Community College Faculty Recruitment: Predictors of Applicant Attraction to Faculty Positions

By Winter, Paul A.; Kjorlien, Chad L. | Community College Review, Summer 2000 | Go to article overview

Community College Faculty Recruitment: Predictors of Applicant Attraction to Faculty Positions


Winter, Paul A., Kjorlien, Chad L., Community College Review


Each of 176 MBA program students provided biographical data and rated his or her reactions to one of four different simulated position ads for a community college business faculty position. Ads varied based on job location within a state (relocation required or not required) and recruiter background (like or unlike the participant's). Stepwise multiple regression of the data revealed four significant predictors of participants' ratings of simulated positions: applicant's current job satisfaction, spouse's contribution to household income, recruiter's background, and job location. The authors make recommendations for faculty recruitment at community colleges based on the findings.

Recruitment is an issue of vital concern to organizational leaders, including community college administrators, because "recruitment performs the essential function of drawing an important resource--human capital--into the organization" (Barber, 1998). Community college educators agree that faculty recruitment is among the most important tasks allotted to administrators and search committees. The ability to deliver high-quality educational programs hinges directly on the capacity to locate and recruit the best individuals possible to fill faculty vacancies: "Matching the best person with each open position should be a high priority" (Janzen, 1994, p. 208).

Also, as Lawhon and Ennis (1995) have observed, "Recruiting and selecting faculty members is a challenging, expensive, and time-consuming task for two-year institutions" (p. 349). Further, faculty recruitment is a pressing issue at present because there is high turnover within the national cadre of community college faculty, "primarily as a result of retirement" (Higgins, Hawthorn, Cape, & Bell, 1994, p. 27). Murray (1999) describes the immediate impact of this turnover as follows: "Administrators will have an opportunity to influence their institutions' futures by hiring the largest cohort of faculty employed at one time since the 1960s" (p. 41).

To date, few empirical recruitment studies (Winter, 1996, 1998) appear in the community college literature. The lack of such research is unfortunate because extensive empirical research about personnel recruitment exists both in the private sector literature (Rynes, 1991) and in the public education literature (Winter, 1997). These existing studies should be drawn upon to inform similar investigations in the community college context, a task undertaken in this research. The study described in this report, therefore, was designed as an empirical investigation about recruiting faculty for business department vacancies at community colleges.

The operational definition of recruitment adopted for this research was the one developed by Breaugh (1992): "Employee recruitment involves those organizational activities that (1) influence the number and/or types of applicants who apply for a position and/or (2) affect whether a job offer is accepted" (p. 4). The stage of recruitment serving as the focus for this research was the task of generating an adequate applicant pool from which finalists for a job can be selected. The applicant pool stage is critical to organizations because the hiring effort will fail if the individuals targeted for recruitment do not apply for the position (Rynes, 1991; Rynes, Heneman, & Schwab, 1980). The recruitment practice examined in this study was the formal faculty position announcement, a recruitment practice routinely used by community college officials in local print media, education journals, and national education print media such as Community College Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education (Gibson-Benninger & Ratcliff, 1996; Lawhon & Ennis, 1995).

Purpose

The objectives of this study were to (a) examine empirically potential applicant reactions to position announcements for business faculty vacancies at community colleges and (b) identify predictors of applicant decisions, such as the decision to apply for the job, that occur prior to the initial employment interview.

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