• Creating a System for Identifying, Supporting Target Schools

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    July 18, 2012
     

    Identifying the schools that can help meet your hiring goals can be challenging. An important step is to work closely with the people who do headcount planning to determine the number and kind of openings your organization will have, the type of employees your organization wants, the diversity needs of your organization, and your budget for college recruiting. 

    There are two common mistakes companies make when selecting target schools: 

    • Selecting schools without basing the decision on how the school will meet the company’s needs. Sometimes organizations fail to match their needs with what the school provides. Instead, they target a school because key executives attended, because they have always recruited there, or for another reason that isn’t strictly based on good organization-school fit. 
    • Recruiting at too many schools. In some cases, this results from targeting schools that aren’t the best match (and can’t provide enough quality hires), but can also occur because the organization underestimates how many hires they can make. Recruiting at too many schools also results when the organization doesn’t carefully review its target schools on a regular basis. Instead of weeding out schools that aren’t a good fit, the organization simply adds more. 

    There is no set formula for determining target schools. Since each organization—and its corporate culture—is different, so are its needs. Still, each school should be rated by several factors, including:

    • Curriculum/ranking—Is the school accredited? Is the curriculum relevant to the needs of your organization?
    • Location—Will the distance to campus justify the time and money it takes to recruit there? Will the distance create relocation and retention issues?
    • Demographics—Does the overall enrollment and percentages of women and minority candidates meet the company’s recruiting needs?
    • Graduation dates—When will candidates be available for work?
    • Career services/faculty/student organizations—Are the services the company needs available through the career center? Is the faculty accessible and interested in career opportunities for their students? Can the company collaborate with the school’s student organizations?
    • Competitive environment—Are the student’s expectations, for instance about salary, in line with what the organization can offer?
    • Potential recruiters/team leaders—Does the company have enough alumni to create a recruiting team?
    • Internal opinion of the school—What is the general opinion of the school within the company? Would the school be accepted as part of the college recruiting program?  

    Companies use different combinations of these factors to identify their target schools. Some employers then create a tiered system of the support they offer to their target schools. A sample tiered system is: 

    Tier 1:  

    • Campus interviews
    • Career fairs
    • Job postings and direct e-mail campaign
    • On-campus information sessions to student groups
    • In-person faculty relationship building 

    Tier 2: 

    • Career fairs
    • Job postings—online job boards and career center
    • Direct e-mail campaign—e-postcards
    • Resume books and databases
    • Student group, faculty lists 

    Tier 3: 

    • Job postings—online job boards and career center
    • Direct e-mail campaign
    • Resume books and databases
    • Student group, faculty lists 

    It is critical that you periodically reevaluate and update your list of target schools to confirm your commitment to the colleges and universities with which you already work, to add schools that could provide greater returns on your recruiting investment, and to drop others that might no longer meet your recruiting needs.


Creating a System for Identifying, Supporting Target Schools