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From the Chalkboard to the Job Board

Published Tuesday Sep 13, 2022

Author Marie O’Neil

There is plenty of competition for college grads. At the end of March, there were 11.5 million job openings and 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs by the end of that same month.  

That is creating a groundswell of change as companies explore new ways to attract and retain talent. As such, companies are seeking help to find help. While Krystal Hicks, founder of JOBTALK, a career-counseling practice for professionals, mostly works with job seekers, she also advises companies on creating more effective branding to attract applicants.

“I help them see the benefits of leveraging an omnichannel strategy to communicate why their ideal candidates should want to come work there. This challenges them to find gaps in branding and to promote one, strong company message across all their external platforms,” she says.

Once a business has a unified message, its job offerings should be just as engaging. Hicks says hiring managers must understand their responsibility to own a candidate’s experience.

“If a company has no LinkedIn presence and their career website isn’t compelling, candidates may not feel excited about working there,” she says.  

Hicks notes LinkedIn is an excellent resource and often underutilized by businesses and jobseekers alike. Hicks says it can help employers make connections if they are mindful about their brand.

There are other things businesses can do to improve their applicant pool. Ask one or two supplemental questions in lieu of a cover letter, request resumes as an attachment rather than making applicants complete a long questionnaire and outline the hiring timeline.

“The two things candidates appreciate the most while applying are transparency and efficiency,” Hicks says. “If businesses put up barriers using outdated methods, they may wind up repelling the diverse, forward-thinking candidates they’re trying to attract.”

What Grads Want
With remote work a distinct possibility, individuals must now compete with thousands more applicants across the country.
“As college students, we tend to hesitate applying to jobs that are just beyond our qualifications, which is limiting,” says Hannah Chisholm, a recent graduate of the University of NH Manchester. “Companies should consider their language if they are trying to attract recent college graduates with little to no experience.”

Chisholm, eager to work in nonprofit communications, says companies should avoid asking for minimum years of experience and instead explicitly invite college graduates to apply. “Eliminate barriers preventing new professionals from applying, like avoiding offering antiquated benefits. College graduates are interested in not only 401K matching, but also student loan repayment matching. It’s difficult for college students to understand the value of retirement benefits when we have accrued student debt. Offering more relevant support for our demographic is attractive and honestly, necessary,” she says.

Another recent graduate and NH native, Helen Dellas, says she’s both nervous and empowered about starting out in the field of genetic counseling. “Recent grads, although new to the field, have the most recent education, up-to-date policy information, best practices and are flexible with fresh perspectives,” she says. Dellas gravitates toward postings with clear role expectations, user-friendly interfaces and a “Who We Are” section describing the team.

Not all businesses are doing so. A NH manufacturing engineer and recent graduate, who asked that his name not be used as he’s currently applying for jobs, says he wishes postings were more detailed with descriptions of the workplace culture, inclusivity and work-life balance. “What draws me to a posting in my field is something showing the company’s impact in a concise but meaningful way. I want to know the tier of the position, yes, but also the values and mission of the company, what they stand for,” he explains.

Tips for Employers and Applicants
As the NH job market continues to shift, employers and jobseekers will learn new ways to find one another.

Invite graduates to apply: If your posting is open to new graduates with limited experience, say that.

Be transparent: Give enough information about your company culture, salary ranges, role expectations and hiring timeline so candidates can make informed decisions before applying.

Be equitable: Avoid placing too many barriers for candidates who may be new to job searching. Provide ADA and English as Second Language support if applicable.

Use college-friendly job boards: For example, UNH students primarily use Handshake for their internships. Companies can capture college students by using familiar platforms.

Consider Non-Traditional Benefits: This may include student loan repayment, tuition credits and remote options.

Use your college career office: They’re eager to support you, and you paid for it.               

Look for red flags: Jot down your red flags for job postings to avoid wasting time and scams. This could be spelling errors or if a position seems too good to be true.

Apply on company career sites: Third-party job boards can sometimes be outdated or incorrect. Apply directly on the company’s website whenever possible.

Attend a job hunt webinar: Career counselors often offer free webinars for jobseekers.

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