World-class College Recruiting Program – Characteristics of Strategic College Recruiting Systems

A checklist for assessing the quality of college recruiting programs and systems.

Almost everyone in the employment field attempts to develop quality employment programs and systems. After studying hundreds of employment systems from Fortune 500 firms we have come up with a comprehensive checklist to use to assess the quality of any college recruitment system.

This checklist can be used as an audit tool or as a benchmark in order to ensure that new College Recruitment systems are the best that they can be. Be aware that no single system EVER meets all of these criteria and that any system must fit your unique culture and set of needs.

World-Class College Recruiting Systems meet most of the following
Critical Success Factors:

Recruitment Specific WC Characteristics

  1. Identifies (and gets them to apply) students who are not actively searching for a job.
  2. Does not rely solely on the candidates coming to us. We often find their names without their active help.
  3. Our College Recruiters identify what “triggers” a particular student to say “yes” to an offer.
  4. The College Hire Program utilizes “friends”, family and acquaintances to assist us in getting a college recruit to “yes”.
  5. Hires “on campus” representatives (students in HR or the key major) to help you gather information and interest students in our program.
  6. Finds the best candidates even at “no-name” universities and during “off recruiting times” (Christmas, summer etc.).
  7. Involves Key Faculty in the identification and screening process.
  8. Involves Key Student Groups, their officers and opinion leaders in the identification and screening process.
  9. Offers students/ faculty a referral bonus for referring other super students (where the culture and ethics allow).
  10. Has programs to assess faculty referrals in order to allow us to focus our resources on the faculty that refer successful hires.
  11. Offers programs to build faculty relationships including faculty discounts, allowing faculty to sit in on company training, funding teaching assistants for of the best professors, giving faculty feedback on the curriculum and what students need “more of and less of”, guarantee interviews to a faculty members top __ students, etc., get junior faculty mentors at our company and donate $ to sponsor academic meetings.
  12. Offer junior faculty access to company data (and coauthor articles) to assist them in meeting research quotas.
  13. De-emphasizes general university giving as well as President and Dean contacts where data indicate they are not as helpful in building faculty relationships as direct faculty contact.
  14. Offers to pay for a plant trip, equipment or give them a summer faculty internship or a research project. The visits and projects will give them stories to tell in class. Offer money and trips to student groups also in order to get them to talk about your firm and to refer the best to you.
  15. Offer company employees as visiting evaluators for class projects as well as for lectures and out of class activities.
  16. Set up an online chat room or list server to allow recent hires at your company to build a rapport with still in college students.
  17. Utilizes the campus marketing/ PR club to build our on-campus image as an employer of choice. Use class projects and clubs to identify the “right” media to use and to do surveys/ focus groups on our image on campus.
  18. Have early identification programs to capture the interest of Freshmen and Sophomores. Tailor your efforts to this unique “culture”.
  19. Minimizes the use of Career Centers and Career Fairs unless our data shows that they are effective.
  20. Uses multiple sourcing tools (paper, people and electronic) to ensure all “superstars” are identified.
  21. When possible recruits qualified and diverse candidates including “cool” people and creative outside the box thinkers
  22. Produces a” higher “superstar, “qualified” applicant, and a lower “turkey” recruit rate than our competitors (and then last year)
  23. Utilizes technology (including the web, teleconferencing, multi-media, on-line simulations/ games, telephone interviews and virtual reality) to attract and excite high quality applicants.
  24. Offers an exciting but realistic “job-preview”. It tells applicants what they really want to know about. Their future team, projects and job as well as providing and overview of the corporate culture and mission.
  25. Hiring decisions, offers, acceptances and employee “sign-on’s” can all be done “online”.
  26. Utilizes “subtle” recruiting tools like sponsoring professional seminars, web pages, scholarship contests, speaking at seminars and classes etc. designed to identify those “afraid” to be seen in the active job market.
  27. Emphasizes effective “intra-recruiting” tools to identify and place the sons and daughters of our current employees as well as using alumni as mentors/ recruiters.
  28. Continually recruits and develops applicant pools and identifies “soon to be qualified (not quite yet graduates)” applicants to allow us to do an emergency “instant hires”.
  29. Has the capability to hire a “superstar student” as a “corporate resource” instantly (even without a job opening) when a World-Class individual “suddenly” comes on the job market.
  30. The recruitment system attracts “superstar” applicants that do not apply to your chief competitors as well as all of the qualified ones that do apply to your competitors
  31. Continually communicates with applicants so they maintain their interest and to reduce the likelihood that they will actively pursue other opportunities. Possibilities include monthly E-Newsletters, discounts on our products, periodic e-mails and calls)
  32. Identifies interns at competing companies that are dissatisfied and our looking for other opportunities.
  33. It rejects applicants (or discourages applicants with a minimal chance) in such a way that they maintain a positive image of us and when possible, provides them with useful feedback on what they must do to become “qualified”. It treats rejects as future customers.
  34. Tracks turndowns, great graduating classes and high unemployment periods to take advantage of emerging opportunities. We might actually increase our hiring when others reduce college hires because more of the best will be available.
  35. Fills “hard to hire” jobs (majors) at a higher rate than our competitors.
  36. Surveys applicants and rejects to determine any problems and satisfaction levels.
  37. Simplifies the application process and reduces “frustration” barriers to increase “hits” by “hassle reluctant/ time pressed” candidates.
  38. Through realistic and precise recruiting it discourages the unqualified (Has a 10:1 or lower “qualified” selection ratio) and allows potential candidates to” self assess” and self-select themselves in order to minimize “bad fit” and unqualified applications.
  39. Goes to second “tier” and “international” universities to “cherry pick” the top talent where there is little competition. The talent is thinner but the top 1% are as good as all but the very best at the top schools. Use contests, e-mails, Web sites, video interviews and faculty referrals to avoid visits.
  40. WOWing them is essential in order to win the recruiting battle. WOW them with Internet video interviews, WOW web pages and E-newsletters to targeted students. Sponsor list servers, chat rooms, offer on-line mentors and give WOW gifts like free software, diskettes, screen savers, free pizza and coffee during exam week, etc.
  41. Shares real company problems and opportunities with students through the Internet. Offer exciting simulations and projects to allow students to test their real-world skills.
  42. Involves, measures and heavily reward managers who hire and retain the best college hires. Make it the recruiters’ job to get the managers excited about college hiring.
  43. Use search firms as well as surveys to determine competitive salary, sign-on and relocation dollar levels.
  44. Develops WC orientation and transition systems to eliminate frustration and speed “time to productivity” for new hires.
  45. It looks at “one year after” grads that rejected our offers to see if they might want to work for us now.

Other World-Class Characteristics of Selection & Assessment Processes for College Recruiting

  1. Make the selection and offer process “fun and quick” so we don’t lose “easily bored” candidates.
  2. Student talent is assessed in ways in addition to interviews. Assessing student talent can also be done in a more “fun” way through in-class presentations, projects, contests, simulations, and internships.
  3. Use computers, scanners and intranets to scan, screen & send applications/ resumes immediately to managers.
  4. Only uses “knockout factors” that are valid, reliable, job-related and have little adverse impact.
  5. Selection criteria are weighted, or ranked depending on their ability to predict.
  6. All KSA’s and Competencies used are valid, reliable are directly job-related and have “face validity” with applicants & managers.
  7. Whenever possible “Content”/ hands-on/ “show me” selection tools are used rather than “Construct” “tell me about it” tools.
  8. All questions asked during the process 1) Are directly related to this job, 2) Have a range of benchmark answers (each of which has an assigned score and 3) Are documented (along with the answers given).
  9. Current high performing employee’s (resumes) are periodically used as testers” and run (blind) through the system to “reverse test” it’s effectiveness.
  10. In cost-cutting companies, there is a lower cost per hire than our goal.
  11. Hires “agile”, flexible and multi-talented individuals that can be rapidly redeployed to “other ” areas of need.
  12. Hires the most qualified individuals at the lowest starting base salary, relocation, and sign-on cost.
  13. Employment systems meet all ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), EEOC Uniform Guidelines, EEO/AA, I-9, and applicant flow requirements.
  14. It quickly identifies: “turkeys”, “lookie loo’s”, as well as “serious” and ‘superstar” candidates.
  15. Minimizes bad P.R., illegal questions, sexual harassment, negligent hiring and discrimination “events” during the selection process.
  16. All selection decisions are well documented and are periodically reviewed for legal issues.
  17. Manager and candidate satisfaction, with the selection process, is periodically assessed.
  18. Assesses which managers do “well” with college hires. Redirects hires when training doesn’t work to “fix” the managers.
  19. Assesses the hires for the first __months in order to “weed” out our mistakes before they do too much “damage”.
  20. Where appropriate, involve customers in the selection process. Especially for those College Hire positions that often have frequent contact with customers.

Other General World Class
Characteristics of College Recruiting

  1. Hires students that perform at a significantly higher level than our current best employees. (Performance measures might include new hire productivity, sales, forced ranking scores, performance appraisal scores, # of raises, promotions, ideas and awards etc.).
  2. Hiring a significant number of College hires directly impacts the profitability of the firm by increasing corporate competitiveness/ capability as a result of the added capabilities of our new college hires.
  3. College Recruiting Programs have a higher success rate, have a greater impact on productivity and have a higher Return on Investment than other recruiting systems and programs.
  4. The quality of our College hire system allows us to attract and hire “the best and the brightest” so that “our” College recruiting system is our main competitive advantage over our main competitors. We are the best in The SIX Primary Employment Roles :
    1. Finding
    2. Convincing them to apply
    3. Selecting the most productive
    4. Convincing them to accept
    5. Shortening the time to productivity for new hires
    6. Rapidly Redeploying our college hires to the areas where they can help the corporation the most.
  5. Sets and prioritizes goals for each major element of the college recruitment system, and meets each of those goals.
  6. Is forward-looking. It looks at future corp. needs/ college trends and assesses future competencies that will be required.
  7. Continually improves every aspect of itself (10% per yr.) The College Hire program continually tries innovative alternatives to existing systems. Every system & assumption is continually questioned. “We’ve always done it that way” is an unacceptable answer. We should mirror the speed of change of our products and “obsolete out own “college recruiting” tools.
  8. We continually measure every aspect of the College Hire system’s performance (using #’s and $’s). Especially which school provides the best performers.
  9. The College Hire Program has a high rate of customer satisfaction and acceptance by managers, faculty, and students (both applicants and non-applicants).
  10. The College Hire Program puts the primary responsibly on the managers and the employees for recruitment and hiring.
  11. Each element of the College Hire Program selection process accurately predicts future “on the job” performance and competencies (The process is valid).
  12. Use side by side tests, “mystery shoppers”, random sampling surveys, focus groups and pilot tests to ensure new systems are refined (and work) before (and after) they are implemented.
  13. Has “seamless” “one size fits one” International capabilities (multi-lingual of multi-cultural).
  14. Has instant response to questions and problems (24 hours a day).
  15. College hires have a higher retention (tenure) rate than our target.
  16. Our The College Hire Program has a shorter cycle time, lower unit of service costs, can handle a larger volume, and result in better performing hires than the systems of our direct competitors.
  17. All employment systems and tools are simple to use, don’t require manuals or training (even though they are available on-line).
  18. Our College Hire Program provides high quality consulting advice to managers to assist them in making quality employment decisions.
  19. Are at a minimum financially self-supporting from fee for service “chargebacks” and often generate outside revenues.
  20. College hire selection systems focus on measuring present and future capabilities. They don’t overly focus on past performance or skills, # of years of experience or # of years of education.
  21. The College Hire Program includes elements of the product and corporate image marketing. It helps improve the company’s “image” in general and positively impacts it’s the ability to sell products to non-applicants and rejected applicants. It has a reciprocal agreement with the sales staff to assist each other in finding names and selling the product.
  22. The College Hire Program has the capability to assist in other strategic corporate initiatives such as: mergers, acquisitions divestitures, strategic alliances, layoffs, expansion (international and national), restructuring, headcount maintenance, assessment centers, etc.
  23. Identifies and assesses Outsourcing and “special help” resources (event planning, career fairs, initial screening, consultants etc.) to handle situations where there is no advantage to having the capability internally.
  24. It continuously benchmarks itself against the best in the world and “audits” itself against our direct competitors. We recruit away from the competitors’ best recruiters.
  25. Recruitment and selection systems are dependable and consistent (reliable) in different locations, “tiers” of schools and times.
  26. The College Hire Program uses changing technology (WWW, Intranet, video conferencing etc.) to allow us to find, convince and evaluate candidates in ways not possible before.
  27. Has JIT (just in time) capabilities to ensure we can be instantly responsive to changing business needs. (instant hire, pre-grad hire, out of term hire etc.)
  28. Minimizes the managers’ time spent on administrative employment functions.
  29. Eliminates the use of paper and minimizes the use of forms and approvals.
  30. Each employment system has multiple capabilities (fast/slow, cheap/first class, acceptable/world class, regular/emergency etc.) so they can “agilely” shift when the environment requires it.
  31. Minimizes complaints and lawsuits. And if challenged, we win a high number (75% +).
  32. Does not require (extensive or any) job analysis, a job description or a job requisition to begin the process.
  33. Because of their strategic impact, directors of The College Hire Program are promoted to VP-HR more frequently than other directors.
  34. Minimizes the number of requirements, policies and rules put on line managers and maximizes management flexibility.
  35. The College Hire Program continually identifies “factors” that “cause” applicants to apply. They then influence top and middle managers to provide the “best” working environment so that we can become “the” Employer of Choice in our industry and area.
  36. Has Multi-approaches and customizes it’s strategies to a particular job or situation. It monitors the external environment and adjusts to meet the changing (job) market.
  37. Is proactive and forward-looking. It accurately forecasts future needs, college graduation rates and the quality of future grads and changes systems to be ready in time.
  38. Continually identifies College Recruitment best practices, opportunities, problems/ errors (and their solutions).
  39. Involves and empowers all college applicants to “own” the employment process.
  40. All “passing and reject” scores are determined by data analysis. A few “Failures” are periodically allowed to “pass-through” to see if they “fail” as predicted.
  41. After the quality of College hire, “speed as a competitive advantage” (in identifying and closing the deal )is the second most important goal for the College Hire Program.
  42. There is a clear, written and communicated College Hire Plan (Multi-year) that is an essential element of the overall Strategic Business Plan.
  43. Integrates College Recruiting systems (people and computer) with other HR and “corporate” systems to ensure cooperation and the smooth flow of information to others outside of HR New hire performance is tracked and success and failure data are continually “fed-back” to refine recruiting and selection tools.
  44. Employment systems and professionals don’t generalize about groups of people, they “find out” for that particular individual.
  45. Has the same or higher ethical standards than those of the rest of the industry.
  46. Utilizes reengineering, TQM, processes maps, pay at risk incentives and other tools to continually improve.
  47. Develops systems to maintain security, confidentiality, and privacy.
  48. Uses objective and measurable decision criteria, (rather than subjective or “gut” criteria) whenever possible.
  49. Develops checklists, templates and guidelines to assist managers in making College Hire decisions rather than rules, manuals, training classes and policies that can overly restrict their need for flexibility.
  50. The College Hire Program continually builds it’s internal strengths by having a written plan to hire, retain, assess, train and continually improve all employment systems (and people). It consciously compares itself to the best employment systems in the industry/ world so that no competitor will beat us in the “talent” market.
  51. Because of our extensive knowledge of the job market we assist management in developing retention systems to minimize “poaching” and the ability of competitors to “raid” our recent College Hires and Interns.
  52. The College Recruitment Department continually identifies and evaluates Employment information sources (journals, reference sources, on-line sources, books and newsletters etc.). Information is continually shared with the staff.
  53. Our internal training and self-development programs help us “grow” internal strength in recruiting and allows our best to transfer into line management positions. We are the department everyone wants to work at.

As seen on Gately Consulting.

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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