Jeff Giacoponello, Assistant Vice President, Head of University Recruiting and Talent at Lincoln Financial Group, discusses the changing landscape of recruiting.    

So much has been made of how millennials are shaking up the workplace. Have you generally found that to be true?

Yes, and for two reasons mainly. Millennials bring an organic, innovative and digital lens into organizations and this aligns directly with initiatives that are taking place almost everywhere.  Also, they are in serious demand. Smart companies are aggressively recruiting top talent as they prepare for the impending talent gap coming due to the aging workforce demographic.

Has the landscape changed over the last few years?

The marketplace for early-career talent has gotten very competitive, as everyone is focused on similar key skill sets: IT, Digital, Data, and pretty much everything STEM. The market is equally strong for service talent. Companies are focused on building their customer-facing roles and using service as a business differentiator.

Since they are so in-demand, how do you find them?

Recruitment has become very digitized and is a lot less about career fairs and on-campus interviews then it was just a few years ago. The power of LinkedIn’s data allows recruiters to identify backgrounds and experiences at schools in targeted geographic areas. On the flip-side, cloud partners like Handshake and Simplicity allow us to post job opportunities at colleges across the country with just one click. Recruiting is also about building deep relationships with partner organizations that target key skill areas and underrepresented groups such as: Management Leadership for Tomorrow, RecruitMilitary, The Ph.D. Project, International Association of Black Actuaries, and Philadelphia Futures.

Once you find the right student, how do you get them to choose Lincoln Financial Group?

We lead with our culture; it’s a true differentiator for us. Getting students into our 60-person, 10- week summer internship program allows them to really experience the company and for the company to see them in action as well. This has led to a strong full-time hire conversion rate and a 75 percent retention rate over the last five years. Other immersion events like Lincoln’s codeLinc hackathon allows employees and students to partner collaboratively to use technology to solve real challenges in our communities.

Are you able to retain them?

The reality is that the job market is hot and many companies are focused on this talent pool. For us, retention starts with providing meaningful work; helping new hires see how the work they are doing impacts the business, our clients, and the bottom line. Lincoln also focuses on career tracks and career growth, our career framework helps employees know where their role fits within the enterprise, what lateral and vertical career move opportunities exist, and what success looks like at each level.

What are millennials looking for in terms of career development/career pathing?

When it comes to growth and development, we structure safe environments where they can ask the questions, leverage business experts, learn and collaborate, fail fast and course correct. We see this work really paying off when it’s time for them to present to senior executives. Millennials at Lincoln are interested in knowing that a clear career path exists for them. That said, if the function or area turns out not to be a fit, they want the flexibility in their employer to help them pivot. We also find that Millennials really value the guidance of a peer network and peer coaches to help them along the way.

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Submitted by:
Jeffrey Giacoponello, 
AVP, Head of University Recruiting & Talent
Lincoln Financial Group