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Parker Dewey Named Winner of 17th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards

Posted by Michele Aymold on Nov 1, 2018 11:47:57 AM

Parker Dewey (www.ParkerDewey.com), an organization that improves college-to-career transitions through its innovative Micro-Internship platform, has been named as a winner of the 17th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards.

The winners were announced at an event held at Chicago’s Harris Theater on Monday, October 29, with nearly 1,500 business and civic leaders, and supporters of innovation in attendance.  The Chicago Innovation Awards, celebrating its 17th year, is the Chicago region’s foremost recognition of the most innovative new products or services brought to market each year.

Since launching in 2016, Parker Dewey has helped hundreds of companies ranging from emerging ventures to Fortune 100 enterprises engage highly-motivated, domestic college students and recent graduates on short-term, paid, professional assignments. Not only do these Micro-Internships provide immediate support to busy professionals, but they also help companies address the diversity, retention, and other challenges associated with entry-level hiring. As a result of these opportunities, Career Launchers across the nation have demonstrated skills, improved academic outcomes, explored career paths, and ultimately found the right full-time jobs upon graduation.

“While I am so proud of our team’s efforts, Parker Dewey’s success has been driven by the Career Launchers who have completed these Micro-Internships, proving that the skills that drive success cannot be measured by GPA, identified by technology tools, or captured by a resume,” said Jeffrey Moss, the company’s Founder. “We have really been at the forefront of this space, highlighting how the real benefit of the ‘gig- economy’ is not about replacing jobs, but helping companies and individuals find the right match.”

 “519 organizations nominated for this year’s awards,” said Luke Tanen, Executive Director of the Chicago Innovation Awards.  “As a group, these nominees generated over $3.4 billion in new revenues from their new products and services, along with the creation of over 432 patents.  The 25 winners represent the best from this very impressive group.”

The Chicago Innovation Awards are supported by Diamond Sponsor Theron Technology Solutions, Gold Sponsors Comcast Business, Wintrust Financial and SMS Assist; Silver Sponsors Exelon, Vedder Price, LinkedIn and others.

Topics: Company

Job Auditions: The Job Interview Will Soon Be Dead

Posted by Michele Aymold on Oct 10, 2018 11:27:14 AM

The traditional job interview process is continuously failing employers and future employees. It is not sufficient to determine if a candidate has the core skills needed for a position and candidates are not able to assess personal fit at the company. The interview is simply not enough, which is why Marcel Schwantes, explains how companies are adopting the job audition model in his article: The Job Interview Will Soon Be Dead. Here's What the Top Companies Are Replacing It With.

The benefits are mutual - companies get to see candidates in action while giving them a taste of what their day to day job and company could look like. The article describes the job audition model for mid-level hires, while Parker Dewey focuses on entry-level hires and serves as a platform to connect Career Launchers and Employers that want to hire for skill and fit over GPA utilizing Micro-Internships.

This post originally appeared on Inc.com, and is re-published with permission from the author.

Most companies rely on the traditional in-person job interview to make hiring decisions. But I'm here to tell you, it doesn't work. In fact, it's a terrible tool.

Here's why: 81 percent of people lie during the interview. No joke, 81 freaking percent!

That's according to Ron Friedman. He is an award-winning social psychologist and the author of The Best Place to Workwhich should get on your Amazon wish list.

Friedman says we are creating a condition where people are being dishonest because, well, plain and simple, it's the only way for them to get a job.

In other words, lets say I'm interviewing for one of your jobs. If you ask me about a skill I don't have, it's pretty clear that if admit that I don't have that skill, I'm not going to get the job. The only option I have is to talk around it and give you, my potential boss or colleague, a false impression. The result: Employers are consistently getting spoon-fed dishonest answers, and they're eating it up like candy.

How Our Brains Sabotage Us During Interviews

This is now adding insult to injury, but think about it: Even if you were getting 100 percent honest answers from a job candidate, there's a real question about whether you would be accurately evaluating the person in front of you.

Friedman says this is because of the ways our brains operate. We have unconscious biases when we look at other people and evaluate their skill set. Chances are you've probably interviewed an attractive female, a tall person, or someone who speaks with a deep voice. Here's what science is saying on each, according to Friedman:

  • People who are good looking tend to be evaluated as being more competent, intelligent, and qualified than their less attractive colleagues, despite not being objectively better at any of these things.
  • People who are taller tend to be evaluated as having more leadership skills than their shorter counterparts. The same results also held for women, though the effect was not as large. Also, decades of data have revealed a clear relationship between height and salary at every age.
  • People who speak with a deeper or lower-pitched voice are viewed as possessing greater strength, integrity, and trustworthiness.
 Did your brain trick you into believing any of those things? The research suggests that we can't help being swayed by these factors, and they affect the way we conduct the interview.

Friedman says that if you, as the interviewer, assume that a job candidate is extroverted, you're going to ask you a question like, "Tell me your experience leading groups."

But if you assume that a job candidate is introverted, you might ask a slightly different question, like, "Are you comfortable leading groups?"

While both of these questions may be getting at the same topic, Friedman says when interviewers frame these questions differently due to their assumptions about a job candidate, it leads that person to answer in a way that confirms your (the interviewer's) initial impression or bias, which may be dead wrong.

The Solution: Job Auditions

Friedman's argues that we should disrupt the HR process of live, in-person interviews and replace them with "job auditions" that are relevant to the tasks for the job.

It makes sense. Musicians and singers have to audition. Actors have to audition. The people employing them don't sit down and dart scripted questions their way. They want to see them play, sing, perform. Doesn't it make sense to audition a prospective employee for the same reasons, before they sign an offer letter?

For example, if you're looking to hire a sales rep, bring the candidate in for a few hours and have that person sell you and members of your team on your product.

If you're hiring Web designers, bring them in and have them design a landing page for you.

In either case, your first impression will be based on seeing them do their job, rather than how well they're answering your scripted questions. The same goes for behavioral interviews.

The data from Friedman's research confirms that when we choose auditions versus interviews, we can create a far better approach to hiring people, and a better workplace that has the right people you want for your jobs and your culture.

Continue reading The Job Interview Will Soon Be Dead on Inc.com.

Topics: Company

Tips for Career Launchers from Career Launchers

Posted by Jordan Goldberg on Sep 7, 2018 2:40:39 PM

Time and time again we hear from Career Launchers asking how they can improve their profiles, land more projects, and leverage Micro-Internships to their fullest. In order to address these questions, we've asked some of our most experienced Career Launchers to provide some advice.

Watch Estefani's video to learn how she's been selected for multiple projects.

Watch Simon's video for an overview of what to do once you are selected for a project.

Watch Noel's video to learn how to leverage projects once they are finished.

There you have it! Advice from some of our top Career Launchers on how to land, perform, and leverage projects on Parker Dewey! If you have any questions, feel free to email support@parkerdewey.com.

Topics: Talent

Forbes: Do Student Freelancers Make Better Employees? Microsoft Thinks So

Posted by Jeffrey Moss on Aug 1, 2018 10:43:46 AM

HR leaders are under massive pressure to fill open roles, enhance diversity, and retain talent. Unfortunately, with unemployment near record lows the challenges of doing so are intense. While companies compete for the same candidates who possess the “right” academic pedigree, major, and GPA, all professionals remain frustrated with increasing workloads.

As Jon Younger shares in his most recent Forbes piece, organizations such as Microsoft, Leo Burnett, World Economic Forum, Barilla, Dell, Girl Scouts of America, and others are using college freelancers to both get immediate support and address their hiring challenges though these auditions.

“While we were focused on just getting some help on a project, we quickly realized that the student was incredible … We saw her work ethic and skills, and got an inside track on hiring her.” Adam Heckman, Microsoft’s Director of Technology and Civic Innovation


Read the full article on Forbes.com

Topics: Company, Talent

When college grads enter the gig economy, should we shudder or cheer?

Posted by Jeffrey Moss on Jul 30, 2018 12:59:14 PM

When I saw this post from George Anders, I cheered. By viewing gigs as a pathway, the value to college students goes beyond the money as it lets them demonstrate skills, explore career paths, and build their networks while they seek the right full-time role upon graduation. For companies, the value also goes beyond the work as they can identify and assess talent in a more authentic way, thereby driving enhanced diversity, improved hiring effectiveness, and better retention.

"Another valuable reminder comes from National Lewis University, based in Chicago, where most attendees are first-generation students on tight incomes. As NLU's student success coach, Marlee Benton, points out, these students already participate in the gig economy. Many rely on an assortment of temporary, part-time jobs in restaurants and other front-line settings to cover their bills. What these students need is help finding better paying and more prestigious ways of putting their talents to work.

Colleagues are ready to help. It turns out that the University of Cincinnati this autumn will launch a campus-wide exercise aimed at helping students find upbeat language to describe their part-time jobs and project work in more impressive ways. If restaurant menus can make even a grilled-cheese sandwich sound like a succulent and artisanal delight, there's no reason students can't bring similar sparkle to their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Look for the hashtag #TheWayYouSayIt, in months to come."

Read the full post "When college grads enter the gig economy, should we shudder or cheer?" from George Anders here.

Topics: Company, Talent

At the Core of Job Success: Why “Soft” Skills are Core Skills

Posted by Parker Dewey on Jul 25, 2018 11:11:54 AM

This post was written by Sarah Landes.

Just as the school year begins, college students and employers are already thinking about what the hiring landscape will look like next year. Many employers will be looking for candidates with ‘harder’ technical skills from majors that sound like job titles - Engineering, Accounting, Computer Science. But what if those candidates who have only developed ‘hard’ skills actually were not their best bet?

The need for hard skills in the workplace may seem like a no-brainer based on the amount of press around their value, but the reality is that what employers want and need most is the exact opposite. While degrees like Philosophy, History, and Literature might get a bad rep, the truth is that students in those tracks develop the skills most in demand by employers. In particular, companies have identified skills such as problem solving, communication, writing, adaptability, curiosity, and conscientiousness as critical to success. Unfortunately, the value of these skills is often undermined by calling them “soft skills,” while in reality there is nothing soft about them.

Hiring managers and students should think of these skills as ‘core’ skills because they are the ones that are most likely to contribute to company’s success. In a study by Boston College, Harvard, and University of Michigan, researchers found that soft skills like communication and problem solving boost productivity and retention in a company by 12 percent and deliver a 250 percent ROI because of that increase in productivity. As companies become more dynamic, interconnected, and flexible there is a clear need for core skills  to be recognized as such.

All students need to hone these ‘core’ skills regardless of the degree they are pursuing. We should not write off liberal arts majors as unable to perform a business role - but on the flip side, we also should not  assume that technical  and or business majors have those core skills already. Unfortunately, every summer hiring managers overlook talented potential hires—the ones who have already developed their ‘core’ skills within a liberal arts curriculum—by focusing on majors, GPA, and pedigree. Yet for every STEM or finance major, there are almost double the amount of liberal arts majors that already have these skills found to predict career success.

For example, I am privileged enough to have attended a top-ranked university, graduating from the University of Chicago with a degree in International Studies. But when I should have been excited about the academic and professional opportunities open to me, I was instead constantly worried that my skills as a liberal arts major would not help me land a job. In fact, I was often intimidated when applying for internships and jobs because I didn't feel I had enough relevant experience or the right academic background to be set up for success.

What I didn’t realize was that the skills I was developing as a liberal arts student—the core skills—would successfully set me up for the first steps in my career. As a liberal arts major, you’re confronted with problems and questions that don’t always have a clear cut answer. It’s not a p-set with one set of solutions that you are working towards. In many cases, you have to take in multiple sets of qualitative and/or quantitative data—whether from past experience, research, or working with peers, in order to attack a problem in a constructive way. This mimics real-life business situations very well.

Equipped with these skills, I was able to land a job at a tech startup, where I’ve had to utilize every core skill I developed in school. I’ve definitely had to spend time learning the technical aspects of my job, but my background taught me how to learn those technical skills quickly, as “learning how to learn” was a core tenet of my academic program. Especially in a fast-paced startup environment, core skills like adaptability and creative problem-solving have been crucial to my job success.

There is absolutely a crosswalk between liberal arts and the real world, and my experience along with many others’ is a testament to that. However, it is disheartening to see many students with liberal arts backgrounds continuing to be passed over in the hiring process; while it may be easier to justify hiring a student or recent graduate who already has the technical skills for a specific job, many lack those core skills that are vital to their career development into leaders or managers. It is also disheartening to know there are many students who, like me, did not understand or appreciate the crosswalks between the skills they were developing and the real world before taking their first job. We need to do a better job at communicating the value of those skills to students and employers alike.

Not to minimize the importance of job-specific skills - but many of those skills can be learned after graduation on the job, and often need to be, given the rapid changes taking place across all industries and departments. In contrast, core skills cannot easily be developed through a bootcamp, seminar, or other program, but rather require years to cultivate. Therefore, an excessive focus on technical skills, and specific majors won’t necessarily help find the right employee. Of course, some job specific technical skills might be necessary, but they won’t give you the optimal candidate if that’s the only criteria of the hiring process. In order to fill the skills gaps in your company, your hiring process needs to look for a healthy mix of technical and core skills by giving both sets influence. I am no hiring manager, but perhaps giving a second look to candidates with non-technical education backgrounds, but otherwise impressive resumes would be a step in the right direction.

Irrespective of academics, liberal arts majors can develop the tools for career success. It is not risky to hire them, as they can add immense value to a company with their already developed core skills—especially when you consider that the link between merit and success can only truly be formed through those core skills.

Call me biased but looking beyond traditional technical majors for internships and out-of-college jobs can and will enrich company culture and growth. Recognize that some students you are  interviewing may not have the best code or the ability to quickly draw up financial models—but they can learn. The core skills they bring to the table instead will set your team up for success.


Topics: Company, Talent

The most effective way to hire Sales Development Representatives

Posted by Michele Aymold on Jul 12, 2018 12:25:15 PM

How do you use Micro-Interns? We asked, real professionals answered.

Our recent poll revealed an innovative way one company is using Micro-Internships to evaluate multiple candidates during their hiring process.

The company (who asked not to be outed to its competitors) is expanding its sales development team. Currently in high growth mode, they are specifically looking for detail-oriented, highly motivated, exceptional communicators to join their team. With commission and an opportunity for professional growth on the table, the company is more concerned with finding the right fit over background or prior industry knowledge.

Here's how they use Micro-Internships to build their team and grow revenue.

Each month they post multiple Micro-Internship opportunities for lead generation and copy writing. The assignments ask each Career Launcher to find 25 prospects based on provided criteria, then to draft an email introduction for review by the hiring manager. Click here to post this project too!

While the Career Launchers get a chance to explore the world of sales development, the company is getting new, pre-qualified leads for about $16 per contact. The hiring manager is able to test-drive potential candidates while assessing their attention to detail and writing skills. By using Micro-Internships to evaluate candidates, the team shifted it’s time from reviewing resumes and screening calls, to reviewing the content and taking action on the leads submitted by Career Launchers. This effectively lowered their cost to hire while making the existing team more productive.

Finally, the company is on track to reducing new hire attrition. While it’s reported that up to 55.3% of recent college graduates will leave their first job within the first year, the company has found that the opportunity to test-drive works both ways. When Parker Dewey learned that a Career Launcher turned down a full-time role, our client success team reached out and learned the company was still a fan, “We’d rather know up front that [the Career Launcher] didn’t think it was a match, rather than spending time onboarding someone who wasn’t interested in the opportunity long term.”

While not all Micro-Internships result in full-time opportunities, it’s clear that both companies and Career Launchers are benefiting.

Topics: Company

Settling for a subpar job right out of college can hurt your career for years

Posted by Michele Aymold on Jul 5, 2018 2:54:13 PM

Two-thirds of underemployed college graduates will remain underemployed throughout their careers, according to The Permanent Detour: Underemployment’s Long-term Effects on the Careers of College Graduates, a new report from Strada Institute for the Future of Work and Burning Glass Technologies. While scary, the illumination of this risk shows that underemployment can be preventable.

In Settling for a subpar job right out of college can hurt your career for years, Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz of the Chicago Tribune, highlights strategies to help bridge college-to-career and mitigate the risks of underemployment including  enhancing career exploration, experiential learning, alumni mentoring, and employer engagement.  In fact, Micro-Internships in particular were highlighted by several colleges and universities as an effective way to leverage these strategies and improve outcomes for recent graduates and employers.

“[Micro-Internships] also help students figure out what they like to do, reducing the risk that they will become job hoppers after graduation.” Continue to the full article.

One of the most effective ways to execute all of these strategies is to provide more opportunities for college students to demonstrate their skills to employers in a practical setting. Learn more from our recent blog post, Strategies to Overcome Underemployment of College Graduates.

Topics: Company

55.3% of recent college graduates will leave their first job within the first year

Posted by Jeffrey Moss on Jun 11, 2018 2:54:07 PM

Last week I attended the 2018 NACE Conference and was inspired by all of the conversations around improving career success for college students and recent grads. However, even with all of the innovation and desire to improve college-to-career outcomes, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 55.3% of recent college graduates will leave their first job within the first year.

While we have discussed the "Grass Is Greener" issue in the past, the Bureau’s study confirmed that job turnover tends to be higher among young people as they seek jobs that are the right fit. As shared by Donna Rothstein, a research economist with the survey, “If you have a good match, it tends to last a lot of time. [These young people] are trying to find a better match.”

While fit has always been important, unlike prior generations, recent grads are constantly inundated with reasons why they should be unhappy at their job. Without having the context to understand that the proverbial grass is not always greener, career launchers are much more willing to quit for a new opportunity within these perceived greener pastures. This is a massive issue impacting companies and college students alike, and has not gotten better even with the use of AI, assessments, video interviews, and other filtering tools.

The solution to this problem: more job hopping. To be clear, not the type of job-hopping that takes place when an employer and/or employee expect and invest in a long-term relationship, but rather the mutually beneficial career exploration that can occur even before college graduation. With the increasing acceptance of freelance or “gig” models, companies and college students can both assess fit before committing to a full-time role or even a traditional internship. And since every professional has tasks that are either ignored or being done by an employee for whom it is not the best use of time, college students can immediately contribute through these auditions.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Topics: Company

[WEBINAR] United Negro College Fund Career Pathways Initiative

Posted by Michele Aymold on Jun 4, 2018 4:36:31 PM

Parker Dewey is honored to partner with the United Negro College Fund to support its Career Pathways Initiative. Through this effort, diverse college students have more opportunities to execute short-term, paid, professional assignments to help them launch their careers. In addition, these Micro-Internships allow companies to build relationships with highly motivated Career Launchers and see firsthand the benefits of hiring students from HBCUs.

Learn more about Micro-Internships and how your organization can work with UNCF students from this pre-recorded webinar.

Topics: Company

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