Selecting core and target schools for on-campus recruiting is a way of life among most recruiters. There is a strong belief that sourcing recent grads and current college students from top-ranking colleges and universities saves both time and money throughout the recruiting process, and subsequently on training and cultivating on the job. However, filling open positions with young, eager candidates from the nation’s highest quality universities has the potential to miss the mark. Here’s why.
Flawed Target Criteria
A recent report in Harvard Business Journal surveyed 120 decision-makers at top-tier investment banks, management consulting firms, and law firms throughout the country, with the intent to better understand hiring practices of elite employers. Nearly all responded that school lists that include core and target universities and colleges are a significant part of the recruiting process, citing prestige as the strongest basis for inclusion on the list. The problem with this criteria is that prestige is measured in different ways among recruiters and elite employer executives, with some focused on the history of the school and others more concerned about the admissions process. Some recruiters rely heavily on personal opinions of institutions, which may lead to overlooking schools that are more selective or require a more rigorous course design for students.
The bias of prestige aside, working from a small list of target schools creates an environment where highly qualified candidates are bypassed without recruiters even being aware. Ivy League schools, for instance, often lack diversity in their student bodies, partly due to the cost of attendance and the disparity that creates in the admissions process. Recruiters are left with a pool of potential hires who do not begin to scrape the surface of qualified candidates, leaving those who can bring a fresh perspective and a diverse background to the job. One of the respondents to the survey provided a candid explanation as to why target schools continue to be a staple in recruiting, stating that most the work is done at the institutional level; recruiters simply have to make selections from a pre-qualified group of students. So, the resumes and portfolios of students who are best fit for the job are left in a perpetual black hole simply because their alma mater didn’t make the coveted list.
A Limitless Strategy
Instead of leaning on the prestige of certain colleges and universities to source potential candidates, recruiters can ensure they have access to highly qualified, diverse, eager hires by employing the help of Portfolium. Through the digital portfolio platform, students beautifully showcase their course work, group and individual projects, and experience on the job in a way that is easy for recruiters to search, select, and invite for an interview. Taking away the restrictions of target lists has the potential to boost the hiring power of any employer, and it levels the playing field for students who have the right skill sets, attributes, and personalities for the job.