What Qualities and Skills Should Your University Relations Team Possess?



When talent acquisition leaders select their own recruitment team members who will fill their organization’s entry-level roles, what kind of people should they look for? Specifically, given generational changes and changes to HR technology, do you know what qualities will serve your college or campus recruiters best? I spoke with Paula Harvey, who is VP of Human Resources at Schulte Building Systems. In addition to championing strategic, fun, and global HR, she is Board Director at the SHRM Foundation, and was selected to be an official SHRM 2018 blogger. She gave her insight into what makes a great university relations recruiter. 

What makes a good university relations or college recruiter?

Is a good networker. Not all great candidates will come from your top schools. You have to talk to people at colleges to find out who they have on their campuses and where to access them. For example, Harvey has established partnerships with community colleges to provide her with a consistent and specific group of candidates she needs. Networking is talking, she insists, and it’s not going to work by email.

Has a bubbly personality. “They gotta be bubbly,” says Harvey (quoting her Wells Fargo recruiter daughter). “That is a key piece. Especially for the younger generation, they want somebody authentic, somebody they can relate to, somebody they want to talk to. And that bubbly personality, where the person is friendly and seems like their buddy helping them to find that right job, is something that has to innately be in your personality. The best recruiters understand this.” Recruiters should convey to candidates that they care about finding them the right job.

Has strong technical skills.  “If you don’t embrace technology you’ve got a problem.” And don’t forget about Excel, says Harvey. You must also be able to fully navigate your ATS.

Is human! Recruiters are “so used to being on computers that they can’t pick up the darn phone and talk to somebody and so they’ll send 40 – 50 different emails back and forth with the candidates when, if they just picked up the phone, it would’ve had a much more meaningful conversation with them.”

Is a caretaker of your candidates. Recruiters of Gen Z must convey to students that they genuinely want them to find the right job. Honesty is a big part of this. Harvey often has to tell candidates that they simply aren’t qualified for the job they applied for, but she also tells them what they would need to be qualified for future jobs.

Can provide genuine feedback. Especially for entry-level candidates, feedback is so important. “They want feedback on how they’re doing.” And they are communicating so much more through many different channels. Harvey thinks Gen Z students today have better communication skills than she’s seen in the millennial generation before them. “I’m seeing this whole generation of young folks who know how to communicate in a totally different way, which is, it’s refreshing for me. I’m excited about Gen Z.”

Is authentic. Students today will “read through you,” says Harvey. “If you’re trying to pull one over them, they’ll call you on it. I mean, I’ve got grandchildren that are in that age group and it’s amazing. They want you to be honest.”

Uses online advertising well. Harvey says her online ads are a cost-effective way to generate more than enough candidates for their openings. See: Surprising truth about cost-per-hire.

Will keep the stars, even if they don’t fit right now. Instead of weeding out all the candidates who don’t fit the current opening, Harvey keeps an eye out for talent that could shine in a future role. She occasionally comes across a resume and says, “Oh my gosh, we have to get this person.” Harvey puts those candidates in her “star file.” “In some cases I’ve invented positions for those stars because you want those people on your team. I’ve found that those [people] have been stars just exactly like I guessed they would be.”

Takes your employer brand seriously. At Schulte Building Systems, Harvey sees how their positive brand works for them in attracting the right candidates. She is proud that their employer brand attracts the candidates they need, often without having to look too hard for them. “The [welding] quality manager came to me on Tuesday and he said, hey, I need a welding inspector. And I’m like, you’re not gonna believe this, but one applied yesterday. And these are very rare people.” In Houston, where Schulte is located, unemployment is around 2.5%. “It’s just harder to find people,” which is why her team puts in the effort to get the word out about their benefits and positive work culture.

Paula HarveyAbout Paula Harvey: Paula is a Global Certified Human Resources professional skilled at strategic business planning, talent management/development, organizational design, budgeting and analytics. She is an experienced multicultural business partner with language skills in Dutch, Spanish, and more. She is also a motivational professional speaker and instructor on many business topics with 9000+ past students at various educational institutions and professional organizations.


Originally posted on College Recruiter blog.



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