The Zinch That Stole Recruiting

Katherine GraysonWeb 2.0 recruitment technology is already out there for you; just keep your eyes open and build a plan.

The advent of Web 2.0 has changed the face of campus recruiting: Social networking, YouTube, blogging, and forums have turned out to be a campus recruiter’s dream-that is, a highly visionary, innovative, methodical, and organized campus recruiter’s dream.

Take Butler University (IN) Electronic Communication Coordinator Brad Ward, highlighted in "Social Networking: The New Face of Recruiting" (IT Trends eNewsletter; March 6, 2008). Ward is a 24-year-old not long out of college himself, who admits he wracks his brain daily to think of new ways to connect a nation of student prospects to his school. A while ago, Ward enlisted a team of Butler students to blog weekly and give the university’s site visitors an idea of what it’s really like to be at Butler. He’s even placed ads and set up fan pages on Facebook, and proactively searched there for Butler’s incoming freshman class so that the Butler bloggers could make sure enrollees received peer guidance regarding misperceptions about student life. And in an inspired move, he equipped the bloggers with webcams and sent them out to uncover behind-the-scenes campus life, and then share those videos on YouTube. (YouTube favorites: an insider’s tour of a campus sorority house, and an interview with Remember the Titans Coach Boone.)

Then, in mid-2007 , Ward discovered the beta site of Zinch ("College admissions is now a zinch"), the brainchild of two Princeton (NJ) undergrads and a Brigham Young (UT) undergrad and alum, all who recall their own frustrations with the college selection process. In a nutshell, students place their profiles on Zinch (with an emphasis on the non-transcript stuff that schools try so hard to uncover for best matching), and the colleges search for them, rather than vice-versa.

Employed as a complement to a student’s traditional college search, Zinch expands a student prospect’s exposure in ways not possible before. Importantly, it also allows a school to search for its ideal student body. Ward says his team routinely jumps onto Zinch to drill down by state, graduating class, gender, and more. He adds that messages sent to groups on Zinch yield a 35 percent "open" rate, meaning a much higher percentage of kids open messages on Zinch, versus e-mail blasts. To date, the website boasts 300,000 student members and 519 member schools.

Head to Zinch to find out more about how this Web 2.0 networking site can enhance your own institution’s recruiting efforts. And to stay on top of many more new Web 2.0 opportunities that can transform your college or university, don’t miss Campus Technology 2008, "Welcome to Next-Gen.Edu!" in Boston, July 28-31. We’ll see you there!

-Katherine Grayson, Editor-In-Chief
What have you seen and heard? Send to: kgrayson@1105media.com.

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