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Guest Post: Sodexo’s @Arie_Ball: Hiring college grads, building a future #truDublin


I found an old Irish proverb that says, “The future is not set, there is no fate but what we make for ourselves.” I think this proverb is especially poignant when we project it on college recruiting.

At Sodexo, college recruiting is a way to recruit top talent for the leadership of our company, now and into the future. This philosophy is embraced at all levels, from our CEO and his executive team to our field operators.

But, our efforts are not just about attending recruitment events, nor are they just about our hiring needs for today. We work to actively engage college students throughout their college years and build relationships with them for today and tomorrow. From Sodexo Careers blog posts to mentoring programs, we work with students to help guide them towards their careers and teach them job search strategies and techniques. We also aim to introduce them to all of the different career options within Sodexo.

If you do not sow in the spring, you will not reap in the autumn.

One of our premier offerings for college students is our Future Leaders internship program, which features individually tailored professional development and mentoring opportunities, providing a foundation for their future success.

We start by training our hiring managers on how to create a meaningful work experience for interns. Then, we ensure that each intern is matched with a mentor to help navigate our company and provide additional technical/professional expertise. We provide professional development webinars on career planning, ethics in the workplace and the use of social networking to enhance communication.

At the conclusion of the internship, we find that more than 95 percent of interns would like to work for Sodexo and more than 40 percent who are eligible for hire are offered a position. Additionally, select students who complete the internship are invited to participate in our Student Ambassador program, which aims to build Sodexo’s employment brand on campus with faculty, staff, students and alumni.

You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.

We also realize that students sometimes need to find their own way. So, we start early, working with high school students. Through our relationships with top student organizations in our industry, like ProStart and BCA, we provide mentoring, career search help and make site visits. At the college level, we work with the National Society for Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) where we not only attend career fairs but have a strong presence throughout the year. We also serve on industry panels at the NSMH national conference where we connect with students and invite them for on-site interviews.

Attending conferences is great. But, our main focus is in building relationships with these students using the communication tools that they prefer – social media. From the dedicated college recruitment page on our Career Center web site, students have access to numerous sites including our Sodexo Careers blog, a Facebook page, several LinkedIn groups, a YouTube channel and our Twitter handle, just to name a few. We also embrace unique opportunities within these media, such as creating Facebook event pages, i.e. Sodexo’s NSMH conference page. Even if we don’t have a position for them now by maintaining connections through our talent communities we may just have the perfect position for them as they gain experience and progress with their career.

Communicating on their terms is key to reaching college students. For example, earlier this year we embarked on a mobile text message campaign to reach students attending the NSMH national conference. Students who subscribed to our “text to win” campaign submitted information that captured in our candidate database. From there, we interacted with these students throughout the conference and used their information to generate leads for various job openings. The interaction with the students was phenomenal, but it wasn’t all about us. The students who participated were entered into a drawing for a $300 Apple store gift card.

At the core of all our student outreach activities lies our goal to not only brand Sodexo as a top employer with the next generation of leaders, but to help shape career choices while students are still in high school .. For example, we contribute a bi-weekly post to Dan Shawbel’s Student Branding Blog, a Top 50 Counseling Blog with 14,000 readers per month and we’re cited multiple times in two ProStart textbooks used by 84,000 highschool students. If we are not preparing today for the talent we need tomorrow, our companies will not maintain their competitive position in the market.

Distant hills look green.

College recruitment may only be one element that contributes toward Sodexo’s future, but it is one that we believe plays a critical role in the development of our future leadership. We work to not only identify top talent, but to help prepare that talent to ensure quality hires upon graduation. Once hired, we continue to develop that talent, guiding them toward the future.

Wherever you go and whatever you do, May the luck of the Irish be there with you. I look forward to meeting you at #truDublin!

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet with Arie at #truDublin next week. You can buy the last few tickets HERE

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