Big Guys on Campus
On-campus recruiting isn't just for big companies. But entrepreneurs trying to recruit at colleges and universities often mustcontend with low recognition by students and lack of interest by the administration. Here's how two companies increase theirpresence during on-campus recruiting.
When Lloyd Shefsky, a founding partner of Shefsky & Froelich Ltd., needed young hires for his Chicago-based law firm,which has about 30 partners, he called his alma mater. Shefsky offered to be a guest lecturer at his former law professors'classes, and the professors agreed. With the credibility provided by his alma mater, Shefsky soon was making the rounds atother law schools. And once his firm became known on campuses, he found it easier to recruit top students.
Meanwhile, Doug Evans, president of Doug Evans + Partners, an eight-employee consulting firm in New York City, foundthat a bit of chutzpah helped him recruit newly minted M.B.A.s, who typically set their sights on Fortune 500 companies.When Evans first approached one prestigious business school, he says, the administration wouldn't even talk to him. When itfinally responded, all he got was a tiny room in which to pitch his Internet, e-commerce, and technology company toprospective hires.
Undaunted, Evans took a different approach to achieve a larger on-campus presence. He called a client who was a graduateof the school, and that client helped Evans get the pricey-but-prime suite where companies such as Arthur Andersen madetheir presentations. Evans also networked with on-campus organizations, and he inundated candidates with e-mail, directmail, and telephone calls to maximize attendance. The result? His presentation at that school yielded three new employees.
Even if you don't host a big on-campus presentation, the Internet can help you recruit at colleges. Ask John Coleman, CEO ofVia Marketing & Design, a marketing and communications company based in Portland, Maine. Coleman, whose fast-growingcompany projects $10 million to $12 million in revenues for 1999, posted a listing for a senior marketing strategist at theHarvard Business School Web site. He received a few dozen responses, from which he hired Chris Lane, a former WhiteHouse aide with an accomplished career in marketing. Coleman says Lane was one of his best hires, and the price ofrecruiting (free) was certainly reasonable.
Coleman also spent some money -- $5,000 for a service called University ProNet (http://www.universitypronet.com) -- that he saysturned out to be a good deal. The site wields a hefty database that tracks personal and professional information about131,000 alumni from such top-tier schools as Stanford and Carnegie Mellon. Coleman says he's had about the same successwith ProNet as with conventional headhunters, minus one key factor -- the headhunters' fees, which could amount to severaltens of thousands of dollars.
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