Archive for March, 2008

A visit to the Victoria Law & Accounting Careers Expo

Friday, March 14th, 2008

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Earlier this week I wandered down in my Gen-X suit to Rutherford House, bang in the middle of Victoria University of Wellington’s Law and Accountancy schools.  The attraction was a visit to one of the recruitment events penciled into the calendar of many grad employers each year.

As I walked into the the 2008 Victoria Law and Accounting Careers Expo I noticed how packed the place was - there was a real buzz.  I heard a student saying to their friends, “head over to the WHK stand, they’re giving out free jandals” - it was creating a pipeline of visitors to the accountancy firm. 

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There were about 30 exhibitor stands.  Some exhibitors mingled amongst the grads, sometimes quite a distance from their own stands, handing out goodies and striking up conversations.  Others took a more conservative approach, standing behind a desk, waiting for grads to tentatively approach.  Many exhibitors used strong branding, whilst there were a few that looked blah and univiting in my eyes.  Some exhibitors dressed casually, whilst others wore more formal attire, possibly reflecting different employer cultures.  Quite a few exhibitors used recent grad recruits at their stands.  Many exhibitors looked comfortable and approachable, whilst there was a sprinkling that looked overly serious or just downright awkward with the whole scene.  If I picked up on this vibe, I’m pretty sure the grads would have as well. 

As I ventured around the stands I picked up some brochure material.   I was impressed with the content and presentation of most of the glossies.  Actually, following on from the previous blog post, I thought the print collateral of the professional services firms was often heaps better, information and presentation-wise, compared with their web presence.

I note that one stand tried to connect with grads on a social conscience level - see pic below.

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I wish these sorts of expos were around when I was a student.  Other than attending some employer presentations on campus, I remember spending quite a bit of time at the careers advisory office flicking through annual reports.

A message to exhibitors:
I took quite a lot of photos and I’m happy emailing pictures, if I snapped your particular stand.  Please email me directly to enquire.

Paul Jacobs
Engage

The graduate round 2008 – NZ professional services firms

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

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This time last year we covered the professional services firms as they geared up for their competitive grad recruitment campaigns.  It was interesting to see then how these firms were pitching themselves to the YouTube, iPod, and social networking generation.  Fast forward one year and the firms have just launched their 2008 grad careers sites. 

I was eager to see if there were any advancements in how the firms attempted to reach out to grads.  Some of last year’s sites seemed quite static, and despite clear attempts to give their programmes a separate brand, I did feel at times that I had just read a brochure online.

Has anything changed from last year?  Here’s my Gen-X thoughts below (presented in the same order as last year):

KPMG

A new look and feel, heading towards the Web 2.0 end of the continuum - even the fonts are Web 2.0-like (quite a different look to the rest of KPMG’s corporate site).  It uses fresh bright colours and lots of white space.  However, the major advancement this year is the addition of blogging features.  Grads can leave comments and questions at many points throughout the site.  Mmm, creating an online dialogue with grads and providing the option for direct feedback - one to watch!  KPMG has stayed with the video gradcast theme, which includes some of last year’s content.  I think this new video (syndicated on YouTube) is well worth a look, even though it fits into the “KPMG International” category.  Podcasts, around some of the employee value propositions (EVPs), are added to the mix this year.

Deloitte

Deloitte has stayed loyal to their downloadable Career Insights podcasts, which are informative and have a nice relaxed style.  I feel like I’m looking at a replica of last year’s site and my comments then are just as applicable now.  I just checked out the Deloitte UK and US grad sites, for the sake of comparison - WOW - blogs, interactive videos, and decision-making tools galore.

PWC

PWC have again branded their programme as Aspire.  They are using headlines to better highlight the EVPs this year.  As I mentioned last year, the site contains photography and some valuable information and selling points, but lacks the impact of videos and podcasts.  PWC’s US and UK grad and intern sites also use features that could be used on the NZ site - blogs from current grads, competitions, video, live chat facilities, SMS/TXT updates, and insights into the life and thoughts of a PWC employee (subtly selling the EVPs).

Ernst and Young

Where’s the introductory flash page gone?  The site still has a Web 1.0 look and feel to me.  Again there is some great content on the site and I see an opportunity to bring the “EY Stories” to life with the aid of technology - the EY Stories are still crying out for this.  EY US are doing some cool things within Facebook.  The EY US grad careers site also has some great “day in the life” videos, presented by existing grads in a relaxed style.  The EY UK site has video, podcasts, and a cool little peek into the electronic diaries of existing grad recruits.

I do recognise that the grads have a lot of opportunities to form an opinion of a firm as a potential employer beyond a careers site alone; such as from campus visits, careers fairs, and interactions with interviewers/partners.   However, grads do typically flick through the careers sites prior to applying online and, as I heard in my discussions with grads, some find particular sites more interesting, useful and insightful than others. 

As you can probably guess, I believe that most of the firms outlined above should take a closer look at some of the engaging and insightful stuff their overseas offices are doing.  I have visited the NZ offices of these firms over the years and often sensed more energy than I’m picking up from visiting some of their careers sites.

What are your thoughts - do some sites resonate more with you than others?  

Paul Jacobs
Engage

IBM’s new grad careers site - does one work in an office?

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

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Launched recently, this Australian grad recruitment micro-site is quite cool, both branding and technology-wise.  IBM are using video clips big time to tell a story - via tennis court, beach, cafe, outside a bistro - what, no office scenes?!  The site is chock full of employee value propositions (EVPs) including, you guessed it, a work-life balance theme.

Paul Jacobs
Engage