International Association of Baggage System Companies Young Professionals Committee
by Cassandra McAllister
The International Association of Baggage System Companies Young Professionals Committee hosted its first ever BHS Career Fair at UT Dallas. The result of this event had baggage handling system (BHS) organizations wondering what we need to do to attract top young talent into our industry. The committee asked Jerry Alexander, Assistant Dean for Student Development at The Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas), to give a brief presentation about recruiting in the 21st century.
The International Association of Baggage System Companies (IABSC) serves as the voice of the BHS industry. It is their mission to be the sector’s foremost ambassador, assisting in the continued improvement of the airline and airport BHS industry. They are committed to raising standards, furthering education, pushing innovation and improving economic benefits across the greater industry as a whole.
Each month, BHS industry leaders convene in Dallas, Texas for collaboration, networking, and educational presentations at an IABSC-hosted meeting. With almost 100 companies in the BHS industry represented, there is a wide range of expertise – from airports and airlines to architects and consultants, as well as suppliers and original equipment manufacturers. Every piece of the baggage handling industry is represented at the IABSC, no matter how large or small.
The IABSC is made up of multiple committees that allow members to get more deeply involved in the organization if they wish. One unique committee is the Young Professionals Committee, which is specifically for BHS employees under the age of 35. Their goal is to attract new talent into the BHS industry by promoting the IABSC, as well as associated companies. Plus, they provide a platform for networking with other young professionals in the industry. Aiming to create a pipeline of future IABSC leadership, they also offer mentorship and training and encourage knowledge sharing.
In partnership with the “Engineer in Residence” (EIR) group, the Young Professionals Committee recently hosted the first-ever “IABSC BHS Career Day” at UT Dallas. The event was different from more traditional career fairs, it began with each company giving the students a brief overview of their organization’s role in the BHS industry, as well as examples of jobs and careers one could have within their organization. This was incredibly informative to the students. Many are not familiar with the baggage handling industry and are not often exposed to the opportunities it offers.
The career fair sparked some interest within the IABSC members. It got them wondering things like: ‘what is the best way to recruit young talent? What are today’s young professionals looking for, and how are they getting their information?’ During the November IABSC meeting, there was a presentation given on College Recruiting in the 21st Century. Jerry Alexander, Assistant Dean for Student Development at The Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UT Dallas, delivered a presentation on what today’s generation of college graduates are looking for post-graduation. He also spoke about how to recruit the top talent to your company, and how to prevent them from going in a different direction.
Jerry’s first piece of advice was: if you are not talking directly to the students, you do not really exist in their mind. When students apply for a job online, they cross their fingers and hope their resume stands out from the hundreds of others who also hit the apply button. They also receive no human interaction throughout the whole process. If you ask any recent college grad, almost none of them could tell you how many jobs they applied for — let alone the list of companies they submitted their resume to online. After applying to countless jobs online like this, students’ expectations are low and they are left hoping that at least one company will get back to them. Jerry recommended combating this by getting in front of students and being engaged.
By demonstrating your passion and showing students what your company can do for them and their career, you are more likely to spark a desire within them. Then, instead of being one of the countless companies a student applies for (in the hope one will call them back), you will become the place they deeply desire to secure an interview with. This small, personal connection will put you at the top of their list. By taking the time to engage with them on a personal level, they are more likely to believe you are actually hiring and seeking young professionals. You are no longer just another company with a job description behind the screen. Instead, you are a personal connection that demonstrated passion and encouraged growth.
Gone are the days where passive corporate recruiting will still bring talent to your organization. When students have the world at their fingertips (as well as countless industries they could work in and companies they could work for), you want your organization on the minds of the top talent. Today, you must have an aggressive and well-planned strategy to attract the type of highly skilled and innovative talent you are looking for in the BHS industry. If you are not actively seeking young talent and discussing how your organization can benefit them, someone else will. As a result, that company will be taking the people you wanted for your organization.
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