Involving International Alumni in your Recruiting Strategy

Most businesses find that their best customers come from other customer’s referrals or “word of mouth” advertising.  Why would it be any different with international recruiting?  Your best word of mouth advertising comes from the people that have “been there, done that”, your alumni.  A good alumni recruiting strategy is a critical component of any international recruiting effort.

Why would you use alumni for recruiting?  Here’s two key reasons:

1.       Budget:  Budgets are tight these days.  But you don’t need to read this to know that!  You now have to stick to the traditional methods and then transition some of that into a digital strategy.  There is not much left over at the end of the day.  So why use alumni?  They are willing to help for FREE.  They will do it out of a sense of pride and service for their Alma mater.  Secondly, if you “recruit” the alumni effectively and with geography in mind, you now have created an international recruiting force that can attend college fairs, host events, meet with perspective students and if trained correctly, can even conduct interviews.  This will not only put more feet on the street, but cut down on your travel budget (if you even have one).

2.       School Advocate:  Who knows your school better than someone who went there?  They know the school culture, things to do outside of classes, where to eat and what to do to have fun.  If you recruit them when they are freshly graduated, they are filled with school pride and can speak to your school with passion.  They can give advice on what to study, the international experience, how to prepare, travel advice, etc.  They will also serve as a real world example of what they can achieve after going to school there.  Lastly, they are not as threatening as a recruiter and can talk candidly and openly about the school.  Now, they are no longer just school alumni, but a mentor for your international student.

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when recruiting international alumni.

  • Make sure that they are passionate about the school.  Passion sells!
  • Make sure they have had some level of success.  Seeing a living breathing success story sells!
  • Manage expectations up front.  You want to make sure that the alumni knows up front what you are going to be asking them to do and what budget they have to work with for certain events.
  • Keep them informed about things happening at the school and changes. For example the school is investing in a new sports complex or library.
  • Build a website that you can direct potential students to that has their local alumni contact information.
  • Use social media to communicate you’re messaging and build a community (we will talk more about that next week).

Want to talk about other strategies to help in your international recruiting efforts?  Send me a note at

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