The concept of academic freedom is one of the hallmarks of American higher education. A substantial component of academic freedom rests in the understanding that academic leaders (deans, chairs, and directors) decide who will be hired as faculty and which courses they will teach. Deans, chairs and directors understand their accreditors’ hiring requirements, their departments’ or programs’ faculty needs, and their students’ expectations better than anyone else.
This group of academic leaders, who are responsible for faculty recruiting and hiring, are also some of the busiest faculty on any campus. Chairs and directors are required to teach, advise and mentor students, manage their full-time faculty, research and publish in their fields, and do institutional service. This leaves little time for recruiting and hiring, and often there are no useful resources provided to aid in the time-consuming process.
Currently, when deans and directors need adjunct faculty, they tap their professional network or parse through their rolodex looking for potential candidates. Although occasionally fruitful, this process is time-consuming, inefficient, and frustrating. HR departments have Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) where adjunct faculty candidates can apply, but the applications contained therein are usually outdated.
So what is the solution? The future of hiring in higher education may include the following:
One of the pitfalls of Applicant Tracking Systems is that they do not provide support throughout the entire recruiting process. Jerome Ternynck, CEO of SmartRecruiters says “You need to find, engage and nurture great talent…then, you need to use the system to foster collaboration between all stakeholders and manage your progress from creating a job description to opening a role, to approvals, to hiring and on boarding all the way through. Finally, managing your data, processes, and progress from end to end so you have one point of contact — a single-pane view of all your candidate’s, information and data points,” Ternynck says.
Because faculty hiring happens at the department level of an institution, most schools do not have a centralized digital repository for faculty information. Most often, resumes, teaching contracts and evaluations are stored in paper files in chairs and directors offices.
New generation recruiting platforms, such as APL, offer the capability to manage the entire process including recruiting, hiring, contract workflow management, on boarding, and training.
Seeking Passive Candidates
Often times the most qualified candidates are not active job seekers. This especially applies when seeking adjunct faculty. The candidates who are most-needed are typically passive job seekers in popular fields such as applied health, technology, engineering, and business. Those professionals are not visiting the job boards that drive applicants to ATS’s, therefore, this important group of passive job seekers is left out of the hiring equation.
Regardless of the efficiencies technology can create, nothing can replace a human touch. Due to the nature of recruiting, a personal touch is critical in ensuring the best candidate is selected. Software is invaluable for storing and reporting on data, but software is unable to decipher if a candidate has the potential to be successful in any given company. Incorporating a personal touch engages the candidate and allows a hiring manager to decide if he or she has the potential to succeed at a given institution.
New generation recruiting applications have begun to fulfill each of these unique needs in faculty hiring. Adjunct Professor Link (APL), a faculty talent solution, provides institutions with important resources to help academic leaders recruit, manage and train adjunct faculty. APL can help institutions save time and money recruiting and provide excellent faculty to teach students.