Degree or No Degree? That is the Question!

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When you graduate from high school, you encounter the proverbial fork in the road.  Go to college and pursue an advanced degree or move straight into the work force?  For those who choose to go to college, your chosen field of study can say a tremendous amount about who you are and your outlook on life.  For myself personally, I am a firm believer that any degree field should have an ROI (that’s return on investment for those of you not in business!).  Let’s face it, college is extremely expensive these days. It places a large financial burden on both you and your parents.  I highly doubt any parents want to spend $70-$80K for a college education and have their child study Western Civilization only to move back home and work in a coffee shop (although I hear Starbucks has great benefits!).  I’m not saying everyone has to be a doctor or lawyer, I’m merely saying that your field of study should at least mirror your life’s aspirations.  Because of my business background (thank you USC-Upstate), I have a hard time investing money into something that doesn’t pay a dividend, much less pay for itself at least.

There are non-traditional degrees as well.  These typically include associate’s degrees along with specialized certifications.  As a Technical and Engineering Recruiter, I routinely encounter candidates from both the traditional bachelor’s degree path as well as the more non-traditional associate’s degree path.  Obviously the traditional degree holders are your engineering and management candidates.  Those with associate degrees are typically CNC/CMM programmers, mechanical drafters, and designers.  These are all highly specialized and sophisticated career fields.  I’m not here to say that one path is better than the other, but I have always been impressed with the degree of knowledge/expertise that comes from some of our technical/vocational schools in the area.  These candidates typically are currently working while going to school in the evening and possess a very strong work ethic.  These people are taken very seriously and are admired by hiring managers.  The same rings true with engineering candidates.  Several universities across the Southeastern U.S. yield some of the very best engineering talent in the country, if not the world.

What does this say about people in the work force who do not hold a degree?  From an early age, most of us were taught that you have to have a college degree to enjoy success and financial gains, yet many people continue to grow and thrive in the U.S. workforce without a degree.  According to an article in Forbes, 68% of Americans 25 or older do not have a bachelor’s degree.  Some of these include very powerful business leaders such as Sir Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Mary Kay Ash, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Rachael Ray, and Steve Jobs – just to name a few.  So why is it that these individuals were able to thrive without any form of advanced degree?  It can be argued that these people all started their own businesses and didn’t need degrees since they were entrepreneurs.  Qualities they all possess include innovation, drive, and creativity to make their individual businesses successful.  As someone that works with numerous companies across several industries, I’m starting to notice a trend.  While companies publicly require a college degree, I believe that they secretly desire experience instead.  Having both seals the deal!

 

Written by: Chad Hardin, Technical Recruiter     

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The Truth About Counteroffers

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I’ll start with the punch line:  

Why would your current employer offer you an inducement to stay after you’ve announced your intention to leave?  HINT:  It’s for THEIR reasons, it’s not for YOURS.

Choosing to leave an employer is a big decision. Once you’ve taken an outside offer and have prepared to give notice, you’ve already carefully evaluated the current situation and the new one and have made a thoughtful decision. Despite the fact that we all work for a paycheck, money is typically not the primary motivating factor in deciding to leave. Here is the question:  Why then, would you choose to stay for any reason other than the one that prompted you to leave in the first place?  Counteroffers are more common in today’s tight labor market. Does the market change the way we should respond?

What really went through your boss’s head when you gave notice:

“Does this reflect on me?”

“Boy, this is bad timing!”

“Maybe I can get him/her to stay at least until I find someone to fill the role!”

“How am I going to get this work done and look for a replacement?”

After 22 years in the recruiting industry, I’ve witnessed that more than 90% of candidates who’ve accepted counteroffers have regretted it.  Either they leave anyway or are terminated within six months to a year.  Your reasons for choosing to leave in the first place almost always still exist.  If your company had to be forced to pay you more or offer you a suddenly bright new future based on a threat to leave, is this the relationship you value in the first place? Can they get past the lack of loyalty they now perceive?

When presented with an outside offer, consider the entire picture.  Make sure that you only accept an offer that places you in a better situation for the long term.  Let your employer know that you will be leaving, protect the relationship (avoid burning bridges), then stick to the thoughtful decision you’ve made.

Written by: Julie Godshall Brown

 

How to Help Newly Hired Employees Hit the Ground Running!

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You’ve put an incredible amount of effort into hiring the right match for your position, your offer was accepted, and now you’re anxious to see the results.  Your work is done, right?  Not quite!  A few easy tips for helping your newly hired employee get off to the right start:

  1. Give them a warm welcome! Whether or not you provide a formal orientation, introduce them around so that coworkers will know who they are and where they are working. Allow some time for interaction via the water cooler or a personal introduction.  Give them information about customs that may be unique to your firm.  Have someone invite them to lunch the first day if possible.
  2. Make sure the newly hired employee feels you are ready for them. Are business cards in? Is the computer set up? Do they have office supplies?  Little things matter.
  3. Be wise in choosing the trainer. Like most small businesses, if you don’t have a formal training program, be cautious not to assume that the employee with the most expertise is also the best trainer. Often, you will want to involve multiple people in the process so that the newly hired employee understands how their role fits into the organization.  For example, sales professionals should spend time with customer service or technical support professionals so that they understand the customer.  Also, be aware that people have different learning styles—some need to “do” rather than just hear or see.
  4. Set clear expectations. This is your chance to start with a clean slate.  Let the new hire know what is expected of them and how they will be measured.  Let them know how often you will meet with them and how to have questions answered.
  5. Put their success in the hands of the entire team. When the team feels it is in their best interest for a newly hired employee to be successful, they are more likely to support them and give the newly hired employee the best possible chance for success.

 

Written by: Julie Godshall Brown

Julie is the president and owner of Godshall Professional Recruiting and Staffing. She has been with her family business full time since 1995 and remained as president and owner when her parents retired in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Clemson University and a Master of Personnel and Employee Relations from the University of South Carolina. In addition to leading her firm and several industry related organizations, she is a very active community volunteer who has made an impact on the future of the Upstate.

How to Market Yourself for a Job When You are Overqualified

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Here’s the scenario: You see an interesting job posting online. You think to yourself, “I have this experience, and I could be great in this role.” You’re considering applying for the position, but then you pause and reflect, “Wait, what will they think? I did this two steps back in my career. I’m overqualified!”

Believe it or not, this is a common dilemma for many job seekers. Talented individuals go through many stages in their careers, and at times, they find value in taking one or multiple steps back. People consider this scenario for a variety of reasons. This post is not designed to answer the question why, but instead to provide direction on the question: how does someone who’s overqualified garner strong consideration from hiring managers?

 

First, it’s important to understand why a company would shy away from overqualified candidates. There are many potential reasons, but I’ve listed a few commons thoughts below.

  • The person is too far removed from doing the hands on work required for the role.
  • This is a temporary step back for the person applying and as soon as an opportunity at their level emerges, they will leave.
  • There’s no way this person would be willing to take direction to do a job they used to supervise. They’ll feel the role is beneath them.
  • They won’t be willing to learn how to do the job “our way” because they’ll insist that their process is superior.

These are just examples of thoughts going through a hiring manager’s head. None of these assumptions may apply to you, but they exist nonetheless. Your goal should be to justify your motivation and interest in the role and, to the best of your ability, persuade them that you are the best person for the job.

 

A few things that may help you in your mission:

  • Instead of a traditional resume format, consider one that bullets your skills. You’ll want to list your places of previous employment as well as titles, of course, but lead with your skills. Focus primarily on the skills that the job posting requires and how you succeeded in those areas.
  • In your bullet points, be sure to highlight your unique accomplishments and provide some quantifiable details related to those accomplishments. Example: As an accounts receivable clerk with ABC Company, I successfully reduced our 90 day accounts by 80% within a 6-month period bringing over 75 customers into current status.
  • Use your objective to communicate a viable message to the company as to why you are looking to make this change in your career and why it would benefit them to consider you. Be brief but honest. Do your best to dispel their concerns about your motivation.
  • Utilize your network. There is nothing more powerful than a referral. Think about how many times you’ve asked friends, family, and co-workers to recommend a store, service, product, etc. People like helping other people. If you know someone associated with the company you’re applying to, ask them to put in a good word for you. You can deliver a message in a resume all day long, but having a neutral party speak on your behalf can speak volumes.

In summary, being overqualified does not mean you are not the perfect fit for the role. What it may mean is that you need to take additional steps to help that hiring manager understand why they would be doing themselves a disservice to not call you.

Written by: John Riddle

John joined the Godshall team, having previously spent 9 years in sales and management as well as 4 years in recruiting. After earning his Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University, John spent the last 13 years working and living in Washington, D.C. He most recently managed a recruiting team in the D.C. office for SPARKS primarily supporting HR and administrative roles. John is a member of the professional team at Godshall and recruits for administrative, accounting, legal, Banking, and HR.  A recent transplant to Greenville, John moved here with his wife and two sons. His wife, Laura, is a native of Greenville and Wofford College graduate.