Posted December 16, 2016 by

College recruitment matters to Diversity & Inclusion: Q&A with the Experts

 

College Recruiter is introducing a new regular blog feature, “Q & A with the Experts”. In this monthly feature we will draw insight from experts in talent acquisition and HR. For today’s post, we spoke with Loreli Wilson, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion Programs at Veterans United Home Loans; Saïd Radhouani, Co-founder at Nextal; and Steven Rothberg, founder and President of College Recruiter. We asked Loreli, Saïd and Steven about the connection between college recruitment, and Diversity and Inclusion.

 

What do you think is the importance of college recruitment to diversifying the workplace?

Saïd Radhouani: Universities are great channels to bring new diverse talents into organizations and promote a diversified workplace. Both local and immigrants students form a big pool of diverse talents. They may differ greatly in terms of language, culture, religion, or color; yet ultimately study toward the same goals. These talents are already diverse and know how to perform in a diversified environment. College recruitment is a big enabler to diversify the workplace.

Loreli Wilson: Colleges and universities are a great source for smart, passionate, and innovative applicants from marginalized communities. It’s a smart move to align with those institutions to engage students and cultivate our workforce by our own specifications.

 

What are best practices for recruiting a diversity of college students?

Saïd Radhouani: If diversity is part of your organization’s priorities, you should empower some individuals to serve as diversity advocates. They can promote and keep diversity goals active during the recruitment process. These advocates should include college recruitment into their plans. A few best practices they can suggest to the recruitment team include:

  • Goals: define measurable goals for recruiting diverse students and hold someone accountable.
  • Communication: Every time you have events at college, make sure to have representatives that advocate diversity. Communicate how your organization values diversity and how it is connected to the mission. When you distribute printed documents, make sure to show pictures that reflect the diversity of your workplace. One image is worth a thousand words!
  • Job descriptions: write job descriptions that explicitly highlight a commitment to diversity within your organization.
  • Interviews: ask students about their commitment to diversity. [College Recruiter’s favorite tip!]
  • Nurturing: you might meet a lot of students, but you can’t hire all of them. Make sure your pool is diverse for future opportunities.

You can’t stop at recruiting diverse talents. You should also establish best practices to retain them, engage them to become advocate of diversity. They will eventually bring their friends and make your workplace more diverse than ever.

Loreli Wilson: It’s not as simple to approach students with what they can do for you. They need to know that your passion for diversity and inclusion is genuine – so the best approach is what you can do for them. It’s seeing each one of them as individuals, supporting their success, and caring about the things that matter to them. The best practice is being a part of their conversations in the spaces and on the topics they care about. You can host workshops on resume writing for different clubs or groups, participate in the business college’s round tables on being a professional of color, or have your employees of marginalized identities guest lecture in a finance class to provide visual representation of their possibilities – Guide them to success whether it’s with your organization or not. A genuine approach is the best practice for diversity recruitment in general.

Steven Rothberg: Most of the employers with formalized college and university recruiting programs are committed to diversifying their workforce and to using the college and university recruiting program as a way to make that happen. Not the only way, but one of the ways. Some visit HBCU’s — Historically Black Colleges and Universities — while other use products such as College Recruiter’s targeted display banner ads, targeted mobile banner ads, and targeted emails to reach out to students and recent graduates of certain demographics, school, major, or graduation year. Shameless self-promotion: I should mention College Recruiter’s new solution for hiring high volume, JobsThatScale. With JobsThatScale, companies can be laser-focused on who they recruit. Instead of having to post on dozens of job boards to generate the needed volume of candidates, College Recruiter will make sure your posting produces the number of applications you need to fill your positions. (Learn more here!)

 

In your opinion, are companies already connecting their university relations to their diversity and inclusion strategies, or should they do a better job?

Saïd Radhouani: In my personal experience, I see many companies who are not leveraging the entire potential of the diversity of the universities. Universities are by nature diverse, and students are already used to such environment. If your students’ recruitment plan is not streamlined with your diversity strategy, then you are missing a big opportunity.

Loreli Wilson: Organizations aren’t leveraging the relationship between college relations and diversity and inclusion. Too often we see college recruitment approached with a minimal interest in engaging diverse student populations. There are simple methodologies that can be implemented, that make an incredible difference to how your company is perceived and how well students can envision themselves at your organization. The diversity of your current employees is a great asset to this cause. Students need to see that you employ people that look like them and/or have similar backgrounds. Visual representation and the testimonies of your employees hold more weight than simply stating your company is diverse.

Steven Rothberg: College Recruiter’s customers tend to be Fortune 1,000 companies and federal government agencies. Most of them have either a dedicated staff or at least a focus on college recruiting and all of them have a focus on diversity recruiting. A small percentage of these organizations have invested the time, money, and energy to tightly integrate these efforts but most of them have not. That’s not to say that the two are silos. The university recruiting and diversity teams and goals are integrated in almost all of these organizations but they’re just not tightly integrated. Most of these organizations correctly look to their university recruiting efforts as part of their diversity strategy as college students are more diverse on average than the population at large.

 

loreli-wilsonLoreli Wilson is the Manager of Diversity and Inclusion Programs at Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s top VA purchase lander. She is dedicated to cultivating an inclusive and diverse workforce to allow all employees to reach their full potential to better serve the nation’s veterans homebuyers. Connect with Loreli on LinkedIn.

 

said-radhouaniSaïd Radhouani is tech entrepreneur passionate about Big Data, Search and Digital Marketing. He built teams from scratch and put in place strategies and platforms that serve some of the largest Web and mobile properties in Canada. He founded Big Wisdom to help organizations to leverage their data and make optimal decisions in their digital journey. Big Wisdom provides services from strategy to implementation to support in content management, search, knowledge management and analytics. Connect with Saïd on LinkedIn.

Steven RothbergSteven Rothberg’s entrepreneurial spirit was evident from an early age. Disciplined in fifth grade for selling candy during math class and in college for running a massive fantasy hockey league, Steven managed to channel his passions into something more productive after graduate school. A fully recovered lawyer, Steven founded the business that morphed into College Recruiter and now, as its visionary, helps to create and refine the company’s strategy and leads its business development efforts.

 

Want to stay on top of other expert advice around college recruitment? Connect with College on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and YouTube.

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