For students and parents, landing a full-time job at the other end of a college degree is the be-all and end-all. More often than not, however, preparing for the vitally important job search is not afforded the same gravitas as college entrance exams.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
For students and parents, landing a full-time job at the other end of a college degree is the be-all and end-all. More often than not, however, preparing for the vitally important job search is not afforded the same gravitas as college entrance exams. That’s where Complete Candidate comes in.
Devised by Nancy Thomas and Nadine Bilotta, the comprehensive service provides college upperclassmen and recent graduates with the tools they need to get their first job through seminars and private coaching. Their next seminar falls on October 16 from 9-5 at Rye’s Serendipity Labs.
“We’ve taken something that’s a big conundrum and made it into a process that young adults can navigate,” said Bilotta. “We create an individualized game plan with them and determine where they need the most attention.”
Thomas sees it as ensuring “a great return on their investment.” Indeed, every single one of their participants has gotten a job or at least viable job offers.
What distinguishes their job search protocol from others is the fact that they cover the entire experience, as opposed to solely resume writing or interviewing skills. They take participants through self-evaluation exercises, then go through the entire job search, covering resumes, cover letters, thank you notes, and interview mastery. Complete Candidate guides them all the way through the first month on the job.
“We’ve included every single step in a very detailed guide that covers everything from preparing to packaging to launching a targeted job search,” explained Thomas. “There’s a consistency that students and graduates build with us, so they can tell their story confidently when they go out on interviews.”
Although Bilotta lives in Mamaroneck and Thomas lives in South Carolina, they FaceTime every day and run their business seamlessly. They facilitate each seminar and coaching session together.
“We live in a parallel universe,” quipped Bilotta. “We have a great dynamic, and we bounce everything off each other.”
“And our collaboration offers different perspectives,” added Thomas about their effective partnership. “My experience and perspective goes straight to the solutions or big picture, while Nadine’s talent dissects the steps and the details necessary to get there.”
Having met as headhunters at Advantage Human Resourcing, one of the world’s largest staffing companies, Bilotta and Thomas branched out on their own with LOF Group in 2000. The acronym stands for the “leap of faith” it took the duo to open their own executive search, consulting and training firm.
“Our background gives us a unique perspective,” noted Bilotta about coming from both a human resources and recruitment firm’s standpoint. “We know what companies need, and we’ve worked with the best service headhunters in the country, so we know what they’re looking for.”
The entrepreneurs’ cumulative efforts at LOF Group proved to be the catalyst for Complete Candidate. When they started getting all their friends’ kids jobs, they realized they had a solid formula. “We devised a plan and came up with the Complete Candidate Workbook, which is the centerpiece of our training program,” explained Bilotta.
For a fee of $595, their fun, one-day interactive seminars never fail to hold their attendees’ attention. There’s a lot of substance behind their catchy slogan, “give us 9-5 and we’ll help you find your 9-5.” Leaving no stone unturned, they discuss attire, eye contact, and handshake etiquette. They go as far as to caution participants to remove any beer bottles and other paraphernalia from behind them on Skype interviews.
The Complete Candidate approach is catching on. Currently expanding to college campus fraternities and sororities, as well as local job fairs, it was most recently featured at the Recruit Westchester Fair at Rye Brook’s Hilton Westchester.
“Our goal is to get everyone a job,” Bilotta remarked. “We want these kids to be successful,” added Thomas.