Alia Poonawala

Johns Hopkins University Recruiting Directors Alia Poonawala & Emma O’Rourke-Powell

Alia Poonawala and Emma O'Rourke-PowellExecutive Director and Associate Director

Joining us in conversation are two guests from Hire Hopkins, the recruiting arm of Johns Hopkins University. They are Executive Director Alia Poonawala, and Associate Director Emma O’Rourke Powell. We kick off our conversation with a detailed look at the career journey that brought each of our guests to their current roles, and what motivates them most. Alia and Emma have a white glove approach and share how building an infrastructure streamlines and supports the recruitment process.

Episode Transcript


[00:00:05] RS: Welcome to Talk Talent to me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the front lines of modern recruitment.

[00:00:12] FEMALE: We actually wanna understand the themes of someone’s life. We wanna understand how they make decisions, where they’re willing to take risks and what it looks like when they fail.

[00:00:22] RS: No holds barred completely off the cuff. Interviews with directors of recruitment, VPs of global talent, CHROs and everyone in between.

[00:00:31] FEMALE: Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the certifications through diversity and inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.

[00:00:39] MALE: Talent acquisition, it’s a fantastic career. You are trusted by the organization. You get to work with the C-Suite and the security at the front desk and everybody in between. And everybody knows

[00:00:58] RS: You. I’m your host, Rob Stevenson, and you are about to hear the best in the Biz Talk talent to me.

[00:00:58] RS: Hello all of you. Wonderful, beautiful talent darlings out there in podcast land. I have a very special episode for you here as we close out 2022. If you are doing any sort of university recruiting, if you aspire to interface with the eager young minds of tomorrow and bring them into your organization, this is absolutely the episode for you because joining me in the episode are a pair of folks from Higher Hopkins, which is the university recruiting arm over at Johns Hopkins University. First the executive director, Aaliyah Pela. Aaliyah, welcome to the podcast. How are you today?

[00:01:33] AP : I’m doing great. Thank you for having us.

[00:01:35] RS: So please, you are here, here with you as well. Is your teammate over there? Emma O’Rourke Powell, the Associate Director of Higher Hopkins. Emma, welcome to you as well.

[00:01:45] EOP: Thank you. Fun to be closing out the year and such a great experience.
[00:01:49] RS: Me as well. And I wanna, maybe I should have cleared this up earlier, but it is Johns Hopkins, right? Not John Hopkins or, or John’s Hopkins. Did I say it correctly?

[00:01:58] AP :It’s Johns Hopkins University and there’s a story that’s been told before. I don’t know how true this is, but apparently one of the presidents at Johns Hopkins went on a trip to Carnegie Mellon, which is in Pittsburgh, and someone introduced the president, this is years ago, like in the, and said, we’re so excited to have the president of John Hopkins University here with us today. And he got up onto the stage and he said, oh, it’s so great to be in Pittsburgh.

[00:02:28] RS: I love that story. Fantastic. Yeah, I I, I thought you were gonna say like I fantastic to be here at Carnegies Mellon or something like that, but Berg is perfect. Just the, I can forget an S two P . Okay. Thank you for clearing that up, Johns Hopkins. But I’m so excited to have you both here and because you’re doing such interesting work interfacing between hiring organizations and the students at your university. So before we get into all that though, let’s meet the pair of you. Aaliyah. Would you mind sharing a little bit about your background and how you wound up in this current role?

[00:02:59] AP: Yeah, absolutely. I have a decade or a little bit more than that of experience in education. And I think it all starts when I graduated from college actually in Pittsburgh. I graduated during the recession and felt really unprepared for what lay ahead of me and I ended up falling into startups. And the startups I worked in all had this thread of trying to disrupt education. So I ultimately ended up in the bootcamp space and was launching these data analytics, web development ux UI design boot camps and became really obsessed with this idea of an ROI focused education and like how it comes for students. And that just became my new mission in life, especially because I had spent so much time trying to figure out how to make use of my college degree and what that meant for me and my identity and how I wanted to show up in the world. And when I was at the bootcamp I was, I was building partnerships with really big tech organizations like Facebook and Uber and we were working on bridging equity gaps and bringing on students to do scholarships to learn how to code and then get better ROI. While I was there, I got in touch with Hopkins because they had just brought on a new leader and long story short, I decided to bring that kinda outcomes focused, data driven ROI approach to higher ed. And that’s why I’m here at Hopkins.

[00:04:17] RS: I love it. And you brought along with you Emma and into this new opportunity, right? Emma, what is your background and how did you wind up being Aaliyah’s partner in crime?

[00:04:26] EOP: Yeah, I’m really grateful. Aaliyah found me. She had been at Hopkins for a year and a half and then recruited me to join the team. But prior to that I’ve been in and out of higher ed for about 10 years. And looking back, it’s so easy to see themes looking back for me, this really clear theme at each institution that I’ve been at is about equity and inclusion. So my first job out of undergrad, I worked for a university as a resident director. That person that you tend to think of as like the person that’s enforcing roles and having to pour out your beer. But the way that we see that job is community building. And my community was an all women’s residence hall. So I became really passionate about thinking about women’s issues and issues of equity in terms of being more vocal or pay equity, things like that.

Super early on in my career. And then at each successive job that I’ve had, I’ve noticed these areas of inequity and worked to try to close those gaps. So later on I was working at a nursing school and they’re of course, again, gender is very front and center, right? It’s a kinda women’s profession. Men are joining it now. We see that a lot in these traditionally women dominated fields that they start out lower pay, lower status, and then as men start to come into them, the pay starts to come up, the status starts to come up, we think of of teachers and and nurses, things of that nature. So again, something that I was really passionate about, I ended up on a universitywide status of women in the university committee where we were thinking about how do we bring equity for women into this university.

And then that, that theme has just continued. I got my MBA a couple years ago, was elected student body president when I was an MBA candidate and spent a lot of time in that space advocating for international students. So another area of inequity that I observed where our domestic students were getting really great job offers, high pay really quickly, a lot of choices. And then the international students, the offers wouldn’t come in until later. They were often a lower status job, the pay was lower. So I spent a lot of time as student body president kinda fighting with the administration gently, right? Just asking questions over and over, what can we be doing to find parody, find equity for these students that are all part of our broader community. And then I’m really excited to be here at Hopkins, been here for a little over a year doing very similar work, helping ensure that our under Senate students have equal opportunities in internships and in jobs when they graduate, which is a lovely place to be.

[00:07:05] RS: It’s such a strange phenomenon like with the example of the nursing field that nurses traditionally being a women dominated field made less money and then as men became more involved than the pay gap for that title at least shifts. So men in this case or the the cause and solution to women’s financial problems, important reminder to the men out there that your presence is important and your allyship does matter even just by being there. Like you don’t have to necessarily start a pay campaign just by diluting the misogyny, you can help women out. Thank you for sharing your background Emma. And I’m curious for the both of you. You have background in higher ed so it makes sense, but you have these skillsets where you are interfacing between hiring organizations and populations of candidates. It’s a skillset that you see in the agency world. I think it’s not too far away from like an in-house role. Do you think you’ll stick in higher Ed Aliah? Maybe I’ll ask you first. Do you think like this is a place for you? Would you be open to the other sorts of areas you could lend this skillset?

[00:08:02] AP: Yeah, I like that question. It’s a question I ask myself all the time. So, I’m glad you’re asking it. I think what allows, I’m gonna speak for myself Emma, cause I’ll let you answer, but I think what works for me in higher ed right now is that I have a boss who’s very open to change and innovation. His name is Faruke and if you look him up, he is kind of known as a change maker in higher ed as a thought leader, as an innovator in the higher ed world. And I do frequently think about what it would be if he were not there. And I do think it would be a lot more challenging for me to do what I care most about, which as Emma knows, is kind of disrupt and bring outside industry influence into a world that’s more traditional. And so for me, I think my heart will always lead me to places where there is outcomes, data-driven focus and innovation in the space of higher ed. And if that happens to be in the higher ed world, great. If that happens to be kinda in disruptive spaces like boot camps, great. I think really comes down to the values of just making sure that people, students are being educated and that education is leading to something tangible and meaningful for them.

[00:09:14] EOP: Yeah, I think to build on that, we both also have experience working in startups. I didn’t talk about that piece of my career, but I worked for a venture capital fund for a couple of years as well. And I also spent time living in San Francisco, which as we know super innovative like Ida design thinking. So one of the tensions of higher ed and I think, yeah, we could think about the why’s and maybe how you could change it. One of the things that’s tough in higher ed is how much bureaucracy there is. And I think that’s true in so many industries In government, I have a friend in healthcare, we were complaining about this over pizza a couple weeks ago and you get it, you understand like why there are so many rules and so many extensive long processes for getting things improved.

And the bureaucracy makes sense if you’re looking at it kinda as an observer. But living in it is so painful to have ideas and brainstorms and new suggestions put on pause because of the system so frequently. So for me at least, I think that’s kind of my daily question, not daily, but when I’m reflecting on career choices, the question I’m asking is a balancing act between how long can I endure the bureaucracy and be like fighting and have that energy to be pushing for newness and important things and data driven outcomes versus how much is the slowness and the rigidity of the system driving me wild. That’s tough.

[00:10:46] RS: It’s a manner of impact too, right? You want to be impactful in your role and the larger organization you are at, whether it’s academia or government or even private sector, you’re going to run into that, right? You’re going to run into that red tape. It’s just a reality of scale. But related to the impact, I love how you both mentioned your background and passion for diversity inclusion and for like hiring equity, which feels like there’s a rich opportunity for that in academia specifically. One of the issues with diversity hiring that we hear over and over again is that it’s a small talent pool, right? There’s less people of a certain persuasion of a certain background available for the role, which makes it even harder. I think that could be unpacked quite a bit. I don’t, I don’t know if I agree with that on the Facebook.

Let’s assume that it’s true though. Let’s assume that that’s the case and there’s just less candidates for a certain role who come from a minority background, right? And from an underrepresented background, well what are you doing to make sure that population is bigger, right? Hiring organization. Are you investing earlier and earlier in the talent pipeline in the talent lifecycle to make sure that those individuals are there to be hired for you? Where does that start? Certainly in academia, certainly even earlier like can you sponsor high school boot camps in certain areas? Can you invest in education in a way so that if this is the problem that you are saying this is why we don’t have more representation in our organization, then are you just shrugging and saying, well guess we won’t hire diversity. Or are you actually going to do something? And that feels like the opportunity in academia is you get to, like academia has done a lot more, I think for with scholarships, with outreach to bring in underrepresented communities than private sector corporations have. Like I, I think that’s probably, that doesn’t feel like a controversial statement. I think that’s just true. Right? So is that part of your mandate when you look at success, when you look at how you have impact in the role, how much does the opportunity specific to academia kind of drive your work?

[00:12:41] AP: I’ll start, and I think Emma might have some thoughts about international students that I think would be really interesting too. But I’ll say that it’s, it’s that exact, what’s that expression? Red. Red ocean. Okay. It’s that red ocean that led us to actually build a program that’s one of our most successful programs here at Hopkins. And it was exactly what you’ve shared. It was, I kept on hearing from companies over and over and over and over and over again. We want more diverse talent. We want more underrepresented software engineers, we want more X, Y, Z, right? And I could see that there was a limited pool of students who could fit exactly what they wanted because they wanted the finished product. They wanted a software engineer who came from a diverse background. And so there’s a handful of that. Well then it becomes kind of a bidding war between the top paying companies who can offer the best package to those students.

And then a lot of companies lose out on great talent cause they maybe can’t match like one of the big four right tech companies salaries or compensation packages. And so we started to think, hmm, how can we make this red ocean a blue ocean? Why don’t we get companies, as you just said, invested in earlier in the talent pipeline. And so we launched instead of like a hiring program because that’s a little bit too late, right? Like at, at the end of four years, a student has already gone through their training. They already know more or less at that moment what they’re going to do or who they’re gonna be in the workforce. To start, we thought let’s start internship recruiting program so that companies can get talent earlier on. Train that talent. It’s also a lot easier for companies to maybe go out on a limb to hire someone that might not be an exact fit or a perfect fit for a let’s say 12 week internship versus a two or three year role.

And when we first launched it, it was in the wake of the George Floyd movement and we saw a lot of interest from companies who absolutely wanted to partake in increasing kind of their, their pool of talent through internships. And so that’s the way we approach it, right? I think there are a millions of ways we could approach how can we make higher ed or academia more inclusive or how could we make it better serve the needs of students? But in our specific niche, we are a translator between recruiters and talent in the the higher ed space. And so for us, our solution was, well this is where we think we can make an impact, is building this internship program, bringing in students from Hopkins who are underrepresented earlier on, and then getting those companies to recruit them earlier on an internship then lead to conversions to full-time roles and more clarity for the students on who they wanna be and what they actually like. Right? Because what we have noticed and what I learned from the bootcamp world is most people learn by doing.

[00:15:14] RS: Yeah, of course. And I’m curious, when you speak to the hiring organizations, how much consultation do you provide? How much like education do you have to give them? Because I, I’m imagining someone being a EP of talent or director of recruiting and they kinda look over their monitor and wistfully say we should do some university outreach, right? But like how, why, what, where all these questions, what does a meaningful university hiring campaign even look like when people come to you? Is there ever like a misalignment between their expectations and then what a meaningful university campaign would look like? Emma’s nodding her head, let’s go, let’s go to her. Yeah,

[00:15:50] EOP: I mean I think a hundred percent there can be a misalignment. What I really like about our office is that we’re doing two things equally well and they are at different scales. So we are both very white glove when we work with employers to make sure that we’re understanding their needs pretty closely. So most employers will have a one-on-one call with them when they reach out asking to recruit. That’s pretty typical and that’s obviously an investment of our time. And then on the other side of our work, we’re very data driven. So we’re looking at what are the outcomes of our students, what types of companies are they landing at? What are salary discrepancies looking like? And we’re using both of those sources of information to figure out what kind of solutions to provide. So to answer your question, in terms of mismatch, one of the things that we are very consistent about at this point with our initiatives is asking employers to post salary.

Because when we look at the data, we know that that is an equity gap closer. It’s very significant, especially for racial minority students. So black and Latinx at our university at least, but also nationally, the number of jobs that individuals will apply to and then also their career outcomes. All of that is linked to being able to both see the salary and then land a higher salary job, which will then impact their career going forward. That’s a data driven choice that we make consistently with all of our initiatives in working with employers, but then also sort of on that more white glove front, we’ll be a little bit more niche or have kind of more bring along conversations with employers if they’re resistant, we’ll talk to them on the phone and explain, talk them through the data and kinda share this is why this is important to us. So I say that’s a pretty consistent approach for us is both one-on-one work and then data driven work.

[00:17:47] AP: And I think it’s a lot of work to try to get companies, you know, every company has such a different philosophy, has different restrictions, has different leadership structures and different priorities when it comes to recruiting. And some of the recruiters we work with have a lot of say in the process and some do not. I think what’s worked really well for us is creating infrastructure for them, right? Because it’s, it’s maybe too much to kind of consult with each company one-on-one and say like, you should do this or you should have this, and we do do that. But I think what we’ve learned is that the best ways to create an infrastructure that a company can then just plug into, right? So like the majority, I think the really sweet spot we have found of our hiring partners for our specific hiring initiatives that we put together that are data driven like Emma just shared, are kinda mid-size companies who maybe don’t have the resources of a huge tech company.

They’re a little bigger than a startup because they have maybe someone in HR or recruiting who’s a hundred percent dedicated to that. And we share best practices, we run trainings, we tell them kind of this is how you should frame your search based on the data that we’ve gotten both from national reports and internally so that this is what we suggest and or demand for you to participate in this program. And that creates a level of trust and also just ease, right? Because a company knows what they need to do to be successful with us and what will lead to outcomes. To the point where e, we even have a formula of how many and all recruiters probably do this, many recruiters do this. We have a formula of how many students they should be interviewing in order to get walk away with interns by the end of the summer just based on the data from the last couple of years.

[00:19:19] RS: Could you share a little more about what you mean when you say infrastructure?

[00:19:23] AP: Yeah, absolutely. So we put together these organized hiring initiatives that have timelines and deadlines. There’s a lot of project management that we then create an application process for. So we accept kinda a cohort of companies or employers or hiring partners and then have parameters around when they should be interviewing, when they should be making offers, when we have trainings. And we also provide them, in some cases account managers who could help drive those deadlines. And so they basically have a partner in helping them figure out what they need to do in order to leave our initiative with tangible hires. Does that make sense?

[00:20:01] RS: Yeah, yeah, definitely. So that is kind of the more consultative approach. If you were to see someone’s hiring organization’s approach and tweak it for the ones who are doing it well who end up with a meaningful approach, what does that look like besides them following your advice?

[00:20:18] EOP: I think one of the big things is starting with data and specifically thinking about what works well for that employer in the past. So when we look at employers, we are able to observe different things about them and it helps influence how we might advise them. So for example, a company with kinda brand name recognition from a student perspective, they’re gonna tend to get more job applicants than a company name a student doesn’t recognize. But the same thing can happen for the job title. So maybe if the company doesn’t have such a brand recognition for the company’s name being really thoughtful about what type of job we’re posting and how you’re framing it. We had a company who wanted to post a job that they were calling, I don’t even remember, it felt so old school, it was like telecom or like radio informatics. It just felt so dated, right?

So we kinda went back to them and we were like, we would really recommend thinking about changing at least the title of this job and maybe some of the job description because our students, their their twenties, this type of language doesn’t resonate with them and they’re going to be looking through posts because they’re motivated to get internships and jobs. But thinking about putting yourself in the perspective of those students, like what sort of titles or key phrases are going to sound exciting to them And then often it’s very similar work, it’s very similar skills, things like that. So is there a way to frame the job description in a more exciting way when you think about the type of people who might be applying.

[00:21:52] AP: I’m gonna add to that when it comes to like hiring hacks, right? Or like companies that are performing well. I think number one we can say without a doubt, the companies who perform the best are the ones that have the name brand unfortunately, right? So it’s the Amazon, the Google, the Facebook, Goldman Sachs, those are the companies that are really popular at Hopkins, right? And so I think the question is like for those who do not have a name brand who are doing really well, what are they doing? And I think Emma brings up a really good point by the way. I think it was e-commerce, E-commerce intern, I remember Emma like that term is not used anymore really. So the companies that do well are teachable and willing to experiment, right? And I think Emma and I both can share stories about companies who are willing to try things and do things a little differently cause reach their data with them that empowered them to think, Hmm, okay, I’m gonna go back to the drawing board.
Am I gonna do things a little differently? And they were willing to, and then things worked out really well. So there’s just this ability to explore and try new things and to kind of change practices. Those companies do really well with us and we can talk about the stories in a little bit. But I think fundamentally good job descriptions, I know it sounds very basic, but I think the majority of job descriptions we receive are poorly worded, use a lot of jargon, do not explain always what the role is from a people to people term. And so there’s, there’s just a lot of improvement to be done on jds, obviously they post salary companies that are flexible on timelines. We find that companies that are like super rigid on timelines tend to recruit less underrepresented students because our experts at Hopkins and and our colleagues in the space like Handshake have done studies and data around that. When you have a more limited timeline, you end up excluding a lot of students who have other demands on their time, whether it’s academic, whether it’s helping take care of their families, whether it’s supporting off campus or on campus jobs. Right? I dunno, is there anything else that you can think of ML kind off the top of your head? Like companies like practices that companies do that set them up for success better or would you wanna share the story, the Enthesis story?

[00:23:51] EOP: Yeah, I think flexibility is what you talked about, but I would say more specifically there is an openness to consider candidates that don’t seem as obvious. So we’ve seen in our data is once a student lands an interview with a company, they’re basically on a fast track to getting an offer from them. The conversion rate for students who get an interview and then ultimately get an offer is relatively high, but the step before that, from reviewing a resume to getting an invitation to interview that conversion rate is our lowest conversion. So their resume gets reviewed and they get sorted into the no pile. So we’re always recommending and encouraging employers to think about is being a little bit more thoughtful in that resume review process and ideally trying to be a little bit more open and flexible there because by the time you talk to the candidate, maybe their resume, they didn’t even put a skill that they have that’s great for your job on the resume.

They just didn’t think to write it down. Aaliyah and I were interviewing a student worker earlier today and we were looking at their resume and they had framed it for biotech roles they wanted to do, but we’re hiring a web content writer, we need someone to help us do some writing for our website. So the students resume didn’t even talk about their web content writing, but when asked, they were like, oh yeah, yeah, I’ve done a bunch of content writing, it had this laundry list of stories of all of this writing that they’ve done. We’re like, ok, well, and that’s a very, not very typical, but a relatively typical kind of junior mistake to make that you just didn’t tailor your resume. And so the theme is employer flexibility, but that’s a specific example is consider interviewing more people than you might naturally pick.

[00:25:32] RS: Yeah, you do have to lead people to the promised land a little bit sometimes because as you say, like just tailoring your resume. But I remember like you’re in college, you go through, maybe you have like a chorus or a workshop on how to make a resume and you’re like, great, I’m done. That’s my resume. I can now send that out to everyone. And this even happened, this happened to me recently. A friend of mine was looking for a new role and he was like, would you look over my resume? Should I go past two pages? I’ve had 15 years of career experience, what should I put on here? And I was like, no, keep it on one page and swapped stuff out based on the role. And that was news to him as a 35 year old male in the workforce. Right? So it’s not just the, the kids out there who, who might not know how to do that related to using language and job descriptions.

It doesn’t resonate with younger audiences. How much of your role working in higher ED is staying up to date with what the kids are up to? I don’t know I that’s a clunky question, but I guess what I’m asking is like is watching TikTok technically research for you? Because I feel like the generations are changing so quickly, and particularly the younger generations because their media happens so fast, they’re on it all the time. And the jokes evolve at this breakneck pace. When you compare like zoomer memes to boomer memes, it’s like snail mail to email, right? It’s like, oh, because they’re constantly, constantly, the zoomer memes are like a, a reflection of a reflection of a reflection. They get so weird, so fast. I think that’s just one sort of illustration of how fast that sort of generation moves. Is that important to like keep up with what the kids are saying and like the realities of their generation and their motivations? Is that part of your role?

[00:26:58] AP: Okay. I feel like you’re gonna have more to say about like apps and stuff. I mean other than be real, which I now use religiously and very much enjoy, I would say the most that I’ve learned about Gen Z and the current students who are looking comes from our interaction with our own student employees, right? So we have a team of maybe seven or eight students who are now on the higher Hopkins scheme and we work very closely with them. And that’s really allowed me to get a little bit of a sneak peek into what this generation values, how they work, what they expect. And just I’ll say two things that I think I’ve, I’ve really noticed since working with students, especially younger students, has been their awareness of mental health and how much precedence it takes over everything else. And then there’s savviness, their savviness at identity, their savviness at inclusion, their savviness of knowing that it’s not enough to just say that you wanna hire more diverse or they want the receipts and they really wanna know who’s in leadership. So yeah, that’s what I’ve noticed from working with our students and that’s where I learned the most is just interacting with our, our student employees.

[00:28:02] EOP: Yeah, I was gonna say in terms of trends that I don’t notice it quite as much translating generationally between students and employers, but where we do a lot of translating is between employers and higher ed folks. And I think that that’s actually one of the spots where we’re adding a lot of value in both directions that I think for a variety of reasons, one of the big ones being Aaliyah and I spent this time working in startups, we have a lot of empathy and understanding of the way that companies and startups and tech companies work and what their needs are, right? They’re very values driven, they’re very results driven, data driven, looking for those outcomes. That’s also what we love to do. And then on the other side, we’ve got career services, we call them life design educators that are so oriented toward the student needs and how to empower student success.

And those two, like a set of values instead of the things that drive them are not always well aligned. The career educators, what they’re looking for when they’re engaging with an employer is different than what the employer is looking for when they’re engaging with the career educator. So we’re, we do a lot of the translating in the middle of those two things, helping the career educator see value of working with a harder to work with employer, helping the employer see the value of changing a practice to make it more inclusive for students. That’s where I see us spending a lot of time is that kind of helping to then realize that ultimately the value is aligned. It’s like connecting great talent with great employers, but getting there can sometimes feel a little tough. And it’s one of our superpowers I think is trying to help with

[00:29:47] AP: That. And I think to just build off of what Emma says, I think that our employers are very outcomes driven and people in higher ed tend to be very process driven. And so sometimes we have to translate for our hiring partners how to navigate the higher ed world so that they can get outcomes. And then we have to translate to our higher ed partners that employers care about outcomes. I’ll give you an example. A lot of times when we get on a Zoom call with a company, and if I bring on a colleague, one thing I’ve had to explain to my colleagues is like, you don’t need to say your entire title and the name of your department and what, no one will have context for that. And I’m not trying to be blunt, but they don’t care, right? Like what they care about is how are you going to help them, which students do you represent and how can you connect them? Like let’s just get to the point. But I think that sometimes right in higher ed, there’s just so much process and so it’s sometimes we have to sift through that in order to really help both parties meet their needs.

[00:30:41] RS: That is also really good advice for me as a podcaster. To maybe blow past that stuff and cut to the chase of how this guest is going to help you listener. I’m being a little meta there, but it’s true. It’s good advice. What sort of, I don’t know, you gave such a good examples around like you need to have salary information on the job description. Are there any other examples of things like that that just like quick things that you tell companies to do that make a big difference when it comes to interacting with potential student interns and hires?

[00:31:09] EOP: I’d say one of the big ones we encourage companies to be thinking about is international student talent. There are a number of companies who simply can’t hire internationally, often ones with government contracts. We’ve discovered a number of companies, especially younger ones or smaller ones, that haven’t really thought about any sort of international talent strategy. And we think it’s one of these an untapped, it’s a blue ocean area where we’ve got these international students who oftentimes are authorized to have a visa extended for up to three years after graduating through something bureaucratic called O P T . But that’s the impact of this policy is up to three years for free staying in the United States. If they have someone who’s willing to hire them. And from an employer perspective, that’s all that’s required is give them an offer letter. We know that most people don’t stick around at jobs longer than three years anyway..

So sometimes companies are like, oh, you know, well then we’re gonna have to sponsor them. That’s gonna be so expensive and complicated. But people move between companies so quickly these days that three years is actually a long time. And for the students, many of them are planning to return to their home country after two or three years anyway. But their outcomes when they go back are fundamentally improved. If they even have just one year of working for a US company on their resume, it changes their whole life to have just that one US job on their resume. So it’s one of these areas where they’re gonna be super motivated, they’re really talented, they wanna give value to the company. If they’re hired, they’re so driven and committed, and then the employer gets this benefit of, it’s the same process. Just give a job offer to this talented person and you know you’re gonna have an employee who is there gonna bat for you every single day. So I’d say that’s my biggest hack is spend a little time considering hiring international talent.

[00:33:13] AP: It’s definitely an untapped pool that a lot of our employer partners don’t know about. Don’t consider because there’s so much fear and stigma around, right, these fake hiring costs that don’t exist for three years. And another thing too that Emma brings up, I assumed that most of our hiring partners were really savvy and knew what O P T C P T was and what the terms were. But when we surveyed all of our partners, 50% of them had no idea what that meant. And that’s a significant number, right? If let’s say if half of those companies actually find out that they could do O P T or cpt, they’re unlocking thousands more candidates that they could have access to.

[00:33:49] RS: I certainly dunno what that means. And I speak to three VPs of talent every single week. now that I’m an expert. But that is well pointed out that three years is plenty of time. It’s probably more than you expect from an American citizen employee. And I do love to hear as well that the American company on the resume is a bit of a gold star. I’ve never felt patriotic on this podcast before, but I do in this moment usa, maybe get a job here and then you’ll be a rockstar when you go back to the motherland. But this has been a fantastic conversation and a different one that I normally have in the best way that I think that makes it, uh, special and unique. And I’m really glad that we did it. So at this point, I would just thank you both for being here. This has been a fantastic episode. And to all of you out there in podcast land, I’ve been Rob Stevenson, Aaliyah Pal has been Aaliyah p Emma O’Rourke Powell has been Emma O’Rourke Powell, and you’ve all been amazing, wonderful town acquisition darling’s. Have a spectacular week and week after and end of the year and holiday season. We will see you in 2023.

[00:34:47] AP: Thanks for having us, Rob. It was such a pleasure.

[00:34:50] EOP: Happy holidays everyone. Thanks for listening.


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