Recruiting for Princeton University: Raising the Bar

“I liken our organization to a small city. We recruit for security officers, cooks, nurses, financial professionals, athletic coaches, fundraising professionals, research assistants, I’ve even recruited for chaplains in our office of religious life.” Loretta O’Connor, Princeton University

Thank you for joining us for a special Talent Acquisition Channel Podcast on TotalPicture, this is Peter Clayton reporting. My guest today is Loretta O’Connor — the director of staffing at Princeton University, one of the largest employers in central New Jersey, with approximately 6,000 employees. The world-class teaching and research university comprises a diverse workforce in a broad array of occupations. Founded in 1746, Princeton is one of the nine Colonial Colleges established before the American Revolution as well as the fourth chartered institution of higher education in the American colonies.

In her role, Loretta leads a team of staffing professionals responsible for the full cycle of recruitment, selection, and onboarding of administrative staff for the University. She is currently leading the optimization and transformation of the staffing function at Princeton — to that of a more strategic, consultative talent acquisition model. Now, you would think that recruiting for Princeton University, an Ivy League school with an endowment of over 18.2 billion would be easy. But guess what? It’s not. I’m delighted to have Loretta O’Connor with us here at the SHRM Talent Management Conference & Expo — for this in-depth look at recruiting in higher eduction.

Questions Peter Clayton asks Loretta O’Connor in this Podcast

Tell me about your career and what brought you to Princeton University? What types of roles do you and your team recruit for?

Tell us a little about the unique elements of recruiting and staffing for a university? What challenges and issues do you think you face as compared to others outside of your industry?

Is the process of recruiting different than in private industry?

What tools and resources are effective for you (i.e. job boards, career portal, social networks)

What do you think are the biggest opportunities for change in higher-education recruiting and staffing?

What is Princeton University focusing on now to addresses some of those challenges?

Obviously, you have a sterling “brand.” What impact has employer branding had on recruiting at Princeton?

How important is diversity recruiting at Princeton University? What are you doing to enhance diversity?

What are some of the things you are trying to learn more about during the SHRM Talent Management conference? What do you want to take back to Princeton to try and implement?

What are some of the things that you do in Staffing now, that you would like to trade out for something else? What would that something else be?

What do university leaders have to say about the importance of recruiting and staffing?

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