Archive for March, 2013

Intern Sushi: A Tool for Netting Interns

March 30th, 2013
Here’s the idea: Resumes are pretty useless when it comes to choosing interns. Actually, they’re pretty flawed in general, but they’re particularly bad for internships, where employers are probably choosing one or two candidates from a large list of applicants whose resumes are going to look pretty similar (because they don’t have much professional experience yet). Instead, with Intern Sushi, users are asked to create a profile that captures their personality and ambitions. That centerpiece of the profile is a short video, but users can include a portfolio of their work, too. They can also create content tailored to a specific opening, like a video cover letter outlining why they really really really want that internship.
Employers, meanwhile, can build a presence that isn’t just promoting a few openings, but instead the general company culture — so even if there isn’t an opening at the moment, a potential intern could still stumble on a company profile. Think, “Boy, I really want to work there,” and check back later. That’s one of the reasons Intern Sushi’s traffic continues to grow even when most companies aren’t looking for interns, said co-founder and CEO Shara Senderoff.

Intern SushiSpring has sprung. Kids are busting out their cargo shorts and sun dresses and heading to the quad. Plans are being hashed out to get to Spring Break to catch those DJ Pauly sets. Epic! And, yes, some of our more industrious youth are starting to fish for those coveted summer internships.

Meanwhile, many employers are starting to bait the traps for summer interns. Enter Intern Sushi. Intern Sushi allows employers to list internships in advertising/PR, TV, film, fashion, sports, publishing, art, music, theatre, web, technology and other industries. Interns create digital profiles that capture their personalities and ambitions. The spotlight of the profiles are short videos that can include a portfolio work, too. Interns can also create a video cover letters explaining why they’re interested in a specific employer.

The idea is to give interns a way to standout seeing as their resumes are typically fairly lean. Employers benefit by getting a snapshot of the applicants’ personalities before scheduling interviews. The basic service is free for both employers and interns, but the startup offers premium services to interns with features like early application periods and functionality geared towards the parents of interns. The company has also announced that it is planning a premium business product too. My guess this will be geared towards enhanced employer branding.

The Hiring Sciences Hunch

I am not willing to concede that resumes are dead. Sure, resumes have their flaws. However, I do agree with Intern Sushi CEO, Shara Senderoff,  that traditional resumes are generally useless when it comes to selecting interns. Interns have such a limited body of work that we generally end up focusing on education and interests. Intern Sushi presents that data employers need to take the next steps.

Put aside compliance fears and Intern Sushi could be the best use of  video interviewing yet. And, Intern Sushi has even started to manage the process of hiring interns by offering what appears to be light applicant tracking. This is a nice touch. While growth depends on a classic two cheek kiss, the need for both employers and interns to sign up, Intern Sushi is a great idea and has attracted some reputable brands. Will Intern Sushi duke it out on their own or could they be a good acquisition for Indeed or LinkedIn? Either way, Intern Sushi belongs on your fish finder.

Recruiting Employees from a New Generation of Talent

March 20th, 2013

recruiting young talentIn a recent article “Hiring New Grads? Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes” appearing in The Daily Muse, Trent Hazy compares the process of recruiting graduating college seniors to dating in middle school. As the naïve college student reaches out (flirting) with employers, the recruiter often ignores sound advice that could have come from well-meaning parents.

Hazy lists three rules, patterned on dating protocol, to avoid overlooking or losing good candidates.  He takes into account several values that are overall good qualities a recruiter can possess, including social intelligence, patience, respect and tenacity.  Consider them especially as they apply to highly competitive software development, engineering and IT jobs:

  • Don’t be too-quick to make a decision during the interview – after all, not everyone falls in love at first sight. A nervous performance at an in-person or video interview doesn’t mean the candidate can’t excel in your organization. Remember, they’re new at this. Go the extra mile to meet them over lunch or take them on a tour around your site. In these venues, you’ll be better able to judge personal qualities like leadership and creativity. Best of all, go where they are – set up an information table at the university coffee shop or host a Q&A session on campus about your business or industry.
  • Give the relationship time before making a decision. Go beyond the resume and interview. Ask for a sample of the student’s work, such as a class project description or paper, that’s relevant to the position or industry. Also, consider paid summer or after graduation internships in which you can assess the candidate’s real performance on the job. You may find gold that was hidden under interview clutter.
  • Treat the student – or date – with respect, just as you would any other professional candidate. Remember that you’re representing your organization and brand. Students deserve common courtesy, so return emails and calls quickly, and don’t keep them hanging on your decision. Even if you don’t hire this candidate, it’s possible your paths will cross in the future through your common industry interests.

And here’s another thought: technology is an essential part of life for students going out into the workforce, so embrace everything that social media recruiting has to offer. Post open positions, college events and internship opportunities on Facebook – you can make it even easier through automated interfaces like Don’t forget LinkedIn and Twitter. Also, consider creating a mobile app that links directly to your organization’s career website.

Just like dating, recruiting is a courtship, especially for highly-sought after post college grads in fields like software development and engineering.  Follow these basic dating rules and the resulting relationship will benefit you, your organization, and your new employee.

A Guide to Fast and Efficient Hiring Practices

March 4th, 2013

best hiring practicesDespite high unemployment rates, many HR professionals and recruiters are still finding it difficult to attract talented candidates to fill open positions at their firms. HireRight’s 2013 Employment Screening Benchmarking report notes that 52 percent of respondents said their biggest challenge is hiring and keeping talented employees. In fact, employers may actually be discouraging excellent candidates from applying, writes Kathleen Davis in an article about the report and its detailed infographic at

First impressions are important not only for job seekers but for employers. As many as 75 percent of job seekers told HireRight that a job posting’s look will influence whether they bother to apply, and that they spend less than half a minute examining any given help wanted notice.

To improve the situation, your business should make sure that job postings convey your brand—some 51 percent of applicants said that job notices don’t offer accurate branding messages. What’s more, giving your candidates a strong first impression of your company paves the way to them becoming customers, even if they don’t wind up working for you. The report notes that 32 percent of respondents said they were less likely to buy products from a business that failed to respond to their applications.

Even when your job notices do properly reflect your company’s brand, it’s important to keep them fresh. After a notice has been up for about 15 weeks, candidates tend to think the job is no good.

With people living out more of their lives on the Internet, social media is playing an increasingly important role in the job recruitment process. HireRight reminds employers not to settle for using Facebook and LinkedIn, but to also use blogs, Twitter and YouTube to get out the message.

When was the last time you tested how long it takes to fill out an online application for your firm? HireRight’s report shows that 60 percent of applications made online took at least 10 minutes, while an astonishing 8 percent took an hour. Given the state of recruitment software available now, your application should require five minutes or less for applicants to fill out.

The report also underscores the importance of courtesy. You may practice excellent customer service with your clients and customers, but how are you treating your job candidates? Providing a personal touch and treating each applicant with courtesy will prompt 90 percent of them to encourage their peers to come to work at your firm.

Companies with poor hiring processes stand to lose the best job candidates to their competitors, as well as deter potential customers. Prudent business owners will want to take a close look at their practices and try implementing some of the changes suggested by HireRight’s report.