Think Outside the Career Fair

Top schools produce good candidates. That's indisputable. But how great?

Google's VP of Staffing, Sunil Chandra, found from years of data analytics:

"There is no correlation between our good hires and the universities that they come from or their GPAs."

This makes sense, especially when looking at acceptance rates for elite universities. In the 2016-2017 undergraduate admissions cycle, Stanford received 43,997 applications, and only 4.8% - that is, just 2,112 students - were accepted. Similarly, Harvard received 39,041 applications and only 5.4%, the equivalent of 2,108 students, were admitted. This continues down the list similarly for all top-tier universities. 

Where do the rest of these talented prospects go? The fact is, there are tens of thousands of intelligent, ambitious students that just aren’t at the select few Ivy League schools. In fact, they may have never even applied opting to attend another university for a variety of different reasons.


So, why has the approach of targeting top schools been so prevalent in recruiting strategy?

Our hypothesis? Simply a lack of better data to validate the generally accepted notion that top talent is top talent regardless of where they go to school.


In the absence of comprehensive data, companies have relied on school rankings to determine what “best” and “top” students meant for them. Targeting top schools with career fairs and job postings through university career services has become conflated with attracting top talent, simply because there was no better option. To further compound things, it’s no secret that employers have experienced a decline in career fair engagement in the past several years.


Now, by leveraging Piazza’s intelligence, recruiters are no longer constrained by a limited number of universities. Companies are empowered to create their own, more robust definition of what “top talent” means, and pursue them across hundreds of campuses with a few keystrokes. A recruiter can now say, for example, “Show me CS majors at all Northwest schools who are experts in CSS, Javascript, and HTML, and have TA’ed Advanced Web Development courses” and be confident that the students they see are top candidates.

Talent leaders like Sunil frequently cite passion as a key determinant for success, in addition to core job skills. Until recently, there just hadn’t been a good way to consistently find these great candidates outside of focusing on a handful of target schools.

Google now uses Piazza Careers to identify students that are highly engaged + endorsed by professors, in addition to TAs.

It’s not just about filling reqs from elite schools anymore –– top talent is top talent regardless of U.S. News' ranking. Expand your search and reap the rewards.

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