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Planification par l’entreprise du recrutement des diplômés universitaires

Roger Chartier


Il y a une vingtaine d'années, la plupart des entreprises ne se livraient que dans une mesure très limitée au recrutement systématique des diplômés universitaires: ceux-ci étaient peu nombreux et les directeurs des entreprises qui étaient sortis du rang n'étaient pas disposés à les affecter à des postes supérieurs. Aujourd'hui, la situation a changé. L'auteur aborde le problème tant du point de vue théorique que du point de vue pratique.


Company Planning for University Recruitment


This essay discusses company planning for university recruitment. Implicit in the notion of planning is, of course, the setting of goals, the evaluation of needs, and the selection of means [steps, procedures, techniques] most conducive to the attainment of the goals and the gratification of the needs ; in other words, planning is knowing why and where, and determining how, prior to direct action on a given problem.

Essential, on the other hand, to the concept of recruitment as it is used nowadays is the idea of outer-directedness, of seeking out, of reaching for someone or something. Two decades ago, most companies did little seeking or reaching of a systematic nature for university graduates ; these were relatively few, and many a company executive who had come up from the ranks with only limited formal education were still wondering whether they should lay emphasis on that so-called high-talent manpower for high-level jobs when it was customary to promote from within and to hire even college graduates for low-level jobs. For most employers, the company grapevine, or contacts with professional clubs or associations, or an anonymous ad in the papers, were considered sufficient to fill in immediately-needed replacements. Any plan or step beyond those would have been termed exaggerated and too costly.

Since the end of World War II, however, university recruitement by corporations has gradually become more deliberate and elaborate. With the advent of the new technology and the development of the behavioral sciences as applied to industry, there has emerged a fresh realization by top management of the need for ever more university graduates with more knowledge to join the ranks of industry. Formal training in institutions of higher learning has ceased to be opposed to practical experience without theoretical knowledge and has slowly taken precedence over it. Tight markets for high-talent manpower and tougher competition between firms have led the latter at the doorsteps of pertinent universities, so as to better get the ear of the placement directors and to get a closer look at potential candidates for employment still in the making. When Mohammed does not go to the mountain, or rather to one's specific little mount, all individual mounts must go to Mohammed, however costly, time-consuming or mortifying the process may be !

Such a process, which I believe to be irreversible, is likely to increase in amplitude and importance during the coming years, since we are only on the threshold of what Mr. Hann [Arthur S., & George S. Odiorne. Effective College Recruiting. Ann Arbor, Mich. : Bureau of Industrial Relations, University of Michigan, 1961.] has called the « Age of Growth », and which could also be named the « Age of Knowledge » : technical and administrative knowledge at all levels of the business concern, and especially at the top. And irrespective of the fact that universities are already producing and will presently develop more and more graduates, demand from industry will far outweigh supply, so that scarcity of university graduates will for years to come invite company recruiters to knock at the door of the university with much competition around.

Such being the prospect, how should companies plan their recruitment in the universities ? This is the object of this paper, and no small one at that. I fulfil it by relying on two different levels of discussion, namely : the theoretical and the practical. Theoretically, I tackle the following topics : planning and needs determination ; developing cooperation within the company ; allocating responsibility for college recruiting ; the recruiting team ; recruiting procedures ; and relationships between the firm and the university. Discussion of the practical aspects includes : the structural relationships within the organization and the evaluation of present and future needs ; the application of the mixed formula of recruiting ; the recruiting team ; recruiting practices and relations between the team and the universities and graduate students.