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2006 Campus Technology Innovators: eRecruitment

2006 Campus Technology Innovators

TECHNOLOGY AREA: eRECRUITMENT
Innovator: Ryerson University

 


 

Challenge Met

With more and more prospective students and applicants using the web to obtain information about a university, making eRecruitment as efficient and effective as possible is a top priority at Ryerson University (ON). Specifically, the Toronto-based university, with 21,000 full-time students and a nearly $200 million (US dollars) capital expansion in the works, wanted to increase the level of personalized attention to interested students, and to streamline its recruitment practices in the process.

Ryerson joined with two vendor partners whose products the university was already using to spearhead a software integration that is revolutionizing the recruitment management process at the school. The solution combines the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) capabilities of Azorus’s suite of eRecruitment software with knowledge management capabilities from IntelliResponse. By harnessing the two tools, the university can seamlessly learn more about individual applicants and their interests as they access links and ask questions throughout the Ryerson portal. Armed with this knowledge—a virtual record of the student’s footprints throughout the dynamic environment—the school can automatically respond with immediate, relevant content tailored to the student’s interests.

The integration allows Ryerson to collect “an immeasurable amount of market intelligence on prospective students,” according to Susan Vercruysse, assistant registrar of student recruitment and communications, and liaison, Office of Undergraduate Admissions/ Liaison. “Information can be gleaned on both the macro and micro levels, from a systemwide basis down to individual students.” By automating interactions, the new solution also allows the Admissions/ Liaison office to satisfy requests for information about Ryerson much more quickly and efficiently.

How They Did It

The seed for the innovative approach g'es back to Ryerson’s initial decision to purchase solutions from both Azorus and IntelliResponse. “The collaboration was something we thought about when we first started to look at each product,” says Vercruysse. The university launched both applications in September 2005; work on the knowledge management integration began in March 2006.

In order to communicate and coordinate what was needed, Vercruysse and others at Ryerson worked with both vendors, along with stakeholders at the university who would be impacted by the solution. “I told them what we would like to see; what would make a powerful tool and would help us do our jobs,” Vercruysse says,“then put it into the hands of the technical folks on both sides.”

Next Steps

In its collaboration with Azorus, the university is also launching an experiment with another innovative recruiting tool called Digital Ink. The handwriting recognition solution will allow prospective students to use a digital pen to complete a special paper-based form, and have that data immediately entered into the Azorus database. According to Vercruysse, Digital Ink may significantly enhance Ryerson’s frontline recruitment efforts by further automating data collection by liaison staff at job fairs and other on-the-road situations.

The Digital Ink field trial will be completed this fall, and prospective Ryerson students for fall 2007 will get the full benefit of the integration project—a dynamic personal experience tailored to each student’s unique interests and inquiries.

Advice

One unexpected byproduct of the new system is a significant drop in run-of-the mill e-mail inquiries, indicating that students are finding the answers they need on the site. That has freed human resource staff for other projects. But,Vercruyesse notes, while tools like Digital Ink will provide a powerful new way to collect recruitment data, they won’t fully replace the need for traditional hard-copy request cards or access to computers at large-scale events that draw tens of thousands of prospective students.

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