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The Power and Efficiency of Conversation in an Electronic World

EACE Blog contribution by Anne Scholl-Fiedler, Vice President Career Services at Stevenson University

Conversation at 2014 EACE Conference Credit: Jennifer Barr

Deep Conversation at 2014 EACE Conference
Photo Credit: Jennifer Barr

As I write this article for a blog post to be distributed to our career services professionals and employers, I am struck by how much we have come to rely on technology to communicate on so many levels. In fact, as I write this I have just received a text message from my niece who has just come back from a job interview and she wanted to let me know that she thought it went well. Mind you, we communicated back and forth for days on her resume and cover letter through emails and text messages. Thinking back on this exchange, this probably could have been accomplished more efficiently if we had just talked face to face. Ah well, that is hindsight and we are both very busy, professional women on the go!

When it comes to the job search and doing business we have a tendency to lean in to technology a lot for the sake of efficiency and necessity. In the job search, the candidate looks for jobs through career services online systems and other job search sites. Check. The candidate then fills out applications online and uploads resumes to company websites. Check. The candidate hopes to hear from the organization regarding their application. Wait. What’s taking so long and why aren’t I hearing anything? The candidate has been told to apply online and does so, but where does conversation fall into all of this?

Some things do not change over time, and that is the art of conversation. No matter which you way you slice it, organizations would rather hire people they know or who have been referred. And how does happen? Through conversation and relationship building. Networking and building contacts through conversation still remains the most effective way to find a job. The same thing holds true for organizations who want to recruit college talent. Simply posting a position may not yield the greatest results. The most successful organizations are those who build relationships with career centers, faculty, and student groups. They have a presence on campus and are involved in a number of initiatives with stakeholders. This could look like providing special projects and oversight for capstone classes in collaboration with faculty, it could entail being a guest lecture for a technical talk, or perhaps it is a networking symposium with alumni, faculty, and students. All of it involves human interaction and discussion, which is a great way to really get to know someone and where their passion and talent lies.

We have been having a lot of these conversations in our own office lately. We are challenging each other to get out of our office before sending another email or picking up the phone to call a student or employer in order to expedite something that needs to be accomplished. In fact, we have just implemented a “no interoffice email” policy on Friday afternoons. In the place of email, we will be having conversations with students, employers, and one another. I can’t think of a better way to wrap up a week and feel productive, as well as connected!


 

Anne Scholl-Fiedler has been appointed as the first Vice President for Career Services at Stevenson University. Scholl-Fiedler served as Director of the Career Services Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her professional background includes employer and alumni relations, developing collaborative partnerships between various organizations, and leading strategic development initiatives for university career centers. 

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