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Creativity in the Hiring Process: How to Run Successful Searches by Thinking Outside the Box

Career and Workforce Development
October 22, 2020 Vijay Pendakur Ann Marie Klotz

Higher education does many things well, but creating innovative and efficient search processes is often not one of them. Nearly everyone in the field seems to have a horror story! In our research for the new publication Disruptive Transformation: Leading Creative and Innovative Teams in Higher Education, we reached out to higher education colleagues and asked what missteps they have encountered in an interview process. Our inboxes were flooded with story after story of being stranded at the airport because someone forgot to pick them up, being put in a residence hall room overnight with no linens or air conditioning on a hot summer night, being alone in an interview because the wrong room number was listed on the itinerary, botched negotiations because the hiring manager offered an unapproved (out of budget range) salary, and many, many more.

Sound familiar?

As higher education continues to grapple with substantial challenges to funding, enrollment, and national policy changes, it becomes even more critical that we hire talented, solutions-focused, self-starters to fill these roles. Our industry has suffered from a creativity gap in the recruitment, hiring, and on-boarding of new talent. When we do what we have always done, we will continue to get what we always get. Colleges and universities spend substantial resources to attract prospective students, but we lack the same savvy and strategy for securing talented professional staff. 

In our chapter, we offer creative solutions to target and attract the type of dynamic practitioners who can help transform our departments and divisions. We showcase strategies to transform search processes—from how to recruit for positions, to templates for more creative on-campus interview schedules. Readers will find helpful guidance for developing a practical approach to conducting search processes that result in securing top talent.

Good luck, and happy hiring!