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Are You Rescinding The Offer?

COVID-19 is a bitch for business, but are you thinking enough about the people being impacted?

Protect Your Brand is a Limited Podcast Series. The Chad & Cheese call on a real cast of experienced characters including Gerry Crispin, Principal & Co-Founder of CareerXRoads, Deb Andrychuk, VP of Client Services with Shaker Recruitment Marketing and Steven Rothberg, Founder and President of answer the questions employers should be asking themselves.

Lead question: What impact to their campus hiring efforts will employers experience if they rescind job offers to students and recent grads?

Support provided by our friends at Shaker Recruitment Marketing - COVID might keep us at home but it won't keep us quiet!


Intro: Hide your kids, lock the doors, you're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls, it's time for The Chad and Cheese Podcast

Chad: Hey, I'm Chad Sowash of The Chad and Cheese Podcast and I'm joined by my partner in crime, Joel Cheesman.

Joel: What up?

Chad: We have Gerry Crispin-

Gerry Crispin: You bet that.

Chad: ... recruiting soothsayer and founder of CareerXroads.

Joel: Best beard in the industry, right there.

Chad: That's damn right.

Joel: One day, Gerry.

Gerry Crispin: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:00:48].

Chad: Deb Andrychuk, industry veteran, and VP of recruitment branding goodness over at Shaker Recruitment Marketing and that's actually your title, right?

Deb Andrychuk: Yeah. That's my title today, I like it.

Chad: And last, but always least, Steven Rothberg, president and founder of Big applause for everybody.

Joel: Don't forget, Shaker, proud sponsor of The Chad and Cheese Podcast,

Chad: Proud sponsor-

Deb Andrychuk: That's right.

Chad: ... of The Chad and Cheese Podcast. The theme of today's discussion is protecting your brand in the realm of college recruitment. And first question goes to Gerry Crispin. Okay, Gerry, if employers rescind job offers to students and recent grads, will they experience a negative impact in future campus recruiting?

Gerry Crispin: Yes.

Chad: What should they do about that? So that they don't experience it?

Gerry Crispin: Not do that. You got to be kidding me. You don't resend a promise that you've made, you have to be able to engage around that. So I will tell you that we've had lots of our members who've had these kinds of conversations of late, and I would tell you almost every one of them did not rescind any of that. Some of them delayed it.

Chad: Okay.

Gerry Crispin: Some of them moved, in fact, one company moved it an entire year, in terms of how long they delayed it. But most delayed it in a relatively short period of time. Most of them changed it obviously. I mean, you're not going to have a whole bunch of people coming in when they can't be moving anywhere. And when their parents are going to tell them, you're going to travel where, to do what?

Chad: Yeah. That's enough.

Gerry Crispin: That's not happening. So virtual internships and virtual onboarding for full time folks has become pretty much what's happening now. And there's an awful lot of folks who can get into the details of how they do it. Everybody's doing it a little bit differently. But if somebody figures out that we don't have hiring managers who are going to be able to oversee work for these folks, and we want to give up hiring from early hires and everything else, they better find some nice way to provide a parting gift and some support for those folks to be able to go and work with motivation from their competitors, if they really have to do that. The companies that rescind work for early hires are going to be remembered for the rest of those hires lives and not in a good way.

Chad: Seems like-

Gerry Crispin: That's just not going to be a good thing.

Chad: I think as humans, we have a short memory. Steven, I'm sure you've seen big brands do this before in the past. And they've been able to come out of it. How did they come out of it?

Steven Rothberg: I've never seen a situation where so many companies are all hit, all at once in such a short period of time. And, at least in some minds, so unexpectedly. And where almost nobody could go to work as work normally was almost overnight. So I think everybody was in panic mode. We were all trying to just keep our families safe, how am I going to pay the rent? How am I going to pay the mortgage? How am I going to get food? All that. So I'm not surprised that a lot of these employers were at least considering rescinding. We are seeing a lot of companies rescind offers. I suspect that the companies that Gerry is talking about are mostly Fortune 1000 companies, but a lot of small startups, absolutely rescinding. And some of them-

Chad: Do you think they're going to get a pass?

Steven Rothberg: Oh, hell no. And they shouldn't. I wrote a blog article earlier today, KPMG and PWC, two of the big four accounting consulting companies. What they did was remarkable, generous, brilliant, self-serving in a great way, everything. So they said, "Well, rather than coming to work for us as a paid intern for the next 10, 12 weeks, we're going to create a virtual internship for you for two weeks, so that you can at least have a feeling for what it's like to work here, you'll get to know your boss and throw you a little bit of a bonus summer." That's nice. But what was really amazing is that every single one of their 2020 interns have already received offers for 2021 entry-level employment. So when they graduate next-

Chad: Wow!

Steven Rothberg: ... May, they have a job.

Chad: They don't even know how good this guys are.

Steven Rothberg: And we're talking 10 to 15,000 people for each of these employers .

Gerry Crispin: And that's more common than just PWC, et cetera. Because there's a lot of competition out there for these interns, particularly. And so I think I've seen a dozen companies change the time frame and offer similar kinds of things for that. The one last thing I really would like to say though is that, the small companies don't do a lot of interns and hiring when you look at the 4 million kids who are out there, it's the large companies that are really doing the bulk of that kind of hiring.

Steven Rothberg: People say that small business employees, most Americans, it's actually really not true. And serving as an only career, it skews heavily to large employers.

Joel: Is it fair to say that companies, while they've put the brakes on everything, most if not all are expecting to put pedal to the metal, full gas a year from now, that's the expectation.

Gerry Crispin: That's their hope.

Steven Rothberg: I would say-

Deb Andrychuk: I think they're pushing it off to later this year too, I don't think it's even just waiting until next year. I'm seeing a lot of our clients are just delaying, abbreviating the time. There's a large employer, I just started working with who just went through a huge round of layoffs and they did push the start bids out until next year. And, they took a lot of criticism for it, but I thought it was really ingenious on their part. I mean, they're trying to do the right thing. They also gave a lump sum of money to those new hires. And I agree with Gerry 100%, I mean, you never want to rescind when you've already given someone an opportunity, but I also think that you'd have to think about last one in as first one out. And so what does that do? If you bring someone in as a new hire and then, what if COVID lasts and other six, eight, nine months, and that person just ends up getting cut anyway? I don't know. I mean, is that better? I think the new hire is going to be mad either way.

Steven Rothberg: ... Yeah, it's an interesting question.

Deb Andrychuk: Really, I mean, I think a lot of it boils down to why are you rescinding? Two, How are you communicating that? And it better be delicately, compassionately and like Gerry said, "It better have some package with a bow on it and you need to have something that you're giving to them." And I think it's also really looking hard at, what are alternative ways that we could put this person up, so.

Steven Rothberg: And Deb from a marketing and communications firm standpoint, I suspect that your advice to your clients was, communicate what you know, communicate what you don't know. Right? Don't just go radio silent.

Deb Andrychuk: Yeah.

Steven Rothberg: That drove me nuts in March and even into April where students had authors last September and every three, four weeks, they'd get a gift basket, an email, or a phone call, or a text, whatever, until about the 10th of March.

Chad: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Steven Rothberg: And then nothing, silence.

Gerry Crispin: I think a lot of it is from-

Deb Andrychuk: Yeah.

Steven Rothberg: They didn't know if their boss was in the hospital, if their job was there or not, in some small percentage, but it was still significant, of the employers were saying, "Well, we can't tell them because we haven't made our plans yet." The fact that you're making plans is something you should tell them, right? It's March 18th-

Gerry Crispin: ... 2018 I think-

Steven Rothberg: ... we have a meeting on the 25th and I will have an update for you by the 26th. Right? That's all they're asking for at that point.

Gerry Crispin: ... I think there were a lot of mistakes made in 2008 with the financial crisis. And I do believe that a lot of those mistakes came back in conversation early on with a lot of employers who said, "We have to communicate better." And so I do think a lot of companies recognized early on that they needed to adjust quickly, to at least communicate to the interns or potential interns, what they were going to do, that they were thinking about virtual. And they were thinking about this and so on and so forth. And then-

Joel: But it's also hard to lay off 20% of your staff and still have the internship program. So in terms of communication-

Gerry Crispin: ... That's one-

Joel: ... that's not a delicate thing, or that is a very delicate thing to dance around. Yes?

Gerry Crispin: ... For some companies, they were able to preserve some of their recruiters jobs, instead of furloughing.

Joel: Yeah.

Gerry Crispin: They transferred them to university relations to help figure out, what those virtual internships would work on. Because obviously when you start inventing something called virtual interns, there's a whole host of things that now are going to have to be done, in terms of what is the project? How do you oversee the project? Who's helping you when it comes to this?

Joel: How do you deliver coffee in a Zoom meeting? I still haven't figured that one out.

Steven Rothberg: Uber Eats.

Joel: Oh, no. Yeah.

Steven Rothberg: To go back to the brand issue on campus. I think, I'm hoping that if there is on-campus recruiting this fall, which I think is a big question mark. Because I don't foresee that many campuses are going to be open. And the campuses that are going to be open, I think are going to be very restrictive in terms of how many people are there, how many people can be gathered at any place, visitors to campus. I mean, only if you're a big company and you're planning on sending student or recruiters and hiring managers to 20 schools, I don't think you should count on the fact that those schools are going to let those people on-campus. I could

Joel: What are you telling those companies strategy-wise? Where does that budget go now?

Steven Rothberg: ... Well, I think 100% of it goes to us. No, I'm just kidding. I do think that it's going to go virtual, that they're going to be more virtual career fairs. I think that that some of the careers service management platforms are going to do well, some of the job search sites like ours will do well. What I'm hoping we're going to see is some students, maybe some career service office directors asking employers, the question: In March and April, what did you decide to do? What did you do for your insurance? What did you do for the new grads? Did you rescind the offers? Did you walk away? How did you communicate to them? And if there's one hardware store that did a fantastic job with all of that and their direct competitor did a terrible job with that, I think like what Gerry was saying at the beginning, it's going to take years for that hardware store to recover, that didn't communicate, that didn't take care of its employees.

Chad: Do you think the Career Center directors, the career centers overall are going to be the ones who are going to drive this? Because I can't think that the kids or the interns are even going to think of that. I mean, they're so much into how do I get an internship?

Steven Rothberg: Oh, yeah.

Chad: ... And thinking before. Do you think that that's not going to be the case or will?

Steven Rothberg: Okay. So the career service office directors mostly know they're going to be grateful that the employers are coming on campus or otherwise recruiting your students. I can think off the top of my head, three or four, that I could absolutely see them. And they're the stars saying to the employer, "You know what? We have limited slots and we are going to give those slots to the employers who are likely to treat our students the best, and your past performance is the best predictor of your future performance. You screwed our students over last April, sorry, you don't get to come on campus this fall because we just don't have room for you." I could see some of them doing that. As far as the students go, and I know this is very anecdotal. I have a 20 year old who's going into her senior year. And I can tell you for a fact that she and her friends are absolutely going to be asking employers, what did you do with your interns last year? What did you do with your new grads? Because some of them are being treated very well and some of them still have no idea if they are about to start an internship and it's big.

Chad: Wow.

Gerry Crispin: There's one caveat, I'd throw it in here. And that is, there's an awful lot of colleges out there, but the STEM colleges, the engineering college, the IT programs, the career services folks for those groups, they're going to hold up those companies, for sure.

Chad: Oh, yeah.

Gerry Crispin: Because they can. And because those students are going to end up with an average of three, four, 10 offers that they choose from. Because those students-

Chad: Is that a problem for STEM schools right now though?

Gerry Crispin: ... I was career director for a college as my first job. And I got to tell you in that recession, we killed about 20% of all of the companies that came on campus, because we had more companies coming on-campus than we had students. So that's-

Chad: Well, that's what I mean. But right now, do you think STEM is, do you think they're rescinding at all? I would think that they understand what's going to happen, the future. It's like, "Okay, let's continue to go. Let's not rescind."

Gerry Crispin: Think about how crazy you are, if you're a technology company and you're rescinding offers for five or 10 folks at a critical campus that you think has the program that's going to make our company really run well.

Chad: Yeah, that seems like the death miles.

Gerry Crispin: [crosstalk 00:15:38]. And I do think you're digging your own grave, if you do it.

Deb Andrychuk: Larger companies are definitely keeping. They're keeping those new hires and they're keeping their internships. Again, they're just pivoting, to online shortening, doing whatever they have to do. I've seen a couple companies where they've set it up so that it's on demand. So the managers get to decide, how long the days are. And they do it by weeks. So if they have something going on in a particular week, they might scale the hours back. But overall the students are still getting that nine or 10 week internship that they were planning on. And then as far as rescinding offers for new grads, with the large companies that are hiring STEM folks, I haven't seen it, but we did have one startup who I had worked with her at a larger company, went to head up TA at a startup in Silicon Valley. And they just let go of, I don't know, probably 25 of their new grads. And some of these folks had only worked there a month or two. So it wasn't rescinding, they were laying them off, ripping them, but it goes back to my point, do you do it now? Do you do it later? I'm sure those people probably have a really bad taste in their mouth now about that company and will never get over it. But I also think too, at that age, we take everything personally anyway. So I don't know that we have the maturity to separate, here's what's going on in the world, we're having a global crisis and then this is about me when you're at that age.

Chad: Well again though, that's brand.

Deb Andrychuk: Everything's about me

Chad: That's brand in its reputation and that's something that sticks, right? Whether it was back when you were in your twenties or what have you, that could still stick with that person throughout their career. So from the shaker standpoint, this has got to be reputation management at this point, not just brand, I mean, it's bigger than that.

Gerry Crispin: Yeah. That's a good point.

Deb Andrychuk: Yeah. It's a lot of coaching and it's, I think trying to get people to be more transparent. I think that's hard, especially when you are financial services or just any risk adverse company, you're going to be less inclined to, pull back the curtains, but that's what's required right now, in order to keep that brand intact. And I do think, we'll see more and more requests. We're getting them every day where clients are coming to us and saying, "Help us with our internal communications." We've always really focused on external as you guys know. But internal has become so critical. And we're also... A lot of clients are coming to us right now and saying, "Help us build up the positivity, that we do have within our ranks, help us push that story out." So we're doing a lot of PR for jobs. We're getting a lot of requests for it right now. And I think clients are also really interested in taking this time to take a step back and assess everything from end to end. So whether it's a candidate experience audit or hey, you know what? We know that there are some spots in our brand that probably needs some help, maybe we do a Glassdoor audit right now. We're seeing a lot of those requests. I mean, I think that's the cool thing that I'm loving so much is that, I really thought the minute that COVID hit everything would just poof, evaporate. And it's just been amazing to me, how many leaders are savvy enough to get it that, this is the time to lean in and really make sure that everything is operating at the highest capacity, so that... I mean, we all know this virus is going to end at some point, right? I mean, I'm goint to look terrible.

I'm going to have... big foot's going to be jumping out of my eyebrows.

Joel: Hey Deb.

Gerry Crispin: The longer it last though, the more likely we will revert to some serious problems that, that we really can't help. I mean, when you start running out of money, you're done, and there's only so much the government is going to give us. And the complexity now of multinationals who have to deal with the different ways each government in each country is treating all of this, also complicates another problem of who you keep, who you don't, who you furlough, whether you give them benefits, whether you give them actually pay. One large retail organization is still paying, they closed all of their stores over a month ago, and they're still paying everybody their full pay. Others have reduced pay in some way, shape or form, even if the government is giving them a loan that allows for them to pay employees, it often isn't enough to fully compensate all of that. And then somebody in the back room is figuring out, well, we can keep doing this for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days. And then a whole different decision is going to happen. And then they're not going to be worried about all of that stuff, they're just going to be closing stuff up, period.

Chad: That's excellent.

Joel: Hey Deb, you mentioned internal communications and I'm curious, how is that evolving? I mean, is it still email, is it Slack? Is it just dependent upon the company, do interns SMS or what's the current state of internal communications and how that's done?

Deb Andrychuk: Great question. So, we are seeing, most of our clients are using email and it's kind of interesting though, because if they do have a way to launch a bulk email, they're asking us to do an HTML. So we're programming and designing something that looks really nice. We've had some clients ask, "Instead of email, can you put it in a PDF? We'll attach it and send it out." I'm like, "Yay!"

Joel: Wow!

Deb Andrychuk: Yeah, but-

Chad: A carrier pigeon?

Deb Andrychuk: ... no one so far has asked us for SMS.

Joel: Okay.

Deb Andrychuk: Which is kind of surprising. Because you would think that that would be part of it, but-

Joel: I understand.

Deb Andrychuk: ... I do think email still, I mean, when you're sending a larger message, I mean, that's really hard to do.

Chad: Thanks everybody for joining us. We appreciate it so much more to actually talk about, but this gets it going for the next segment.

Joel: Awesome.

Chad: Don't forget to check out the discussion segments on I'm sure they'll be all over College Recruiter, Shaker. We'll see you next time.

Joel: We out.

Chad: We out

Chester: Thank you for listening to podcast with Chad and Cheese, brilliant. They talk about recruiting, they talk about technology, but most of all, they talk about nothing. Anywho, be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. We out.


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