How to Hire Your Dream Candidate

We linked up with Noah Clinton, who did 300% of his sales quota his first year out of school. Not only a top performer, he adds to culture of the organization and is very purpose driven. He's the candidate you want to hire, so where can you find him? How can you get his attention?


1. Whenever companies are going out and talking to candidates, you make sure that they are talking about the impact that somebody like you can come in and bring to an organization


2. If companies do have a Campus Ambassador Program, or opportunities where people kind of give you a day in the life, make sure that those individuals are not either reading the same thing off of a marketing brochure, and be just really contextualizing that conversation


3. If you as a company want to engage students, instead of just going where everybody else's and in a really noisy feel like a career fair, or what have you try to shoot for student organizations that, you know, based on the things that they're doing on campus, they have a bigger impact besides just having fun, right? Because the students there are spending a lot of time resources skills, trying to make that organization what it is, and find a way to maybe potentially bring an alumni back, that works for that company back to the organization to sort of guide the candidates so that the candidates can see themselves after that person to really increase your conversion


Rishav Khanal 0:03

Cool. Well, Noah, you know, we talked a little bit about this before hitting that record button. As far as the why behind this, where a lot of recruiters right now are simply struggling. And I think the struggle has always been there, virtual recruiting has just accelerated a lot of the challenges, right and, and really the golden nuggets of recruiting and the test guide to this big inevitable test that's coming up, you have all the answers to your recent graduate, you went through that experience. So to really hear it from a student as far as like, hey, if you would have done this, this would have been great. If a company had done this, this would have been fantastic. That's really what we're looking for here. So I guess help us understand, I know, you've mentioned that you took you took a little bit of a different path as far as proactively cutting through the noise, and finding opportunities and going after them by networking, getting referrals and finding your way, way, finding your way into the company. But let's say tomorrow, Alex, and I put you in a position, snap our fingers, and now you are in a position to completely revamp the way a company recruits college graduates. And I know you've mentioned that with this company, as well as others, you are in a position to say okay, maybe I want this offer. Maybe I don't. What do you think the companies that you once had in your bucket could have done to always remain Top of Mind in a productive way? Like is it sent emails to give you calls? Like, how could they have humanized that experience where you might have chose them? Is that a company that you work for now?


Noah Clinton 1:43

Yeah, no, that makes complete sense. So I think one of the first big things that comes to mind is really emphasizing how much impact you're going to be able to have in that role. I think that's huge. And there are a lot of career minded and hungry college graduates, you know, seniors come out of college, and they want to know that the role they're looking to get, you know, where they're ending up. They're not just stepping into a role. And it's like, yep, you know, they're not really cared about, it's not really a role that's going to bring value to the company, they want to know, hey, I'm stepping into this role. I'm filling a need. And this is something where I'm immediately stepping onto the floor. And I'm going to have impact, and I have the ability to go into this role to come onto this team, whatever the situation, wherever the role is, and bring my ideas, you know, bring my talents, whatever it might be. I think that's huge. And I think when companies kind of give a lot of that insight, and in just conversation they don't have, it doesn't have to be all packaged up and oh, here's what it looks like to advance your career, here's the impact you're going to have, but makes you feel like, the role you're going to be in is valuable. I think that goes a long way.


One of the many student insights we gathered regarding interactions with potential employers during campus/virtual events


Rishav Khanal 2:57

And that's I you know, I feel like most employers obviously don't do a good job of that, right? It's almost like, Hey, we have jobs come apply. And if you do great if you don't talk to you later, it's just they're just dealing with such high number of applicants coming in, and to humanize that experience, and to let somebody like you know, what to expect and the level of impact you can make? Yeah, that'll turn anybody's ears and eyes to saying that why this opportunity would be great for them. So taking that a step further. You've gone in, right, like you're saying, Okay, I think this opportunity is right for me. And then I don't know, like, were you one of those students? Or did you have friends in your circle where, let's say they pass the first round of phone interviews, and then they've got another one coming up. But it's like three weeks from now. Right? Like, and nothing really happens. There's this sort of like black void, like things are like, I don't know, like they said, second interviews? How can companies stay relevant in that time, like between the first round of interviews, and between the second like, as somebody that recently went through it, like, what would you have liked to see from companies to always constantly stay engaged with you in a productive way? Yeah. Well,


Noah Clinton 4:08

it's funny you say that, because I remember some of my roommates, and they would have an interview, and it would go great, they would be, you know, super excited about it. And they'd be like, Alright, yeah, got the next interview. And it was like, the next month, you know, you know, two weeks out two and a half weeks out, whatever it is, and then it would just kind of be like, two weeks would go by and you're like, Oh, so you got an interview this week? And meanwhile, they were just kind of like, okay, like, when's this gonna happen? Looking forward to this excited about it, but there's, you know, nothing going on in between. Now, obviously, there's a balance of you know, they do have a lot of applicants, but at the same time, I think if that individual is a really great candidate for that role, someone that that company is going to want to hire, you're going to want to keep that person engaged in that two weeks, because then that two weeks, there's other companies, I mean, I experienced this myself, who are coming in, and if that's a standout candidate, there Trying to hire that person. So that two weeks of not talking, that's huge. That can be a difference between saying, yep, that interview goes great. And then you get an offer, but too late, I was already talking to other companies. So I saw that a lot. And you know, just that engagement, it can be as simple thing as a phone call, hey, looking forward to our interview in two weeks, you know, a week out or whatever it is, and symbol engagement, I think can go a long way if like, Okay, great. This is something that, you know, I still have a lot of excitement for and looking forward to.


Rishav Khanal 5:30

and engagement is always going to be the topic right within these HR teams to figure out how to do it in a productive way. And something that always comes up is engaging students as far as virtual events and doing things like this via zoom. But Alex and I recently surveyed, you know, a bunch of Hokies actually, who came back and said, like 60% of those students said that they found virtual events to be completely useless, useless as in like, they would just go on the company's website and find the same information. So being somebody that went through the process. And granted, you are still a little bit early when COVID was like becoming a big thing. And you sort of took a pivot, but I'm sure you've attended your fair share of info sessions, as companies like to call it. And even while it was in person, no pun intended, it was still awful, right? It was still disengaging. So what advice would you have for campus teams, who really want to figure out how to engage students like you whenever they're coming onto campus? And having some of these events? Or if they're hosting some of these events on resume? Like, what can they do tactically?


Noah Clinton 6:33

Yeah, well, I think it might even tie back into what I was talking about before, but like, giving the candidates coming to these info sessions, like a vision, like, like, Hey, this is like, this is what the rules that we're hiring for look like, here are success stories here is you know, how people just like you just recently hired, here's where they are in the company now. And bringing them in and having them talk, you know, things that, like when you roll up to an info session, and it's just the same information that you read on the job description, or the pamphlet, or whatever it was, whatever material that you were handed, just kind of like, well, I just got told that twice, that wasn't really, you know, wasn't helpful. It didn't go anywhere. But if you go to, you know, an info session, or you're on a virtual event, whatever it is, whatever the medium, and it's engaging, and you're getting excited about that company, that that I think is a pretty cool experience. Where if you go to that event, and you walk away excited about the role versus saying, Oh, great, I just heard that twice, and I was bored. Those are two separate camps. And I think two separate things happen. If you play that well.


Rishav Khanal 7:40

And have you seen like, speaking of success stories, and having somebody serve as like the model, right, like, Whoa, this is somebody that went through the experience, this is what they had. And we've seen that I mean, this is why I would say in person sort of spring up is students do a really good job some sometimes, right? If they're empowered correctly, of packaging, their insights and giving, you know, a no like Bs, like great look into a company that really spills it all. And you understand it without all the buzzwords, I guess, could you help, like us understand and maybe other campus managers? Where does an ambassador program like that go wrong in your eyes? Like, like, let's say, a student came up and talk to you about their experience? why or how, based on what they did? You know, if they did something, would you sort of say like, oh, like, I don't know, if I would want to work for that company? Yeah.


Noah Clinton 8:42

I think I think a lot of it can be just being authentic. Like, if I'm, I have a lot of these experiences where you're talking to a Campus Ambassador, and it just seems like they're just regurgitating, like a call script to you. It's just kind of like, okay, like, especially if you're friends with that person, or you know, them from campus or whatever. It's just kind of like, you know, I know that person that wasn't, you know, they weren't excited about that. That wasn't a whole lot of, you know, they were just reading the the marketing material that the recruiter told them to say, whereas if you talk to a Campus Ambassador, who is like, genuinely excited about their job, you know, it, like they're telling you about it, and you're connecting with that person in a much deeper way. And then you get excited about if like, oh, wow, you know, there might be an opportunity for me there. And that sounds really appealing. I think part of being Campus Ambassador, comes back to, you know, the culture of the company. Like, if that's a program where it's not just like, Hey, you drew the straw, you got to go to campus to talk to people. Like, if it's something where it's like, hey, like, we want more talent, like this is something that our culture is built on. We get excited about this. I think that flows over into the Campus Ambassador and they get excited about their job, rather than feeling like oh, this is just you know, super weird. job that I was given, they get excited about it like, Oh, I'm actually playing an integral part in this company's recruiting strategy. That's, that's, I think, where you talk about a student being empowered. There's some results that come from that.


Rishav Khanal 10:13

And I guess, to flip that question, take us back to taking us back to your recruiting experience where I'm sure if you're anything like me, you had a lot of questions about the process and what to expect. And I know I felt this way where I was like, oh, man, the recruiter probably thinks I'm asking them a million different questions, right? Like, you just want to know it all. But you also want to ask questions that you're like, sometimes are like, is that the appropriate way to ask that, like, Am I doing that correctly? And so thinking about experiences like that, if you had it going through the recruiting experience, while you are senior at Tech? What type of questions do you feel like an ambassador can really shine some light? Or maybe if you're connected with an ambassador? Would it helped you in your process?


Noah Clinton 11:04

Yeah, I think I think like, when it comes to a day in the life, right? Like, you ask these questions of like, okay, like, what, what is this role really look like? There can be a number of different answers, like, here's what the job description says, like, here's what the to dues are, like, what's your responsibility, but a day in the life can look very different than even when you ask the hiring manager, like, even when you ask the hiring manager, hey, what's a day in the life look like? That can look different? You know, it can look different day by day. And even when they tell you an answer, like it looks different every day, that still doesn't answer the question. I think a lot of Campus Ambassadors that do really well in, you know, conveying what a day in the life looks like. They're, they're not answering that. And oh, you do X, Y, and Z, they're giving you the big picture, like, here's what you do, here's how it plays into the like, here are the strategies, here are the priorities that your team is working towards. Here's what we do as a team, here's, you know how it trickles down to you, they give you the full picture, versus here are the behaviors you do every day, or Hey, it looks different. But this is kind of what it looks like. It helps to give you a more full picture. And they might even still be telling you the same type of information. But they're just packaging it a little differently to where you walk away. And you're like, Okay, I understand what a day in the life of this role really looks like and how that plays into the big picture.


Rishav Khanal 12:30

Yeah, so they're just contextualize in that conversation. And I think I might have liked this one more clarifying question on my end before we wrap things up. Unless Alex, you've got any other questions to ask Noah here is thinking through next recruiting season, and a lot of companies right now are in their planning phases? To figure out, you know, we talked about this a little bit engagement, right, and how to put themselves in a position to find more Noah's who can just come in, blow their quota out of the water just completely exceeded expectations? Where do companies go to find people like you in an engaging way? Like we've seen some companies write like post on handshake posts on LinkedIn? But like, how can they get in deep into the crevices of like, Virginia Tech and go to a place where they know you're going to be hanging out along with your other friends? And everyone's going to be excited? Like, how do you get recruiters to go to these places?


Noah Clinton 13:29

Yeah. So I think, and this is just one idea off the top of my head, but I think a lot of it could be through organizations. What I saw people do really well. And it wasn't done often. Like it was sort of a rare thing where someone who was a previous member of that organization would come back. And if this is, if this is an organization where there's high achievers in it, there, they're going to look at that former high achiever and be like, okay, hey, actually, I'm listening. Now. This is somewhere that I want to go versus career fair, super loud, super noisy, everyone's saying the same thing. Versus they're connecting, it's, it's a different setting. Um, I think setting has a lot to do with it. And if you can find the organizations, the clubs, that they're having an impact on campus, they're having an impact in the community, wherever it is, it's a club, it's an organization that has, you know, a goal outside of just having fun, um, that really has a lot of people tied to it, that are hungry, to have an impact in their role and organization, whatever it might be. Those are people that when they transfer to their job, that hunger for that impact in the role in their club, that transfers over the job that makes them a high achiever, there. Um, there's a lot of people in these organizations who really pour a lot of their time and energy into these these organizations, these clubs, whatever it might be, and they go to the job fairs and it's just kind of like Yeah, I don't know where to go I, I think I have a lot of great skill sets that can really benefit a company. But I'm not, I'm not being directed versus when someone comes back and speaks in a different setting to that organization. Again, kind of context setting, it can really kind of break through that noise. And, and people listening are like, okay, actually, now I have some direction, I think I want to listen to this person and see what they have to say.


Rishav Khanal 15:27

makes sense to me. Yeah, those are all kind of the questions, I had a couple of my takeaways, let's say, one, whenever companies are going out and talking to candidates, like you make sure that they are talking about the impact that somebody like you can come in and bring to an organization, that was kind of the first thing that you know, jumped out of the page for me. Second, is, if companies do have a Campus Ambassador Program, or opportunities where people kind of give you a day in the life, make sure that those individuals are not either reading the same thing off of a marketing brochure, and be just really contextualizing that conversation. And three, if you as a company want to engage students, instead of just going where everybody else's and in a really noisy feel like a career fair, or what have you try to shoot for student organizations that, you know, based on the things that they're doing on campus, they have a bigger impact besides just having fun, right? Like, because the students there are spending a lot of time resources skills, trying to make that organization what it is, and find a way to maybe potentially bring an alumni back, that works for that company back to the organization to sort of guide the candidates so that the candidates can see themselves after that person to really increase your conversion. So the couple of things that I kind of took away, Alex, anything from you before we kind of wrap up here? Yeah,


Alex Strathdee 16:53

I'm really excited to see where you end up in a year. I think, obviously, we're going to see some really good things and obviously want to dive into some more topics at some, at some point, like your incredible onboarding at Red Hat. I think that might be our first expert content panel piece that we might actually do. At some point. you've kind of got me thinking there. But yeah, it sounds like Red Hat has gotten really lucky. And hopefully after listening to this, we can have some other companies learning some things here as well.


Noah Clinton 17:17

I appreciate that. Yeah, excited you guys knocked it out of the park. That was a great wrap up


and continue to work with you guys here. Always any insights I can provide. Happy to do that. Cool, um, real quick, uh, you know, we always love to be able to




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