Learn more about the URMIA Career Center at time when you might just need it! Whether you are a job poster or a job seeker, this URMIA member benefit is sure to catch your eye. Tune in with host Jenny Whittington as she chats with Luke Figora, Northwestern University and Keesha Trim, University of Richmond to hear about their recent hiring experiences and some tips on how to make the most of the experience .
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ASAE – association for associations
CHEMA – URMIA peer organizations in higher education
Keesha Trim, CRM, CIC, Director, Risk Management & Insurance–University of Richmond
Luke Figora, Vice President for Operations–Northwestern University
Jenny Whittington- Executive Director, URMIA
Jenny: hello everyone. This is Jenny Whittington. URMIA is executive director, and I am pleased to be hosting URMIA Matters our podcast. It's so great to be back on the air with our members. So hello to everyone out there and URMIA podcast land. Today, we are going to be talking about an underutilized and maybe even a misunderstood benefit of URMIA as a member benefit.
It's our career center. If you're on our website, you can find it on our services menu and you can get to post a job or find a job, depending on what you're looking for. It's super easy to find. So in researching for this podcast, um, I found out that this is maybe an underutilized member benefit. So I am so happy to have a couple of our long-term members with us to talk about the URMIA career center and, you know, in considering some of the workforce issues that we're all dealing with, um, the, the great, uh, resignation, the silver tsunami, whatever you want to call this current situation we’re in, our career center can help our members. So I'm while I'm both excited. Every time I hear about an URMIAian moving to the next chapter of their life and, um, for all the URMIA members out there, and you've seen a lot of, uh, kudos to folks who have resigned or sorry, retired in the, in the last gosh, probably six to 12 months. Um, URMIAs fortunate to have a lot of long-term members. I'm so happy to see them get to that next phase of their, their life into retirement, but we, we missed you and we want you to stay part of our vibrant community. So, today we have two wonderful members with us.
Um, first we have, um, Luke Figora from Northwestern University. Um, Luke, why don't you just introduce yourself? And, I wanted you to tell me a brief story about hiring staff. Welcome.
Luke: Sure. Good. Good to hear you, Jenny. Um, so I'm Luke Figora, Vice President for Operations at Northwestern University. Been Northwestern for a little over seven years and spent some time at the University of Chicago before that. um, I have, uh, had the opportunity to do quite a bit of hiring over the last handful of years. More, uh, most recently, maybe a, you know, just, uh, one thing I would mention is, uh, Probably in early 2019, we're actually right before the pandemic. Um, you know, the Northwestern University did a, um, kind of an early retirement voluntary separation program, uh, you know, offer to our employees longer term employees. And, um, my team was, uh, benefited from that quite a bit. Uh, maybe, um, but at one point in time, I think of about, I had about 80 positions on my teams, 28 of those were vacant. Um,
Jenny: Oh my God.
Luke: so I had a good, uh, a good opportunity to, uh, do a lot of hiring and use all the resources out there. And, and obviously just like everyone right now, I think, um, you're dealing with, uh, turnover and trying to recruit new people and retain the people that are here so, uh, happy to have this conversation.
Jenny: Awesome. Well, that, that was quite a story. I didn't realize that it was such a large number that that had to be a pretty complex adventure for you.
Luke: It made it for it made for a long, a couple months, but, uh, but we made our way through it.
Jenny: Did you get pretty tight with your HR people?
Luke: They became my best friends, you know, frequent callers, exactly.
Jenny: Okay. Our second guest on the podcast days, Keesha Trim from University of Richmond. So Keesha, same thing. Introduce yourself briefly and tell us a little bit about your hiring history.
Keesha: Jenny. Um, as you said, I'm Keesha Trim and I am Senior Director of Risk Management and Insurance for the University of Richmond. I've been here for about seven years, a little over seven years, actually. Um, quite different from Luke. I come from a small institution, a much smaller risk management operation, so I don't have as much experience with hiring.
I think since I've been here, um, I have hired now my I'm in the process of hiring my second person. Period. in seven years. So, um, quite a big difference there. So, um, I'll go into it a little bit more as we go along here. Um, but that's just where I come from, my stand point.
Jenny: That that is awesome. It's lovely to have people at both ends of the spectrum. And I wanted to mention as well. So URMIA is hiring. Um, if you hadn't heard, we were looking for a learning specialist to kind of be our education staff person. We've kind of relied on our retired risk managers for that role for a number of years, we kind of put it on hold with the pandemic. But when we started searching for this position, the pandemic opened up some opportunities for us too, to expand our scope. You know, we, we are located in Bloomington, Indiana, and we love it here, but we don't have a huge workforce in Bloomington, Indiana.
So when we have posted jobs in the last year, we posted them on the American Society of Association Executives. So that's my URMIA group. That's the association for associations. And what I've found is when you post in your peer group like that, you know, you get people that are well-qualified and super interested, you know, in, in association management and our, our world, but.
Posting, Um, positions in the URMIA career center, you get a broad spectrum of people with higher education, risk management interest. So we'll talk about that a little bit later. Why I invited, uh, Luke and Keesha today is that, um, when I was doing research for the podcast, uh, it looked like both of their institutions had positions posted in our career center, um, to be transparent, I wanted to share with the listeners that URMIAs career center is a non-dues revenue source for us.
So we do make revenue from the career center. URMIA members receive a hundred dollar discount on ads. So non-member rates start at $300 and members start at $200 for a 30 day posting. So please keep this in mind. I think it's a very reasonable, because I remember in the early days of URMIA placing classified ads in the newspaper and they were super expensive.
I mean, it was not unusual to spend $800-1000 on a very small, not even like color, classified ad. So I think a $200 ad is a bargain. Um, and we all know recruitment and retention and workforce development is so important right now. So Luke, I wanted to turn to you now and hear about your most recent hiring process.
I know, um, the position that I reached out to about was a little bit different than the positions you posted back in 2019, but yeah. Tell us a little bit about, about what you learned about that.
Luke: Sure. Um, yeah, so we've got a few positions posted right now, but, um, I think the one that caught your eye was a senior director of risk and insurance here at Northwestern. Um, it was kind of the lead of our risk and insurance group, um, at Northwestern, uh, in previous years, um, I have posted kind of, um, some risk analyst jobs and I think a claims analyst job directly to the URMIA career center. Um, but, uh, in this, uh, this most recent one, we worked really closely with our talent acquisition team here at Northwestern, uh, to craft the position, kind of get it posted on our own career sites. And I think they have, um, a number of different resources that they use to kind of help push it out through various sources, you know, LinkedIn and other, um, you know, kind of other industry HR type tools.
And so, um, I think w what we learned is, yeah, so we kicked it off here and it went through a couple of those sources and then ultimately found its way into the editor, even though I didn't actively do that myself. And, um, I had seen some of those things, uh, in the past, but, um, it seemed like that happened really quickly, Jenny, that, uh, you know, more or less kind of overnight after it being posted, it showed up.
And so, um, maybe you'll talk a little bit about all these different moving pieces. We think. It was interesting for me to see how that, uh, made it over there pretty quickly.
Jenny: Yeah. So when we created our career center, we worked with a third party and, um, we purposefully added a couple other networks to the posting. The postings that we, that our members post exclusive exclusively. So we know that we, our job board shares with NACUBO and NACAS, so the business officers and the auxiliary services associations.
And then we also learned that there there's another group, um, that's called HERC the higher education. Uh, recruitment consortium and Keesha learned a little bit about them. So I'm going to turn to her now to talk about her experience. And, um, I know she mentioned her talent acquisition specialist too.
Is that the new, um, new word for HR specialist now? Is that right?
Keesha: yes, I guess it is. So it seems to be a commonly used term. Um, so Jenny, when you reached out to me about my posting, that was in the career center, I was a little surprised because I did not know my position was in the career center. It is for a risk management specialist, but it's an entry-level position.
And I did not actively, um, place it in the career center or, um, think about placing it in the career center. So, um, I wondered how it got there. And so, Um, after speaking to our talent acquisition specialists, I learned that whenever, uh, we post jobs online to our online network. We have a contract in place with a company that automatically posts to three other networks, including HERC or the higher education recruitment consortium, as well as talent network and career builder.
And so through those networks, they then somehow find their way to other networks like career center through URMIA.
Jenny: perfect. And tell me, tell me a little bit more about what you learned about the specificity that you could do with your HR folks to, to get targeted markets.
Keesha: yes. Depending on the nature of the position or at the request of the hiring manager, um, you can, there are add-ons. So, if you are, um, needing a, an international focus, there are international packages you can place onto your job posting, so it can reach a broader audience. There are also, um, a number of diversity postings. There's a diversity package you can put on. So if you want to reach, um, Let's see, um, the LGBTQ community or Asian, Black, Hispanic women vets, it goes on and on. Um, so yes, you can definitely, um, reach your DEI goals in that way.
Jenny: That is just amazing. I mean, I'd never thought about that. Um, I mean, from my perspective of hiring people for URMIA, I've always thought, I mean, especially when I was only looking in Bloomington Indiana, you know, I thought my pool was pretty small, but I mean, at the tools we have in our disposal now are pretty cool. I mean, I just think that's, that's an amazing opportunity and as URMIA has a DEI, you know, strategic goal right now. I mean, I think that's a great thing that we can teach our members more about.
So, um, one thing I wanted to touch on is just, you know, in this, in this time of the great resignation and just workforce issues, just in general, um, have you guys noticed any more, have you seen, uh, uh, a higher number of open positions in the field or on your campuses.
Luke: Sure. Um, yeah, so we've definitely seen kind of a larger aggregate number of kind of open positions. And, you know, that's a couple of different things that's coming out of the pandemic and, um, you know, opening up a little bit more in terms of new positions and hiring. And so there's some new, uh, new head count in there.
And then there's, there is some kind of, uh, turnover as well. So it's a combination of both those. And I think we're seeing that, um, you know, the pools are a little bit smaller than they were at one point in time. It's a little bit harder to kind of get, you know, at points in time we had, you know, 40, 50, 60 applicants for some jobs, and I'm not quite seeing that, uh, right now.
Um, and again, I think, uh, not surprisingly, um, some really great people that are interested, um, especially if they don't have to move. Uh, but you know, college campuses, uh, being what we are, I think there's. Yeah, probably more of an expectation in our industry that there's some in-person component than maybe certain other industries.
So, so yeah, I think we are, um, we're clearly seeing it here, um, at Northwestern and then just more generally across the industry, I guess. I don't know if Keesha, if you're seeing the same thing.
Keesha: Absolutely. Um, we are experiencing. Same thing. And, um, just to your point, um, like I said, this is the second time I've had to hire since being here. And, um, the last time I ran this position, um, I ran the job application not that job application, but I ran the position for about a week and had over 30 applicants this time I ran it for a month and had eight.
Keesha: it's a totally different environment and yes, people are leaning more towards the work from home, um, opportunities, post-COVID and with our in-person, um, environment, the way it is being a college campus, a residential college campus, you know, it's, it may not be the environment for a lot of people. So that may be impacting our applicant pool as well.
Jenny: Yeah, for sure. Um, it's interesting. So I get to participate in CHEMA, the council of higher education management associations, and we had a pretty sobering, uh, presentation from Andy Brantley, from CUPA-HR in December, you know, where he shared, you know, kind of across the board workforce issues in higher education.
And, um, the thing that really resonated with. As to really, you know, retention is so important and gratitude, you know, we really, this last two years have just been, you know, unbelievable from so, so many ways. And it's just been hard on all of us in different ways. And, you know, I think showing gratitude for your employees - And I know you guys in risk management and have just worked your tails off. I mean, the last two years, um, I didn't really think you guys could work harder, um, than you did two years ago, but, um, my eyes have been. Eyes wide open now. I mean, I think you guys are asked to do so much more than you were even two years ago - so just hats off to you guys for all of that. Um, any other comments on, on workforce issues that you guys have?
Luke: Well, you know, Jenny, one thing that I think is another benefit, um, of the career center or one other thing that people should be aware of, maybe. I again, and I don't know technically how this works. Um, but obviously, you know, the URMIA career center is pulling, uh, jobs that have a key word of risk management or insurance or whatever it might be.
So definitely for, you know, for people looking for that next step in the risk management insurance kind of university world, um, it's a great resource to look at. I think the other interesting thing is it pulls other jobs too. Like you said, I think it pulls from the NACUBO maybe or other sources. Um, there's definitely jobs in there that maybe, you know, the next job for a seasoned risk manager, or even like, you know, someone that might go, uh, poke around cause there's some HR roles in there and then they might see something that's more of a risk management job that piques their interest, you know, as an entry level or whatever it might be. And so, you know, it's not, I wouldn't say it's just for, um, higher ed risk management, only specialist. It's kind of got more things in there that could probably catch people’s eyes.
Jenny: absolutely. That's a good point. And I did want to share, I mean, some of the specific resources that are in the career center, um, one thing that I just learned about, um, I'm not sure I knew this was something that you could do. If you create an account in our career center, it can send you notifications when new positions are, um, are added to the career center, like things that you're specifically looking for. So I encourage members to look at that. And then there are a number of tools on the website. There's some career coaching, some resume writing, some reference testing, some career, a career learning center.
So. Many of those, um, options have, um, free resources. Some of them are for an add on price, but the things that you should really look out, there's some really good tips in there. I mean, I know I've always been a little cynical about reference checking, but the article that we have on there is, is pretty, um, pretty compelling on why, why you should do reference checking.
Um, I've always just not wanting to call references that were a given. I wanted to call references, you know, that you could really get a, an honest reference from, so there are some good tips there. Do you guys have any other, um, just tips on hiring, like things that you look for that might might help folks.
Keesha: Um, just go into it with an open mind. Um, this is a different environment. I'm actually, you know, interviewing candidates this week. I have some good ones and, um, just be positive.
Jenny: awesome. I think that's, that is great advice. Um, well I think that's it guys. I think this is going to be a wrap on URMIA Matters. Um, thank you so, so much for being my guests and, and URMIA members. Um, there's a lot of information on our website about the career center. Um, lots more to learn about it and we will, we will be sharing additional resources over time.
So again, thanks Keesha. Thanks Luke. For being my guest.
Luke: Thanks Jenny