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Being part of the recruiting team here at iCIMS is really exciting for a few reasons. First, iCIMS is one of New Jersey’s fastest growing companies. In just a few years, iCIMS has added hundreds of employees and they are expected to add another 120 within the year. Second, I get to use the latest talent acquisition solutions to help with my sourcing and recruiting efforts.

While most of our recruiting efforts come from job postings, social media, and employee referrals, one of the most important efforts comes from college recruiting. Career fairs provide a prime opportunity to interact with students, bring brand awareness, and make many new connections. From planning to the actual event, here are some tips that we live by!
 

1) Create a Plan

At iCIMS, we spend months planning for college recruitment season. We have frequent brainstorming sessions where we choose our target schools, develop “teams” of the best iCIMS employees to join us, and discuss which jobs we want to focus on while at the event. Additionally, we have the task of choosing the way we market ourselves while there, from picking out the tchotchkes to hand out, to what banners we want to use, to the brochures and information pieces laid out. Once everything is decided, it is time to prep the team, charge the iPad and laptops, pack up the supplies, and hit the road!

2) Go Team!

Having the right team in place is crucial for a success. We carefully select who will be on the career fair teams, which is often hard because we have so many great volunteers. Whether it’s a Monmouth alum from iCIMS’ Sales team helping us recruit at the business school’s events or bringing a Scarlett Knight from iCIMS’ R&D department to a Rutgers tech career fair, we try to bring alumni from the schools who are representative of the opportunities currently available at iCIMS. We hand out special branded t-shirts to the dream team members, give them a break down of the opportunities, the logistics of the career fair, “the elevator pitch,” etc. Once everybody is prepped and caffeinated, we get ready to shake some hands!

3) Keep it Simple

We are a green company, so we are always trying to think of ways to reduce our carbon footprint. We actually don’t collect a single resume at the career fairs. We either have applicants sign into our Talent CRM, iCIMS Connect, at the fair or we hand out an Ike sticker with the career page link on it to encourage them to apply directly online. After a long day of meeting and greeting at the career fair, our work continues. We will run a report to see if any attendees have applied to positions at iCIMS and start to qualify the applicants and take next steps, like sending them a request to submit a Video Cover Letter. It’s important to follow up with the candidates and to be in touch with them shortly after they apply. This gets them interested and excited, as they are usually overwhelmed at these events and may feel they would otherwise be lost in the pile! While on the career site, they will also get a better understanding of who we are and especially our company culture. While this approach is new for us, we have seen a lot of success with this tactic.

Career fairs can be very overwhelming and exhausting for both the recruiters and students. It’s important, even after giving the same spiel a hundred times, to let your passion and excitement for the company show. Be friendly, be welcoming, and be yourself. The students we meet can feel our enthusiasm and it’s contagious. Remember, you could be shaking hands with your future colleague!

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Sharlyn Lauby, SPHR, CPLP is the HR Bartender, whose blog is a friendly place to discuss workplace issues. When she’s not tending bar, Sharlyn is president of ITM Group, Inc., which specializes in training solutions to help clients retain and engage talent. Her off-hours are spent searching for the best hamburger on the planet, fabulous wine that cost less than $10 bottle and unusual iPad apps.

Every organization has a culture. Culture is defined as a collection of commonly-held traditions, beliefs, and behaviors by a group of people. Culture is a part of every company and, in many workplaces, it’s never documented. In order for a company to achieve its business goals, they must recognize and leverage the talent within the company. That means being able to create a culture that is empowering, supportive, and, in turn, allows people to do their best work.

It also means having a culture that is diverse and inclusionary. Lew Platt, former CEO of Hewlett Packard, summarized the business case for diversity and inclusion best. “I see three main points to make the business case for diversity: 1) A talent shortage that requires us to seek out and use the full capabilities of all our employees. 2) The need to be like our customers, including the need to understand and communicate with them in terms that reflects their concerns. And 3) Diverse teams produce better results.”

The question becomes, how do we create a culture that does all of these things? Well, the first step is hiring the right people. The people that align with your cultural identity. Here are four steps to consider:

STEP 1: Understand Your Cultural Identity

Organizations need to have an unfiltered understanding of their culture – not the culture they want to be, but the culture they really are. As a human resources professional, one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen companies make is to have meeting rooms full of posters that they say represent who they are as an organization only to discover employees don’t embrace those same qualities.

A company’s cultural identity is tied to the personal leadership of its employees, the emotional intelligence of its leadership, the trust employees share with each other, and the business’ ability to be agile and change.

STEP 2: Incorporate Your Identity into Your Career Website

If companies want to hire employees that align with their culture, they have to share what their culture is all about. A company’s cultural identity should be clear when a candidate looks at the company’s career site.

Organizations can use images and video to give candidates a sense of the organization. For example, I know companies that have demonstrated a commitment to diversity and hiring people with disabilities. It is part of their cultural identity and their career websites reflect that.

Images aren’t the only aspect. Your culture comes through in the wording of job descriptions, job openings, and the communications you send out to talent networks and communities.

STEP 3: Share Your Culture with Candidates

Today’s candidates want to see your cultural identity before they ever apply to your company. They are also looking for confirmation of your culture when they interact with recruiters and hiring managers.

This includes the exchanges taking place during career fairs, interactions on social media, and conversations during screening and interviews. Each contact between a candidate and the company either confirms or denies your cultural identity.

When an organization understands and embraces their cultural identity, sharing corporate culture becomes a natural part of the conversation. If a recruiter is trying to “sell” a culture, it’s often very obvious – the candidate knows it and the recruiter knows it as well.

STEP 4: Include Your Culture in Onboarding

Organizations do not have to lose their cultural identity during orientation and onboarding. For those parts of the process that have been automated, make sure they still incorporate a piece of your cultural identity. Obviously, the company can bring their culture to life using video introductions. But organizations have a great opportunity with mentoring and coaching activities.

One of my former bosses called mentoring “an opportunity to tell you where all the landmines were” and how to maneuver around them. Those landmines were are part of the company’s culture and, to be successful, you need to know where they are.

Cultural identity reflects many things: trust, leadership, accountability and working relationships. It’s what companies stands for and the way for companies to excel is to hire individuals that share those same cultural values.

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As May rolls around every year, the most popular question amongst college students becomes, “What are your plans for the summer? Did you get a job?” As the questions roll off the tongue, the conversation can go in one of two directions. The student will either be elated with the fact that they have the opportunity to brag about the internship position they were offered, or instead will be instantly flushed and their embarrassment will begin to ensue. I stumbled upon an article from the Wall Street Journal Careers Blog entitled, “So You Want a Summer Job” and it provided some valuable insight into the student job pursuit. Since the article is on the short side, I have highlighted some specific points, to offer a bit of assistance with the hunt.

College students have it harder these days; they have to get their foot in the door early or the job they have always dreamed of will remain a dream forever.  Now, even though that sounds intimidating, let’s be real. Although landing a job might be more complex, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. As you begin your search, use the following tips and the road to “real life” might get a little bit easier.

Tip 1: Don’t wait until the last minute. Be proactive!

You may feel burdened by all the school work you have to get out of the way, but everyone knows college students often have an abundance of free time. Instead of skimming Facebook or reading your Twitter feed, devote some of that time to searching for a job or internship that seems interesting to you. Truthfully, it is never too early to start. If you’re looking for a summer position, begin your process as early as first semester! It never hurts to be ahead of the game and have the advantage of being exposed to all available positions. 

Tip 2: Start making appointments with your school’s career center.

Many schools now even offer their services online through a career portal along with face-to-face appointments. You should definitely utilize those resources, because I can guarantee that you aren’t the first case your advisor has ever seen. They have knowledge of all the career fairs and company speakers that are scheduled to be on your campus, seeking students, just like you. Many career centers also provide mock interview sessions for you to become accustomed to the corporate setting and be prepared when the time comes. Take advantage of it!

Tip 3: Who you know can be just as valuable as what you know.

It’s no secret that references can facilitate entrance into Corporate America. Some view this as something negative; however, I seem to think it is quite the opposite. Someone of status and merit within a company, that is willing to put their name out there for a potential new hire, must know the talent that lies within them. Granted, it is up to the new hire to prove themselves, but you have to start somewhere, right? It is also important to remember that relying on someone you know to help you get the job probably isn’t the smartest idea. With that being said, don’t think an amazing opportunity is just going to fall right into your lap. Nothing is more fulfilling than getting it done on your own.

Tip 4: Don’t get discouraged!

As you are putting so much effort towards one single goal, you will probably expect to see instant results. Begin accepting that it’s not always going to be the case. Although instant gratification would be ideal, you are going to have to play the waiting game just like everyone else. Just because you don’t hear back right away doesn’t mean the company isn’t interested in you; keep your head up! When the company does reach back out to you, always take the interview if one is offered, whether it was your first choice or not. At the very least, it is good practice. Your hard work will pay off in the long run, I promise! 

When you’re a student, I know summer internships or future jobs aren’t always on the top of your mind. Putting a little time in every day to secure a spot in your future wouldn’t be the worst thing you could do, that’s for sure! As the old adage says, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

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It may come as a surprise to many that the main goal of a college student isn’t to party every night and do all of the things they couldn’t do while living at home with their parents. Somewhere in between all of the fun and games, college offers help towards something known as a career. Yes that’s right, college helps students choose a career path to follow.

And, while college may try to prepare students for the application and interview process, there is only so much they can tell students. Why is this? Depending on the profession, the application process can be tedious and long-winded or short and sweet.

This is where recruiters need to step in. As a recruiter, it is essential to facilitate the application process for candidates. College can only prepare students so much. If recruiters can make the application easy-to-complete while still collecting all of a candidate's special accomplishments and talents, I think they will find an increase in the number of applicants to choose from.

While recruiters facilitate the process, it is also important for applicants to do their part. As I go into my final year as an undergraduate at Monmouth University, I have learned to go outside “the norm” and be creative with the resources that are available to me. Here are three fast and easy tips I have used to help me with the application and interview process – they even helped me get my internship here at iCIMS.

  1. Say CHEESE!  This is my number one tip for success in applying for a job and landing it. Believe it or not, there are people that are willing to help you with your application process. Let’s be honest - when was the last time you just sat back, took a deep breath, and smiled? As you try to balance the stress in your life, attempting to find a summer internship or job may seem impossible to accomplish. I am here to say that with a positive mindset and a plan, getting a summer internship will be no problem. As Albert Einstein once said, “Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” 
  2. Network…Network...Oh and…Network! I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” There are people willing to help college students face their everyday challenges like applying for jobs. Don’t be afraid to open up and create new relationships with people that could potentially help you in the future. Strike up a conversation with someone you never spoke to before. It could lead to a whole new world of opportunities, and you might make a new friend as well!
  3. Be a work of art!  Michelangelo didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel overnight! Understanding the concept of professionalism and what it takes to be perfect for the job is key. This means, be the part. Be on time for everything, keep that beast on your face you call a beard tamed, dress appropriately, and most importantly be personable. Walk into that interview with your head held high, shoulders back, and look as confident as possible. Sell yourself and what you have written on your application.

 

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To catch up, read Part I here!


Part II: The Quest for the Intern (A lesson in legality)


As most of you have probably read by now, there are some tricky rules involved when recruiting interns… especially when they are unpaid.  A Workforce article from a few years back offered 10 Rules for Hiring Unpaid Interns. Some highlights included:

 

  • Training must be general, not for the immediate advantage of the business, and it may even slow normal operations.
  • Interns can’t be used to replace paid employees.
  • High schools, technical schools and colleges can partner with businesses to set up compliant unpaid internships in which the student receives course credit. This lends credibility to the internship’s benefit for the student.
  • Decide beforehand if the business has the time and personnel to closely supervise and mentor an unpaid intern.


And if you want to be a little more sure of your compliant internship practices, check out the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division’s six factors to “evaluate whether a worker is a trainee or an employee for purposes of FLSA:

 

  1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to what would be given in a vocational school or academic educational instruction;
  2. The training is for the benefit of the trainees;
  3. The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under their close observation;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded; 
  5. The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period; and
  6. The employer and the trainees understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.

 

Bottom line: make sure you have the time for interns!  It’s not about you…it’s about them, so make sure you’re recruiting the right fit for your department/company and that they want to learn.

Does your company recruit a lot of interns and/or recent grads? Give them their own space to search and apply for jobs! University Career Centers are a popular option amongst organizations that are looking to tailor their recruiting. A UCC links directly within a corporation's website and allows college students to browse job openings specifically targeted to their audience with specific marketing information and more. Applicants can then complete an online application tailored to your college recruiting campaign. Career Centers dedicated to new graduates are an extremely effective method of giving your organization that competitive edge in reaching quality talent. One last quick iCIMS plug…our very own marketing interns Brittney & Allison have already written a couple of great posts on the internship process.  Check them out here: It’s a Jungle Out There - Are you Ready? & Finding an Intern – Is the Cake Worth the Candle?

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THIS BLOG COMES TO YOU IN TWO PARTS, CHECK BACK ON THURSDAY, MAY 6TH, FOR THE CONCLUSION!

Somewhere in between cramming for finals and moving out of their dorms for the summer, college students find the time to search for a summer internship.  As a former multiple-time intern and a current intern coordinator, I thought it might be a good idea to make this post two-fold: 1st part for potential interns and 2nd part for potential organizations looking to recruit interns.

Whether your interest is invested in the legality of paid vs. unpaid internships for your company, or the summer’s approaching and you’re a student in need of some experience, keep reading…

It’s no secret that internships are on the rise: according to a national 2006 study, 84 percent of college students at four-year institutions had completed at least one internship before graduation.  Whether its’ evolving college requirements, post-grads looking to gain an extra edge on the competition, or simply the market’s lack of available entry level jobs, internships are becoming more competitive and more important for both students and organizations.  


Part I: The Quest for the Summer Internship

First and foremost, whether your school requires it or not, you need at least one internship prior to graduation…but as with most things in life, the more the merrier.  Just recently, I’ve interviewed two candidates from the same schools, with the same classes and the same clubs…but the differentiator was their prior internship experience.  As a (kind of) recent college grad, I speak from experience that it’s a tough world out there, and any edge you can get will help you land a job (and thus help you pay off all of those student loans).  So, now that you know why you need an internship, let us learn how you attain the internship.

First off, if your school requires an internship make sure you know all of the details surrounding it.  How many hours? Do you need to keep a journal? Interview directors? Create a portfolio? How many credits will you get? All of these details are good to know for yourself and for the company you’re interviewing at.  Once you’ve got the background down, start searching.  I began my search by looking at companies I would potentially like to work for or admired.  Depending on their career sites, many even had their own section devoted to all things interns.

Not sure where you see yourself?  Check your student email accounts for internship suggestions from your schools’ job placement center or department heads.  Job boards are another great outlet…and there’s even some niche ones for interns and entry-level professionals like InternWeb and Career Rookie.  And, who could forget social media?  I always use “#intern” when posting opportunities on our twitter page. So now, search some hash tags and let the internship hunt begin.

When you eventually land the internship interview at your dream company, come prepared.  Internships are competitive!! Just because you are interviewing somewhere does not mean you’ll  automatically be selected.  Internships are meant to benefit the student – which means LOTS of time spent with current employees teaching and mentoring the newbies.  Before you’re brought on board and share valuable company time, an organization wants to make sure you’ll be a good fit for the position.  Here are a couple of quick interview tips:

 

  1. Bring your resume or portfolio and, if possible, make copies.  If you’re meeting with multiple employees, you don’t want them squinting over a single copy of your 12-point font resume.
  2. Do your research!! It’s always impressive when an intern knows about your company and then references recent news or blog posts about the company.  It shows you care and are a quick learner who pays attention to details.
  3. Practice, Practice, Practice.  If this is your first interview take the time to have a couple of practice run throughs with a friend.  There are TONS of sample questions on the internet and you’re bound to be asked one of them.  What’s your greatest accomplishment? Describe a time you overcame an obstacle? If I were to ask your professors to describe you, what would they say?  Don’t make these questions any more awkward then they have to be… have some answers prepared. And hey, if you think these questions are bad, how much does a 747 weigh?
  4. Keep eye contact with your interviewer.  Like I said, don’t make this any more awkward then it has to be by looking at the floor or the ceiling or both.
  5. Follow up with a thank-you after the interview.  Nothing makes you more memorable post-interview then when you remind us that you interviewed.  A simple email will do it.   


Once you’ve got the perfect internship, take advantage of it! Here at iCIMS, we’ve had an amazing number of interns turned employees.  When you go the extra mile, you get noticed. And hey, even if your internship doesn’t turn into a job at that specific company, you now have real world experience.  Remember those awkward interview questions?  Now you have some substance to back them up!  Looking for an example of someone who did it all right?  I think her title says it all: Intern Queen Lauren Berger and the news of her 15 completed internships across her 4 years of college, is all over social media outlets. After starting her own Intern company, the Queen now educates others through her college tours and conferences. Oh hey, speaking of which, iCIMS is hiring interns!! Sales, Marketing, Customer Support – you name it!  Take a look here for a list of our available internships.

 


For Part II, click here!

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