Q&A with Generation WV’s Evan Nelson

June 3, 2024

Finding a great employee is a process, as is finding a great job.  Generation WV, a nonprofit founded on a mission to keep more young West Virginians in the state, has new programs to match great employers and great candidates. We talked with Evan Nelson, the Career Connector Manager, about these programs and how employers in the Greenbrier Valley can utilize them. 

First, tell us about the mission of Generation WV how the Career Connector & Talent Search meets that mission. 

At Generation WV we are trying to build fulfilling communities and careers so that – throughout the Mountain State – more people can find their way and their people. Generation WV’s Career Connector is a workforce development hub connecting West Virginia job seekers and employers to increase access to opportunity in the Mountain State. We do this with a two-part approach.  

First, we have the Career Connector in which we post jobs from employers and work with candidates to fill these positions. Secondly, we have the new Generational Talent Search where we do recruiting and headhunting for companies that are looking to save money and get a high quality candidate fast. 

How does your job posting work? And how is it different from other ways of posting jobs? 

To post a job with us, we will first have a quick meeting with the business to discuss what information and services you will need. This can save a lot of time in the long run. Once we figure out if your company needs to use the Generational Talent Search or the Career Connector platform, we go ahead and post the job on the appropriate channels.  

There are many things that make us different and probably the most important is that we are completely transparent about salary. All of the jobs that we post will have a salary or a salary range listed for them. We also actively recruit and talk to candidates about how to improve their resumes and which jobs to apply to. It’s a very interactive process. I would consider our job board very much “active hiring” while many companies and other jobs boards are “passive” in their work.  

What are the requirements of the jobs posted and tell us why you have these standards. 

To post with us, after our initial meeting, we just need three things. The first is a good job description. Some companies have an idea of what they want, but that doesn’t always translate well in their job description so we make sure that it is set up so they find the exact candidates they want.  

The second is the salary or salary range for the position. Many professionals these days won’t even click on the job listing if the salary isn’t listed. There is a new trend with young professionals that know their worth and don’t want to waste their time with a company they think will offer a lower than average salary for the position they are applying for. This really changed after 2020 with The Great Resignation. Employers have had to beef up pay and benefits because employees were jumping ship.  

The third thing we need is a high quality logo to use for our website and our social media posts. Hundreds of thousands of people will be seeing these posts, so we want a very professional logo to be displayed.  

You’ve also developed a new approach to helping West Virginia companies and candidates, called Generational Talent Search. Tell us about that. 

Finding the right talent is crucial for businesses to thrive. That’s where our Generational Talent Search steps in, offering a streamlined approach to staffing and recruitment in West Virginia. We have created a better way to hire here in the Mountain State. The Generational Talent Search helps companies to expand their reach, get tailored quality candidates, decrease the time it takes to hire, and most importantly reduces their overall recruiting and onboarding costs.  

With the Generational Talent Search, we use a variety of tools like Salesforce, LinkedIn Recruiter, and our vast network to really find that perfect candidate for each company. We can not only look for things like if the candidate has a degree or years of experience, but we can also search for certifications, traits, key words listed in resumes and profiles, and basically anything you would like to know about the candidate before you hire them. We can find highly skilled, highly qualified candidates for companies and we can find them fast.  

What do these services cost? What if we don’t find a match with the program? 

Most headhunting and recruiting services usually charge around 30%. We come in significantly cheaper than that starting at just 5% of the starting salary of the employee. To start, we do require a $100 down payment that will be subtracted from the final payment once the company hires one of our candidates. We usually send around 3-5 highly qualified candidates to the company, but if they choose not to hire any of them, then there is no charge other than the $100 down payment at the beginning of the search. It’s an unbelievably great deal and people are really starting to use this service more and more.  

Starting last month, posting a job on the Career Connector is completely free now too. There are a lot of employers taking full advantage of that service now. As the Career Connector and our Generational Talent Search grow and change, there may be even more options to help businesses in the future as well.  

What is the one thing you want employers to know about your programs? 

We are truly here to help. We are excited to keep young professionals here in the state and we look forward to helping the businesses make great hires and grow. You can really feel that at Generation WV the goal is to make the state a better, more prosperous place. Everyone is invested and working incredibly hard to make a positive impact. We all love what we do and these programs are extremely well thought out to be both efficient and cost effective.  

Anyone that talks with you about these programs can feel your enthusiasm. Why are you so passionate? 

We truly love the work. As many people know, Generation WV is a fully remote workplace. We have the best of the best working for us throughout the state. It’s an all star team with great leadership. The culture and work we are performing here at Generation WV is exciting and I think that excitement translates into the work that we do. We strive to make a difference in West Virginia and the data shows that it’s working. 

Anything else you want to tell us? 

Thank you for taking the time to interview me and if anyone has any questions, they can reach me at my email (evan@generationwv.org).