Spotlight Online for Employment and Recruiting Professionals, February 17, 2010
One of the challenges caused by a down economy is maintaining relationships with those who contribute to the success of college recruiting programs. During this downturn, IBM launched its Career Services Excellence Awards program to not only maintain critical ties to the career centers with which the company works, but to fortify them.
“At a time when companies are challenged to have a campus presence and maintain or grow a hiring program, enduring relationships with university career services offices become increasingly important,” explains Eletta Kershaw, IBM’s university recruiting team lead. “We believe that this award will strengthen our relationships with our university partners, demonstrate our ongoing commitment to university recruitment, and appropriately reflect the value we place on career services offices in our success.”
Each of IBM’s university recruiters was able to submit two nominees for awards. IBM's U.S. university recruitment manager and the director of North American recruitment reviewed the nominations and selected the winners. The criteria by which they judged the nominees were the individual career center’s:
- Commitment to promoting IBM recruiting efforts.
- Actions as an informed partner for IBM.
- Efforts in maximizing IBM's brand.
- Willingness to implement or suggest innovative ideas.
- Part in connecting university relations directly with top students.
- Role in linking university relations to key faculty, administration, and staff.
- Success in developing and preparing students for recruiting, interviews, and career opportunities.
- Overall enhancement of the IBM relationship year over year.
- Overall relationship with IBM.
- Role as a caring and progressive partner.
Laura Sewell, IBM’s manager of university recruiting, says the only challenge IBM faced in this initiative was narrowing down the finalists to two winners, which were Harvard Business School M.B.A. and National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology.
“IBM has very strong relationships with many key university partners, and our goal is to ensure that our appreciation for our partners at each of our schools is recognized,” she says. “To that end, we have been open about the differentiating factors that ultimately led to the selection of the two award recipients, and we have made a commitment to continue with this award on an annual basis, so there is always next year.”
Kershaw identified several key factors and best practices that have contributed to the success of IBM’s Career Services Excellence Awards program, as follows:
- Establishing clear and consistent criteria that allow all offices to compete fairly.
- Giving everyone involved in campus recruiting an opportunity to contribute to the nominations.
- Establishing an impartial judging team.
- Gaining executive support for the program so the prestige of the award is recognized and communicated at the highest levels.
Sewell says IBM recognizes that attracting top caliber students and conveying the company’s value proposition on campus is not something that is achieved solely through attendance at a few campus events throughout the year. Rather, she says, IBM’s success is reliant upon an understanding of the student body, the company’s competitive position on campus, and the types of events and relationship activities that will gain IBM access to students that would make excellent future employees.
“We can't do this alone and depend on advice, ideas, and feedback from university career centers to help us succeed,” she says. “This program formally recognizes offices that truly go above and beyond to support our success, which ultimately is a win-win-win for the schools, IBM, and the students.”
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