Each fall, thousands of college seniors studying computer science and engineering face a difficult decision: Do I accept the full-time job offer I received from the firm I interned with over the summer? Or do I forego that offer (which has a shorter shelf life than milk) and hope that a better offer comes my way before I graduate?
Until recently, these 20- and 21-year-old students were on their own when taking a stab at making the right choice. But now, thanks to a tool called Explore Your Options, they have help.
Created by Alex Mooradian, the CEO of the social media network Readyforce* (a LinkedIn-like network for tech-minded college students), Explore Your Options allows seniors with full-time offers to shop around before they accept a job.
How it works is if you're a Readyforce member and received a full-time job offer from a firm you interned with, you can post the terms of that offer along with your resume, and firms participating in the Explore Your Options program will, if they like what they see, put you on an accelerated interview process for a similar full-time position. (The firm that extended you the full-time offer won't be able to see that you're shopping).
At a glance, Explore Your Options sounds great for students but not so great for companies. However, Mooradian points out that it's beneficial for both parties.
"People tell me all the time, 'You're just going to be driving up compensation,'" says Mooradian. "But within a year on the job, these same students will be contacted by recruiters. So the more informed that students are now about the companies they're joining, the happier they'll be and the longer they'll stay, and thus the lower turnover these companies will have down the line."
As for the inspiration behind EYO, the tool was inspired by the many conversations Mooradian had with Readyforce users since founding the social network five years ago. According to Mooradian, "So many students told me that 'I have this great job offer and I'm not in a position to let it go, and it's not that I don't want it, but I have to make this decision four weeks before my career fair and I'd like to explore my options.'"
Mooradian, a graduate of Columbia's MBA program, also points to the unfairness of the recruiting process on both sides of the table as inspiration, saying, "You have these recruiters that have to hit certain conversion rates, that are judged on how many students they 'close,' on how many kids they put into seats. But these metrics don't yield the best long-term employees. Students and recruiters are both placed under a great amount of pressure. And if new employees change their minds within three months on the job, it's not good for anyone." Since the tool is so new, and its effects are untested, for every Google, Microsoft, and Pinterest, there are several other companies that fear the program. (Although I'm not at liberty to name names, think of some of the biggest employers of tech talent in the nation and you can probably guess who these firms are.)
But momentum with respect to the number of companies joining EYO is building, and it's likely that companies won't want to be the odd firm out—that is, they won't want competitors to be able to impress the interns they've extended offers to without being able to do the same to their competitors' interns. To date, ReadyForce users with full-time offers from Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and Amazon have used EYO.
And what works for interns will likely work for experienced candidates. In a world where transparency and information sharing are championed and rewarded, it perhaps won't be long before all of us—young and old, students and graduates—will be able to explore our options.
Follow me @VaultFinance.
*In December 2014, ReadyForce was acquired by LookSharp.
Readyforce Gives Students A Chance To Explore Options Before Picking Their First Jobs (TechCrunch)
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