College is increasingly seen as the primary gateway to a successful life in the United States as more bright-eyed students are entering four year universities. Unfortunately, many of these students attending state universities or lesser known colleges will discover after four years that firms give priority to students from “brand name” universities over those from less prestigious institutions regardless of experience, grades, or activities. In Lauren Rivera’s article, Firms Are Wasting Millions Recruiting on Only a Few Campuses, ironically published in Harvard Business Review, she outlines how top firms are actually losing hefty sums by recruiting exclusively from select institutions. According to many firms, they seek candidates from particular schools because they believe students at these institutions have the traits desired by the firm. Apparently clients of firms also feel more at ease with a consultant or associate with an impressive alma mater on their resume. Clearly hiring managers at top firms have strong feelings about recruiting from top universities but are they right to be prejudiced against lower ranked colleges?
Rivera certainly doesn’t think so as she lays out clear reasons for why top firms should consider recruiting from lesser known schools.
Limiting recruitment to top schools can limit your ability to attract highly motivated and skilled students.
Many top-performing students, especially those from limited means may attend schools that better match their budget, turning down universities with better recognition. By limiting hiring exclusively to the top ten schools in the nation, hiring managers are not exposing themselves to students from diverse backgrounds and means who would provide value to a firm.
The current recruiting strategy is broken.
Top firms attract talent by sending ambassadors to universities to host receptions, info sessions, luncheons, and dinners to find great candidates for future employment. Quotas are allocated for certain schools and before applications are received, jobs are set aside for certain prestigious universities. The whole process is costly and inefficient, qualified candidates are ignored if they’re from the wrong school and the cost of ambassadors/events can quickly add up.
“Top Tier” is left to the imagination and isn’t data-based.
Hiring managers often have an idea of top schools in mind without actually knowing whether these schools produce better employees. For example, a state university’s engineering department could produce better engineers than a lower-ranked Ivy League department but a hiring manager will still pick the Ivy-League student over the better prepared state university student. Researchers even found that students from top-tier schools are significantly less satisfied at large law firms than those with a less prestigious institution on their resume. A portion will even leave the job within two years after being hired from dissatisfaction, not allowing firms to recoup the amount they spent on recruitment or training.
Training fees just aren’t worth it.
Rivera found that many of the top universities, regardless of focus, are less likely to offer adequate instruction of the skills necessary to work at positions provided by firms. Companies are forced to provide training that can last up to a year for graduates, a huge cost added to recruiting fees. For example, students from higher-ranked universities are not usually the best performers on skill exams like the Bloomberg Aptitude Test.
Rivera ends her article by encouraging firms to look beyond status-quo recruiting strategies to find un-tapped talent from lower-ranked universities, who likely have better skills and will cost less in the long term. Change is certainly necessary if top firms wish to remain competitive and acquire the most qualified candidates. A vital tool that employers can utilize to acquire the best talent possible is the Reflik platform. Rather than spending large sums on college ambassador programs, where thousands are spent on travel, lodging, and lavish food spreads, firms could post open positions on the Reflik platform, where independent recruiters and individuals refer highly qualified candidates directly at no cost unless a candidate is hired. Referrals are analyzed and the most qualified candidates from the list are passed along to the employer to ensure maximum efficiency. Sometimes traditions have to be broken and Reflik is leading the charge in radically transforming the recruiting industry.
Source: Harvard Business Review