Aug 21 2012

University Recruiting for Startups

This is a guest post by William Mougayar who recently put up a great review of Startup Communities. William had a few suggestions for the sections on Universities – especially around the topic of Recruiting – and I asked him to write them up. Here they are!

In Brad’s book Startup Communities, there is an entire chapter on the role that universities play in being part of the startup community. Brad mentions five things universities can do. “Universities have five resources relevant to entrepreneurship: students, professors, research labs, entrepreneurship programs, and technology transfer offices.”

But I think there’s a sixth element, and that’s Recruiting.

Recruiting is the lifeblood of high-growth startups. Startups are always looking for new talent, and the more efficient they can be at it, the more time they will have to deal with other priorities.

Here are some best practices on how Universities can help startups.

1) An Official Program. A Recruiting Office can either be run as a centralized resource or as part of each school that runs its own program. Regardless, the program becomes a marketing engine and a magnet that helps to attract prospective employers.

2) Facilitate on-campus interviews. This includes having detailed scheduled periods for back-to-back interviews, providing the facilities to conduct such interviews, as well as publishing a clear process for ranking and matching procedures.

3) Job Boards. Exactly the same as commercial ones, employers can post available jobs, and students get to browse them and apply to the ones they are interested in.

4) Job Banks. Job banks are like a more expanded version job boards. They can be general purpose or industry specific. They are a jumping point into various job boards outside of the immediate geographical realm.

5) Career Fairs. Regularly scheduled career fairs help to maintain a healthy engagement level between employers and students. These could include a sponsored industry speaker, a visiting pundit or a lively panel discussion.

6) Employer Information Sessions. These can be critical in presenting a number of prospective employers to the students in a very efficient manner. Employers are allotted a fixed amount of time to tell their stories, one after another.

7) Career Advisors. They could either be like shopping mall information desk guides that point students to the right resources or they can offer more sophisticated advice for trouble-shooting decisions or discussing the next steps that a student is contemplating.

8) Online Showcases. The University can publish a portfolio showcase of student work all in one place. This can be particularly useful for creative programs like UI/UX related jobs. Employers browser the projects that students completed during their studies.

9) Salary tables. They are useful for providing suggested ranges based on the field of study, experience and they help to set realistic market expectations on both sides.

If you are a startup, familiarize yourself with the recruiting programs of the nearby Universities that are part of your ecosystem. If you are a University that has a Computer Science or Software Engineering program, talk to the startups in your geography and design a program that fits their needs.

The combined hiring power of startups can rival the hiring of traditional large Fortune 1000 companies, therefore Universities that customize their programs with startups in mind will benefit from a closer relationship with them.

Here is a sample of Universities that run well established Recruiting Programs.

Stanford University –

Carnegie Mellon University –

Massachusetts Institute of Technology –

University of Colorado Boulder –

Ryerson University –

OCAD University –

University of Waterloo –

What has been your experience with University Recruiting programs and what are some of the best practices that you have seen out there?

William Mougayar is the founder and CEO of Engagio, a universal Inbox and streaming dashboard for social conversations.