Recently, The Ohio State University ran a full-page advertisement for an online symposium they would be holding to help determine the “Future of the University Presidency”. On the surface, this was a traditional panel of sitting and former credible University Presidents about what it takes now and in the future to be a successful university president. But, this was far from just a panel discussion, which is why The Ohio State University took out the full page advertisement (which is not cheap) to promote the webcast panel as broadly as they could.
The search committee knows that to reach that unique and special person they needed to find ways to creatively reach those who might consider throwing their hat into the ring. During the 90-minute online panel, they laid out for all who were watching, a job description for what the university wants and needs. The session included insights on what is most important on the mind of those who will work with the new President, provided a number of interview questions to ready candidates on topics that were key, and used social media (via the Twitter Hashtag #prezforum) as a way for viewers to spread their ideas to others they know who should view. In addition, the panel pointed back to the Ohio State University Presidential Search website as a comprehensive resource that could help candidates gather information to make an informed decision about whether they should apply, or not. The university site didn’t post the number of people who watched the stream online or through the archive, but from those I know who work in academia this went viral among that community.
What a brilliant way to cast a web (search) for the flies (candidates) to find.
By thinking very strategically and tactically at the same time about how best to cast their web, the university has succeeded on many fronts, all at once and they come away from this being looked at as thought leaders and progressive in the search for their candidate.
To see higher education recruiting tactics at this caliber is both encouraging and refreshing. Corporate America could take a few lessons from this one. As a Purdue Boilermaker alum it’s hard to say it to a Buckeye, but for this, bravo, you truly dotted the “I” here!