Beyond Target Schools

April 24, 2018 By admin

Despite popular and scholarly dialogue, going to college isn’t enough to secure recent graduates a job. Their diplomas will dictate who hires them, and today’s students are all too aware of this. Employers are missing out on many great candidates by recruiting from only core or target schools. Here are some reasons why your company should look beyond the jurisdiction that core and target schools create, and ways in which your firm can expand its applicant pool.

Broaden Your Reach

Limiting your search to a set number of schools can lead your company to miss out on fantastic candidates. Expand your search to include applicants from non-core and target schools. Broadening your search will allow your company to reach and engage with candidates who wouldn’t otherwise apply or know about your company. Extending the scope of your candidate pool gives opportunities for top students who don’t attend ivies and top-tier colleges to apply.

For example, UC Davis in 2015 was not an IBM Watson core school. However, it was a feeder school that placed in the top 20 for Apple, Google, and Twitter. Western Washington University is another example of an unconventional feeder school. In fact, they placed in the top ten schools that Amazon hired from.

Many companies go straight to ivy leagues because of their reputation, however, there are many other successful candidates out there that are just as successful, if not more, and do not attend an ivy league school. For example, New Jersey Institute of Technology ranks 149th on the US News list for undergraduate colleges and Business Insider found that the average mid-career salary of its graduates is $98,000. In fact, 56% of NJIT’s students are already employed by the time they graduate, making them 26% higher than the national average. However, if you look at Princeton University which ranks as the number one university in the US, the mid-career salary median is $135,000. Within six months of graduation 72.2% of graduates had accepted employment, however the 2015-16 annual report does not mention anything about employment before graduation.

Increase in Offer Acceptance

Hiring students from non-core or target schools increases the likelihood of them accepting an offer from your company. The examples of UC Davis and Princeton are just two examples to show the benefits of expanding your company’s applicant pool to include schools with strong candidates that may otherwise be overlooked.

These two examples also show the discrepancy in salary between someone attending an ivy versus non-ivy school. Additionally, schools that have more resources to bring recruiters to campus and most likely this will increase competitiveness in offer acceptance from candidates. Therefore, if your company looks at schools that may not have as many recruiters, but equally strong if not stronger candidates, you may see an increase in offer acceptance from candidates.

More Diversity

Approaching recruiting in this way will increase your company’s likelihood of receiving applications from more diverse candidates, racially, ethnically, in their way of thinking, etc. Creating lists of set schools to hire from can limit your ability to stumble on top performers and talent. There are many high-achievers that attend less reputable schools for reasons that do not correlate to their ability or intellect. In addition, these lists can have a significant impact on diversity in companies when looking at potential candidates.

For example, Rutgers, New Jersey’s state university, rates 126th on U.S. News, but has a diversity index of 0.76 rating it the most diverse national university. University of Houston comes in second for diversity, with a diversity index of 0.74, but is rated 189th by U.S. News as a national university. It is important to note that neither of these schools are ivies

How to Change the Trend

Companies should reconsider and redefine their perspective of educational quality to include schools that show high levels of academic achievement, as well as diversity. Additionally, companies should consider designing special recruiting channels for students that don’t attend core and target schools that pays equal attention to their applications. Companies could also perform more intensive screens on grades and tasks performed at prior jobs, in addition to paying closer attention to a candidate’s recommendations. These strategies may decrease many companies from passing on high-quality and underutilized talent pools that they are currently missing.


Recent Uncubed Posts
  • 33 Companies define their promise to employees + Spotify’s remote work plan + Employee wellbeing + Being an ally + Improve your employer brand

  • Check out our new look + Office of the future + Clubhouse + Top HR questions to ask yourself for 2021 + Difference between recruiting & TA

  • Be better at diversity recruiting + Pipeline D&I fails + Unifying your employer & customer brand + Creating remote work boundaries