Getting creative with MBA recruiting

by Vault Consulting Editors | February 24, 2010

  • My Vault

We all know the cookie-cutter MBA recruiting routine: Recruiters head to top schools for presentations and meet-and-greets, come back a few months later for first-round screening interviews, and then make another trip for second rounds. Some then take it a step further and hold final interviews at the company's own offices.

job fair

But while companies look for ways to cut their recruiting budgets (according to the MBA Career Services Council, 79 percent of recently surveyed business schools saw a decline in on-campus recruiting for full-time jobs last fall), MBA programs are understandably looking for ways to boost their profile in recruiters' eyes. They've found some fairly crafty ways of doing so, including teaming up with other schools to fly students out to reach company representatives, funding "recruiting missions" for groups of students to visit major cities, and some are even paying for hotel rooms to get recruiters to pay them a visit.

Video interviews—whether conducted live or pre-recorded to answer specific screening questions—are becoming increasingly common screening tools at schools with lower profiles, and even at larger programs, all in an effort to get as many of their students as possible in front of recruiters. The method is appealing to recruiters, who do not have to expend as many resources to screen viable applicants. Video interviews serve as more of a quick-fire, targeted screening round, after which selected candidates visit the company for more detailed interview/information sessions.

Video-streaming companies have risen to fill the role. One such firm, InterviewStream, says it has about 50 MBA programs as clients, and sales have risen over 20 percent in the past year. "With this technology, [recruiters] don't have to stick to local schools," says Randy Bitting, CEO of InterviewStream. "They can cherry-pick without worrying about travel costs or time-zone differences."

It seems like video interviewing will take a firmer hold than the video resume fad of 2007, which was cool for about 45 minutes, and resulted in Aleksey Vayner's instant Wall Street spotlight. The video medium seems like it will become an increasingly large component of recruiting—both for companies and for universities. For this college application season, Tufts University allowed applicants to submit a one-minute YouTube video to supplement their written application. Of 15,000 applicants, about 1,000 created videos. And even before this year, students had started sending in video supplements to colleges of their own volition.

Certainly, corporate interview videos are a more buttoned-up version of, say, Amelia Downs' math dance for Tufts, but the trend does show the pressing need to really stand out and differentiate yourself in today's cutthroat applicant pool—especially when companies may be turning to less personal methods of candidate selection.

Filed Under: Consulting

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