Employer Relations and Recruitment: An Essential Part of Postsecondary Career Services

Book Review by Mark Colvenbach

Employer Relations and Recruitment: An Essential Part of Postsecondary Career Services. Myrna P. Hoover, Janet G. Lenz, and Jeffrey W. Garis.  Broken Arrow: National Career Development Association, 2013.  112 pages.

Career service providers within universities and colleges will continue to be impacted by rising expectations from key stakeholders as institutions compete for quality students in an increasingly global economy.   At the center of this focus will be the institution’s ability to deliver high impact programming to ensure students’ capacity to make meaningful career decisions and apply successful job search strategies through the mission of its career services office.  With a combination of practical insight and professional context, these authors convey the importance of strategically outlining an employer relations plan and partnerships so critical to the goals of today’s career service offices.  Through a combination of strategy, assessment, and effective use of technology and marketing, this monograph outlines steps necessary to create essential employer partnerships.

A brief, but thorough, historical review of career services and the role it has played in higher education through the years provides a context for understanding the pivotal part employer relations must play moving forward.  This is particularly critical as educational institutions need to meet the rising “return-on-investment” expectations of the students’ and parents’.  In subsequent chapters, the monograph provides readers with key information on topics including program management, marketing efforts, use of technology, fundraising efforts, and program assessment.  Whether you are an experienced employer relations professional or just getting started, the content provided outlines key issues to consider, with practical examples from a wide range of institutions.   

The authors highlight the importance of strategically approaching employer relations with an emphasis on creating an environment for long-term success.  The monograph offers suggestions on how to create “buy in” from key university constituents along with opportunities to effectively market programs to both students and employers through innovative strategies and technology.  Crucial to sustaining university “buy in” is the matter of providing a means to assess current programs and explore additional funding avenues.  The authors provide creative strategies to increase supplemental funding while also providing insight into opportunities for continuous improvement via program evaluation and assessment.  Ultimately, following this “roadmap” will lead to sustainable and creative employer partnerships that provide the vehicle for students to identify opportunities to secure employment and find success following graduation.  
In the final chapter, the authors offer a glimpse into what lies ahead for not only employer relations professionals, but also others in higher education.  Through these insights, readers can anticipate the accountability factors that will truly impact how career services is managed and structured moving forward.  In addition, the reader is provided with thought-provoking topics impacting the future, including internships, fundraising, serving special populations, and technology.  

As a career services director at a medium-sized, private institution, I found the monograph an instant must-read for new or seasoned professionals in the field.  The key strategies outlined provide readers with a complete “how-to guide” so often sought, but rarely delivered, when seeking innovative opportunities to start or improve programs.  The large array of resources provided in the 15 appendices, combined with the variety of practical examples throughout the monograph, offer the reader a rich arsenal of best practices to achieve success.  I am confident this monograph will assist any university with elevating its employer relations program and contributing to the larger mission of the institution to serve students as they implement career plans in an increasingly global economy.

Employer Relations and Recruitment: An Essential Part of Postsecondary Career Services  is available in NCDA's Career Resource Store.


Mark ColvenbachMark Colvenbach serves as Director in the Office of Career Services at The University of Tampa in Tampa, Florida.  Colvenbach has held various positions over the past twelve years including Manager of Employer Development and Coordinator of University Internships.  Through these positions he has led the creation of the University Internship Council, a 25-member Employer Advisory Board, and the annual Recruiting Trends employer partner event.  He has taught several career courses and presented on the Employer Relations topic at NACE and SoACE.  He may be contacted at mcolvenbach@ut.edu.


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1 Comment

Rob Liddell   on Monday 12/01/2014 at 08:17 PM

Thank you, Mark, for your helpful review. Being familiar with the authors and the complexity of the topic they lend their considerable talents to, I will include this monograph to my inter term reading list.

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