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In addition to advertising the position in publications, hiring managers should also consider the following ideas to assist in expanding the pool of qualified applicants. A good recruitment plan includes a mix of recruitment strategies and a variety of communication processes to inform other organizations and relevant communities of the available position.

  • Network. Proactive recruitment efforts can make a big difference in attracting the best candidates for the job. The following are suggestions for ways to conduct outreach in hope of connecting with potential applicants.
    • Proactively recruit by building recruitment activities into a regular work agenda regardless of whether or not there is a current hiring need.  Create a database of potential recruits and find reasons to stay in touch. Then, when a vacancy occurs a list of pre-qualified and interested potential candidates already exists!
    • Make direct contact with professional organizations and colleagues in the field, notify them of your unit’s open position, and request names of potential qualified applicants.
    • Use a personal approach in recruiting applicants. Often outstanding potential candidates do not apply for advertised positions, but might be responsive to individual contacts. Contact the potential candidate and invite them to apply. If an individual declines a nomination or does not respond to your letter of inquiry, you may wish to call the person to determine if their reasons for declining can be addressed and resolved. If not, considering asking them if they have other potential candidates who they can recommend for the position.
    • Contact underrepresented group members who have received professional recognition. If they are not interested in the position, ask for the names of promising women and minority applicants.
    • Target specific underrepresented group members. Ask individuals for names of others they have mentored.
    • Inform alumni publications of available positions at universities where women and minorities are well represented.
    • Maintain ongoing contact with professional organizations, associations, and agencies that have a job-referral service.
    • Encourage staff attending professional conferences or visiting other universities to combine their visits with recruitment efforts for present and future vacancies.
    • Keep national higher education associations informed of present and possible future vacancies. Several such associations contain special interest groups (e.g., the American Educational Research Association has Hispanic and Black caucuses).
  • Internet recruiting. Post the position on an internet job board or on professional association websites. Studies have shown that 96% of people looking for jobs use the internet. 
  • Social Media. Use social media to promote the department to potential candidates. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, are popular platforms on which to post a variety of information to promote the University as an employer. This could include:
    • Information on any jobs which are currently posted in the department.
    • Retweeting any jobs posted on a Twitter account that is linked to the department or school.
    • Link to positive exposure in the media involving the department.
    • Interesting research findings from your department.
    • Images, videos and audio clips promoting the department.
    • Utilize VCU HR’s Twitter and Facebook accounts to advertise hard to fill positions.

  • Career Fairs and Outreach Programs. Career fairs provide an opportunity to connect informally with interested candidates, often in a particular industry. Outreach programs may be geared towards underrepresented groups or people looking to re-enter the workforce.
  • Internships/field placements/co-op placements. Consider connecting with a university or college’s career center (including VCU Career Services) to post positions and receive resumes of students and new graduates looking for work.
  • Use an executive search firm. Private companies will find and screen potential candidates for a fee, typically a percentage of the annual salary. It is important when using these services that you take the time to clearly define the position and your expectations of the services to be provided by the agency. Executive search firms will generally only be used for executive and senior administrator positions.

Virginia Commonwealth University
VCU Human Resources
Lindsey House | 600 West Franklin Street | Box 842511
Richmond, VA 23284-2511
Phone: (804) 828-0177

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