As businesses look for new ways to attract top talent, some are starting to recognize that a school’s alumni are the ideal recruiters to identify new employees.
“Alumni know the curriculum, they know the caliber of student at Fisher, and they are excited to bring that talent to their companies,” said Mark Wilson, Director of Recruiter Relations and Technology within Fisher’s Office of Career Management. “Alumni recruiters take a lot of pride in finding great candidates from their alma mater that go on to do well in their company.”
Alumni recruiters like Ruthie (Lee) Apple (BSBA ’07)
“Recruiting has always been a passion of mine,” said Apple, senior director for New Brands and eCommerce Skin Care at P&G. “I attribute a lot of me coming to P&G to Fisher. I’m incredibly happy at P&G and know others could be too.”
Turning that passion into action, she helped spearhead the creation of the Master Your Interview Skills & Seminar at Fisher, a collaboration between the OCM and Fisher alumni working at P&G. The two-part series features a skills seminar, similar to a TED talk, which teaches students how to succeed in interviews. The second part asks students to apply what they learned in the seminar through a mock interview master class with P&G recruiters who are Fisher alumni.
The program was a culmination of a number of factors, namely P&G’s longstanding relationship with Fisher, a desire to equip career-seekers with the very best in career preparation skills, and Apple’s passion for bringing the very best Fisher talent to P&G.
She started volunteering as a general recruiter for P&G before directing her efforts toward Ohio State with a particular focus on the recruitment of Asian and Pacific Islander candidates. For the last two years, she has been the sales recruiting leader for Ohio State — in charge of the sales function efforts at the university.
In creating the framework for the seminar, Apple and Wilson drew on their own experiences working with students during the recruiting process. At P&G, Apple is usually students’ first screen interview or their final interview, conversations that typically end with students asking Apple for feedback on their performance.
“I can give them feedback, but in the end, I still have to score them on the interview we had,” said Apple.
This feedback loop sparked the idea for a program that could provide the same advice, but in a low-pressure setting in which the stakes weren’t so high.
While working with OCM on a sales case competition, she and Wilson discussed creating an interview program with a twist — one from the company’s perspective.
“Most of the time, an employer will volunteer to do a teaching session on how to interview in very vague, general terms,” said Wilson.
Apple’s idea was a change from this approach and a big motivator for launching the Master Your Interview Skills & Seminar program in spring 2021.
Specific to P&G, the program gives students an inside look at how P&G conducts interviews, questions they ask, what they look for in a candidate, and how students can best translate their experience to something valuable to P&G. Students who are targeting P&G as a potential employer will get feedback from alumni and leaders who influence hiring decisions at P&G.
“All the alumni volunteers graduated at different times, which is great for the diversity of experience and thought for feedback during the master class,” said Apple.
Most of P&G’s alumni recruiters who participated did so because they enjoy the process and see it as a way to give back to students at Fisher. But it’s not all about giving back, it’s about looking forward and learning from them too, Apple said.
“I love the way that a lot of new hires from Fisher challenge the way we think,” she said. “They’re making sure we continuously innovate — they are the future of our business.”
From P&G’s perspective, programs like these increase the company’s exposure at Fisher and allows their alumni recruiters to maintain a strong pipeline of talent.
“Fisher is a top school for recruiting. Companies like P&G are competing for quality candidates, so they are always looking for ways to make sure our students know they exist,” said Wilson.
The seminar and master class is open to any Ohio State student, regardless of year or degree program.
“I thought it was great that there were sophomores who took advantage of this event,” said Wilson. “Even if a student isn’t targeting P&G, the opportunity to practice with alumni recruiters from one of Fortune’s Global 500 companies will expand a student’s network and give them a lot more confidence going into recruiting season.”
OCM is planning another Master Your Interview Skills & Seminar for autumn 2021.
“It’s a safe space to practice and learn,” said Apple. “Regardless of major or depth of your resume, the interview skills class and seminar are about taking your experiences and illustrating to your interviewer how that can flex into a business situation.”