Monthly Archives: February 2010

Lessons from The Hummer

Last week, after failing to find a buyer for the brand, General Motors announced that it was officially dropping the Hummer. And while many of you, like me, probably wondered why it took so long to make this decision, consider that at one time GM offered people that purchased Hummers and other oil guzzling cars, gas cards to help subsidize (or better yet, justify) the use of these mammoth vehicles. I’m sure future case studies will analyze and dissect the history of the Hummer – but what lessons can we draw from this story as it relates to college recruiting?  When you consider how the current economic environment has already impacted college recruiting, one can draw similarities between the challenges of the auto industry and college recruiting. Particularly as it relates to the era AFTER the storm.

Take for instance the example of the Hummer’s architect – GM. As it entered bankruptcy, the organization said it would become a lean and smaller company; that it would conduct business differently. Indeed, GM has discarded many of its brands and attempted to whittle down its bureaucratic and traditional structure and replace it with something more focused and nimble. Instead of creating new vehicles using the same tired marketing approach, GM has pledged to pay more attention and be responsive to its consumers. While the jury is still out on whether or not this approach will work, there is certainly some merit in their attempt to improve. So what lessons can college recruiting draw from GM’s ordeal? How will the industry (college recruiting) need to change in lieu of economic events? Here are some thoughts: Continue reading

Why "Relevancy" is Relevant

Dr. Felipe Korzenny over at Marketing Trends in a New Multicultural Society makes some great points regarding reaching the Hispanic market and the importance of relevancy. According to Dr. Korzenny:

Are the publications in which they are advertising relevant to the lives of the consumers they cater to? Being Hispanic/Latino in the United States is a unique EXPERIENCE. Serving the needs of that experience and identity creates relevance. Relevance sells publications. Advertising in those publications, if also relevant, can be successful in connecting with us.

Great points particularly when one applies these same thoughts to recruiting Hispanics in the workforce. Whatever the employer’s strategy, it MUST be relevant to the experiences of Hispanics. Employers – be relevant and connect.

Kudos to Those Colleges Making a Difference for Hispanics

Just wanted to praise the work of The College of Mount St. Vincent in being ranked first in the nation for graduating Hispanics in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees. A copy of the study, funded by the National Science Foundation, can be found here. Mount St. Vincent was first among the 25 institutions in the nation identified as exemplary models. Thank you for your efforts!

Catching Up to the Idea

I just came across this article in the Wall Street Journal regarding how more colleges and employers are utilizing web-based interviewing to pre-screen MBA candidates and save on travel/recruiting costs. Ironically, my master’s thesis was on this topic – about twelve years ago! Interestingly, but unfortunately for some organizations of the time, the idea was well ahead of the technology. Video conferencing or interviews at that time resembled what I termed the “Max Headroom” effect. Desktop video conferencing in 1998 demanded an incredible amount of bandwidth, money, training, and patience. It was also unreliable. However, many of the same issues related to web-based interviewing are still relevant today despite the improved technology: the absence or reduction of non-verbal cues (body language), eye contact, environment, lighting, and sensory impact. I’m sure there are studies out there taking a look at these issues, but I’ve not had the time to search them out.

What’s also interesting about this article is how it demonstrates the paradigm shift occurring in college recruitment – impacted mostly by technology. Traditional college recruitment has been characterized by passiveness, minimal relationship building, lack of responsiveness, and employers waiting for potential candidates to come to them. What this article shows is that these standards are no longer valid. Technology is shifting the burden to the employer to be proactive, incessant, and responsive. Continue reading

8 Essential Strategies for Recruiting Hispanic Grads

I’m always surprised to find great ideas regarding Hispanic recruitment in the most unlikely places. Today I came across this marvelous posting via LOHAS (a lifestyle of health and sustainability website) that provides a very smart and practical approach to multi-cultural communication. Of course, when I read these types of articles or blog posts, I immediately apply it to my focus and interest. The LOHAS multi-cultural communication headings (from which I borrow liberally) lend themselves nicely to Hispanic campus recruitment strategies. I’ve adapted my own content and applied it to what organizations might consider when recruiting Hispanic college grads. You may also want to check out the entire LOHAS post, just to see how my perspective differs from the original content. Thanks to LOHAS for the great post. Continue reading

Graduating Minorities: An Issue with Many Solutions

Earlier in the week, Newsweek ran an article regarding the progress of minority college graduation rates. The article provides a good statistical and illustrative overview of challenges faced by some colleges and universities attempting to boost their minority enrollment and graduation rates. While it would be easy to pick apart some of the broad generalities discussed in the article, Newsweek does a good job of highlighting some of the high level barriers and issues associated with trying to keep minority candidates progressing through the college academic pipeline. And while debates can be had to determine why some colleges do better than others (some of which are discussed in the article), I think there are several commonalities associated with colleges and universities that successfully graduate minority college students. This is not an issue without solution.

First is focus and awareness. Colleges and universities that have higher minority graduation rates are simply paying more attention to it and employ initiatives to get it done. Incorporating minority graduation metrics into an overall strategic plan is part of what these colleges and universities do to assure success at an institutional level. Continue reading

Announcing A New Collaboration!

I was unable to share this news last week due to my illness, so today I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be guest blogging for Internships.com, a  leading online network between internships and students, higher education and employers. I’ll be contributing posts to Internships.com’s Intern Matters blog. The Intern Matters blog is dedicated to employers with a focus on how to hire and manage interns effectively. My focus of course will be on Hispanic college students. In particular, I’ll be blogging  about Hispanic themes and topics aimed at employers that might bring Hispanic interns into their organizations. A few of my posts have already been featured on the blog so go take a look when you get a chance.

I’d like to thank Internships.com for not only the opportunity to contribute, but for also making the commitment to feature Hispanic-related content on their website. I’m looking forward to a great collaborative effort. Whether you’re a student, employer, career center professional, or other organization representative, I encourage you to check out what Internships.com can do for you. From what I’ve seen from Internships.com via Twitter, they’re already making a big splash! Enjoy!

Leaving the Nest

The Los Angeles Times has an excellent article today discussing the increasing number of Hispanics that are moving away to attend college. This is quite a noteworthy article considering that many still hold on to the stereotype that Hispanics will not move to another city for school or work. When I tweeted about the article today, I was please to see a large number of Hispanics out there that shared how they indeed had moved to Dallas, Austin, New York, Florida, California and other states to attend school. I moved from California to Texas to attend college. And while there are still definite cultural and social factors that challenge potential Hispanic college students to attend school somewhere else, it’s not only due to ”being away from family.” As the article notes, much of the decision to stay or be near “home” is based on economics. As noted many times via this blog, the great majority of Hispanic college students work and attend school – like me - working themselves through college. Many are not on financial aid, hence living at home not only becomes a necessity but a no brainer decision. And afterall, what’s wrong with having family support while working on a degree? Not to mention mom’s great food. ; )

Dealing with Unexpected Change

We’ve all heard the cliché that “the only constant in life is change.” Like many such maxims out there, we read them, understand them, but how often do we embrace them? Change is not something that gives us a chance to plan – real change usually strikes on some idle morning when we least expect it. Recently, I was given an unexpected opportunity to explore how much I know about change. Last week, I underwent emergency surgery for an intestinal condition I didn’t realize I had until it sent me to the hospital. Within hours of setting foot in the emergency room, I was being wheeled hurriedly into an operating room: scared, confused, uncertain, and anxious. Now, only a week later, those initial feelings of doubt have receded; replaced instead with confidence, understanding, assuredness, and optimism. And while the road to my full recovery is still months away, I realize this journey is not only about my health, it’s also about dealing with change.

As you can imagine, every aspect of my life has been touched by this unexpected experience: my wife, my kids, my job(s), my home, my family, my friendships, and so many other things that constitute “my life.” It’s also brought new things into my life like doctors, surgeons, specialists, healthcare agents, medical suppliers, and insurance representatives. And so with all this change, I got to thinking about what we can do to ready ourselves. Change, even in the most unexpected circumstances, can be a positive experience in thought as well as reality. Given that I’m at the crossroads between these two ideas, here are three thoughts that I think can be applied to any situation involving unexpected change: Continue reading