Magazine article The CPA Journal

Effective Campus Recruiting: The Faculty Perspective

Magazine article The CPA Journal

Effective Campus Recruiting: The Faculty Perspective

Article excerpt

Current market forces such as the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) have increased demand for entry-level accountants. While student enrollments in accounting programs have begun to rise in response to this demand, competition to hire college accounting majors remains intense. Both students and employers look to faculty for help in navigating these challenges. Long-term relationships between employers, faculty, and students are critical. Long-term relationships help employers make efficient use of recruiting resources, help faculty understand the needs of both employers and students, and help students identify suitable employers. Without long-term relationships, employers are less likely to attract students to their job openings and faculty members are less likely to recommend that students pursue those openings. The key factors in developing long-term relationships are the same factors as for other relationships: trust through respect, mutual benefit, and consistency.

Select Key Recruiting Campuses

Employers should concentrate their efforts on a few key campuses. This reduces the high cost of recruiting while maximizing results. The number of campuses will depend on one's recruiting needs, but at least four is recommended. A diverse pool of schools, public and private, large and small, is an important factor. Employers should think of the schools as a portfolio and consider their ability to meet the firm's long-term need for a diverse set of employees with varying backgrounds and interests.

Concentrating on a small number of campuses forces employers to think about the match between job opportunity and student before the recruiting process begins. The selection of campuses should be based on several factors, such as the location and profile of the firm and the type of services the firm provides. For example, if a firm's clients are located in small communities, then choose some schools from small communities or schools in that geographic area. Students at those schools might be more eager than students from large cities to work in small communities. If a firm has a large tax service, recruiting at campuses with a strong tax faculty might be more important.

The alma mater of firm personnel is likely to be a factor in the selection of schools. A personal connection between firm members and a school has the advantage of providing goodwill with the faculty and good understanding of the campus culture. It also demonstrates to students (prospective employees) that they too can be successful at the firm. Frequently, firms use recent graduates as part of their recruiting efforts on campus. It is unwise to consider this factor, however, over the criteria outlined above.

Knowing the Campus and Students

When starting a relationship with a campus, the first contact should be the department chair. Discuss the firm and its recruiting goals, along with the firm's desire to establish a long-term relationship, and the firm's reason for choosing the school.

If a firm has not recruited at the school before, or if the chair is not familiar with the firm, provide information about the firm, send firm literature, and consider a personal meeting. The relationship is important to the success of recruiting efforts.

Remember that faculty members have a primary allegiance to their students, which means that their goal is to provide a wide and diverse number of opportunities for them. Don't expect faculty to support one firm over another. Help the faculty to see the opportunities the firm offers, so they can inform students. Faculty members must remain neutral, but can help a student find the right fit. On-campus interviews are a good opportunity to meet with the faculty and describe the firm. The career services office can arrange lunches with faculty members.

The next goal is to obtain facts about the program that will be useful in setting the recruiting strategy. For each school one should know the following:

* The size of accounting faculty and qualifications (e. …

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