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The Myth of the Mug

EACE Blog contribution by Adrienne Alberts, Program Manager – College and Workforce Inclusion Programs at American Red Cross

It’s the time of year when campus recruiters get back into travel mode and begin visiting campuses across the country to invest in relationships with students, administrators, and faculty. To kick off my year of travel and speaking engagements, I visited a local campus to sit on a panel and share thoughts with career center professionals on ways to enhance their employer engagement efforts. Our dialogue was lively and I believe I was able to make an impact with the group. As we wrapped up and I prepared to leave I was presented with a thank you gift.

I graciously accepted my gift with a smile and headed out. Once in my car I glanced inside the lovely gift bag to see what awaited me. I’m sure you will never guess what I found. Well, on second thought of course you can; it was… A MUG.mugs-for-blog

I really don’t mean to sound ungrateful. It is thoughtful and appropriate to provide a token of thanks to the individuals who engage on campus, but in the course of a recruiting season the mugs can begin to stack up. In a year of travel, I have collected so many mugs that I have had to get creative about how to use them or give them away.

I have given them to alumni in my organization.

I have given them to our interns.

I have donated them to charity.

I have used them to pot plants.

And when truly desperate I have even thrown a few away (SORRY).

Now I realize the intention is to show sincere thanks for my engagement on campus, and the thought is appreciated, but how many times can I collect the same MUG???

Oh yes, some have realized that they have given away far too many mugs and have gotten creative and changed the game by giving umbrellas, pens, styluses, portable chargers for mobile devices and more. The thank you gift game has gotten very competitive with institutions fighting to ensure they have the most creative gift. So let me challenge you to take the competition to the next level!!!!

Are there ways you can express gratitude that won’t require me to practice creative packing? Can you innovate the thank you gift?  For example, can you

  • Mention my visit in a blog written for the campus community and include a picture and link to my organization’s website, microsite, blog, etc.
  • Encourage students to participate in my webinar to learn more about my organization and the most effective ways to engage in our recruiting process (shout out to @cciCarlson –
  • Give me better table placement at the career fair.
  • Help us have meaningful time in classrooms that are appropriate to our hiring needs.
  • Create targeted resume books by major/discipline/career interest and provide me access BEFORE recruiting starts.
  • Create a point system and once I reach the target goal
    • Reduce the cost of my career fair registration (I work at a nonprofit).
    • Give me a convenient parking space near your office.
  • Invest in REALLY GOOD coffee or tea to have in your employer lounge (might I suggest Oprah Chai Tea or Revolution Tropical Green Tea and some honey please)!

Come on, YOU CAN DO IT, get those creative juices flowing and come up with something impactful. I am confident that if you really put some thought into it you can come up with some extremely creative ideas.

And if not, at the end of the day, a nice hand written note is an elegant way to express thanks for my engagement on campus and it fits nicely into my suitcase!

Reposted from the RecruiterAde blog with exclusive permission.  Originally posted on the EACE Blog on 9/1/14.

alberts-adrienneAdrienne Alberts (@RecruiterAde) is a committed professional with more than 15 years of experience in college and diversity recruiting and career development.  Her career path has included significant roles in higher education, as a service provider to colleges and talent acquisition professionals, and as a recruiter and Human Resources leader in for-profit and nonprofit organizations.  


One Comment
  1. Thanks for these great thoughts on campus giveaways – it definitely has me thinking how we can do this better!

    September 9, 2014

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