#AskAHiringManager: How You Can Benefit By Applying To A Recruitment Organization

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By Khadejah Stegall

Khadejah Stegall is a part of the TLC college ambassador program and a recent college graduate of North Carolina A&T State University.

Many students and young professionals want internships or job offers and they want it now. There are three lessons I have learned about job hunting, especially in the industry of media. One, is that sometimes you must take an unpaid gig to get you to the paid gig. The second thing I learned is that it’s great to join organizations and non-profits that specialize in partnering with big companies to recruit talent. Lastly, I learned that you will receive reward for the hard work you put in. I often suggest students to join media organizations and some are too impatient to go through the process to possibly secure an internship because it’s not guaranteed.

It is sad when people don’t take advantage of these opportunities because it is a very valuable experience. Organizations that recruit talent for partner companies can change your career. The great thing about these programs is that they have developed great relationships with recruiters at some of the top companies.

Recruiters have a trust built with organizations and they rather pull from someone they know from a network rather than a random resume. That brings me to T. Howard, which is an amazing organization that is producing future leaders.

T. Howard is a non-profit organization that works nationwide with diverse and underrepresented college students to promote diversity in media companies. They have a partnership with companies such as ESPN, The Walt Disney Company, CNN, Facebook and a lot more! It is a great resource for college students and young professionals to expand their network and grow professionally. Shakira Smiler, Associate Manager of T-Howard, talked to us about the benefits of joining recruitment organizations and advice if you were to apply to T-Howard.

1. What type of experience should a student have to increase their chances of getting accepted into a recruitment organization?

There’s not one specific type of experience that we look for. What we look for is experience that supports whatever career/professional interests you express an interest in. For example, if you indicate that you are looking to go into production, then we look for experience that demonstrates you have skills that are transferable to production. There are a variety of ways you can get those skills, whether it be involvement in a student organization where you get to work behind a camera, a volunteer experience at your church where you worked with the a/v ministry, or your own side hustle where you make YouTube videos. The point is that you’ve had some type of extracurricular experience that supports your interest in your career field of choice.

2. Does being a part of a recruitment organization strengthen your chances of landing an internship? If so, can you explain?

I definitely think that it strengthens your chances of landing an internship! However, there is a misconception that it guarantees you will land an internship. One of the major reasons why most recruitment organizations exist is because, historically, minorities and people from underrepresented groups haven’t had access to the opportunities that get your foot in the door to major companies. Sure, most major companies will post their internships online, but there are thousands and thousands of students who apply. There is normally a limited number of internships, many of whom are already “claimed” by people who have a personal connection with someone who works at the company. For the rest of us who don’t have any type of “inside contact,” the opportunities are even smaller.

3. Are there other benefits of being a part of a recruitment organization other than possibly securing an internship?

I think one of the other major benefits is the access that you get to resources like webinars and events that you may not have known about – or that are limited to only students affiliated with the program. For example, we host informational webinars with some of our host companies like Paramount Pictures and truTV where you really get a chance to learn about the different jobs and opportunities available at their company and what you need to do to be competitive for them.

4. Sometimes there is a fee to join certain organizations, and it turns students away from applying because they are on a tight budget. Can you explain how a student should decide what's worth investing their money in for their personal development?

There is a saying that you can tell what someone’s priorities are by what they spend their money on. It really boils down to priorities. You have to really look at what you’re spending your money on and make sure that it is in alignment with your personal and professional priorities.

5. What advice can you give students during their interview for T-Howard or another recruitment organization?

The simplest advice I can give is to just prepare for the interview – not just with recruitment organizations but in any interview. Look up the mission of the company/organization. Review their social media posts. Most importantly, be prepared to discuss yourself. The candidates who always shine are those who can articulate the skills they bring by using specific examples from their experience and how they will add value to the company/organization.


Khadejah Stegall is a mommy blogger that inspires others to achieve the impossible through the power of Jesus. She enjoys family time, eating vegan meals when it's convenient and mentoring others on professional development. To be inspired by more posts, follow her blog at khadejahstegall.com.