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College Professors: The New Headhunters (Part 2)

May 19, 2015, by Mihaela Georgieva in: Uncategorized

How do I connect with faculty?

The trick to this is remembering that faculty are the experts in the field, so start there. Here are some concrete suggestions you can use:

1. Invite them to speak on their work. Your employees can learn a lot from an expert, so paying a college professor to report on cutting-edge knowledge in the field is a worthwhile investment.

2. Ask them to conduct an in-house training session to enable your employees to develop new knowledge, skills, and attitudes based on the latest information in the field.

3. Ask them to consult on a project. Whatever the topic, these experts are likely to know far more than a generic management consulting firm, and they are likely to cost less because they don’t have the overhead of branding, advertising, and business development. (Warning: some universities do not allow full-time professors to consult, and others ask for a cut of the consulting fees as overhead. But, adjunct faculty are ripe for the asking, so start with them!)

4. Offer them a funded research opportunity. Research funding is scarce, and so are participants that aren’t college students forced to participate for course credit. If you can find a reason to let these faculty do research on your company (be it for a case study or an experiment), you will be able to learn a lot about your company for a reasonable cost. As a bonus, if they aren’t the right people to run the study, they may know who to ask, and you still get the contact.

5. Ask the career center to connect you. Some people in the career center are likely to have a pulse on which members of the faculty would be open to making recommendations, and they can intercede. (NB: This one doesn’t always work.)

6. Keep in touch with your professors. Build a strong relationship with them, get to know them, and learn from them. This is exceptionally hard to do, but is almost always worth the effort (keep in mind that this also requires you to work hard in the course and put in a lot of extra time.

Given the small conversion rate, is this worth it?

Absolutely! College professors are far more selective than both recruiters and the black whole where candidates’ resumes go. They are also more efficient in that they already put in the time to screen candidates, which means fewer rounds of interviews. Thus, you are likely to get quality almost every time if you have a good relationship with faculty. If you don’t have one yet, you are still in a position to create a win-win relationship by paying faculty for their expertise and getting the side bonus of asking them if they can recommend good students for jobs.

Some final pro-tips

Do *not* cold contact faculty about recruitment; you will incur both their wrath and that of their colleagues, department, and university. You might even be banned from their career fairs.

Remember that faculty are at least as busy as CEOs (anyone without tenure works at least 60 hours per week; many work upwards of 100) — respect them accordingly!

You can’t pay them to recruit, but you can pay them to give lectures/trainings, consult, or do research.

Good students are always in high demand, so be prepared to roll out a red carpet if you get a recommendation.

The author thanks John Skylar for feedback on an earlier version of this article.


ODThis article is a contribution from our own FutureHero – Orin C. Davis.

Orin C. Davis is a self-actualization engineer who enables people to do and be their best. His consulting focuses on making workplaces great places to work, and his research is on flow, creativity, hypnosis, and mentoring. In addition to being the principal investigator of the Quality of Life Laboratory, the Chief Science Officer of Self Spark, a science advisor at Happify, and an advisor at FutureIdeas. Dr. Davis is an adjunct professor of Psychology and Management at Baruch College and a lecturer in Critical and Creative Thinking at UMass Boston. He writes and speaks avidly about human capital, creativity and innovation, and positive psychology.

You can get in contact with Orin Davis on Twitter


Mihaela Georgieva is a Communications Specialist at Future Ideas.

You can contact the author on Twitter, Facebook or via e-mail.