Managing the Campus Recruiting Supply Chain

Managing the Campus Recruiting Supply Chain

When people hear the term “supply chain management”, many envision the typical diagram consisting of suppliers, manufacturers, distributers and retailers all working in conjunction to efficiently provide a product or service to the consumer.  Although companies typically use concepts in SCM to optimize their supply chain operations, firms can also use similar methodology in order to impact areas outside of conventional supply chain functions.  One such area that can benefit from supply chain methodology is in talent acquisition, specifically campus recruiting. Similar to managing the supply chain, campus recruiting teams have to deal with a large, complex process consisting of multiple moving parts. Companies that manage their recruiting process like their supply chain can increase the efficiency, visibility, and impact of their recruiting efforts.

Strategic Sourcing – The most upstream activity in SCM is strategic sourcing, where a company determines purchasing decisions (e.g. component/raw material requirements, make vs. buy decisions and identifying key suppliers). Put into a recruiting context, choosing where and how a company recruits can be just as important as who gets recruited. Firms need to conduct a “make or buy” decision when it comes to identifying the positions needed and what types of candidates can fill them. For example, does the new hire require specific technical knowledge in order to effectively perform their job, or can they be trained internally during their onboarding process? Understanding these requirements will help identify the right schools and programs to target during the recruiting season.  Additionally, best practice sourcing strategy involves periodic reevaluation of a company’s sourcing environment, usually via supplier scorecards/audits. Companies should reevaluate their target universities on a periodic basis through the use of university scorecards, tying recruiting requirements to each school’s curriculum and quality of candidates. Quantifying university programs can allow firms to understand which long term relationships should be maintained and which “up-and-coming” programs should be the focus for future recruiting efforts.

Supplier Collaboration – With the introduction of information sharing technologies (including collaboration hubs, EDI and other integrated planning solutions), the supply chain has become a more collaborative environment.  This same principle should be applied to campus recruiting, as companies can proactively establish collaborative partnerships with universities to ensure curriculum aligns with their desired positions. Today, rather than hoping that students have background in database management, a company may lead a seminar at the university on using Microsoft Access. Some companies may also foster a longer-term relationship with a targeted university program, offering students co-op research opportunities or semester-long consulting projects. Companies that collaborate and actively support university curriculums can better assess their future candidates and ensure that potential recruits have skillsets applicable to their open positions. In addition, corporate sponsorship engagements or co-ops can help boost brand awareness for when recruiting season kicks in.

Master Production Scheduling – Unfortunately, recruiting rarely entails simply pushing out an offer for a candidate to accept. In reality, identified new hire candidates are often constrained by outstanding offers from other firms. Companies can proactively manage candidate recruiting lead time and offer turnaround by using principles found in master production scheduling. Manufacturers will coordinate the flow of materials by identifying key dependencies between operations in order to minimize total production lead time. Recruiting teams should regularly monitor candidate status in the recruiting process (e.g. “Attended Career Fair”, “Passed Case Interview”, “Offer Letter Sent”, etc.) and track against outstanding competitor offers in order to mitigate lost opportunities. Overall, better tracking and maintenance of candidate relationships can help boost the number of candidates that accept offers.

As companies continue to expand their business, recruiting efforts need to scale according to their rate of growth. In order to remain competitive and effective in their talent acquisition, companies must optimize their campus recruiting process through targeted university engagements, calculated recruitment planning, and streamlined candidate follow-through.

West Monroe Partners specializes in supply chain and process optimization. For more information on our services and insights, please click here.

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