College Recruitment After the Storm

Every now and then something comes along that changes an entire industry or brings about a new age. The daily employment news is not good. Although we read and hear the economy is getting better, there is a definite lag between improving bottom lines and increased hiring. Despite improvement in some areas, the situation is meager at best. However, the current conditions do provide an opportunity to reflect, review, and adjust college recruitment strategies in what promises to be a very different post recession landscape.

Many of the jobs that have been lost will not be coming back. What impact does this have on your overall recruitment strategy? While some college graduates may be desperate for a job now, how will this economic downturn impact the confidence of those college students graduating in a few years? Or more importantly, the current ones you’ve already hired? What will be the psychological scars left behind once economic conditions improve? There are a lot of questions that need to be considered. Why? Because most organizations will pick up where things left off prior to the economic slowdown. There’s an assumption the same strategies will work despite the change in the environment.

College recruiting is in a time of rapid and relentless change. It can be disorienting and demoralizing for students, colleges, and employers alike. At the same time, college recruiting is moving into a future that is not yet clearly defined. So planning and strategies cannot be based on what was done yesterday, last week or last year. It certainly cannot be based on the environment prior to the recession. A dynamic and moving environment requires creating a new set of strategies and skills that are not familiar.

Companies are struggling to attract and recruit the sort of talent that they need in order to adapt to the changing technological, global, cultural, and political, and interconnected landscape. What are the next best practices, solutions, strategies, policies, or processes needed to be effective in this new environment? The answer is not obvious. Most college recruiters and universities have been too busy trying to manage this current environment and don’t have time to figure it out.

One thing is clear to me. A paradigm shift must take place: from the traditional role of college recruiting to one which reflects the demands and sophistication needed for a new recruiting environment. A role that is more consultative in nature and which helps colleges and employers identify the best college graduates needed to thrive in the post recession environment. A role that facilitates information sharing, incorporating new technology, embracing innovative approaches, and extending relationships beyond traditional avenues.