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RECRUIT OR DIE Successful Recruiting Strategies By DJ Menifee, Admission Counselor, Western Illinois University
The Concept • Recruit Or Die: How Any Business Can Beat The Big Guys In The War For Young Talent by Chris Resto, Ian Ybarra & Ramit Sethi • You don’t have to be the biggest and the most-well known to get the talent you seek • What prospects want, what they fear, and what it takes for them to join your organization
Relevance • Many of us are facing similar challenges • Demographic trends • Socioeconomic trends • Rising cost • Third-party rankings • Decreases in budget • Heightened expectations • Pressure to improve retention & graduation rates • Competitive & aspiring peers • The Race (Can you keep up?)
Questions for you • What is recruitment? • What is the most important element in recruiting? • Who is your competition? • Do you have a strategy/plan?
What is recruitment? • VP of Enrollment Management at UNC-Steve Farmer • Priorities (can’t be all things to all people) • Strategic Plan • Academic programs (STEM) • Transfers • Ethical Behavior (are your methods ethical?) • Teaching/Informing (responsibility to educate) • Demonstrating Value • Verbalize expectations (pre-retention/ISU) • Assessment (how to know what is working) • Vision/Leadership narrative (USC-Jerry Lucido) • Strategy • Accountability • Is it sales? “Recruitment should be a form of retention in advance”
Who do you want? • Define who/what you want (Does want and reality match?) • Diversity (ethnic, geographic, etc.) • Specific populations (international, veteran/military, transfers, OOS) • Specific academic programs • Academic Profile • Admission Criteria (USC case-study example) • Level of selectivity • Financial Aid (gap, discount, need versus merit) • Is campus and the community prepared (VP of EM at Spelman-Arlene Wesley-Cash)? • Overall goal and Individual goals • Enrollment goals (new freshman ,transfers & retained) • Territory goals • Know the data (use metrics that measure quality and quantity over time) • 80/20 rule (strategies) “The best recruiters have the best strategy and hold themselves to the highest standards.”
Work harder and smarterthan the competition • Know yourself and your competition • SWOT Analysis • Collect view books • Head-hunter versus Gate-keeper (Where are you on the continuum) • Institutional knowledge • Territory knowledge (Know where to be and why) • Be knowledgeable on academic and non-academic trends (regionally and nationally) • Sequester • Institutions that guarantee meeting need • Incentive plans (improve retention and persistence) • Summer school (discounting) • Partnerships (3+1 at COD) • Revamp of the SAT • College scorecard • Pathway programs • Third-party ranking sources • Cost-guarantee • Technical diploma versus Scholar diploma • Pell Grant • Job market • Go above and beyond the call of duty • Prospective student/stakeholder communications • Outreach/special interest groups • Professional development • Adopt what works for you not the competition • Master the recruitment/admissions process • Compound weekly learning rate “The more competitive, exclusive and appealing your process is, the more attractive you’ll be to students.”
Sell yourself betterthan the competition • The appearance • Match the tone of the environment/tone of institution and its mission • Be prepared to speak, meet, and listen to anyone • Selling yourself • To them, your are the institution • Strong communication skills (public speaking, etc.) • Competent on social media tools • Play to your strengths (for your team and toward prospective students) • Accessibility • Confidence • “Be on time” • Meet them where they are • Selling your institution • Transparency • Strengths/strengths versus competition • Know your position in the market • The art of storytelling (leverage former success) • Outcomes (What they fear) • The ability to listen to the audience and their needs • Identify the stakeholders “It’s a waste of time and talent if you end up with reps passing students to another rep that knows their stuff.”
Present a united front • Commitment, Cooperation & Collaboration • Institutional buy-in toward enrollment goals • Garnering support (VP of EM at UCLA-Youlanda Copeland-Morgan) • Admissions • “One band, One Sound” • Utilizing other units in recruitment efforts • Faculty • Alumni • Parents (PFA, Parent/Family weekend, Receptions) • Student body (Tour Guides, Panelist, Student Leaders) • Financial Aid (What they fear) • Senior Administration (leadership) • Mascot • Importance of coaching, mentoring and professional development • The best companies see recruiting as an expertise “Execution separates the winners from the losers.”
Other concepts in the book • Prospects: Power of words/gossip • The feedback loop: taking incite from past & current students • Surveys • Institutional Research • “A successful organization leads to good recruiting, good recruiting leads to a successful organization” • Making the sale • Use of persuasive communication • Defining yourself and your goals • What are you deeply passionate about? • What can you be the best at? • How do you measure success? “Sell, listen & improve with the best of them.”
Questions for you • Have the important elements in recruiting changed for you? • What are your institutions priorities? • Are your territory priorities different? • Will you change the way you approach the competition? • Will you change the way you approach prospective students?