Interview with Brandi Blades from Brill Street & Co.

A few months ago I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about parents who were paying for their college aged children to secure internships. The article listed numerous companies that claimed to help students find internships and get hired, but only one company that achieves excellent results and refuses to charge students big fees. In fact, at Brill Street & Co., students are never charged fees. Impressed by what we've heard so far about this company, we contacted Brandi Blades, VP of Marketing at Brill Street & Co. for an interview.

G2G: What is the best advice you can give to a graduate regarding job search?
Brandi: While it would be silly to try and convince job seekers that the market is robust, there is some silver lining to the grey cloud hanging over our economy -- especially if you're a Gen Y'er. (No, really.) Smart employers know that Gen Y talent is practically priceless for their techno-savvy, multi-tasking skills, and know-how in reaching markets with new media. The current economic climate doesn't have to be a death knell for job seekers. However, with more applicants seeking fewer jobs, it becomes increasingly important to do more than simply “dust off” your resume. Here are a few tips we share with our Brill Streeters:

Tip 1: Get an agent. [Hint: We can help. ]

Tip 2: Network, network, network.

Tip 3: Create a detailed action plan, then stick to it.

Tip 4: Tell everyone (down to your mom’s book club friends) that you’re

looking for a new opportunity.

Tip 5: Ramp up your online presence—utilize Facebook, LinkedIn, your

personal blog, etc.

Tip 6: Sweat the details — customize your “pitch” for each position (do your research)

Tip 7: Brand yourself.

Tip 8: Always, always follow up.

Tip 9: Set up and attend informational interviews. Face time = good.

Tip 10: Volunteer. A lot.

Tip 11: Attend career fairs and networking events, both physical and virtual.

Tip 12: Stay in touch with your alma mater and alumni associations.

Tip 13: Read the newspaper. Know your world.

Tip 14: Stay positive! Aim high and congratulate yourself for accomplishments.

G2G: Is there anything happening in the labor market right now that surprises you?
Brandi: The uncertain economic climate has resulted in a rollercoaster on Wall Street that makes all of us more than a tad uneasy. The biggest surprise is the uncertainty. There are still companies hiring despite freezes and lay-offs, however more of our clients are looking to trial candidates before making a long-term hiring decision. And while many employers may not have the cash flow to offer scads of permanent positions right now, they can -- and do – continue to offer non-traditional types of paid opportunities that allow an emerging recruit to get their foot in the door.

G2G: Tell me how Brill Street works with college grads?
Brandi: Brill Street connects Gen Y'ers with a wide array of employers in a few different ways. Our clients - ranging from fast-moving start-ups to a few big blue chips –look to this emerging talent base to fill specific project-based roles, long-term assignments with an eye towards a permanent position, and as a full-time direct hire from day one. Often times, our recruits starting on a project or trial basis are hired directly by our clients (these are the non-traditional positions highlighted above). The “try before hire” program is gaining in popularity; it lets our clients and candidates test the waters to see if a long-term fit makes sense. At Brill Street, we don’t believe in unpaid work. All positions are paid fairly and there are never any candidate fees to leverage us as resource.

G2G: What types of students and recent graduates are you able to help the most?
Brandi: The best talent and up-and-coming high-fliers make it into our talent pool. We seek out candidates with a good story, solid references, and sound experience - whether from school, previous internships, or their first or second job. We work across many functional areas from computer science, accounting, finance, marketing, design, to engineering and human resources. If we come across an all-star Gen Yer (yes, that includes grads), we’ll showcase their skills to our clients even if we don’t have an open position available.

G2G: What cities do you operate in?
Brandi: Currently, we serve the Chicago and Dallas markets with plans to expand nationally in the future.

G2G: How can someone who is interested in Brill Street contact you?
Brandi: Here's where to contact us.
Phone: 312-421-2122
LinkedIn: Brill Street Talent Connection or Brill Street Client Connection

G2G: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Brandi: Whether looking to bring a Gen Yer on board to your own organization, a new career opportunity, or just want to talk shop – let’s chat! We love talking Gen Y.

G2G: Brandi, thank you so much for taking the time to tell our grads more about Brill Street & Co.