Recruiters and Career Coaches: When Two Worlds Align

Recruiters and Career Coaches: When Two Worlds Align

March 26, 2018 - 5 minute read -
recruiting university millennials college-recruiting

In the field of talent development, career coaches and campus recruiters both work closely with college students to help them get a job that fits with their background and interest. Career coaches often sit in university’s career service center, interact with students day in day out, and understand students deeply. As a campus recruiter, it is vital to know how to work with career service center and leverage the career coaches there to help you gain insights of students at the school, the untold nuances in each college dynamic, and formulate your strategy accordingly to reap the most success from your recruiting campaign at each school.

To help you understand learn from and understand how to work with career coach, Rakuna invited Ms. Lee Desser, career and academic advisor at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, to join our discussion



Lee Desser

_Career and Academic Advisor_

Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lmdesser


With her expertise in the field, Desser will clarify and manage expectations for university recruiting through some common questions below.


RakunaHello Ms. Desser, thank you very much for your help and interest in the topic. First and foremost, could you tell me a bit about yourself and your experience working in the field of talent development as well as with college students?

Desser: I’ve been working in career services for the past 8 years, first at the University of Southern California, then at UC Berkeley, and now at the Middlebury Institute, a graduate school part of Middlebury College. I earned my master’s degree in higher education administration/student affairs. The majority of my experience comes from coaching and developing undergraduate and graduate students on career matters.


RakunaWhat do you think are the similarities between recruiters and career coaches? What makes their roles so crucial in determining and assisting students’ career choice?

Desser: Recruiters screen job candidates for available positions within their company or organization. A recruiter may interview prospective hires, reach out to qualified candidates via LinkedIn, and communicate with hiring managers on staffing goals and decisions.

A career coach and/or advisor works with students on achieving their career goals by providing services such as resume and cover letter reviews, interview coaching, compensation advice, self-assessment administration (i.e. MBTI, StrengthsQuest) and networking tips and feedback.

It is crucial for students to make a good impression to a recruiter at a career fair or through an interview, and one way to do that is to work with a career coach, so that they are prepared to put their best foot forward! The best way to make informed career decisions is to do research and get experience and the only way to get experience is to know how to conduct an effective job/internship search, so make sure to utilize career advisors!


RakunaHow different are their responsibilities with students? Who are likely to better assist students? Can you give an example?

Desser: Some recruiters work specifically with college students and may, if they have time, advise students on how to prepare a well-written resume, for instance. However, generally this kind of personalized feedback on resumes and/or interview skills is not that common. Recruiters are very busy people and their success is likely measured by meeting their quota. On the other hand, the goal of a career coach is to work with a student before they meet with a recruiter, so that they can make a good first impression.

As an example, I know a university recruiter at one of the Big Four accounting firms, EY, and if she meets a promising student at a university career fair, she may, if the candidate asks, provide some personalized tips. However, her goal is to recruit the best candidates for openings and her performance probably is not based on mentoring college students before they’re hired. On the other hand, success for career coaches means that their students are getting called in for interviews, interviewing successfully, and landing solid job offers.


RakunaIn your roles, how do you work with employers? What do you see as their biggest struggles in millennial recruiting?

Desser: I interact with employers all of the time by inviting them to panels, information sessions, and career fairs, as well as attending industry relevant conferences. Personally, I take issue with generational stereotypes and try to get to know each “millennial” as an individual. With that said, some feedback I hear from employers is that they wish more millennials took initiative at work, as opposed to waiting for their supervisor to assign them tasks. They also complain about younger workers using their phones all of the time. While we are all guilty of looking at our phones from time to time (me included!), checking it constantly will make it really difficult to stay on task. Lastly, many recruiters lament that younger workers often leave their jobs after a year or two. While understandable from a young worker’s perspective, many companies wish to retain solid talent as long as they can.


RakunaFrom your perspective of working with students to help them find their career paths, what advices do you have for employers to help them hire students more effectively? Can you give any examples?

Desser: The first advice I have is for employers to ask themselves if their approach is really working. Are they getting the kind of talent they want? The second advice is to switch up the traditional recruitment model on college campuses. Rather than hosting an hour-long presentation about their company followed by a question and answer section, which tends to be boring, try framing the conversation around an industry topic such as, “What’s the future of energy policy in the United States?” or “What’s the next disruptive technology innovation?” College students have tons of great ideas-allow them time to make suggestions! There’s lots of information about job listings on the website-spend time with college students who actually care about the strategic mission/vision of the company.


RakunaHow can recruiters leverage career coaches in university like you?

Desser: First, I love hearing from recruiters! I am always so excited when an opportunity comes up to expose our students to employers. One advice I have for recruiters is to give career advisors at least two weeks’ notice if they would like to host an information session on campus. This gives advisors time to organize and inform students, book a classroom, and advertise in newsletters. It also gives students time to figure out their schedule and adjust appropriately.

Rakuna: Thank you Ms. Desser for your informative and helpful answers. We wish you luck and success for your career.

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