The Future of College Recruiting Will be Dominated by Market Research (Part 1 of 2)

The current lull in college recruiting is an opportune time to evaluate new strategies and tools. It is no secret that the vast majority of organizations that recruit from college campuses globally do so tactically, employing little or no strategy. To even the casual observer, the approaches used are predictable, pedestrian, and in some cases laughable, but all of that is about to change.

From the vantage point of someone who has been involved in college recruiting for more than 40 years, either representing a corporation or a university, it is clear that we are approaching a strategic inflection point with regard to the amount of strategy supporting college recruiting.

As that inflection point approaches, there are several dramatic changes that you should anticipate, including:

* The growth of social media (already demonstrating significant impact), opens up hundreds of new communication channels, allowing organizations to present highly targeted messages to highly targeted prospect segments and to cultivate relationships with top talent throughout their academic careers.
* The growth in acceptance of and access to video communication equipment will make it possible for organizations to decrease the use of campus visits and embrace “remote college recruiting.” This societal change comes just as more universities embrace virtual classrooms that allow students to participate in courses without being physically present. Costs will drop, organizations will be able to expand the number of colleges mined for talent, and everyone involved will save time.
* The globalization of work will force organizations to embrace unified global sourcing. While most organizations today continue to recruit geographically, as work becomes more distributed and global universities refine their emphasis and establish stronger industrial ties (Petronas University of Technology for example), organizations will have no choice but to tap the global market to recruit the high volume of graduates with specialized skills needed.
* The “businessization” of university recruiting will require more strategic, longer-term programs to manage complex situations. Due to the dramatic growth of for-profit universities and ongoing economic pressures on public institutions, many educational programs today have direct ties to established corporations that enable benefactors closer access to top students. Cultivating a relationship with said students in such environments will require college recruiting functions to become more business-like, i.e. guided by strategy, empowered with real-time information and relationship-management tools, and world-class opportunities (think of jobs as products) to take to students.

All of the changes highlighted above point to a demand for the college recruiting function to migrate away from being a game of chance to a more serious function that embraces cutting-edge marketing and sales tactics to deliver specific students to the organization. The modern arsenal of tools needed will include CRM (customer relationship management) systems and highly segmented branding informed by robust market research.

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by Dr. John Sullivan | //ere.net

The current lull in college recruiting is an opportune time to evaluate new strategies and tools. It is no secret that the vast majority of organizations that recruit from college campuses globally do so tactically, employing little or no strategy. To even the casual observer, the approaches used are predictable, pedestrian, and in some cases laughable, but all of that is about to change.

From the vantage point of someone who has been involved in college recruiting for more than 40 years, either representing a corporation or a university, it is clear that we are approaching a strategic inflection point with regard to the amount of strategy supporting college recruiting.

As that inflection point approaches, there are several dramatic changes that you should anticipate, including:

  • The growth of social media (already demonstrating significant impact), opens up hundreds of new communication channels, allowing organizations to present highly targeted messages to highly targeted prospect segments and to cultivate relationships with top talent throughout their academic careers.
  • The growth in acceptance of and access to video communication equipment will make it possible for organizations to decrease the use of campus visits and embrace “remote college recruiting.” This societal change comes just as more universities embrace virtual classrooms that allow students to participate in courses without being physically present. Costs will drop, organizations will be able to expand the number of colleges mined for talent, and everyone involved will save time.
  • The globalization of work will force organizations to embrace unified global sourcing. While most organizations today continue to recruit geographically, as work becomes more distributed and global universities refine their emphasis and establish stronger industrial ties (Petronas University of Technology for example), organizations will have no choice but to tap the global market to recruit the high volume of graduates with specialized skills needed.
  • The “businessization” of university recruiting will require more strategic, longer-term programs to manage complex situations. Due to the dramatic growth of for-profit universities and ongoing economic pressures on public institutions, many educational programs today have direct ties to established corporations that enable benefactors closer access to top students. Cultivating a relationship with said students in such environments will require college recruiting functions to become more business-like, i.e. guided by strategy, empowered with real-time information and relationship-management tools, and world-class opportunities (think of jobs as products) to take to students.

All of the changes highlighted above point to a demand for the college recruiting function to migrate away from being a game of chance to a more serious function that embraces cutting-edge marketing and sales tactics to deliver specific students to the organization. The modern arsenal of tools needed will include CRM (customer relationship management) systems and highly segmented branding informed by robust market research. Leer más “The Future of College Recruiting Will be Dominated by Market Research (Part 1 of 2)”

Social Media is Getting Schooled

by Blake Bowyer

Of the sectors throwing caution to the wind and making social media integral to long-term communications plans, I perceive higher education as dragging its feet. Fresh off graduation, I can still smell the ink drying on hastily-minted digital plans for universities of all sizes and ilk. That’s why I was surprised after a recent finding from the Society for New Communications Research: higher education is outpacing the Fortune 500 in social media adoption by more than 2 to 1.

We must consider such inferences carefully. The deeper one digs into the study, the more context must be added. In one instance, researchers found 95% of schools use at least one platform to recruit. While the for-profit equivalent of recruiting is acquiring new customers, social media serve many more functions in both sectors. In education, uses include informing current students, communicating with alumni, and promoting curricula, courses, and extracurriculars internally, among countless others.

The study’s broad statements must be examined carefully and, while the rate of adoption may be high, it may not translate to effectiveness. Social media shouldn’t be drooled over solely for external promotion and recruiting, but also for opportunities to create an enriching stakeholder experience. For example, Harvard University has been an early adopter in its use of social platforms to welcome guests with campus tips on foursquare, serve diverse audiences on Twitter, and provide students resources to get involved via Facebook.

“Well, that’s freakin’ Harvard!” one might say. Sure, but it could be any university with the strategic insight to serve disparate audiences through social media. While not every institution can offer a custom foursquare badge to visitors, it can bring a campus, its students, and the community to life with a fuller interactive, multimedia presence. Obviously it’s no cakewalk and schools must address four fundamental uncertainties that inhibit effective use of social media in higher education:


by Blake Bowyer

Of the sectors throwing caution to the wind and making social media integral to long-term communications plans, I perceive higher education as dragging its feet. Fresh off graduation, I can still smell the ink drying on hastily-minted digital plans for universities of all sizes and ilk. That’s why I was surprised after a recent finding from the Society for New Communications Research: higher education is outpacing the Fortune 500 in social media adoption by more than 2 to 1.

We must consider such inferences carefully. The deeper one digs into the study, the more context must be added. In one instance, researchers found 95% of schools use at least one platform to recruit. While the for-profit equivalent of recruiting is acquiring new customers, social media serve many more functions in both sectors. In education, uses include informing current students, communicating with alumni, and promoting curricula, courses, and extracurriculars internally, among countless others.

The study’s broad statements must be examined carefully and, while the rate of adoption may be high, it may not translate to effectiveness. Social media shouldn’t be drooled over solely for external promotion and recruiting, but also for opportunities to create an enriching stakeholder experience. For example, Harvard University has been an early adopter in its use of social platforms to welcome guests with campus tips on foursquare, serve diverse audiences on Twitter, and provide students resources to get involved via Facebook.

“Well, that’s freakin’ Harvard!” one might say. Sure, but it could be any university with the strategic insight to serve disparate audiences through social media. While not every institution can offer a custom foursquare badge to visitors, it can bring a campus, its students, and the community to life with a fuller interactive, multimedia presence. Obviously it’s no cakewalk and schools must address four fundamental uncertainties that inhibit effective use of social media in higher education: Leer más “Social Media is Getting Schooled”

Using Social Media: Colleges And Universities Vs. Businesses

This is the interesting result emerging out of the last research report authored by Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson and entitled: “Social Media and College Admissions: Higher-Ed Beats Business in Adoption of New Tools for Third Year”.

As a matter of fact, the use of social media technologies inside academic institutions has increased significantly, especially if you look at the time period between 2007 to 2009. In fact, if you compare the results of this new report with the 2007 research paper on social media usage in academia, authored by the same authors and using the same metrics, you will see by yourself how significant the adoption of social media inside educational institutions has been.

In the last few years, academic institutions have indeed become more familiar with social media technologies like blogging, video blogging, social networks or podcasting, while effectively leveraging them to carry out highly-targeted marketing and student recruiting campaigns.

In particular, two findings inside this report highlight clearly this growing trend…


Colleges and universities in North America continue to increase their adoption and large scale use of social media technologies, outpacing both Fortune and Inc 500 on the blogging front. Besides using these to augment and extend their overall communication, learning and student support services, educational institutions have found a key use of social media inside their marketing and student recruiting strategies.

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Photo credit: Clipart

This is the interesting result emerging out of the last research report authored by Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson and entitled: “Social Media and College Admissions: Higher-Ed Beats Business in Adoption of New Tools for Third Year“.

As a matter of fact, the use of social media technologies inside academic institutions has increased significantly, especially if you look at the time period between 2007 to 2009. In fact, if you compare the results of this new report with the 2007 research paper on social media usage in academia, authored by the same authors and using the same metrics, you will see by yourself how significant the adoption of social media inside educational institutions has been.

In the last few years, academic institutions have indeed become more familiar with social media technologies like blogging, video blogging, social networks or podcasting, while effectively leveraging them to carry out highly-targeted marketing and student recruiting campaigns.

In particular, two findings inside this report highlight clearly this growing trend: Leer más “Using Social Media: Colleges And Universities Vs. Businesses”

The coming melt-down in higher education (as seen by a marketer)

For 400 years, higher education in the US has been on a roll. From Harvard asking Galileo to be a guest professor in the 1600s to millions tuning in to watch a team of unpaid athletes play another team of unpaid athletes in some college sporting event, the amount of time and money and prestige in the college world has been climbing.

I’m afraid that’s about to crash and burn. Here’s how I’m looking at it.


For 400 years, higher education in the US has been on a roll. From Harvard asking Galileo to be a guest professor in the 1600s to millions tuning in to watch a team of unpaid athletes play another team of unpaid athletes in some college sporting event, the amount of time and money and prestige in the college world has been climbing.

I’m afraid that’s about to crash and burn. Here’s how I’m looking at it. Leer más “The coming melt-down in higher education (as seen by a marketer)”

Global university extends…


The edupunk movement recently moved up a notch with the entrance of the world’s first global tuition-free online university. University of the People (UoPeople) is a non-profit venture—supported by the United Nations—that embraces the worldwide reach of the internet and dropping technology costs to bring higher education to people who would not otherwise have access to it. Leer más “Global university extends…”