Why University Recruiting Is Broken

Does your organization recruit candidates at universities?

Chances are… your system is broken. And maybe not for the reasons you think!

Here’s what we’ve found to be broken in university recruiting and how organizations can fix these major problems! 

3. Enterprise ATS Systems are Broken 

This one doesn’t seem like it should be on the list, but it’s actually a huge culprit for why university recruiting is broken. 

Taleo, an enterprise Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that was purchased by Oracle many moons ago, has a large market share. But, it’s so antiquated and difficult to use that most university recruiters we talk to don’t want to touch it. 

What that means is that a lot of the job postings are created through Taleo, but university recruiters don’t want to open the system. This means that a giant resume blackhole is created and those inbound candidates are never interviewed. 

University recruiters get so many applications, tens or hundreds of thousands during university recruiting season, and they are going into the abyss. There are so many amazing students applying, but the enterprise ATS systems are causing them to be completely overlooked. 

2. Career Fairs

The traditional way of hiring students is often through career fairs. But, they’re incredibly expensive when you consider airfare, setting up booths, paying the campus, etc… 

Because of the cost and time it takes to attend, there are only so many career fairs that any employer can go to. That means that most organizations choose to attend the top 20 or so career fairs at universities for their given field. That means if you’re hiring software engineers, you’ll likely attend Stanford and MIT’s career fair.

The problem is… so is everyone else. This immediately creates intense competition for a very small pool of candidates. From the very beginning, it becomes a very biased approach to university recruiting because you’re only caring about people who went to a handful of select institutions. 

1. Resume Review

When you have a booth at a career fair, what are you collecting from prospective candidates? Their resumes. But, what do their resumes really tell you?

Chances are, they all look the same. Same classes, internships, and activities. 

How does that help you understand their skills and abilities? All students sit on a bell curve of academics, meaning that a majority are average – even from prestigious universities. You’re already biasing your hiring process by only attending a few career fairs, and now you’re introducing even more bias by reviewing resumes which all look the same – meaning you’re making snap judgements.

We could talk for hours about how broken resumes are, but unfortunately it’s how the system works today. Our mission is to have companies #GoBeyondResumes and actually assess skills. 

Listen to episode 8 of the Data-Driven Recruiting podcast to learn more about how to optimize your university recruiting! 


This blog post is based on the twenty-eighth episode of the data-driven recruiting podcast hosted by CodeSignal co-founders Sophia Baik and Tigran Sloyan. You can find and listen to this specific episode here or check out the video version embedded above.

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