The Northeast Ohio Talent Gap: How International Students Can Help Fill in the Talent Pipeline

Ensuring there’s an adequate flow of workers available in the Northeast Ohio talent pipeline is an ongoing problem in the region and one that will be addressed during the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit.

In the lead up to the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit on Feb. 27, Mind Your Business will be running a series of articles previewing some of the sessions that attendees will have the opportunity to sit in on. Today’s preview focuses on the legal aspects of internships. Click here to view the other preview articles for this year’s Internship Summit.

As far as Joe Cimperman is concerned, the greatest threat to the future prosperity of Northeast Ohio is easy to pinpoint.

It’s an inability to fill in the talent gap that exists between companies and potential employers.

Cimperman, president of Global Cleveland, sees companies all around Northeast Ohio that are having a difficult time filling positions, so those jobs stay vacant for long periods of time. One easy solution to filling in this talent pipeline is for companies to utilize the approximately 7,000 international students who are currently in Northeast Ohio.

This is a topic that Cimperman will delve into more deeply during his session “International Student Interns: Steps and Requirements to Hiring and Why International Talent Is Beneficial to Employers and the Community” during the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit.

This talk will center around not only some of the benefits looking at international students can bring (for instance, they have a tendency to stay longer and it’s a good way to audition potential full-time staffers, thus reducing the aforementioned talent gap) but also creative ways to welcome these students into area internship programs.

Get the lowdown on other creative strategies you need to create a top-notch internship program by registering today for the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit.

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  • Next up: The Preventive Care You and Your Employees Should Be Getting
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  • The Preventive Care You and Your Employees Should Be Getting

    Many Americans do not use preventive services because they are unclear about what constitutes covered preventive care in their health plan. As an employer, you may want to remind your employees about the covered preventive care benefits and age appropriate health screenings available to them. This may prove to be cost-effective for the plan, and help with early disease detection.

    Annual physical

    Most health plans including the COSE multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA) cover the cost of an annual preventive health care visit, also known as a physical, as long as you use an in-network doctor. Employees of all ages should be getting an annual physical. This exam covers patient history, vital sign checks, visual exam, physical exam and possibly lab work if the doctor thinks it’s necessary. The lab work may be at an additional cost to your employees depending on your health plan.

    Health screenings

    Other health screenings should be encouraged depending on the age and health history of your employees. A few that we encourage include breast cancer screenings for women ages 50-74, prostate cancer screenings for men age 50+, colorectal cancer screenings for all adults ages 50-75 and comprehensive diabetes screenings for diabetics ages 18-75. The costs of these health screenings may vary based on your health plan.

    Health and wellness

    If you have a COSE MEWA health plan, COSE MEWA and Medical Mutual together offer a comprehensive suite of programs designed to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors. These wellness programs start with a health assessment to provide a baseline and help your employees better understand their health and identify risk factors for disease. Other tools and resources are available so your employees can make positive changes to improve their well-being including the Health Resource Center on My Health Plan, fitness discounts, access to the QuitLine Program for tobacco users and a WeightWatchers® reimbursement.

    Disease management program

    If you or one of your employees are diagnosed with or have been living with a chronic health condition, Medical Mutual’s Disease Management program can offer education and support. This program is available for employees who have been diagnosed with one or more of the following conditions:

    -          Asthma

    -          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

    -          Congestive heart failure

    -          Coronary artery disease

    -          Diabetes

    For more information on COSE MEWA’s Health and Wellness benefits through Medical Mutual, please contact your broker or click here. If your you and your employees are currently enrolled and are interested in Medical Mutual’s Disease Management program, they can check eligibility and enroll by calling 1-800- 861-4826, option 2.

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  • Next up: The Recruiting Industry Can be a Racket! Why “Culture Fit” is Critical
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  • The Recruiting Industry Can be a Racket! Why “Culture Fit” is Critical

    Check out this surprising perspective from the CEO of Zephyr Recruiting about the disconnect between the recruiting industry and the employers and job seekers it serves.


    The recruiting industry can be such a racket. Yes, I actually meant to say that. I have seen first-hand how disconnected the recruiting industry can be from the employers and job seekers it serves. 

    In order to understand why I make such a bold claim, you have to understand the basic business model of the industry. Now, to be fair, not all recruiting firms use this model—however, it is the basis for most firms out there. 

    To start, most firms are contingency-based, which seems like a great idea on the surface for the employer because there is no fee unless you choose to hire the presented candidate. No risk, right?  

    The second critical thing to know is recruiters are most often paid 100% commission on the roles they fill and are also responsible for “bringing in the business.” This is considered a hybrid sales/recruiter. They only get paid if they successfully find a client and fill the role.  

    This combination can often times set up the recruiter to care about one main thing—filling the role as fast as possible; otherwise, it is famine for them. In fact, it is a very high-pressure job with a high burn-out rate and, ironically, a very high turn-over rate. Their motivation is not about finding the employer the best possible employee, but to fill it as fast as they can so they can feed themselves and their families.  

    At the surface this may not seem that bad, so why do I think this is such a terrible approach? Because what this really does is it treats human beings, the job seekers, as commodities—putting profit before what is best for the humans involved. 

    The other way in which the industry is a racket is the exorbitant fees charged by these firms. Typically, the fee is between 20% - 35% of the annual salary of the new hire. The reason for these fees is due to the high failure rate in which the losses have to be built into the fee.  

    And again, since the recruiter needs to fill the role as fast as possible, they often spend no more than 15-30 minutes with the job seeker, only asking about skills and experience. They typically spend about the same amount of time with the employer, getting a basic understanding of the role, salary, and skills requirements.  

    What is left out is culture fit, which is the number one predictor of successful retention of a new hire.  At Zephyr, we believe culture fit includes at least these main factors: 

    Core values 
    Mindset and Attitude
    Team Dynamics

    I tried to locate data on the retention rate of employees hired through recruiting firms and have found nothing. Sometimes the absence of data is as profound as the data itself. My assumption is this information is not shared for a reason. What I can say is that every single one of our clients who have used a traditional recruiting firm have had no luck with the hires sticking around and working out. Often times, they have paid between $15,000 - $30,000 PER HIRE just to lose them within six months. Now THAT is a racket! 

    I am actually not trying to paint a negative picture of the recruiters themselves. They are often victims to this model and rarely last. It is the standard industry business model I am questioning. 

    Human beings are NOT commodities. They are partners, teammates, friends and THE only reason any business can provide its service or products to its customers. Without employees, a business cannot exist. 

    Recruiting support from an outside source needs to be a service that balances the value of bringing on a RIGHT FIT™ employee with the time it takes to do this important work. Recruiting should be akin to matchmaking, finding the RIGHT FIT™ for both the job seeker and employer.  

    RELATED: What is a RIGHT FIT employee?

    Recruiters should not be paid only if they fill a role, but for the work they do. This will allow them to be committed to quality work, not quantity work. The pressure to fill roles fast should be removed, allowing the recruiter to cater to both the employer AND the job seeker. The recruiter can then focus on finding the right match while giving the job seeker the time, attention, and respect they deserve throughout the recruiting process. 

    Recruiters should not be the salesperson, responsible for bringing in the revenue. This creates a conflict of interest no matter how you slice it. 

    At Zephyr we created this framework because it is the right thing to do. We deeply believe everyone deserves to love their job and every employer deserves to love their team. 

    Erin Longmoon is the CEO of Zephyr Recruiting, which she founded in response to her clients’ needs for help in with building effective and successful teams. Zephyr Recruiting serves the small business community—the mom and pop places that are the backbones of our communities and our economy.

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  • Next up: The Right Way to Hire and Retain Staff
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  • The Right Way to Hire and Retain Staff

    Perfect your hiring process.

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  • Next up: The Tangible Benefits of Workplace Wellness
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  • The Tangible Benefits of Workplace Wellness

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  • Next up: The Tangible Benefits of Workplace Wellness
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  • The Tangible Benefits of Workplace Wellness

    Healthy, engaged employees are more productive than those who aren’t. In this COSE WebEd Series webinar recap, Sunny Lurie of Advanced Performance, Inc., explains how to put wellness programs into action.

    Healthy, engaged employees are more productive than those who aren’t. In this COSE WebEd Series webinar recap, Sunny Lurie of Advanced Performance, Inc., explains how to put wellness programs into action.

    The data around the benefits of workplace wellbeing are clear. For instance, in a survey earlier this year by Virgin Pulse, 97% of the 620 business leaders surveyed indicated that wellbeing positively influences engagement. Separately, a recent survey done by The Economist, 84% of senior company leaders said unengaged employees is a top business threat.

    Do you see the connection here? During a recent COSE WebEd Series webinar titled “Creating a Healthy, High-Performing Workplace,” Sunny Klein Lurie, the CEO of Advanced Performance, Inc., said promoting workplace wellbeing can boost both morale and your workers’ performance. 

    There are more benefits as well, Lurie said. For example, medical costs fall by $3.27 per dollar spent on wellness program, according to a report by National Institutes of Health. And putting such a philosophy in place can also help in recruiting, as millennials tend to be more focused on purpose than paycheck.

    So, how do you achieve this state of wellbeing in the workplace? She pointed to engagement—that act of fostering a commitment to work, the company, customers and a genuine connection to co-workers—as being one potential route.

    Wellness in Action

    According to a 2015 American Wellbeing Report done by Gallup, Ohio ranks 47th in the United States in wellbeing. Lurie identified several ways to build engagement and promote wellness that might help to improve this ranking, including:

    • Distribute an engagement assessment to your staff, asking them if they feel have the opportunity to do what they want; if their associates are committed to work; if they receive adequate recognition; if they have friends in the workplace, etc.
    • Do a “FitBit Challenge” that encourages your staff to get up and move.
    • Add a treadmill to one corner of your office, with a sign-up sheet.
    • Hold stand-up meetings for shorter meetings of no longer than 15 or 20 minutes.
    • Add a “Growth Opportunity” day to your company’s calendar. This is a day when staff will be given the chance to work on projects that inspire them. This is a good way to play to your employees’ strengths, their particular blend of talent, skills and knowledge.
    • Institute reading groups, which can help with stress relief.

    For comments or questions, you can reach Sunny Lurie at or via phone at 216-397-9900. COSE’s WebEd webinars are just one aspect of the educational programming COSE provides. View a list of upcoming webinars and other events that will give you the resources you need to grow your business.

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