“What did we do wrong?”
That’s what students ask their career center when certain companies don’t visit. In reality, they need to ask a different question:
“What do we need to do?”
That’s the theme of Roxanne Hori’s recent essay in Bloomberg Businessweek. Hori, associate dean of corporate partnerships and the former director of the career management center at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, encourages students to follow the Field of Dreams maxim: “If you build it, they will come.”
Here’s why: Hori notes that recruiters base their efforts on where schools have “had the most success finding – and retaining – employees to hire.” If their staffing needs increase (or a school has lost some luster), they’ll reach out to “noncore” schools as potential sources for talent.
Let’s say your school still isn’t on that list. What can you do? Obviously, you can reach out to the career center. But this creates the proverbial “chick-or-the-egg” dilemma in Hori’s experience:
“…companies recruit at schools because students are interested in their particular industry, organization, job functions, and location. On-campus recruiting, however, helps to generate and perpetuate that interest. It’s a matter of getting student interest to a critical mass to ignite that virtuous cycle.”
In other words, it isn’t that recruiters are avoiding certain schools. They’re just not sure that those schools will provide any return on their time. So what does Hori suggest? First, she notes that some recruiters rely on postings to a school’s job board. Such postings are often a way for employers to test the waters for interest (and whether potential candidates possess the requisite skills, experience, and cultural fit). As Hori observes, a successful hire will encourage recruiters to return.
And here’s another thought from Hori: “A strong alumni advocate in the company will influence the decision (hint: it’s usually someone very high up) to put their alma mater on the “core” school list.” Check company bios, Linkedin, or your alumni network to identify potential advocates (and mentors). Even if they can’t persuade a recruiter, these executives could open doors or serve as a mentor.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek