Cut Down on the Number of Students Who Change Their Minds

 The Wall Street Journal story “The Workers Who Say ‘Thanks, but No Thanks’ to Jobs” last week talked about the jump in students reneging on accepted offers with large companies to work for other firms. It highlights a few trends in relationships that employees (current or future) feel toward employers:

  1. What have you done for me lately?
  2. Show me love
  3. There are other opportunities for me

We can look at a few contributors to these feelings, including social media providing a constant feed of information, a very hot employment market, and LinkedIn making it easier to poach interns from competitors. Even though those trends aren’t changing soon, top employers aren’t standing pat. They are using tools to track and engage students who have accepted internships or jobs, all the way through becoming managers.

Here are several best practices we have seen at Yello to decrease reneging:

Assign a Risk Level to Each New Hire: When a student accepts an internship or full-time opportunity, create a category that covers the amount of selling needed to close the deal. For some students, you know your company was their first choice, there was minimal negotiation, and a lot of excitement. For others, they had several offers and you were able to out-recruit the competing firms. Adding this type of identification field in your talent system can be used to make sure high-risk folks receive more attention to mitigate the chance of them reneging.

Monthly Touch-points: While this seems very obvious, companies might have several hundred or even a couple thousand new hires in a recruitment class. Scripting the perfect messages to each new hire on the fly is impossible. Build out a strategic communication plan; execute personalized email campaigns throughout the year.

Event Invitations: It amazes me how many times companies are on campus each year, yet once a student accepts an internship or a full-time job, they are forgotten as if the case is closed. Take these opportunities to invite candidates to participate in your networking events, career fair booths, hackathons, etc. I have seen many companies use event management tools to easily invite candidates who accepted positions to all of their events and track attendance. A simple “check all,” then an invite, can make a world of difference to keep those with accepted offers engaged.

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On-campus Projects: If you offer part-time projects to those who have accepted offers, it keeps them so busy that they don’t have time to look for other opportunities, even if they wanted to! For computer science majors, it could be side projects, bug bounties, or hosting hackathon events. For business or engineering majors it could be student ambassador projects, setting up networking or recruiting events, or research projects.

Hopefully, using at least one of the items above will help decrease the number of reneges your company receives this summer. Obviously, the more tactics used, the better the results can be.

One final thought: this isn’t just a problem in campus recruiting. Look at how DeAndre Jordan reneged on a multi-million dollar deal in the NBA with the Mavericks. Was everyone blasting the 26-year-old all-star center for his immaturity? Nope! Some were, but some of the analysis after the fact bashed the Mavericks for giving DeAndre an ounce of space to breathe and even think that reneging was a possibility. It’s a new world…

Jason Weingarten is the co-founder and CEO of Yello, the leading web and mobile recruitment software, services, and consulting company based in downtown Chicago. He brings over a decade of experience working with hundreds of large organizations to develop innovative and best-in-class solutions. Follow him on Twitter @jasonweingarten 

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2 Comments on “Cut Down on the Number of Students Who Change Their Minds

  1. What the article fails to address are the number of such employment relationships when the offer is reneged upon by the employer. The day that employers stop arbitrarily laying off recent graduates and students, reneging on offers, using tactics such as exploding offers, knowingly paying people less than fair market wages, “hiring” interns and not paying them, well, that’s the day that I think we should start pointing fingers are these mostly young adults.

    The reality is that the employers have far, far more bargaining power than do the employees. You can find exceptions to that rule but they’re few and far between. Sure, some employers are complaining because their bargaining power is decreasing as the labor market heats up, but aren’t we just getting back a little closer to the point of equilibrium?

    1. Steve – rescinding offers is another great topic, but not what I was trying to address here. This was a reaction to the article in the Wall Street Journal about the uptick in reneging. Thank you for reading and your comments.

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