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Do You Want Transactions or Relationships?

EACE contribution by Wenylla Reid, the Associate Director for Employer Development with University Career Services at Rutgers, the State University of NJ

There are times when you log on to your target schools’ career management platform and ample students who meet your selection criteria apply with the simple act of submitting a job posting. This response may spoil you into believing you will generate an equally bountiful response with the same amount of effort for new or upcoming positions. College students are a transient group, they move around and this year’s freshman will be next year’s sophomores who will one day be juniors, who ultimately become the seniors may be your new hires. With this constantly shifting landscape of your candidate pool it is important for you to decide whether you want genuine relationships with the schools from where you recruit or whether you prefer transactional interactions?

A relationship implies an investment of resources and the development of a working partnership with career services professionals and others who are involved with students at your target schools. Resources are not always monetary or financial contributions. Sometimes an investment of time and attention will yield tremendous results. Many career services professionals and students place great value on your time and industry expertise. Conversations and activities where you or member of your recruiting team interface with students and staff are great opportunities to develop rapport, strengthen bonds and establish your organization as being invested in the school and ultimately the students. Your choice to have relationships or transactional interactions will be revealed in the presence or absence of meaningful interactions that you have on campus.

Yes, I know that many of you are stretched very thin and may not have adequate support, however I encourage you to think strategically about how you can engage your target campuses using existing programs and opportunities that are available. Many schools offer various ways for recruiters and university relations professionals to connect with students. For example, some of the offerings that we have at Rutgers University include Resume Clinics where recruiters assist our Career Development Specialists in critiquing students’ resumes, Speed Networking where students and employers connect in a round robin format within a specific time frame and Diverse Reverse Mixer where the tables are turned and our student organizations are on display for employer representatives to pitch their respective 30 second commercials to student leaders who are manning the tables.

Discover what these opportunities may be at your target schools and include those that are most appropriate in your overall recruiting strategy as part of building a relationship. Relationships ultimately become partnerships where you overcome challenges, work through failures, provide feedback and celebrate successes. These partnerships offer an opportunity to try again and make continued enhancements or improvements. Transactions imply something that is fleeting, inconsistent and occasional. The first step is really up to you to decide whether you want relationships or transactional interactions.

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Wenylla Reid currently serves as the Associate Director for Employer Development with University Career Services at Rutgers, the State University of NJ. In this role she has an integral part in the development and maintenance of employer outreach operations. In addition she managed the Women’s Business Leadership Initiative (WBLI) and established the first official Rutgers Business School Mentor Program on the Newark and New Brunswick campuses. She is very passionate about career management for college students and shares her insights on her blog Build Brand You, which emphasizes strategic brand development for college students.

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