Is Your Core School Strategy Limiting Workplace Diversity?

For many employers and HR professionals today, increasing diversity in their recruiting strategy is at the top of their priority list. Yet, talent acquisition teams tend still to focus their recruitment strategy on the same core schools every year – three to five schools where most of the hiring process occurs. 

While it’s true that having a core school strategy is effective for some organizations, it’s also true that it can limit employers in building a diverse talent pool of qualified candidates. Incorporating an even mix of core schools while extending your reach to other schools you don’t typically recruit at can really make a difference in your diversity recruitment strategy.

How Adding Additional Schools Outside of Your Core Schools Can Fuel a Diverse Talent Pool

There are a lot of reasons why an employer might want to stick to a core school strategy, whether it is because of location, leadership preference, the prestige of the school, or simply because there is no need to change “what isn’t broken”. 

However, even strategies that have worked in the past need to be evaluated to ensure they are still producing the desired results, especially if increasing the diversity of your candidate pool is a top priority. 

By building a candidate pool made up of students graduating from the same core schools, you’re naturally missing out on a much more comprehensive range of job seekers. A student from a small private school on the East Coast is likely to have a different type of education, work experience, socioeconomic status, and background than a student from a large state school in the South. 

In addition, even if you are already intentionally recruiting at schools such as HBCUs in an effort to increase the diversity of representation among your employees, you may have found that many other employers have the same idea, and getting the attention of students is competitive. Did you know that there are over 700 Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) including 400 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in the US? There are also over 1,100 community colleges and hundreds of trade and technical schools. It is likely that you are able to find students that are just as qualified if not more at schools that are less competitive to recruit at.

How to Start Diversifying Your Candidate Pipeline Outside of Your Core Schools 

Because workforce diversity happens when employers engage a diverse range of individuals from different backgrounds and personal experiences, taking a more school-agnostic approach is one of the best ways to increase diversity in hiring. Here’s how to do it.

Look at the Data - Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Core Schools

First and foremost, it's important to understand your current KPIs in order to know which schools are worth continuing at and which ones should be dropped. Your performance at your current core schools will also give you a benchmark to work against when comparing performance at new target schools. With Symplicity Recruit's Analytics dashboards, you can quickly see key metrics that will show how your sourcing efforts are performing over time. 

You also have access to a leaderboard showing which schools you recruit at have the best student engagement to quickly decipher which schools are working for your company and which are not without needing to manually pull your own data. Lastly, if you don't know which new schools to target, Recruit's Recommended Schools feature helps employers make informed decisions about which schools to interact with during the recruitment process. This allows you to reach diverse populations of students more easily and find the best-fit talent at a wide range of schools nationwide. 

Leverage Technology to Choose the Best Fit Candidate for Your Company Needs

While we encourage employers to recruit at a wider range of schools, we also understand that at times teams are too small and resources are too limited to do so. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the sea of options, especially when you’re trying to make the most out of your recruiting efforts within specific timeframes. This is where a platform like Symplicity Recruit can really strengthen your strategy and make the entire process much more effective while still expanding your reach.

  • Recruit has a network of over 600 schools, including over 50 MSIs such as Delaware State University and the University of Houston, and over 100 community colleges and trade schools for employers to extend their reach. You can reach millions of students at the same time with one simple post under one platform instead of needing to create multiple accounts and job posts for multiple schools. 
  • Additionally, Symplicity Recruit offers employers a number of AI-powered features that make it easier to quickly find the best-fit talent across the various universities available within our network. Features like Smart Invites and Recommended Candidates help find the right candidates for you. 

Focus on Qualifications and Skills, Not Just GPA and School Name

If you’ve been using a core-school strategy for a while, and it’s worked well in the past, it’s understandable for you to want to stick to a list of requirements that revolve around traditional success markers like academic performance, acquired experience, and alma maters. Yet, more and more, employers are starting to shift their focus to skills that can also provide them with enough predictability about a candidate’s success and longevity at a company. By looking outside the norm, you’re not only inviting new talent into your funnel, but you’re also inadvertently diversifying your recruiting process by engaging candidates from much more diverse backgrounds and experiences. 

Symplicity Recruit’s Global Search, a student opt-in resume database, allows employers to search by keywords to pinpoint candidates with specific skill sets quickly. If your company is crunched for resources, or you have a hard time filling a particular position, we also offer Custom Campaigns – our managed service that utilizes our own robust internal database to help you find students with diverse backgrounds based on the qualifications you specify, from an array of schools within our network.

Leverage Virtual Career Fairs and Info Sessions to Extend Your Reach

Last year, Symplicity Recruit conducted a student survey in which we asked students about their preferences for virtual fairs and info sessions vs. in-person ones. Although 69% of respondents prefer in-person career fairs, virtual fairs are still an important aspect of the recruitment process because it takes into account the number of students unable to attend in-person events due to schedules or those who simply are more comfortable with virtual events. The same survey found that only 58% of Black women and 61% of Hispanic women prefer in-person career fairs versus 79% of White men. 

Virtual events are especially helpful for employers wanting to diversify their recruitment strategies but not always having all the resources available to do so. Through Symplicity Recruit’s platform, employers can easily view event schedules at Symplicity schools and sign-up, up all in one place.

Connect With the Career Centers

Career centers are at the forefront of their graduating students – guiding them in which career paths to choose, helping them prepare for the workforce, and getting them ready for interviews. They speak with students on a daily basis and have a close pulse on the students’ needs, particularly those from underrepresented communities. From our own research, we found that 68% of Black students and 64% of Hispanic students consider career centers to be a very important or important resource throughout their job search. 

Employers benefit from maintaining close relationships with career centers because it allows them to tap into the knowledge of the Career Center Advisors and cater to students in a more personalized and efficient way. As a trusted partner of universities for over two decades, the career centers within the universities in the Symplicity Recruit network understand the value and importance of building relationships with employers in order to find what is best for their students.

More About Recruit

Symplicity Recruit is the premier early talent recruiting platform used by over 600,000 employers. Contact us to learn more. 


Recruiting, Student Engagement, Employer Engagement, Virtual Recruiting, Symplicity Recruit, Growth Acquisition, virtual recruiting strategy, Talent Acquisition, Quality Candidates, Jobseekers

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