By Brittney Billszar, Career Engagement Educator, UCI Division of Career Pathways
After conducting a survey and interviews with recruiters representing various industries as well as career center employer relations specialist, a collective pattern of insightful themes emerged.
Core skill sets recruiters and employers are looking for:
Companies across all industries are looking for candidates who have the ability to work efficiently across functioning teams while being able to navigate intergenerational workplaces. For technical positions, the combination of relevant skills, program analytics, and problem-solving are essential. Furthermore, all recruiters mentioned the importance of cultivating relationship based environments, while written and oral communication skills remain highly valued competencies.
Common mistakes students make during interviews:
Students may be visibly nervous which negatively affects their interviews and employers’ first impressions. On the other end, some students have the tendency to be overly confident, and maintaining humility and positivity go a long way. Employers recommend to avoid speaking negatively about prior employers, suggesting instead that students could speak about lessons they’ve learned.
Utilizing technology/virtual platforms in recruitment efforts:
According to Tonie Zhu, Employer Relations Specialist at UCI’s Division of Career Pathways and incoming MPACE Treasurer, “When done correctly, utilizing technology/virtual career fairs creates a platform for equity and inclusion while giving access to those who do not have access.” Integrating technology into recruitment practices has allowed recruiters to cast a broader net. These platforms create more ease, speed up processes by utilizing pre-recorded interview platforms and allow employers to text updates to candidates regarding their application status. However, many companies are still finding a balance between in-person recruitment efforts and utilizing technology.
What career centers can do more or differently to better support employers:
1. Collaboration & Partnerships
- Work with employers individually to customize recruitment strategies and solutions while providing assistance in identifying additional partnership opportunities across the university
- Actively collaborate with other on-campus entities and funnel employers to the proper departments to best assist students
2. Student Preparedness
- Bring in alumni and recruiters to help review students resumes, assist students with getting involved in a job shadow program or educational rotational program
- Help students fully articulate their transferable skills as they relate to the position by doing research on both the position and the company
- Practice interview techniques to best combat nervousness during interviews or interactions with recruiters
3. Going beyond Career Fairs to Connect with Students
- Provide more events beyond career fairs, such as offering various info sessions, networking dinners and social hours
- Create more intimate settings to have more personable connections while diversifying the methods and avenues in which employers can make professional connections with students
Universal themes collected by employers reiterate the importance of students being well rounded. Supporting students in the areas of interview preparedness, networking, and building experiences is essential. Continuing to enhancing strong partnerships and collaborations between employers and career centers allows everyone to collectively prepare students for their career goals.