I often see college students who do not have a good understanding of what employers seek when they hire students after graduation. I have developed a very simple assessment for use with students to help them prepare, called “What is Your Hire Score?” This can be used with incoming students at orientation, to make them aware of their chances of getting a job before they graduate. More specifically, this tool will help to outline what they can do, or should be doing, to build their skills, resume, and brand image throughout their college career.
Calculating the “Hire Score”
The assessment consists of eight basic elements that make an applicant attractive to a company. Points, both positive and negative, are assigned, corresponding to the importance of each element. These elements include:
While demonstrating these elements does not guarantee being hired into a job, they are the foundation of what is needed to get the attention of a hiring leader and increase the chance of receiving an invitation for an interview. The final element, which is the interview, includes “behavior” and what may be called “chemistry”. This is a reflection of the student’s or applicant’s personality and is a critical factor in the decision making of a hiring manager. This element is often hard to predict, given every hiring leader is as different and unique as each applicant. What I know is that “behavior,” or “how well you will fit in,” may be even more important than all of the other elements together. Either the candidate will be a good fit with the company or not.
How to Make Your “Hire Score” HIGHER
While we advisors, or career development specialists, know what employers look for in new graduates, unfortunately some of our students do not. This assessment was developed with the student in mind. It is simple, uses terms they understand, is self-scored, and highlights what is important to employers. Or more importantly, what the student is missing and hopefully has time to obtain before graduation. Historically, one of the primary roles of career advisors has been to familiarize our clients with the world of work, the expectations of employers, and how to adjust to them when necessary. Just over one hundred years ago in Boston, Frank Parsons developed the core of vocational guidance when he said that the best career decisions would result from a thorough understanding of one’s personal attributes and how well they matched up to the requirements of specific jobs and employers. The “Hire Score” assessment is a simple and effective application of that well-established professional role.
Career development professionals can easily create their own hire score assessment by including the elements above and any other items relevant to the audience. An example of the “Hire Score” assessment used at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University can be viewed by following this link: http://more.engineering.asu.edu/career/students/help-desk/ The best time to expose your students to the “Hire Score” assessment is at the beginning of their college career (or for a graduate student, their first week on campus). This will help them to understand what is expected of them during the next few years so it is not a surprise if they are one month away from graduation and may not have received a single call from any company for an interview.
I find this type of assessment works well with all students, but it is particularly helpful with foreign students. Typically they do not have the understanding of how important a resume, networking or internships are in landing a job in the United States upon graduation. Presenting this information in the form of a test really gets their attention, as they tend to place high value on good test results. While their “Hire Score” assessment results may be disappointing, it should be a strong motivating factor in getting them to use the services provided in your Career Development office.
Good luck with the “Hire Score” assessment, and by the way . . . what is your “HIRE SCORE”?
Karen M. Kowal, GCDF, holds a BS in Engineering Technology from the University of Nebraska with a focus on Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and has recently completed the GCDF training program. Karen has experience as an Engineer, IT Recruiter, Director of Enrollment Operations, and Vice President of Technology at American Express with global responsibilities. Her focus has been on large scale technology solutions, streamlining operations, and global people leadership. Her leadership experience includes many years of career coaching, development, and planning. Karen is currently a Career Development Specialist in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, concentrating on Master’s and Ph.D. students. She may be reached at Karen.Kowal@asu.edu.