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Advertising strategies for a diverse faculty applicant pool

Interfolio Faculty Search | Topics in Higher Education

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This is one post in a series on contemporary strategies for increasing faculty diversity and inclusive excellence in higher education. For a fuller picture, take a look at our free best practices checklist.

Do you have the best advertising strategy you could for influencing faculty applicant pool diversity?

Almost every department invests in advertising to bring faculty job postings to the attention of candidates from underrepresented groups. However, in most cases, departments use the same advertising strategy year after year without any indication whether spending actually generates applications or impacts pool diversity.

Now, growing numbers of progressive institutions are tracking the returns they are getting from different advertising channels and using this data to make more strategic decisions about where they invest their advertising dollars.

  • Institutions are first examining what share of views of job postings are being generated by each of the sources where the posting is advertised. That is, what specific website, job board, or advertisement did the user click to view the web page where the job description is located?
  • Next, institutions are looking at the immediate digital path to application—or how the candidates who actually applied for the position entered the application portal—as well as applicants’ answers to the question, “how did you first learn of this position?”
  • When EEOC surveys are embedded in the online application process, institutions can disaggregate this data by gender and racial and ethnic background while keeping candidates’ personal information protected. Then, at the beginning of the next search cycle, institutions can give each search committee a report showing which channels have been most effective in generating applications from candidates from underrepresented groups.

These practices are particularly valuable as colleges and universities begin testing the effectiveness of advertising faculty positions on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Linkedin. Those platforms allow institutions to direct their advertisements to the audiences they want to reach. More importantly, they allow schools to get their ads in front of desirable potential candidates who are not actively on the job market.

How does your institution compare?

To see how your school’s current practices lines up with contemporary leading strategies for advancing faculty diversity and inclusive excellence, take a look at our free best practices checklist.