If the search for candidates has you coming up empty-handed, you might want to consider going back to school…to look for candidates, that is. Colleges and universities offer almost unlimited potential as recruiting centers. Not only are they populated with an ever-changing array of skilled people, it just so happens that one of the missions of higher education is to prepare these individuals for careers, which complements your objective as a recruiter. In addition, campuses are communities unto themselves with a myriad of resources waiting to be tapped. The first step in turning the college market into your candidate market is to identify colleges and universities in the area for which you’re recruiting. Whether area means a geographic location or a specific industry, there are sources that can help. The University Pages lists colleges and universities for individual states. Using their map of the United States, simply find the state you wish to research, click on it, and a list of colleges and universities for that state will be returned. Each school then links to a Web site. It’s an easy way to get an overview of colleges and universities in a specific region. On the other hand, The Graduate School Channel at Petersons.com can help you find schools with specific academic programs. Sub-searches within some of the program categories allow you to narrow the search by location. For example, clicking on “MBA Programs,” and then “Peterson’s MBA Search,” will bring up two listings: “MBA Concentration” and “Location.” A search using both will result in schools that are both academically and geographically specific. Once you have identified colleges and/or universities pertaining to your area of interest, you’re ready to start using their websites to look for information. Start in the most logical place. Does the college have a career center? If so, is there a description of its services? If you can help facilitate the career center’s services, they will probably be happy to hear from you. The career center director is an ideal person to contact. He/she is looking to help students with job placement, as are you. A friendly, but professional, email inquiry or phone call would be appropriate. Be sure to mention that you would like to work with the college, that is, work together, to help graduating students with career placement. The higher education environment responds more readily to the “helpful” approach rather than an aggressive hard sell. Faculty directories can also point you in the direction of people to contact. Since faculty responsibilities at most colleges include student advising, faculty members are or should be aware of the career goals of their student advisees. Rather than combing a long list of faculty members, choose the department chairperson who best pertains to your candidate search area. Are you looking for accountants? Most likely you would want to speak with or write to the chair of the business division. You can be certain you’re contacting the right person by double checking a college’s list of academic majors and/or course offerings. These can vary from school to school. For example, sometimes advertising copy writing courses are part of a business curriculum, and other times they are listed as communications courses. When contacting faculty members, you should approach them in the same way you would the career center director. You are offering to help students with job placement. Helping a student find a job need not always take a traditional route. Keep in mind that many colleges include internships as part of their degree requirements. If your organization or the organization for which you’re recruiting is open to working with a student in this capacity, such an arrangement could prove valuable from two standpoints. First, a college intern could turn into a permanent employee. Secondly, sponsoring an internship gets your name known in the community, which could lead to other contacts. Approaching administration and faculty members is one way to recruit for candidates, but you can also do some sleuthing of your own. Club listings, newsletters, and the student newspaper are often included on a college’s Web site, and all can contain names and valuable information. Another source for finding individual students is Personal Pages Worldwide. This is a page with links to collections of homepages at colleges and universities. Obviously information varies, depending on the school, but perusing homepages can prove fruitful. Baylor University, located in Waco, Texas, includes an alphabetical directory of student homepages. Clicking on a letter of the alphabet brings up a list of student names, each of which is a link to a page. The directory of homepages for Boston College is also alphabetical, and it also returns a list of student names. However, following each name in this list is the school in which each student is enrolled (for example, Caroll Grad School of Management), and his or her graduation date. If the school you’re searching includes information of this kind, it can be an asset in narrowing your search. Don’t be misled by the word student, or by a 2001 graduate date. Today’s colleges and universities include a growing population of adult learners. Many of these students are seasoned members of the workforce who have returned to school in order to acquire additional skills or to obtain college degrees. Colleges and universities are communities, which you can conveniently visit online. By roaming the hollowed halls of higher education via the Web you can uncover a wealth of qualified candidates. It’s virtually academic.
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