Engaging Alumni in the Recruiting Process: Six Opportunities for Your Graduates
Alumni can serve your school in a variety of ways in the spirit of “giving back.”
Your alumni can write a check, serve as a guest speaker on campus, help with summer and/or full-time hiring, and participate in many more roles. But is it a good idea to include alumni in the recruiting process? I would say absolutely!
Alumni are great touchpoints for candidates interested in your school. In case you’re searching for additional ways to engage them, consider the following six opportunities:
- Recruiting events. Prospective students love speaking to someone who experienced the entire lifecycle – from applying to graduating. They can testify to the school’s impact on his/her career, the special features of the program inside and out of the classroom, the things she wished she had known before the program, etc.
- Webinars. Many schools leverage an online platform to reach a wider audience around the world. Consider the benefits of adding alumni to the agenda, specifically during the Q&A portion to answer questions about career recruiting, other influential alumni, caliber of the faculty, alumni community, and more.
- Print materials. Candidates like to see aspirational images of their future. Profiling an alumnus who is working in an industry that appeals to the masses is a powerful message. International candidates especially like to see someone from their region who graduated and is now successful.
- Event hosts. In my opinion, there is nothing better than an alumni-hosted recruiting event at his or her company. It sends a strong signal to candidates that your school has deep connections in career placement. At the same time, it demonstrates how alumni give back to the school beyond writing a check.
- Candidate referrals. If you organize the effort correctly, the right alumni can send a good number of qualified/ideal candidates. How? With the proper training, alumni will know exactly what you are looking for and can screen the candidates and possibly save some time in the admissions process [for you].
- Interviewers. Again, with the proper training, alumni can add value to the admissions process by interviewing candidates. This is especially helpful if you are on a tight budget and can’t travel to every city where an applicant resides.
Keep in mind, these ideas are not “one size fits all.” Some might not work for your infrastructure. At UCLA Anderson, our Alumni Ambassadors serve in many of the roles mentioned above. Our alumni are examples of what the UCLA Anderson MBA experience provides and of the many ways in which graduates can give back.
About the Author
Alex Lawrence is assistant dean, MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at UCLA Anderson School of Management.