Tips on Hiring the Best Admissions Recruiters

Do your student recruitment strategies include hiring the right recruiters? 

As higher education staff development trainers, we see first-hand the characteristics and the mix of recruiters that lead to an effective admissions team. So it’s time to answer an important question: Who’s on your team?
Simple question; difficult to answer. But for many colleges we conduct staff development seminars for, the answer looks something like this.
Over half the team are recent college graduates. This is their first professional job and it’s at their alma mater. They have a great passion for the college, had an awesome experience, and want to give back – they want to help enroll students who will have as great an experience as they did. Many worked as ambassadors in the admissions office and everyone loved them.
Sounds about right?
But here’s the question to be asked – are they the right people for the job? While being passionate about the college is an undisputed asset, perhaps what more Directors and VPEMs should be looking for is a person who is passionate about recruiting, sales, and working the numbers. Can you identify, hire, and retain the young person who is driven to succeed and is highly motivated to improve on past performances?
Yes, you can if you look for qualities that make a great salesperson.
Although many alumni can be great salespeople, are they great because they are an alum? Will their happy, positive, passionate attitude carry over to any job? In my opinion, successful admissions counselors are not just passionate about the institution, they are passionate about the job. It is important that all your admissions counselors enjoy the job – the hours, calling prospective students and parents, weekend recruiting events, and strategizing to meet an enrollment goal.
What other characteristics make great admissions counselors? Consider:
  • Conscientious – they want to be successful and are efficient and organized
  • Persistent – willing to overcome objections and setbacks
  • Good listener – willing to find out what prospective students and parents want, their goals and concerns
  • Curious – they are not afraid to ask questions about the process or learn more about prospective students and families
Think of this another way – you’re running a multi-million dollar business that needs the most capable and passionate staff leading the sales/recruiting effort. Your role in higher education leadership gives you the opportunity to make the next hire a great hire.
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David Black,

With nearly 30 years experience in educational marketing, enrollment management consulting and staff development, Dave directs market research with a focus on imaging and perception research, branding and positioning studies, market sizing assessments, and feasibility studies. He also leads focus groups and authors research, assessment reports and consults on enrollment management, marketing, organizational development, and collaborative team development.