Behind Employers’ Favorite Career Services Office

The Kelley Undergraduate Career Services Office staff. Photo courtesy of the Kelley School of Business

The Kelley Undergraduate Career Services Office staff. Photo courtesy of the Kelley School of Business

What are Kelley students seeking from the career services office and what is the office doing to meet those needs?

Our students appreciate the opportunity to have their questions answered quickly and to be able to work with someone one-on-one when they need to—and have that consultation meet their personal needs. I think this generation has been one in which it’s been a lot about them and them being successful. The helicopter parents have created a ‘what can I do best for Johnny or Jill’ feeling and consequently, they have specific needs.

What we’ve been hearing more and more about is wanting a coach [who] can help in the specific field they’re going into. So over 50% of my coaching team has a business background and experience. Every student is assigned a coach and an academic advisor when they’re admitted and they can continue to use that coach or they can move on. And they might move on because some coaches have more experience in different areas and they may adjust accordingly. So trying to help them with their specific needs and help them get into a niche market is a priority.

To do that, we’re trying to do more treks and things like that and we go to them. We want to provide services 24/7 that will help them. They don’t have to come to us here to get those services. We’ll meet them in the hallway, we’ll meet them in the residences, or we’ll Skype. We try to meet their needs where they’re at. Because ultimately, we’re a service provider.

What are some unique innovations in Kelley’s career center?

I think it begins with what our mindset is—we have a service excellence mindset. We want to go beyond what they need and make sure we understand what their needs are. So whether that service is for the student or the employer, we want to keep a service excellence mindset at all times.

For the students, as we constantly survey our employers and our students to understand what their needs are. What we started hearing from our students was that they wanted things specific to their needs. Whether they’re a finance major, marketing, sales, operations, or IT, how could we provide them more information to meet their needs and give them some experience?

The other thing is, we believe if you don’t innovate, you’ll die. We’re constantly looking at these surveys and asking, what do our customers—and we consider our students our internal customers and the employers are our external customers— want and what can we do to provide excellent service to both of them.

With the students, one of the things we know they’re constantly looking at is their phones. We need to have the information available on the apps on their phones. So we went out to get a provider to help us with that and to help provide a more user-friendly interface to our current system that we use for job postings that are both on-campus and off-campus so that we could communicate with them better. And it was one of those things where we could have waited and got it from the school’s IT, but it would have been a couple of years. We can’t do that. We need to do it now. We go out and do things of that nature. Now I think we’ll be able to communicate with them much better.

What are the employers looking for?

I think it’s very similar. They all have their own unique talent needs. And so one of the things we’re proud of is, we have a very serviceable approach—whether it’s on the students side or the employers side. And we wanted to make our process for our employers very effective.

We constantly look for things we can tweak to improve the process. One of the things I know, as a former person who went to campuses to recruit, is it takes a big chunk out of your own work schedule and it’s really important that things are done very easily. Our employers know that we’re going to be responsive and make sure we understand and serve those needs and help them develop the best strategy for their needs on our campus. We want to make it effective and personal for them.

In doing that, we’ve done a lot of little things like helping them develop a specific brand that will help them reach certain groups. We’ve also done things to improve the process. For instance, you know how you go on the airlines and you check in, so they know you’re coming? We have a check in for ours. We know when they will come to campus, and we will have a name tag, package, and we’re ready to put them in their room and they are personally met by our team. If they have any last minute needs, we can handle it very quickly.

We just got a compliment from a former Bain recruiter who’s gone to another company, and of course now, she already has them coming to Kelley. And unsolicited, she says, ‘I love Kelley and your career services, you guys do a great service, not only to your students.’ And she’s worked with a lot of colleges and was really surprised about their lack of response. You will be guaranteed a response from us within 24 hours.

We know they’re busy so we help them come to our office easily and do everything down to providing them breakfast, lunch, and snacks—so if they’re late and running to the airport, they can grab a couple snacks and go. We just want to make it really efficient and effective for them. We know we have great students and don’t want the employers to have any reason at all not to come to campus.

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