Updated: Dec 8, 2020

Imagine you had the opportunity to chat with Pam or Kelsey 🤔

Pam is a campus recruiter and she'll gauge if you're a good fit for the role.

She'll build rapport, ask you questions, pitch you the company a little bit, and try to move the interview forward if there is a fit.

Kelsey takes a different approach.

If you meet with her, she'll share new ideas that can help you in your career.

Would you choose to meet with Pam or Kelsey?

Kelsey, right?


Because Kelsey might give you some tips that can help you excel in your career.

You TRUST Kelsey 😃😃😃


Well, you don't get much out of the interview with her unless you're desperate for the job right then and there.

You don't trust Pam.

Why's this important? 🤔🤔

Well, 90% + top students you're interviewing aren't evaluating just YOUR offer when you interview them.

So if one of your main drivers is "candidate experience," you need to be more like Kelsey.

Instead of offering just an interview, offer to share some advice that can help your candidates in their career journey.

In this scenario, Pam and Kelsey are fake names.

But in this conversation, Tarah is real and she is a REAL GOOD campus recruiter.

So would spending a few minutes listening to her WHOLE blueprint be a value add to you?

It would?

Then continue to read below.

Rishav Khanal 0:02

Cool. All right. So Welcome back, everybody. We're super excited to have on and um, please do not be mad at me if I butcher the pronunciation because I was going in my head. Is it Tara or Tara? I forgot. I'm gonna go Okay, can

Tarah Williams 0:19

No, no, no Tarah, Tarah.

Rishav Khanal 0:23

Okay. All right. You can you can end the conversation now if you look. Yeah, seriously. Oh, there thanks so much for for agreeing to come on. Pretty excited. And as always, before we dive into the topics, anything like that, and I would like to start it off with a fun fact. So I don't know if you know this, but the smallest town in the US which has a population of one. It's actually a little known city in Nebraska, Monowi and the one person, she's the bartender, the librarian, the mayor. Yeah, well unique. Who knew just found that out? But I Oh, yeah, seriously, a little tidbit for you. But while everybody's kind of thinking about that, as far as their next travel destination post crona, which is Manowi Nebraska, and they're not paying me for this everyone. I give me a little bit of background into who you are. And you know, just something about yourself that I think most people wouldn't know, right off the bat when they meet you.

84-year-old Mayor, Bartender, and Librarian Is Her Town's Only Resident

Tarah Williams 1:28

Sure. Yeah. Let me I'll just give an introduction. And then I can say what, what people don't know about me if that works for you. Yeah, so as you said, my name is Tarah Williams. I'm a Southern California campus recruiter for a midsize accounting firm. That's based in California. It's called Armanino. So I've only been at the firm for about eight months. And prior to that I was in the accounting industry. And so this is a career change for me, and I love it so much. It's so great. And then I had to call my mom because think about facts that people don't know. So I think that my friends know this to some extent, but maybe not as far as it goes, but I am obsessed with true crime. And so I listen to podcasts, I watch law & order SVU every night as I'm falling asleep, it relaxes me and it scares me. So yeah,

Rishav Khanal 2:28

that's that's a mic drop of a statement. Yeah. Well, Tara, I am super excited to kind of have this workshop learn from you, as I'm sure all our listeners are. Now I'm second guessing myself every time every time I say Tarah. So if I flip,

Tarah Williams 2:49

I tell, I tell people tear a piece of paper. So just say you remember Tarah, I think that's okay.

Rishav Khanal 2:59

But all right. So I've come to you, right, and something I find really challenged you right now. And my boss has kind of said this is we are really having a hard time connecting with students on a deeper level. I feel like I'm not engaging them well enough. I don't know, what am I doing wrong? Like steer me in the right direction, please?

Tarah Williams 3:23

Sure. So I love talking about relationship building and engagement. And learning about that, too. So I, I think about it in two different ways. There's one there's engaging and attracting students. And then there's building long lasting relationships. And so I so with the engaging and attracting students, I have a little story, and it might sound off topic, but I will get get back to the point. But, um, so as I mentioned, I was in accounting, and I used to be in tax. And I got promoted from a staff level, which is like entry level to senior. And it's a big jump do you end up training staff below you and you kind of you've trained upwards, and some I mean, downwards and sometimes upwards. So it's a big, it's a big role. And so once I did that, I realized that when you get promoted, you kind of forget what people know, below you, like, you think that they just know more than they do. And so I would really try to get on their level and really just meet them where they're at and train them. And like, you know, really ask them like, Do you understand what x, y and z is like, just because they get a job in an accounting firm doesn't mean that they know what they're doing. And so, now with the transition to campus recruiting, I, I tried to do the same thing with students, I don't have stuff anymore. But with students, the recruiting process is so hard and so complicated and fast paced, and some of them are transfer students and just get thrown into it. And so I really try To get on their level and just define what a summer Leadership Program is, I try to help them understand what the different departments are so that they have, like, they don't feel so stressed out about which one to choose, because that's it, that's a huge decision. Just being in school and deciding your career right out of college, and you're like a sophomore. So I really try to, to meet them where they're at. And then with the engagement part, I really tried to be as raw as I can. And it helps that I was in the accounting industry. So I can share a lot of personal stories. And usually, I'm not highlighting the best parts of what I did on the job, I try to let them know that I made mistakes, and you can make mistakes, and that's okay. And I also tried to be transparent. The job is, I mean, accounting anyways, super hard. And so I don't want to put that in a negative light. But I also don't want to tell them, it's rainbows and butterflies. And it's going to be this amazing, amazing job where you don't have to work hard, and so that I found people come up to me after presentations, and they'll be like, you know, thank you for being so transparent, and so honest, I really appreciate that. And then the building relationships piece, I think I just tried to go the extra mile and grab coffee or lunch with them. If they ask, I don't try to push that or anything. But and I it's not too far out of the way I tried to schedule it when I'm on their campus. Because my personal time is also valuable to me, but I'll try to, you know, connect with them and help them where I can. And also, I try to be a career coach, as much as I can be, instead of just a recruiter who's just helping get that certain job. Like, at the end of the day, I want them to come to the firm that I work at, because I like it, and I want them to like it too. But there's a place for everyone. And my company may not be that, but I still want them to succeed. So I think that and, and building relationships, you don't have to be like best friends with them. You just want to check in on them, see how they're doing and keep in touch with or talk to them as you see them at events. And so that's what I try to do to try to initially get them to feel comfortable with me and then stay friends or acquaintances with them long term.

Rishav Khanal 7:19

Yeah, I mean, I think something that just stood out immediately is I can see that from a candidates perspective, how you balance being raw, but also at the same time, it's welcoming, right? It's not like you're a Debbie Downer by any means. In fact, quite the opposite. You're in a weird way, like you being authentic actually gets people more excited. And I just want to make sure I heard you correctly. So that when I go back, um, kind of doing what you're doing and modeling some of those same techniques is first knowing that students don't know everything, right. And what I heard was, yes, we work in a specific industry. But that does not mean that it's reflected from the students point of view, where it's so I don't know, second nature for them to understand the same acronyms or the same jargon for them to know that. So if I work in tech, they may not understand all the little nitty gritty details. So just kind of humanizing and letting go. The buzzwords is what I got. But and then the second thing is going that extra mile. But when you do that, painting that realistic picture so that they can assess for themselves whether or not that career or that role might be right for them, as well as our company because you're right. You want to be that coach, as opposed to a recruiter who's just trying to sell them on the job. Is that kind of the two two big fastest there I understood you correctly on?

Tarah Williams 8:42

Yeah, yeah, you summarize it. Great. So yeah, that's that's exactly what I would say.

Rishav Khanal 8:48

Yeah. And, I mean, the Career Coach aspect, that's a very unique take. I think it's one of those things that I find most recruiters that I talked to in this community setting, they aspire to be that, but everybody at the end of the day, when you're in the trenches, when you're in the peak of campus recruiting, you're just trying to fill those numbers, at least for me, right. Like, that's, that's where I see an execution. So, I mean, how have you kind of balanced that, like, I mean, that does take a lot of time to make sure that I'm taking care of, of candidates coming in. But at the same time, I want to ensure that we're filling our roles filling that pipeline. So any tips or tricks that you found really successful? I mean, you're eight months in anything that you're even curious to try, at least for this upcoming fall, or even the next year as far as how you can balance being a coach, but also someone that can execute heavily in this role.

Tarah Williams 9:42

Yeah, for sure. Um, yeah, career coach kind of sounds like you know, a whole different jobs and it might take like so much time, but what I mean by that is just being a resource for the students. So, like, at the firm, I you know, I do presentations, and I do you know, the normal stuff like office hours and like, trying to think we have interviews and all. But like during those events, you can have touch points with the students that will really make them feel valued. So after your presentations, I'll stay for like, honestly, like an hour. And I'll say, and I'll talk to them. I know a lot of a lot of people say for like, 20 minutes, and they're like, bye, but seriously, I

Rishav Khanal 10:29

got to be.

Tarah Williams 10:31

Yeah, I think that I tried to build it into my day, it's something that's valuable to you. So I'll sit there, and I'll talk with them. And if there's some students that are interested in building a deeper relationship than just talking to me after an event, then they want to get coffee. And I'll just be like, Sure, I'll leave buffer time to like, talk to them, like after a presentation or something. So I make sure I kind of time it right. But then also, I have office hours, where I just like pre interview office hours, or I set that up. And I you know, try to talk to them about what they're specifically nervous about what they need help with what their resume needs help with. And, yeah, I just try to try to talk to them. And I don't tell them what to do or what decision to make. But I just tried to encourage them and be there and be a sounding board for them. Because I went through that same process. And I don't know if every campus recruiter has gone through, like, I know that not everyone has worked in the field that they're in. But I went through the accounting recruiting process, which is super stressful. It's like another job. It's like a full time job. So I want to be there for them. And it's like big life decisions. And it doesn't take a lot of extra work just acting like you You care, like giving individualized help, and not just being like, Okay, this is my job. And I'm just trying to fill roles. And that's it. So, I don't know if that answers the question. But yeah, no, no, I

In the spirit of all things gone virtual: The results from our survey on the students perspective of virtual events

Rishav Khanal 12:01

like, it's when you say that, I think, you know, the reason it may sound obvious to us, because it comes second nature, but when you hear it, and some of these reminders, I think are very necessary. Because in the day to day of this role, sometimes you forget that you forget that these are just students willing to take that big leap. And they are relying on you for guidance for what they believe is a true guidance. And especially now I think fall semester where there's so much ambiguity, right? For a lot of students going back, the senior year that they expected is really no more the market that they expected, really no more, a lot of things that they expected is really no more, and you now have to come in and be that person and kind of step up in that challenge, what from what I'm hearing from you is to be that person that just puts in that little extra effort, as opposed to only staying for 20 minutes, but instead of giving, you know, time for an hour making it productive. Because I think I think that's that that's what's going to separate anybody right now it's just carrying sounds obvious, but like, I think we need more more of that now now than ever is kind of some of the notes that I'm taking away. Um, so I think I've kind of got a good chunk of what I need to execute on first, is letting go of the idea that students that are coming into work for my industry, understand a lot of the jargon that we use on a day to day level. So for accounting, specifically, they may not know that, so I need to kind of humanize a lot of the language that I talked to to make sure everybody is on the same playing field. Second, it's just building that authentic relationships with the candidates going that extra mile. And then the last thing is becoming that trusted advisor for them and knowing that it shouldn't be a transactional relationship where I'm just trying to fill a role, but instead, I serve as that person that can guide them in the right direction, whether it's my firm or somewhere else. Anything else. Yeah, I'd like to add to the spectrum, because I think that is great advice.

Tarah Williams 14:00

Yeah, no, that was good. I was gonna say you asked me going forward, you know, how would you be that advisor? Since you know, I've been at this role, and for eight months, and I'm like, looking forward on how I can continue to be that and I think, right now, especially everything is just an on communication, and we hear it all the time. And it doesn't have to be like some some students, they text and I check in on them. And it doesn't even have to be that. But just, you know, if you have to push start dates, or if you have to change the structure of the internship, like pick up the phone, give them a call, don't just send them an email. Ask them if they have any questions, they can always reach out to you if they need to. You might not have all the answers, but you can try. So I think, you know, picking up the phone talking to them, emailing them, keeping them informed is all they're looking for right now. I mean, it's a scary time. So yeah, that's what I would say and one more thing going back to not assuming things that students know Certain things I would think it's it's students are know everything about the job that they're seeking and the industry they're going into, but also the recruiting process in general, some of them, I've never done an interview. Some of them, like are new to the school, and maybe just don't know how this works. So really educating them on the recruiting process, and the field that they're going into will really help them.

Rishav Khanal 15:23

That's a really good point, especially I correct me if I'm wrong, but for the accounting industry, where the recruiting process starts a lot earlier with a lot of these leadership programs where you're snatching up sophomores, or even freshmen, even that may not have gotten through that. No, that's a really good point and thinking about the the end person that that we're trying to convey to either come work for our firm or somewhere else. Um, well, this was awesome.

Tarah Williams 15:47


Rishav Khanal 15:49

we try to cap it right. Short and sweet. Thank you for coming on it. I learned a whole lot. And I think I'm kind of ready to execute on all of these principles moving forward. So thanks again, Tarah.

Tarah Williams 16:00

Awesome. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

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