Finding Your Ideal Candidate

Hiring managers for Higher Education Positions often insist on advanced degrees and certifications for even the most entry level jobs. However, the one most important thing to know about the candidates for college jobs is not how many letters are after their names, but can the applicants perform the job?

If you had a choice between a candidate with a masters level degree and absolutely no experience in the job being filled and a candidate with no degree but ten years of highly successful experience in the same type of job you are trying to fill, who would you pick?

When you are trying to find your ideal candidate, think about the job itself. What does the new employee need to accomplish in order for you to know you have hired the correct person? For example:

  • Student development professional with experience in creating programs to improve retention of transfer students
  • Marketing expert with the ability to create innovative campaigns to increase exposure and recognition of XYZ University as a learning environment with Ivy League quality at state school prices
  • Recruiter with the ability to increase the number of qualified applicants from historically underserved populations

Keep the job description in the forefront of your mind. When you are screening applications, you want to look for people who have previous success in the job you are trying to fill.  Look at the employment history first. Find the candidates who have accomplished something similar to what you need your new employee to accomplish. Then use your behavioral questions to find out which candidate will be the best at doing the job you need done.

If you keep your focus on the job that needs to be done, you will repeatedly be successful in hiring the best candidate for the job.

Dindy Robinson is Director of Compensation at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas.

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