Many years ago, I was a brand-new college graduate working for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. I was selected to represent the Bank on a college recruiting team. This meant many miles driving up and down I-70, staying in hotels with loyalty programs, and interviewing my alma mater’s best and brightest students. I spent hours on my feet at career fairs. Recruiting college students is exhausting work.
Career services professionals create outstanding recruiting and programming models that serve students and meet their needs. But the needs of employers are often a second thought. At the University of Illinois College of Business, our shared values include creating a welcoming and hospitable environment for all of our students and guests. We also put a particular focus on showing hospitality to our employer partners. Hospitality includes anticipating and meeting the needs of others, a mindset many of us pursue in our student affairs work.
So what can career centers do to show hospitality?
Keep Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in mind.
Our Business Career Services office provides snacks and beverages in a dedicated recruiter break room. The room also serves as a place for our guests to eat lunch and work between interviews. (They order lunch at our expense when they check in for interviews.) We provide wifi access information and directions to restrooms and the building’s coffee shop. We do anything else we can to ensure that we meet their most basic needs.
Greet your guests.
At the Illinois College of Business, we have student leaders and full-time staff on hand each day that interviews are scheduled (by 7:45 a.m.!). They greet recruiters, help them with their bags and coats, show them to their interview rooms, ensure that they parked legally, and answer questions. This welcoming environment helps us start the day on a positive note, which is especially helpful in case of inclement weather or other things outside of our control.
Anticipate your guests’ needs.
Keep a basket of umbrellas and some umbrella bags by the door. An unprepared recruiter can then make a trip to their car and avoid soaking all of their belongings. Put tissues, hand sanitizer, pens, and notepads in your interview rooms. Create space in your office for recruiters to take phone calls or work without interruption. Make sure that a nursing mother has private space for pumping and access to refrigeration if needed.
Create a day of engagement for employers.
We do our best to connect employers with student organizations, classes that need guest speakers, and other engagement opportunities when they are on campus. After all, it is expensive and time-consuming for employers to make a trip to our campus for career fairs, information sessions, or interview activities. So we do what we can to make each trip worthwhile.
Through attentiveness and anticipating others’ needs, career centers nationwide can adopt a culture and value system that includes hospitality. So, what will you do to show hospitality in your work?
Recruitment is upon us. October looks at addressing the needs of our employers to transform the employer experience.
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Cristina Lawson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Podcast With Mallory Bower on Career Services and Job Search Tips