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While it is understandably disheartening to go through a recruiting process involving multiple interviews and not be the selectee, I would like to give you some hope to motivate you to keep up job searching in higher education. . More and more academic institutions are adopting a philosophy of "Talent Strategy".   This translates into their tracking the "runners up"  and considering them for other similar positions.  This is not easy in large decentralized institutions where sharing and collaboration is not necessarily the norm.  But as HR units become more sophisticated, more attention is being paid to developing a talent pool.  I personally have referred strong candidates who were near-misses for one job but ended up receiving offers for similar positions elsewhere in the UniversitySo as mentioned in past articles, if you are turned down for one position, be particularly gracious upon receiving the news and express your enthusiasm for being considered for any other opportunities.  What I have seen happen is that he ultimate placement ends up being a better match than the first.

Contributed by Paula Goodman, Director of Recruitment / HR Client Services-CUHR at Columbia University

Veteran and his wifeToday, we celebrate veterans and recognize the sacrifices many have made in service of providing a better future for our country. For veterans transitioning out of the armed services, there are still many opportunities to serve your country and help create a better future. Working in higher education is an opportunity to contribute to the mission of educating and inspiring students and future leaders, many of whom are also veterans.

HERC is a non-profit organization that represents over 700 colleges and universities and hospitals that are looking for professionals with a wide range of work experience, unique perspectives, and a commitment to excellence. Roughly half of the jobs listed on our website are non-teaching positions in fields like athletics, business, marketing, nursing, and information technology.

Here are three reasons to consider a career at one of our member institutions:

1.  Higher Education Needs You

Higher Education is in transition, and most institutions are recruiting and educating more students with diverse backgrounds and needs than ever before. Many institutions have veteran centers and counseling on campus to support students and are seeking veterans to help run these programs. Here a few of the veteran-specific jobs listed on our site today:

Click here for more jobs with “veteran” in the job description


2. Higher Education Employers Support Continuing Education

Many of our member institutions pay tuition costs for employees seeking new or advanced degrees. If you have a family and need a job today, but would still like to complete or advance your degree - working in higher education may be the perfect opportunity to support your long-term career goals.


3. Dual-Career Support

HERC and our member institutions are advocates for work-life balance, and many schools have dual-career programs to support academic partners and families. You can use our dual-career job search to find two jobs within commutable distance from one another and learn more about institutions that provide support for dual-career couples.


Next Steps

Are you ready to take the next step in your career? Create a free account on our website to upload your resume and set-up daily job alerts based on your saved searches.


Are you a veteran working in higher education?

If you are, and are willing to share your story or respond to jobseeker questions please email

Right now I am working on several very senior administrative searches.  I hear hiring managers say they need to hire someone who can handle “organizational ambiguity” and/or have “emotional intelligence”.

Just today a manager said he had to hire someone who could maintain a sense of humor even in “the darkest hours”.  So what does this really mean and how can you as a job seeker prepare to address these qualities that do not have to do with the functional skills that are described in job descriptions?  What is behind these bona fide needs is the fact that academic institutions take decentralization VERY seriously.   That is not to say that there are not centralized offices in Finance, HR, IT, and the Office of General Counsel that enforce compliance around issues that could put a university at risk legally or that could create negative press.  Anyone working in especially large Universities needs to simultaneously respect and comply with  the mission of such central offices while at the same time operate within the individual school or department that hired them.  Navigating these waters is not easy.  How can you present yourself as someone who can do so?.  If you are currently working inside higher ed you most like understand the intricacies of matrix reporting.  And even if you are trying to break in from the corporate sector if you have worked in a large financial institution or service provider, you may also be able to draw parallels.  What the interviewer will want to hear from you are concrete examples of when you had to make decisions to satisfy your direct boss while at the same time maintain good relationships with central offices that are trying to protect the organization at large. You need to do some thorough reflection of instances in your past work environments that relate.  Remember it boils down to developing and fostering relationships with stakeholders close to you and those that are at somewhat of  a distance.


Contributed by Paula Goodman, Director of Recruitment / HR Client Services-CUHR at Columbia University

A recent trend I am observing is around hiring manager expectations on Thank You follow ups after an interview.  Here are some general tips to start:

Why are thank you letters important?

1. To reaffirm your interest in the employer

2. To mention something that you may have omitted during the interview

3. To illustrate that you are courteous and professional

When are thank you letters appropriate?

1. After every job interview (in-person interviews and phone interviews)

2. After every informational interview or networking meeting

3. After someone has helped you with your job search process (i.e., referred your resume to someone else, offered you contact information, etc).

What is the purpose of the letter, and what should it include?

1. Be short, concise, and to the point, no more than three paragraphs; only thank the person once

2. Express gratitude for the opportunity to interview or for job search assistance

3. Mention aspects of the interview that were of particular interest to you

4. Grant you the opportunity to add something that you may have not mentioned during the interview that is relevant to your job search or to your application

TIP #1: If you have writer’s block, do not worry! This is not a time to be extremely creative; a nice, appreciative thank you communication is fine. How should a thank you letter be sent?

Thank you letters should:

1. Be sent immediately, especially if you are expecting the job decision quickly

2. Be sent formally and professionally, regardless of whether it is by email or handwritten

3. Be sent to everyone that you interviewed with; each letter should be modified and unique

So the trend in question is about timeliness.  While there was period when I was recommending handwritten notes, I no longer do so because of the time factor involved with mailing.  Hiring managers now have an expectation that a truly interested job hunter will have sent a thank follow up within one business day and no longer.  That is hard on a job hunter who is currently employed and had to take time away from his/her work to take the interview, but I strongly urge you to send an email even the same evening of the day you interviewed.  Doing so says a great deal about your level of interest.

Contributed by Paula Goodman, Director of Recruitment / HR Client Services-CUHR at Columbia University

man on phoneMuch as I prefer interviewing in person and encourage hiring units to do the same, often the sheer volume of applicants and compressed timeframes necessitate doing phone interviews as a first step to “weed out” those who are not as strong as their resumes might indicate.  I am currently working on 4 very senior searches for various professional graduate schools and have had to do phone screens to expedite processes.

I always try to give candidates notice and never expect them to be in an on-the-spot interview mode.  Hopefully when you  a request for a phone interview you too will have sufficient notice.  The normal time allocated for a first round phone interview by an HR person is 15-20 minutes.  If conducted by a faculty member then the interviews could be as long as an hour since they are apt to dig very deeply.  I use phone interviews to determine the following:  (1) Are the person’s salary expectations in line with the salary allocated for the job in question (2)what is their motivation for applying for this particular job, i.e. are they actively conducting a search or is there a special appeal of this position (3) comfort level with a large decentralized organization in a large urban city.  (4) of course correlation between what they have done in past roles up against the needs of the open job (5) what is their phone “presence”.  Do they listen to the question and pause a minute before responding or jump in too quickly and talk-over before the full question is asked.  It is a fine line between wanting to show enthusiasm and wanting appear thoughtful.  In this regard, phone screens are more difficult since you cannot see your interviewer and pick up on cues.  Overall, however, the preparation should be the same as if you had been invited in for an in person interview---you just have less time to show how good you are.  But do your advance research on the institution and on your interviewer and you will feel more confident. Because the time is so short, you may not have the opportunity to ask questions, but it is perfectly fine at the final conclusion of the interview to ask what the next steps are in the process and when you might expect to hear.

Contributed by Paula Goodman, Director of Recruitment / HR Client Services-CUHR at Columbia University

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