March 08, 2017 | By NACE Staff
Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
To effectively handle relationships with employers, Wake Forest University created two sub-teams within employer relations that address outreach and employer experience. The university implemented this structure in early 2012 to facilitate employer interactions with its students.
“Because we do not have a location or size advantage, we wanted to ensure that employers that recruit would have one central contact for the university and find their recruiting experience simple, productive, and even enjoyable,” says Lisa Simmons, associate director, employer experience. “We are all about relationships.”
The two distinct teams that handle employer relations at Wake Forest are:
Simmons says the separation of teams and responsibilities allows for specialization.
“The outreach team is free to focus on developing new business and taking students to the market, while the experience team is engaged with organizations that have committed to recruiting students at Wake Forest, either on campus or virtually,” she explains. “We are really set up to be a sales/engagement funnel of sorts.”
From the employer perspective, Simmons says the career center’s structure is a positive because it has become a one-stop shop for talent, both off and on campus.
“We are designed to be more employer facing, while our career coaches are primarily student facing,” she notes. “We work together to ensure that we provide the best possible service to employers. Our success is reflected in our recruiting satisfaction surveys and the recruiters who continuously tell us what a pleasure it is to work with us and visit campus.”
Simmons offers several tips for effectively creating a similar employer relations team structure:
“Another thing is that employer relations needs internal advocates to promote the good work that is done,” Simmons adds. “Some of our effort is out front, such as career fairs, city events, and more. However, most of our good work involves one-on-one relationships between students and recruiters that we facilitate behind the scenes.”
She points out that more than 200 organizations engage Wake Forest on campus annually and thousands of students are involved in these efforts.
“Yet, aside from designated parking for employers, room reservations, and a busy recruiter area, there isn’t much noticeable evidence of our work day to day,” Simmons says. “I would argue that it should be that way. The impact of our work is revealed in our stories of student success.”
Percent of staff time spent student-facing
Median number of students to professional staff member
Median square footage of the career center
Percent of career centers with employer partnership programs
Percent frequently discussing career readiness competencies with faculty
2018-19 Career Services Benchmark Survey