College Professors are the New Headhunters

We can’t find good talent!

This is a problem I have discussed in several places, but all of those articles discuss how to find and hire good talent. Businesses also need to figure out where they are going to find fantastic people to fit their carefully-considered job openings. Among the excellent suggestions are asking internally and meeting people at conferences and networking events, but I am often surprised that many businesses miss an obvious one:

Ask a college professor!

Most teaching professors have hundreds of students crossing their desks every year and, by the very nature of their courses, professors are assessing students’ work ethic, intelligence, creativity, guts, insightfulness, and ability to work with others. In short, faculty are already selecting for many of the very traits desired by the workplace, and only the best students will stand out. Given the extensive responsibilities of faculty, they have limited time to get to know students, and only the standouts are likely to make the cut. These students are not just the ones who get good grades, but the ones who show initiative, come to office hours with insightful questions, participate in class, and show potential for excellence in the field. In short, those are the very students you want in your talent pool!

How do I connect with faculty?

The trick to this is remembering that faculty are the experts in the field, so start there. Here are some concrete suggestions you can use:

Given the small conversion rate, is this worth it?

Absolutely! College professors are far more selective than both recruiters and the black whole where candidates’ resumes go. They are also more efficient in that they already put in the time to screen candidates, which means fewer rounds of interviews. Thus, you are likely to get quality almost every time if you have a good relationship with faculty. If you don’t have one yet, you are still in a position to create a win-win relationship by paying faculty for their expertise and getting the side bonus of asking them if they can recommend good students for jobs.

Pro-Tips

Do *not* cold contact faculty about recruitment; you will incur both their wrath and that of their colleagues, department, and university. You might even be banned from their career fairs.

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Self-actualization engineer who makes workplaces great places to work. PI at Quality of Life Lab (www.qllab.org). Consultant. Professor. Startup Advisor.

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Orin Davis

Orin Davis

Self-actualization engineer who makes workplaces great places to work. PI at Quality of Life Lab (www.qllab.org). Consultant. Professor. Startup Advisor.