Utilizing Technology for Graduate Recruitment

4 min read

Recruitment tools continue to evolve. What started with punch cards and simple lists has grown to Zoom calls and pocket super computers (aka smart phones). The schools that best utilize their tools and information systems will have success communicating with and actually reaching students. 

Andy Morris, Senior Associate Director of Enrollment Management & Recruitment of the College of Community & Public Affairs at Binghamton University, joined Mongoose live on a For Your Institution episode to discuss the evolution of technology in recruitment and it's impact on graduate programs. This article shares many of Andy’s insights. Listen to the full episode below.


Keeping Up with Technology

Virtual meetings and online classes are here to stay. Advances in technology allow colleges to serve more students, and those tools can also help find new ones. 

Andy feels that the best thing you can do to embrace and utilize technology in recruitment and graduate recruitment is to be a futurist.

One of the things about working in higher ed is, you never grow old. Because you’re around young people all the time, your thinking remains very vibrant and young. I pay attention to what high school students are engaged in, and I try to draw from that what we are going to need to use tomorrow.”

When working at the University of Buffalo, Andy set up AOL Messenger as a tool for recruitment when that technology was blossoming. It was an instant success, all because he paid attention to what was going on at his campus and asking students questions. 


Using the Tools and Resources You Have

Tech platforms and software upgrades do not magically appear and fix all of your problems. There is still a process of implementation and training that comes with any tool. That means there will also be growing pains for staff.

While the people who work in admissions departments and recruitment offices do not often have the freedom to choose the tools they work with, they can learn as much as possible about the technology at their disposal. Andy suggests using every bit of the tools you have.

“I’m always exploring features and learning secrets. I use Youtube and found a number of videos put out by the company and other users that show you how to use programs.” 


Digital Advertising in Graduate Recruitment

Outbound marketing can be an effective way to improve graduate recruitment. Andy suggests starting slow.

“Like most schools, my programs had to go to the social, digital media world. We began with very small campaigns. We’ve only really been engaging digitally in the last three years. We’ve increased our budgets and we’ve increased our outreach, and there are digital realms that I would like to see us move into, if we can afford to.”

You want your ads to be in the places where they’ll get the most attention. Andy suggests two specific places to find graduate students.

“Many students are using LinkedIn to explore grad school options. Youtube is the #2 search engine in the world right now, behind Google. People are using Youtube to search everything, so it’s really important that you dip your toe in Youtube-type opportunities. Whether it’s pre-roll vides that play before, during, or after the video you want to watch or adding banner ads.”


Upping Your Personalization Game

Personalization in communication is not only preferred, it’s expected. Students are constantly bombarded with emails, texts and notifications, so you need to use their name if you want to cut through the clutter. 

And if you aren’t using data to connect with students, your message is likely to be ignored as considered spam.

Andy lays out ways in which his institution pushes the envelope on personalization.

“I’ve recently been reinvigorated by a professional conference to look at how we can really push personalization - personalizing subject lines, multiple use of personalizations within the bodies of emails, personalized landing pages when you’ve had a contact with a student. That’s something we have to do because it’s expected. [Students] want things fast and they want things now.” 

The right student engagement platform can seamlessly help you discover and log student information like names, areas of interest, and contact info. The more you know about someone, the easier it is to connect.


Keeping Everyone on the Same Page

When it comes to technology and ensuring it is best utilized within a department, communication with coworkers is essential. Meet with people in your department with the specific intent of learning from each other. Find out who is having success and who is facing obstacles and work together to increase efficiencies with technology.

Everyone uses a tool differently and shared knowledge can help everyone grow as individuals.

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