S4 E91 | eXpertease: Jeffrey Moss talks micro internships

Parker Dewey founder Jeffrey Moss discusses experiential recruitment for those early in their career.

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Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:21
Alright, hi, faithful listeners and watchers alike. I’m Chris Hoyt CXR president and your ring master for today’s eXpertease segment of the CareerXroads podcast. Now for the next 10 minutes, we’re going to talk with an industry leader practitioner that’s opening up and sharing with us one thing they think we should know, it might be lessons learned, victories, defeats, or just insights based on their own experience. Either way, you’re getting a quick chat with them here and on our other weekly episodes. So as my uncle used to say, it’s time to quit picking your seat, go ahead and sit down and settle in for a listen. Now if you’re here live, you can always jump on the keyboard and drop a question into the chat. And if we’ve time we’ll try to get to your question. Now. If we run out of time, of course, you’ll find any question that you asked over in our free and public forums at CXR.works/talenttalks. And of course, please don’t forget to subscribe to this videocast anywhere you listen to your other favorites. And to do that, we’ve made it super easy by sharing those easy subscribe buttons as well as a vast library of previous episodes at CXR.works/podcast. Now, as you may or may not know, these topics were curated from a list built around the results of our CXR 2021 Talent Acquisition priorities research, hundreds of verified TA leaders and practitioners weighed in on what was important to them this year. And if you’re wondering if recruiting automation is more of a priority for most than critical hiring efforts in recruiting or DE&I strategies, you can head over to CXR.works and look for the 2021 priorities report within the research and Reports section of the site. So check it out. With all of that, let’s get to the greatest show on Earth today, shall we? Today’s guest is Jeffrey Moss. Now Jeffrey is the founder and CEO of Parker Dewey. And for those who may not know Parker Dewey is a platform that helps organizations identify, engage, assess and hire college students for both internships and full time roles. And most recently, we have found its garnering some real interest around the idea of experiential work, and something called micro internships. Jeffrey, welcome to the big tent.

Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey 2:21
Thanks so much, Chris. Great to be here. Although that’s pretty high bar you set.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:26
Well, you know, it is a circus.

Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey 2:29
Yeah, but I’m not sure I’m an expert in anything, but certainly appreciate it.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:33
Well, so…

Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey 2:34
Maybe I’m a sideshow

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:35
Why should anybody listen to what you have to say Jeffrey? Like, give it give us sort of the escalator pitcher who Jeffrey Moss is.

Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey 2:42
Yeah, so I founded Parker Dewey, as you said, really to help fix the pathways from college to career and the way we did it was coming up with this concept of the micro internship. And for those folks who aren’t familiar with micro internships, these are short term paid professional projects completed by college students or recent grads on behalf of busy professionals. Now, micro internships, they don’t replace summer internships don’t replace full time jobs, but where companies use them as a pathway to sort of build their brand with college students who may not know their brand, or to engage students who may be missing out because they don’t go to the right focus school, were the test drive candidates really to assess their skills by seeing the real work on the short term projects, things like communication or problem solving or attention to detail. Those things that we know are vital for a great hire, but they’re just so difficult to tell from a resume or from an interview.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:36
Yeah, and I think it’s important to call it I think you may have mentioned this in the greenroom to this micro internships or this this type of internship is not to be confused as something that would replace a standard internship, right?

Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey 3:48
No, doesn’t replace an internship doesn’t replace a co-op or apprenticeship or a full time hire. The best way to think about is actually what one of the college students said years ago, he said, this is like job dating. He said we’re being asked is as college students to jump right into the engagement of a summer internship or apprenticeship, or the marriage of a full time role, which is by definition, a high stakes decision. It’s a high stakes decision for a college student that may not be sure of what company they want to work for, or may have preconceived notions of Pepsi as a soda company. So they’re not thinking about strategy or finance roles, or have preconceived notions about their fit at a company because they might be a first generation college student, these short term projects, let them date, they let them get a real experience with the company to learn about that organization, but also to showcase their skills. And then the same way it’s a date for companies that before committing to the 10 week summer internship, before committing to the full time hire, here’s a way to actually engage or assess individuals, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds who might not otherwise wind up in your recruiting pipeline.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 4:56
So Jeffrey, if we’re gonna start dating, how long are we going to start dating for?

Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey 5:01
Yeah, typical micro internship takes a college student between five and forty the hours to complete. And they’re typically do a few days to a few weeks out. And that’s part of the reason this model works is look, we’ve seen this emergence of the gig economy over the past 10 years, that for the first time professionals, a lot of times without HR teams, even knowing it, professionals are going and using freelance platforms to outsource projects that are professional, so we’re not talking drive me into Lyft, or go deliver my food, but professional projects that may not be the best use of their time. And historically, they’ve been doing it for geographic arbitrage, let me send it to a the Philippines or Eastern Europe or another low cost environment. What we said is because managers all have these needs, they all have projects on their plate that again, just ain’t the highest and best use of their time, let them give them to college students, the managers are happy because they can offload their work and to college students are motivated to exceed expectations, because they can all have these projects on their plate they can’t get to. And at the same time for HR professionals, here’s a great way to build your pipeline year round. And as opposed to you flipping through stacks of resumes are conducting hundreds of phone screens only the realize in the first minute, it’s not the right fit for even worse, bringing them in for an interview and realizing it’s not the right fit, or even worse, they start the job and then you realize it or they realize it, what this lets you do is essentially have this test drive while providing the managers with this on demand resource.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 6:32
So it’s interesting. There are so many comments. So college recruiting has really just blown up from an from a shift a pivot standpoint since the pandemic, right. I mean, we’ve had an awful lot of people come in and say that this turned our college recruiting efforts upside down. But but but along the way, we have found 10-15 things we’re now going to continue to do. And a couple of things that we really wish that we had back right that we were going to take on and one of the things that was really most impressive to me, we had a couple of organizations, said look, we had the most diverse internship buddy come in than we’ve ever had. And that was because we could no longer go on campus anymore.

Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey 7:11

Chris Hoyt, CXR 7:12
We weren’t standing in a gymnasium of the big our 10 Super schools or our preferred schools when we’re forced to sort of diversify our school selection.

Yeah, yeah, it’s no. And that’s the whole concept of experiential recruiting, which is what this is about. That this, this inability to be on site on campus forced that change by the university recruiters. Now, some of the university recruiters took what they had always done and simply copied it to an online environment. We’ve always done interviews, let’s do virtual interviews, we’ve always done info sessions, let’s do remote info sessions. And what they found is those things didn’t work. I mean, we’re seeing anywhere from a 50 to a 90% decrease in attendance by students, because like all of us, the students are zoomed out, or they were only engaging with companies that were already planning to apply to. So you didn’t have that opportunity for sort of the ad hoc relationship development. What we found and this gets to one of the questions in the chat is what the students really want are real experiences. So while this experiential recruiting concept helps companies engage students they might be missing, it helps professionals get work done, it helps them better assess skills. what it also does, is students value those opportunities to learn a little bit about the company to get to know an industry they may not have thought of or to consider a role they may not have been considering. And that’s really, really vital, not just for the students, because again, it helps them make the right decision. But with 55% of all recent college grads leaving their first job in the first year, like this helps companies make better hiring decisions and overcome those challenges of of retention or attrition. The other thing I would say and again, back to the point about learning about a company, no This doesn’t replace the internship, they are not going to learn as much in 10 hour project engaging with one managers they would through a 10 week or 12 weeks summer internship or apprenticeship. But again, that’s not what we’re trying to replicate. Are they going to learn more through a real experience with the company about its culture? Are they going to learn more from sitting in an info session where someone’s reading off the talking points?We would argue that real experience.

And do you think that there is sort of I mean, I’d love to know what the students are coming back with when they’re, you know, the sort of an AB right so I did a I did a full blown internship versus I did a micro internship, a short term internship and do I feel as connected with the organization did I appreciate this sort of hit it and quit it, man, and I’m out in a number of weeks and I learned a lot about the company, but..

Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey 9:53
Not from a student’s perspective, it’s not an AB, back to that dating metaphor. Students are doing these projects, maybe sophomore year, even freshman year, I think I want to do marketing, but do I want to do marketing analytics versus SEO versus PR? Well, let me try different projects, or do I want to work at a big company or small company or I want to do marketing. But I never thought about the firm like Trane Industries, I never heard of Trane Industries well, there’s a great micro internship, let me go try it. And then they learn about that organization. And that way, by the time they started applying for summer internships, you’re doing so with some, some scope or some content or some context to know do I like big company or small. So again, they can go on a variety of these dates before getting engaged through the summer internship and have better data to make that decision. And then the same way companies have better data do assess, because again, that’s the big difference between this early career recruiting perspective. And folks later in their career, if I’m, if I’m interviewing Chris, for a job, we can talk about all of your professional experiences you had as an experienced professional, when we’re interviewing or recruiting Chris, as a college student. All we know is what where do you go to school? What was his major? What was his GPA? Those are really, really bad predictors of if he’s a good hire, and by the way, they’re not giving Chris good insight on if he even wants to job with our organization.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 11:15
So do you see these as complimentary, or to a longer internship or setting up to maybe early on in the student career and then they come back for a full internship?

Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey 11:25
Yeah, very, very complimentary. And in fact, I mentioned before that 55% of recent college grads leave their first job in the first year, those who complete micro internships, it’s less than 2%. And that’s an 18 or 24 months statistic. So it leads to better retention, it leads to them getting jobs that they may not have even applied to, or may not have gotten selected for the companies are happy, because they’re saying we find students who we may not have even recruited. What we’re also seeing is a ton of usage around diversity, equity and inclusion, that again, this experiential recruiting content concept really helps break down some of those barriers of, Oh, where did Jeffrey go to school? Or is Jeffrey getting a referral into the company? It provides these equitable pathways. But what it also does is it retrains that hiring manager, that hiring manager that says I only want a summer intern from an Ivy League school with a three nine, because it’s a high commitment, it’s hard to push back as much as we would like to. But if you’re going to that hiring manager and saying, Hey, I have a college kid who can help with a project you don’t want to do. You’re not on the hook for 10 weeks with him or her. You don’t have to take him out to a bunch of lunches, like they’re gonna offload this, write a piece of content, do this market research, help us cleanse the day the hiring manager doesn’t care where they come from. And what happens is when a student does a great job, they’re saying, Wow, this student came from a school we haven’t recruited from or from GPA. That’s awesome. We need to bring him in. We need to hire her. So again, it breaks down those preconceived notions or biases, a lot of hiring managers may unintentionally have.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 13:00
So Jeffrey, let me ask you, I think you guys have been around since 2012. 2013

Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey 13:05
2015 yeah.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 13:07
Yeah sorry 2015. So what do you think it is, from a popularity standpoint of this topic of like, what has suddenly sort of thrust you guys into the spotlight from a micro internship standpoint, just in the last year or two?

Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey 13:22
Yeah, I think it’s a few things. I mean, I think it’s part of the way that we develop the organization really starting small and quietly to prove out this whole concept and figure out how do we make it as easy as possible for companies to introduce again, we couldn’t have a conversation with Pepsi five years ago, saying, your campus recruiting isn’t working, try this new thing that has data like it has no data. So we’ve collected that data then seeing it and I think it makes a pretty compelling case for the university recruiting teams or talent acquisition or DE&I teams. The other thing goes back to what you said, I mean, the pandemic has created the catalyst. And while we were seeing a lot of the right trends with companies using this because the historical processes weren’t working, the pandemic has certainly accelerated that we can’t go on campus this year, we need a new way to engage college students. Oh, great. Here’s this. But again, even pre-pandemic companies, we’re seeing it, they’re spending hundreds of 1000s of dollars sending emails to students that students aren’t reading, because they’re inundated. They’re hiring third parties to go market on their behalf and build relationships to try to drive diversity, but the students see through it, because companies, again, they have the webpages that all look the same talking about the culture, but everyone the students interviewing with looks like me, that doesn’t that doesn’t sort of signal diversity by any stretch. So what we’ve seen is as companies have started to realize a lot of these efforts, which are all had the best intentions aren’t delivering the returns they expected or the impact. They’re looking for new things. And we have this data that shows experiential recruiting drives those outcomes thrown on top of it with the catalyst the pandemic has created.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 15:00
I love it. I love the the idea of a micro internship or this piece gives choices and options that are a little bit broader than historically we’ve had on either side of the equation. I think that’s fantastic.

Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey 15:10
Well, and again, the reason it works is because hiring managers like it again, for the HR professionals on this, hiring managers are doing it anyway, the rogue budget spent on gig economy is in the billions. Our question is, as a recruiter, as a DE&I professional, as an HR professional, why not harness it, take it out of the shadows. And by the way, you can use this to build a talent pipeline. That way, come September, when you’re on campus, you’re not just starting to flip through the resume books, and not just building the relationships year round. Your managers can be engaging these students on projects, and then you have a pipeline that’s ready to go and you have early access, and you have a competitive advantage, all without adding to anyone’s workload, their budget.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 15:56
I love it. And I love that we got a comment in the chat that says this sums it up nicely paid job shadows on steroids, which is pretty great. Jeffrey, thank you so much for joining us today. We really appreciate your time.

Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey 16:07
Thank you great being here and wonderful talking with everyone. Thanks for the opportunity.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 16:12
Good stuff. Okay, listeners, here’s the deal. Do we put together a near weekly expertease segment and fill you in on the upcoming segment at the end of each show? Yes. But today, I’m gonna encourage you to dial in for something a little different before our next expertease. On May 13, we’re hosting a CXR members and alumni meeting, that means that anyone who has ever been a CareerXroads member can register to join us on that Thursday, to connect on a topic of intentional diversity networking. Now, this topic actually floated up in one of our online exchanges. But historically, we know that referrals for employment are less diverse. And we know normal human behavior sort of drives people to network with those that are most likely to share opportunities more immediately with that demographic of our connections, whether it’s friends or family colleagues or peers, there’s just there’s no denying that. So for some, this is easily a challenge of unconscious bias. But we’re going to talk openly with dozens of leaders into to talk about opportunities to approach networking with an intentional DE&I mindset. And this is part of our impact versus intent focus for the year and you’re not going to want to miss it. So put the kids in their crates and make the pets take a nap when you fire up your virtual background and join us and trust me This is a conversation you’re going to want to be part of so until then, we’ll see you in the always active talent community forums over at CXR.works.

Announcer 17:30
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