Search Strategy: Active Recruitment


More and more universities are broadening their approach to faculty searches by utilizing the tools of "active recruitment." These tools are considered by recruitment experts to be among the best ways to help ensure a diverse and excellent pool of candidates for faculty positions.   

Talent Scouts? Academia might do well to take a cue from college and professional athletic teams, which do not wait until they have openings to recruit new players. Instead, high level talent scouts routinely visit schools and teams around the country to watch potential team members in action, to develop relationships, and to court them for possible future affiliation.

More than a process, active recruitment is a whole mode of approach to faculty searches based on the long term cultivation of relationships and connections with those who may become applicants for a position at some future point, especially those from underrepresented groups such as women and people of color.

Examples of Active Recruitment

  1. Attend professional conferences to network and develop relationships with potential colleagues, graduate school deans, and Ph.D. candidates.
  2. Develop relationships with colleagues at neighboring colleges, community colleges, and in the local professional community in order to increase access to talented candidates who have followed unconventional paths to academia. 
  3. Cultivate relationships with minority interest groups affiliated with national educational and disciplinary associations.
  4. Develop and maintain connections, with department chairs and deans at doctoral-granting institutions which grant terminal degrees to above-average percentages of women and other underrepresented groups.
  5. Initiate recruitment trips to those institutions.
  6. Invite a strong potential candidate as a guest lecturer, or even as a guest professor for a semester or year.
  7. Maintain attractive, informative, easily navigable Web site or Web page related to the search
  8. A group from the department can visit top candidates for more senior positions on their “home turf” to let them know how much they matter
  9. Maintain contact with undergraduate and graduate students and recruit them as faculty members after they had completed their terminal degrees and/or spent a few years at another institution.