Making the Recruitment Process a Positive and Effective Experience


Recruitment is such an exciting time. We are given the opportunity to look at our team, see how we’ve grown, and find new members to bring into the fold. While recruitment has never been my primary job, I have always enjoyed the process. It can also be a stressful experience…student affairs professional recruitment tends to hit our calendars while we are recruiting student leaders, going through room selection, and preparing for end of the year events.

While managing the process, I keep the following in mind:

Set the tone

I truly believe that recruitment sets the tone for an employee’s tenure and is the first step in training. Do I respond in a timely manner, addressing questions, and providing the correct information? Am I responding to emails at 2am (I have always tried to stress a good work-life balance and discourage non-emergency late night work)? Am I organized and prepared for the first interview? I always have my questions ready and take time to review resumes. I expect candidates to research my institution/department and extend the same courtesy to them. All these can assist the candidate in deciding if he or she is a good fit as well.

Interview team

Who is involved in the interview process? I have always found it very insightful to have feedback not only from others in my department but also students and campus partners. If you don’t currently include these two sets of people-invite them! It is amazing the different things that they see or pick up on that you would never think about. For example, when interviewing resident directors, I’ve asked facilities and dining staff to interview, it gives a great perspective.

Qualifying answers

This candidate wanted a supervisor who was very hands on but he didn’t tell me that he defined that as a good supervisor. The candidate became a colleague and one year later questioned me about my answer. We realized that “good” meant different things to each of us. So, if a candidate asks an opinion, give an honest response but be sure to qualify it with examples!


Don’t know an answer? Make a note and follow-up. I actually learned this from my realtor. I was house hunting and looking at condos and asked each realtor at the open houses the same question-what is the pet policy? None of them knew. They all said they could find out for me but only ONE out of the SEVEN emailed me (all got my email) with an answer. Needless to say, she became MY realtor. I didn’t have to search out the answer. While we like to be prepared and have the answers, we occasionally get stumped. This can also be a great way to check-in with a candidate post-conference and show that you paid attention to them as an individual as well.

(Thank-you to Tara Wilkinson and Corey Reedy, for input and inspiration.)

What do you include in your recruitment process to ensure a positive & efficient experience?

Did you catch our tips and thoughts for the other side of the desk?  Click here to read the post, “Seeking Employment? We have some great advice for your search!