On what does the prestige of a company or school rest? Often, on the number of employees. Indeed, generally, communications departments will take pleasure in highlighting the employees and students who attend an institution. However, this popularity must be maintained in order to preserve its prestigious aura. With a globalized job market calling for younger generations and high student mobility, the job of recruiting has become more complex.
Ninjas and prophets wanted
In professional circles, recruiters are always looking to properly market job openings. That means a clear job description with a compelling compensation package. Just as you can't bait flies with vinegar, you also need to select the channels of distribution to ensure you attract applications that meet expectations. This means choosing sites and events according to the profile sought. University campaigns will be good for recent graduates while professional journals will appeal to more experienced people.
More and more, companies are changing job titles to make them "cooler" and more appealing. As a result, applications for digital prophets, HR ninja and other titles that are awe-inspiring are popping up. Except that sometimes it turns out to be ridiculous and, above all, risky. First of all, senior profiles will not necessarily be attracted by pop culture references. And then, it's all well and good to make the candidate dream, but if the position doesn't turn out to be as "magical" as promised, the company's image will suffer since this will be circulated.
In search of students all over the world
As for the French grandes écoles, salespeople work for them in order to find the rare pearls. A way to open up to foreign countries, of course, but also to ensure the prestige of one's institution because the competition is fierce and now wants to be on a global scale. Therefore, "country managers" have been set up on all continents and do everything to attract candidates and even pamper them. Indeed, they still have to adapt to the cultural realities of each environment.
For example, in China and India, family influence is strong so they will often deal with the family first while in North America or Europe they will deal directly with the potential student since the decision is made on a personal basis. For African students, these liaisons become almost a family member.
Emmanuel Macron's government has indeed said it wants to open up to foreign students but many denounce the double talk of politicians for years. Because this façade of openness hides the reality of the selection of international applications. They are often made with the question of security and also the liberal regime of French society in mind.
In effect, young adults from wealthy families will be preferred rather than really being interested in all. A situation that we also see at American high schools who want to attract "excellence" but generally it is the wealthiest who will have more chances to fill the coffers of the institution. A sobering context for the notion of prestige being far too tied to financial status in higher education.
Illustration: Steve Watts from Pixabay
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Geisser, Vincent. "The 'double discourse' of French public authorities on the reception of foreign students: such an old story." CIEMI. Last updated December 10, 2018.
Meot, Véronique. "Salespeople: How to Find The Rare Bird?" Actionco. Last updated January 20, 2020.
Tough, Paul. "What College Admissions Offices Really Want." The New York Times. Last updated September 10, 2019.
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