Recruiting great hire candidates is both a science and an art.
We cannot compete on salary against most other educational institutions, however we can compete on weather/location and on being a cool place to work with great people, if we choose to be!
Recently, we were very successful in hiring two Marketing candidates that were at the top of our list of over one hundred applicants as well as being from underrepresented groups. Both of those candidates were offered higher salaries, but chose CoBA because of the excellent and persuasive teamwork among diverse members of the recruiting and search team. Both candidates, in their verbal acceptances, identified our outreach as very significant in their decisions.
I’ve outlined three steps that have worked extremely well for me in large research and development organizations, as well as in high-profile start-ups:
Step One: Finding good candidates – hopefully you already know how to do this. A normalized and common faculty recruiting plan ins in place but differs slightly depending upon the discipline departments. This plan focuses on early engagement and in-person interviewing at major faculty conferences in the late summer/early autumn of the year before the expected hire.
Step Two: Once good candidates have been interviewed on-campus and selections made, that is when the teamwork jumps into high gear. This is a very important detail missed by most hiring teams at universities. Aside from the details of the offer (salary, research stipends, health and retirement benefits, etc.), which are discussed between the dean and the search committee, once the verbal offer has been extended the team should:
- Identify all of the issues that face the candidate. Things like Departmental and College and University strategy, research support, San Diego affordability, housing costs, housing preferences (urban/suburban/rural), school districts and education options for any minors, hobbies, work/life balance, etc. A person from the team most knowledgeable on each issue should be appointed to address the issue with the candidate directly. Bring in outside resources, as needed (e.g. other faculty, staff, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, etc.).
- Identify at least one faculty member from another college to make a persuasive call to the candidate.
- Identify at least one student from CoBA to make a persuasive call to the candidate.
- All members of the team should make persuasive calls to the candidate.
- The first week is critical, all of the above should be completed in that time frame if possible.
Step Three: Assuming a candidate accepts, I’d like to see two things happen:
- A new onboarding program including a “Day One” booklet to welcome a new hire and ease the first days of transition. The “Day One” booklet is custom tailored for each individual. The new hire first day should also start with a welcome sign on their office door signed by the entire college faculty and staff.
- Assignment of a “CoBA Guide” to pair with each new hire and responsible for easing transitions into the college and University. The Guide is not a mentor, but rather someone to go to for questions, direction, etc. Where needed, the faculty Guide should utilize whatever other resources might be needed (e.g. Faculty Center, Office of Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty Affairs, etc.) as well as connect them with others in the University that can be helpful. The assigned “guide” should meet with the new hire for perhaps one hour/month. That relationship should be confidential in nature, so that the new hire feels they have a person to speak with on any issue.
We used many parts of the steps above in our successful searches. Have more ideas of how to attract and keep new talent? We will continue to fine-tune for our future hiring efforts.