I think we can all agree. Your admissions team can make or break your admissions process. After all, the first face any prospective student sees is of your admission counselor. Your counselors represent your institute. It’s your admissions counselor who determines if the potential applicant will join your institution or jump ship to your competitor. So it’s vital for you that you have the right kind of people working for you as admission counselors.
But, who is the right candidate for this role?
Now more than ever, the job of an admissions counselor has become vital for the success of any educational institution. So, hiring the right counselor can no longer be just another routine activity. The industry has seen many swift changes lately which has brought on unique pressures in the various educational institutes.
Budgetary constraints, a new generation of students, and demands for better academic programs have drastically changed the qualifications required of an admissions counselor. Gone are the days when a simple recommendation, a past connection with the college, or having basic communication ability could land a job in the admissions department.
Your hire can either be a great investment or a potential financial loss. Did you know? According to SHRM, organizations spend an average of 42 days to fill a position and $4,129 per hire. When you have to make your hiring count, you will have to go beyond recruiting someone with some basic skills and hiring someone who can actually make a positive impact. But what are the criteria of a great hire? You will need to look at some of the new age competencies to qualify someone as an admissions counselor.
Here are 5 areas to keep in mind when choosing the best admission counselor for your team
Do they have a prior background in admissions?
When reviewing job applications there are many things you will take into consideration before making a decision. These can be anything from, salary expectations, the skills they have, to the knowledge required for the role. It will also mean, choosing between someone with prior experience in the field or taking a chance with a fresh face. Both have their own advantages.
By hiring experienced employees, you ensure that you’re not starting from ground zero. An experienced counselor can hit the ground running with little to no training. On the other hand, an inexperienced candidate will be more eager to learn new processes than their more seasoned counterparts. Additionally, an inexperienced candidate brings a fresh perspective and new ways of working to the table simply because they lack knowledge of industry best practices.
What is their track record?
No matter how great the candidate sounds on paper, it always comes down to numbers. How many students did they finally onboard in their previous institute? An admission counselor’s primary role is to effectively enroll students and collect tuition. To be successful, the admissions counselor should have good sales skills. But how do you know whether the potential hire knows how to intelligently discuss and promote the benefits of the program and support students in their application process? Through their numbers! If they don’t have prior experience in the admissions field, look for if they have a background in a sales role.
Are they resilient people?
Let’s be honest. Managing a 17-year-old is not easy. Talking to 100s of them every day is going to be an uphill battle. The admission process can be very confusing for many. It’s a true test of patience when admission counselors have to deal with the volley of queries, questions, changes in plans, indecision, and last-minute deviations from both students and their parents alike. On top of that, the current Pandemic has brought in more uncertainty. Dealing with anxious families and potential students in these trying times requires a resilient mind. Someone who can stay calm in this storm and who can come up with unique admission strategies to tackle this unique situation.
So, what can you look for to find out if the candidate has the qualities of a resilient person? There are areas in the resume which can point you in the right direction. The most obvious one is having prior experience in a sales role.
Other aspects can be –
- Have they taken extra responsibilities in their prior roles?
- Are there any instances where they have had to deal with conflicts?
- Did they have to make major changes in their personal life due to requirements at work?
Can they adapt to change?
Times are changing. Technology is taking everyone by storm. The concept of a workplace is shifting. There is a new generation of tech-savvy, social media obsessed students applying to your colleges and universities. The real question is, will your admission counselors be able to tackle these new challenges?
Your new hire should have that workplace readiness to handle change and act according to circumstances. They should be open to new ideas and new methods of working. You need to look for someone who can adapt to work pressure and plan alternate solutions when things don’t go as planned.
Will they be able to take on technology?
There are many new emerging industry trends and advancements in technology. The education system is undergoing a significant transformation. On top of that, student enrollment has seen a significant increase in the last two years.
The annual growth rate was 3.6 percent, with around 724 students per institution. By 2030, this number is going to be double this rate. Many institutions are looking for robust software and systems that can make their admission processes more efficient and keep up with this demand. You need to ask yourself, can the new hire take on these new technologies? Can they go beyond the excel sheets and learn how to use an Education CRM?
Recruitment is a costly affair. Thus it’s important to make the right decision when hiring an admissions counselor. There are many more skills and competencies to look at when analyzing job applications. But these are core areas to focus on when selecting the right person for the job!