Landing the Right Job at the Right Time

Based on student Google search statistics, staffing and recruiting firms were top key word searches. Excelsior’s career development director reached out to her network of key experts in this field to ask their opinions about some common student concerns.

Meet Our Experts:

Renee Walrath

Renee Walrath, President of Walrath Recruiting,

Miriam Dushane, Managing Partner of Alaant Workforce Solutions,

Patricia Fusco, President/CEO of Fusco Personnel,

Miranda VonFricken, Technical Recruiter and Career Coach with CPS Recruitment.

Tammy Spenziero: What myths and truths exist regarding recruiting/staffing firms?

Renee Walrath: One common myth regarding recruiting is there is a fee if a candidate wants to work with a recruiter. However, our recruiting services are free for candidates. Another myth is recruiting companies only have positions that are currently, or have previously been, posted online. However, some companies do not post for their own positions (whether it be on their own company website or on job boards). Their goal is to save time and effort, so they pass on that responsibility to the recruiting company.

 Miriam Dushane: There is a myth that candidates can only work with one firm. In reality, you are under no obligation to work exclusively with one agency. In fact, every firm has its own network of HR leaders and corporate clients, and as a result, each may offer unique career opportunities. Another myth is that we can find a job for everyone. While we are confident in the expertise and resources we provide to assist an individual’s job search, we can never guarantee a placement will be made. What we can guarantee, however, is our commitment to seeking the right fit for both the candidate and the employer, rather than simply filling a position. Lastly, there is a myth that recruiters don’t offer any advantage. In truth, recruiters offer several advantages to job seekers. With our huge network of exceptional contacts within the HR and employer communities, we have access to a variety of career opportunities, including many desirable job openings that may not be public. Recruiters can assist candidates throughout the job search process, from resume and interview preparation to serving as your advocate with an employer. And, our reputation is built on providing strong candidates to the employers we work with, so we have a vested interest in grooming candidates to ensure they are at their best during their job search.

Miranda VonFricken: Myths regarding agencies are endless… but so are the ones about carbs! It’s best to do your own research, find what works for you, and utilize what you think will benefit your career. Personally, I got my professional start with a staffing firm and because of the great experience, decided to join one shortly after. They are a great resource! I’m a strong believer in students utilizing agencies to gain access to opportunities they may not have had the chance to find on their own!

Tammy Spenziero: With the rise of technology, the use of recruiting and staffing firms has increased. What is your experience and perspective on this?

Renee Walrath: The unemployment rate has gone down 0.5% since January 2019, indicating that more people are securing jobs, making it difficult for companies to find new hires independently. In our experience, we have noticed more companies are outsourcing to recruiting companies to save time, decrease turnover, and hire the best possible candidates for their open positions. We take on this process for employers, assess our existing pool of candidates/seek out new potential candidates, examine their current employment situation, conduct the interview only if they match our client’s criteria for the role, and if applicable, offer a new job opportunity.

 Miriam Dushane: When technology in the form of job boards hit the scene, there was a lot of talk that they would put recruiters out of business. In fact, the opposite has happened: recruiters that can effectively use new technologies are even more in demand. Skilled recruiters are leveraging innovative technologies to help job seekers find more and better opportunities, and help companies attract more candidates, increase the efficiency of the hiring process, and make better hires faster. We save employers the expense of having to purchase technology we have and know how to use—from online reference checks to video interviews—and free them up to work on mission-critical objectives. As technology continues to evolve, it is our job to be the experts who can help both employers and job seekers use it to their benefit.

Tammy Spenziero: When it comes to screening and selection, what do candidates need to stand out?

Renee Walrath: Composing a strong resume that details work history, internships, and skills is essential. This is ultimately the first step where the relationship and the initial first impression begins. So, ensure you tailor your resume to the position you are applying to. Include as many key words that relate your experience to the job requirements. If there are parallels, make a clear connection for the party reviewing your resume with those key words. Once you demonstrate that you have experience relating to the position, that’s when the next steps take place.

Miriam Dushane: Candidates should keep in mind they are marketing their most important product: themselves. Everything you do needs to present you and your qualifications in the best possible light. Your resume is your personal marketing brochure; make sure it includes relevant experiences and accomplishments that demonstrate your value and generate interest from a potential employer. Research not only the job, but also the company and its culture, and be sure to communicate your interest in both. Job skills are critical, but passion and enthusiasm can give you an edge over the competition.

Patricia Fusco: Candidates who are prepared and have the right attitude! Candidates can be entry level or have extensive experience, however, the soft skills are more important in 99 percent of our hires. Our clients will weight stronger on the soft skills than hard skills/experience.

Miranda VonFricken: Aside from a well-crafted resume, I look for great communication skills. Starting with the email, to the phone call, to the on-site interview. I want to know you have the confidence to speak to your skillset and the ability to ask great questions. It’s also a bonus during a screening if we end up laughing!

Tammy Spenziero: Any advice or tips for our online adult learners looking to advance in their current career? How about for those transition roles within their chosen field and those making a career change?

Miriam Dushane: Whether you are an experienced employee pursuing a new career, a professional seeking advancement in your current field, or a person getting back into the job market, your timing is excellent. Amid the tightest employment market in decades, employers are keeping all options open when it comes to hiring. Use your previous experience, record of achievements, and passion for a new career path as selling points but also be realistic when it comes to compensation and the opportunities available. Aside from that, the tried-and-true principles still apply: create a strong resume, develop and tap into your professional network, advocate for yourself, and don’t be afraid to reach a little. As the famous quote goes, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

Patricia Fusco: Career changes can be scary and exciting to a candidate. If someone has solid experience and skills, that is the first step. Many skills are transferrable into other industries and roles. Knowing what you want to do and enjoy doing is half the battle. Having an open mind, thinking outside the box, and exploring all avenues will open doors you may not have expected.

Miranda VonFricken: Get on LinkedIn and connect to professionals in the industry you want to be a part of. Notice their career transitions, see what they’re posting, and if comfortable… contribute to the conversations. LinkedIn is a wonderful way to show off your personality and skillset at the same time.

Tammy Spenziero is director of Excelsior’s Career Services Center.

Renee’s Fun Fact:

“One interesting fact about Walrath Recruiting, Inc. is we published our first book, The Ultimate Job Search Guide in 2019!”

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Miriam’s Fun Fact:

“I once pitched in the minor leagues…. I threw out the first pitch at a Tri-City ValleyCats game and I own a Schoolhouse in the Adirondacks.”

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Patricia’s Fun Fact:

“Recently, all three of my daughters have joined my business!”

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Miranda’s Fun Fact:

“I danced for Albany’s Arena Football team, have a motorcycle license, and a master’s degree in Motivation!”

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TAMMY SPENZIERO Director, Student Success