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Recruiting Intelligence

Ben Waxman & Cathryn Andrews

Think Positive: Differentiation is Powerful

Last week, we touched briefly on the importance of differentiating your institution in the minds of international students. You may be seeing ever more doom-and-gloom sentiment among your peers on campus and colleagues in the field. The uplifting confidence that comes from a deep understanding of your differentiators is essential to your success.

This approach applies to your institution's success as much as it applies to your personal success. For this blog, we'll stick to your institution's approach and leave the rest to you.

So, your institution is not ranked in the top 50, right? And your access to a major city? How about your brand recognition in your target countries?

The reality is, most schools are in the same boat here. Not all international students are looking for the same things. There is a niche that will find your attributes just right. All international students are not all looking for the same things. But they DO need to become aware of what you have that other's don't. YOU need to help them assess and select.

International marketing is not an easy thing to do. It may seem overwhelming, confusing and, at times, impossible. It's easy for your colleagues on campus to fall into the trap of thinking, "Why would any international student want to come here?"

It's time to flip the question.

Why wouldn't they want to come to your school? You have so much to offer. Your doors wouldn't be open if you didn't. The question is: "What can your institution offer international students that no other institution can?"

Bottom Line: Creatively communicating your differentiators is essential to helping students know about and then grasp the opportunities you offer. 

Let's get into this a bit deeper...

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Developing Essential Skills Within Your Recruitment Team

This week, Ben at Patricia are in Miami at the AIRC conference, where they will be hosting a digital marketing workshop alongside Angel Ahmed, CEO of GNET, and Hillary Dostal, Director, Global Initiatives at Northeastern University. This expert team and comprehensive workshop will help international recruitment leaders develop strategic communications plans that differentiate their unique institutions. And, they will be talking about the skills needed throughout the process to achieve success. 

Plans are only as good as the team executing them. Seems obvious, right?

Is your team aligned on your strategic enrollment plan? Do you have a comprehensive marketing plan to work from? Are there gaps in the skill sets? We bet there are at least a few areas that could use improvement, right?

This week we want to walk you through our strategic marketing workshop format and a series of corresponding worksheets available via Intead Plus to guide your marketing and enrollment teams. Ready? Let's check it out. 

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The Essential Guide to Implementing a University CRM

Is there anything more annoying than trying to accomplish a task without the proper equipment? Whether it’s trying to cook up dinner in a too-small pan or charge your phone with that slightly-defective cord that only stays plugged in if propped up in one specific way (argh!). 

Working with tools that are not quite right can drive you up a wall.

The more important the task, the more frustrating it is to have a tool that isn’t helping you succeed. So, it’s no surprise that many universities, high schools, and language schools feel incredibly irritated by customer relationship management (CRM) systems that don't meet their needs.

If that sounds familiar—and if you wish you had more guidance on how to set up a system that will actually workkeep on reading.

The Intead team is gearing up to present our AIRC full-day workshop on December 5 followed by some great learning and networking at all the conference sessions. If you are going, please be in touch (info@intead.com). We'll be at ICEF the following week in Miami and welcome a meeting there as well.

Now about those CRM systems...why is everyone switching to Technolution's #Slate, anyway?

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Vendors, Vendors Everywhere: Our Tips for Tackling the Expo Floor

As we head into conference season (who are we kidding, it’s always conference season), we find ourselves wandering expo halls looking at the many vendors, each professing to be the best, the most unique, the most qualified. And they all seem to have a "tech" solution.

You've noticed this too, right? We've been around the block a few times and seeing all the claims can bring on a certain expo floor fatigue. How to know which vendor, which tool, is right for your type of institution? There are certainly some worth avoiding and others worth evaluating.

The Intead team provides our clients with industry perspective to help navigate the many options all saying, "We recruit students for you." And the reality is, you don't get students without putting in some of your own elbow grease, always.

Ahead of us are 3 great events, Can We Meet You There?

  1. Nafsa Region XI – Oct 23-25 in Portland, ME
  2. AIRC's 10th Anniversary Conference – Come to our pre-conference workshop for a full day of digital marketing and budget planning! Dec 5-8 in Weston, FL
  3. ICEF Miami – Dec 10-12 in Miami Beach, FL

We are presenting our research and tips at each of these events sharing the dais with your peers and other great industry leaders. Let us know if you'll be there. See conference links below.

Now let's return to the expo floor. How to navigate the obstacles and find the gems...

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Key Factors in a Changing Environment – Insights from NAFSA

This week, we are proud to share with you an article from our friends over at NAFSA (with their blessing, of course).

We were struck by the insightful way that this short section in International Educator's September/October 2018 edition captured today's market challenges in a realistic, unflinching light. Rather than emphasizing one factor impacting higher education (politics being a popular choice), this section takes a wider look at the many diverse conditions affecting overall enrollment.

This brief summary is evidence that many of our day-to-day concerns are not limited to international recruitment, and now is not the time to back away from building your brand internationally. As competition grows, both domestically and internationally, you want to be in a strong position to continue attracting students and maintaining your enrollment. We've all faced periods of enrollment challenge before. Shrinking away was not the answer then and it is not the answer now.

In that vein, we invite you to join our session at NACAC on Saturday 9/29 at 10:30 AM for our Presentation: International Alumni Relations: The Neglected Tool in Your Student Recruitment Arsenal?  Earlier this year, in partnership with Academic Assembly we surveyed over 1,000 US institutions on their international alumni engagement practices and needs. At this session, we will present and interpret the findings of this research and offer practical ways you can leverage your international alumni network to strengthen your recruitment and development efforts. 

We have another great collection of Intead research and insights coming out next week. You don't want to miss our Webinar: Agent Commission Structures and how to maximize your recruiting agent partnerships on Thursday, 10/4 at 10 AM EST. Register here. All registrants will receive a copy of the full report following the webinar. 

Intead works with our institution clients to help them determine the best regions and channels for their strategic enrollment plans. Our proprietary research and the custom research we do for our clients makes all the difference.

As you consider your recruitment channels, we recommend you refer to Nafsa's excellent summary of the factors we all must weigh as we adjust our enrollment plans to the current global geo-political environment...

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Canada and Saudi Arabia: Strategies to Support These Students

Unless you’ve been avoiding the international student news for the last few weeks (we almost wouldn’t blame you), it’s likely that something about the Saudi Arabia/Canada debacle has crossed your screen. But, you may be like many people scratching your head still thinking “wait what happened?” or maybe you’ve moved to, “is there anything I can do about this?”

Intead’s team has been supporting our clients as the international student sands have shifted over the past few weeks. We are helping them make valuable connections that can support some 15,000 Saudi students who are caught in the middle of this political dust up.

And, we are thankful for some on-the-ground news from our friend in the field, Nelson Padron. Some of you may recall Nelson was one of our faculty at our first International Student Recruitment Bootcamp. His international career has him traveling extensively and with his recent trip to Saudi Arabia, he sent us some valuable perspective we wanted to share with you.

Let’s take a little time to dissect the problem and identify next steps that your institution could take to support the thousands of students displaced by this political scuffle. We all want them to maintain their studies with as little interruption as possible.

Before we dive into that, a reminder that we will be presenting at NACAC in Salt Lake City in a couple weeks. Drop us a note if you'd like to meet (info@intead.com). 

Read on for Saudi student tips... 

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Student Recruitment Mistakes of the Desperate: Part 2

This week we are continuing our two part series on the all-too-common mistakes that happen when recruitment professionals are caught between increasing strain on limited budget and rising enrollment demands. Didn't get the chance to read part one? You can do so here.

As you read this series, you might think, "yep, I've been there..." or "hey, I would never do that!" ...Either way, we would love to hear from you! Want to discuss your recruitment strategies and how to avoid these pitfalls, or learn about strategies for how your institution can continue to excel? We would love to meet with you. 

We are currently setting up meetings for NACAC Sept 27-29. Ben will be in G block on September 29th at 11:30 am, presenting along with Daniel Spadafore from Michigan State and Gretchen Dobson from Academic Assembly: International Alumni Relations: The Neglected Tool in Your Strategic Recruiting Arsenal?  Beyond that, our meeting schedule is fairly open. Ben, Patricia and Elaine will all be there learning and meeting.

Have you captured our e-book: Global Alumni Management for U.S. Institutions: State of the Field 2017 In it we discuss our survey of over 1,000 US institutions on international alumni engagement practices and needs. At this session, you will learn how we interpret the findings and some practical ways you can leverage your international alumni network to strengthen your recruitment and development efforts

Alright, that's enough, huh? Let's get into it -- Part 2 of Desperate Recruitment Mistakes... 

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Working with Education Agents: What Now?

This week, we are taking a look back at one of the more controversial topics (still!) in international recruitment – the use of agents. 

Originally, we thought this discussion was done when NACAC agreed that there was, in fact, an ethical way to engage agents to support your international student recruiting. Well…the debate wasn't quite over, for some.

We’ve all heard the education agent debate—how do I find and sustain ethical and productive relationships that benefit both my institution and my prospective students? How do I know whether I am working with the right agents? And ultimately—is using agents worth the risk? (Because we all know there are some bad actors out there).

This week we are taking a look at the regulations and a few of the underlying arguments and the evidence on either side.  

In September of 2016, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) amended two parts in their guidance to U.S. educators on using education agents. This code of ethics, titled Statement of Principles of Good Practice (SPGP), was originally adopted in 2014. This document lays out the code of ethics and standards for the association and its members.

Then, in April of 2017, the U.S.-based Middle States Commission on Higher Education proposed new policy languages that would prohibit use of incentive-based compensation for international student recruitment. That objection eventually died on the vine.

Add to that the changes taking place in China and Vietnam around how these countries have recently relaxed regulations for recruiting agencies so that almost anyone can raise their hand and announce they are now a student recruiting shop.

Yet, the American Council on Education (ACE) recently released a report on internationalization efforts by U.S. institutions and they shared this: In 2011, 17% of respondents were engaged with education agents compared with 45% in 2016. Hello!

Our own recent research with FPP EDU Media that we presented at NAFSA in 2017 identified that 50% of international students find education agents helpful as they evaluate their options. And our sample size? More than 1M students surveyed resulted in 57,000+ student responses from 65 countries! (Find the link to our slides below). Those results are some of the most substantial and reliable in our industry.

Bottom Line: While the use of education agents by U.S. institutions is on the rise (considerably!), concerns about unethical practices are being addressed. Have you figured out where the best and most reliable agents are around the world? Is your institution too fearful of the downside? If so, you are probably not relying on THE recruiting channel that pretty much all institutions with any significant increase in international student population are using. And they use agents successfully. If your goal is to increase international student enrollment, ignore this recruiting channel at your own peril.

Read on to get some of the details of recent regulatory challenges and our insights into using agents to support your international student recruiting. This channel cannot be ignored. The risks are really only in whether you put the right processes in place to select and manage your recruiting team.

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What Do You Want to Learn? Vote for the Next Intead Webinar

Please, share your ideas with us! 

Every day we spend time lovingly crafting content to help you and your team build a stronger approach to international recruitment. 

This week we simply want to know: What do you need most?  What would you like us to research?

As we continue to expand the offerings available as part of Intead Plus, we want to ensure that we are creating content that fills your needs and effectively supports your recruitment team. With so many facets of the recruitment process, there are so many possibilities! That's why we ask you, our loyal readers, to let us know what you need, right now.

Please take 30 seconds to fill out a one-question survey and let us know what you think!  

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Innovations in Recruitment Technology

Have you heard all the buzz about all the latest tech solutions in international recruitment? Honestly, we'd be shocked if you hadn't – the buzz seems to be everywhere. 

This week we're taking a look at emerging trends in recruitment technologies (starting with a quick look at critical changes to the WeChat platform). PIE News recently released the nominees for the PIEoneer of the Year award for Digital Innovation in technology and we wanted to call attention to a couple of our favorite nominees – as well as a couple of other recent innovations. 

As you look critically at each of the tools we are considering this week, you'll want to ask, "How well would my internal team adopt this technology? How would my target audience respond?" All tech solutions must work in concert with your institution's unique marketing strategy and key messages and then there's the human factor.

If your messaging and your processes are not well developed – that's where you start. We can help (info@intead.com).

It's important to note: we're not in the business of promoting or selling any of these tools. We are simply keeping our ear to the ground and listening for emerging trends in the market. And right now, a number of interesting technology solutions seem to be springing up! 

Let's see what they have to offer...

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Know Your Neighborhood - Fall 2017
Global Alumni Management for U.S. Institutions