Why are Philadelphia companies based in the suburbs and branched in Center City?

When people think of Philadelphia as a place to work and live, they probably don’t put it in the same category as other east coast cities like New York, Atlanta, or Boston, but Philly has the potential to grow. Philly’s growth can be found in its expanding talent pool, healthcare – the current pillar industry and a developing future in technology. Philadelphia is home to numerous universities such as Temple, Drexel, Penn, Villanova and St. Joe’s – all within 30 minutes or less of Center City. These schools are building up the talent pipeline in the area for years to come that will grow into business owners, community contributors, and workers in many industries. One of those industries will most likely be healthcare. Philly is known for its top-quality hospitals and healthcare systems that people travel from all over for, both nationally and internationally. These healthcare resources not only draw people into the area, but they also strengthen the talent pool. When people mention this region’s growth it is often the achievements of our healthcare industry that are celebrated; however, the expanding technology community is also a large contributor. This is evident through city-wide initiatives such as #GrowPA and Philly Tech Week, and don’t forget the Amazon HQ2 Consideration. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Incubator 1776 named Philadelphia 3rd on their list of the country’s top startup cities. When talking about universities, healthcare and technology, we can focus on how it’s more than just the anchors of Center City working toward the success of the region.

When talking about Philadelphia, rarely is it called just that, Philadelphia. Rather, Philadelphia is often referred to as The Greater Philadelphia Area. What exactly does the Greater Philadelphia Area include, and how does the generalization of this area impact our ability to attract and retain top talent?

The Greater Philadelphia Area is made up of eleven counties surrounding Philadelphia with the city at the center. This past year, 14 “Philly” based companies made it on the Fortune 500 list, but only three of those were located in Center City. The rest reside in areas such as King of Prussia, Radnor, Horsham, and even Wilmington, DE.

Talent is a major reason that many “Philadelphia-based” companies are headquartered in the suburbs outside of the city, yet maintain a relationship with Philadelphia’s Center City.  We have witnessed a growing trend in companies opening satellite offices in the city as a way to stay competitive in the Philadelphia talent market. ORS’ client, iPipeline, does just this. With their headquarters, which holds about 200 employees, located in Exton, PA , about an hour outside of the city, iPipeline opened and revamped their Center City office for about 15 employees. Their city office, located above Saxby’s headquarters, gives developers more room with a comfortable work environment. Jornaya, a data tracking platform technology company in Conshohocken, moved their office from Ambler to Conshohocken, to accommodate their growing team, and their ability to attract city talent.  The Malvern, PA-based financial company, Vanguard, added an additional office to be located in Philadelphia. They chose to satellite their office in the same building as Saxby’s headquarters and iPipeline’s office due to the building’s proximity to Center City and the 30th St. train station. Bucks County-based software development and mobile app company, The Meet Group, left their shared Center City office space at WeWork and moved to a larger location near City Hall. This office upgrade makes their Center City office another location along with their New Hope, PA headquarters, and additional offices in San Francisco and Germany.

Not only do companies based in this area see the potential of the suburbs, but so do bicoastal organizations. ShopRunner moved its HQ from California to Chicago and grew its Pennsylvania location in Conshohocken by 70% in 2017. Sypase, a health IT company located in San Francisco, has plans to double its Radnor team of 15 by 2018.

Although there are a multitude of reasons organizations choose to reside in the Greater Philadelphia Area, it is obvious that establishing a headquarters in the suburbs and having an office in Center City allows employers to attract a larger pool of talent.

Are you struggling to find talent due to your office location? Connect with us to learn more about our geographic talent identification strategy, and how we can scale together.

Tips and Tricks for Hiring New Graduates for your Team

Savvy young graduates are moldable, ambitious and make great hires, but how do you find the best new grads for your company?

First, focus on why new grads should want to work for you. Develop your employer brand messaging and employee value propositions with recent graduates in mind.  What are you able to offer a candidate? How are you communicating your mission, vision and values?  Collegefeed found that over 70% of millennials care about the people and the culture fit of a company over career potential and work/life balance. Make sure you’re communicating what your culture is like through your corporate career page, job descriptions and social media. You can read all about that in our recent blog post on optimizing your career page.

After your employer brand has been established and you’ve established your messaging, it’s time to network with prospective candidates and soon to be new grads. Career fairs and university relationships are key to connecting with talented candidates. Even if you have a well known employer brand, being present at career fairs and on university campuses gives you chance to establish in-person relationships with professors, university relations staff and, of course, the talent.

While targeting students through social media and email marketing is an important strategy, word of mouth and in-person events hold their weight in gold. According to Collegefeed, most students hear about companies from their friends and family. You might even consider starting a referral program specific to universities and colleges to boost your recent graduate talent pools.

Another strategy for student recruitment? Internship programs. A well planned and executed program will attract and yield a viable new grad talent pool. While you’re providing a real-world working experience for a student, you’re also vetting them for a potential full time roll upon graduation.

From professor outreach to social media to internship programs, at ORS Partners we work with  our clients to achieve their new grad talent acquisition goals. For one of our niche technology clients, we developed a sourcing strategy that included relationship building with a local university. With the client’s support, we leveraged an existing relationship with an executive connected to the university program and developed a high successful student referral program. Our consultants had a presence at every career fair and networking event at the school and we hired over 5 students in one graduating class as a result. If you’re looking for additional guidance on attracting young professionals and new graduates to your team, please reach out to us here for a consultation.

The Art of Interviewing

About a year and a half ago, HBR published an (ironic) interview with Esquire writer, New York Times bestselling author, world-renowned interviewer, keynote speaker and corporate consultant, Cal Fussman. You might be familiar with his tagline, “Change your questions, change your life.” As self-proclaimed professional interviewers, we recruiters are fascinated by interview styles, questions, and behaviors and regard Cal Fussman as the ultimate interviewer. Even though Cal may be interviewing celebrities, his principles on interviewing to get ahead in your personal and business relationships apply directly to job interviews and talent acquisition best practices. So, here are our top three Cal Fussman tips and the tactical steps that we as recruiters take:

Make the Interviewee Comfortable

We’ve all been there; interviewing is a nerve-wracking process for an interviewee. They get nervous about the questions they’ll be asked,  if the interviewer will be intimidating, or how many people they’ll meet. Anxiety can have profound effects on interviewees – we’re all human after all. So unless you’re interviewing someone for a very high profile job or Navy Seal position, give them some grace and make them feel comfortable.  Break tension and nerves with humor and small talk before diving into your line of questioning. Chances are you’ll uncover something interesting about them and get a better sense of who they are as a professional.

Listen and Probe

If you’ve done your homework as an interviewer, you’ve reviewed their resume and already have a baseline understanding of the interviewee’s qualifications, accomplishments, and work history. The interview itself is your opportunity to learn about their personality and work ethic. Start by asking good open-ended questions, and then listen carefully to their response. Use probing questions (use why and how) to dive into their explanations and reasoning.  The interviewee should be doing most of the talking.

Save the Hard Questions for the End

An interview that begins with a hard question is tough on the interviewee. Why? Because you haven’t established trust and a baseline of communication yet… refer to our first tip and make the interviewee comfortable first. Once trust is established you can come in with the harder questions, and when they trust you, those questions are viewed in a different light typically yielding authentic answers. . 

At ORS we work closely with our partners and hiring managers to find and attract the best candidates. We help coach hiring managers and interviewers on their interview styles and tactics.  We know that great interviewers yield great hires. If you need interviewing advice, reach out to us today to see how we can help