Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hiring Conferences Explained



Bob Berkholz, a Senior Partner with Orion and former Marine Corps Officer, provided some insight into what goes on at Orion Hiring Conferences in an article on Military.com by Ho Lin titled “The Skinny on Hiring Conferences”. Berkholz explains what it is about Hiring Conferences that behooves the candidates in comparison to other types of events and goes on to detail what candidates can expect at a conference.

He starts by defining a hiring conference and contrasting it with the ubiquitous career fair. Hiring conferences are planned events where both the candidates and hiring companies are pre-selected and matched and are brought together to interview. At a career fair, points out Berkholz, “you see people lined up around the block to visit and drop resumes off, while the hiring conferences that we run are by invitation, where we match up the right kind of candidates with the right kind of companies.” Another benefit to attending a hiring conference over a career fair is the tremendous hit rate for follow-up interviews. For example, a conference with 50 Officers interviewing with 25 companies could see as many as 42 of those Officers being called for a follow-up interview. The reason behind this statistic is that the candidates in question were pre-screened for the jobs for which they interviewed.

So what goes on at these conferences? To start, Berkholz explains that they are two-day events, with the first day dedicated solely to interview preparation. Formal interviews take place on the second day. These usually run about 45 minutes each, and candidates have multiple interviews. Thanks to the design of a hiring conference, hiring managers come pre-armed with follow-up interview plans, so they can jump into action when they interview a candidate that is a great fit for them. Therefore, follow-up and on-site interviews, as well as offers, usually happen within two weeks of the initial interview.

For many people transitioning out of the military, a Hiring Conference will be their first encounter with Corporate America, interviews, and resumes. For this reason, Berkholz asks “when they begin their terminal leave, as opposed to when their last day of active duty pay is, and when I have their day of terminal leave I back that up by about 90 days. That's the window where I want to get them into a hiring conference.” During this time, he coaches them on all aspects of their transition to a civilian career.

Hiring Conferences are an effective career search tool, as evidenced by the fact that as many as 20% of the hiring managers in attendance are Orion placements. The accelerated response time offered at a hiring conference is a much more efficient method of career placement than sending out hundreds of resumes in hopes of getting two or three responses. “Orion is well entrenched right now, with so much military talent being introduced over the past 20 years, that a lot of these corporations understand what a veteran can do, but if they don't,” says Berkholz, “we help coach the corporation – the HR manager, the plant manager – on the talents a veteran can transition over, and I can tell you that corporations have been very receptive to supporting our veterans.”

Click here to read the article.

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