Hey HBCU family, companies like Google and Facebook have been doing more and more recruiting for graduates of historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. But oftentimes students coming straight out of these historic institutions get overlooked by students from bigger, well-known colleges for lucrative positions at companies, even when we all know or at least should know that HBCU students have talent.
Barbara L. Adams, the business school dean and an accounting professor at South Carolina State University, would like to remind companies of this talent that black college students have, writing an op-ed for Fortune called “If companies don’t recruit from HBCUs, they’re missing out on promising employees” and setting the record straight henceforth. She wrote three recommendations for companies seeking to build stronger relationships with HBCUs. Some highlights of the op-ed are below.
Build relationships with the faculty
Companies must engage faculty members to make sure courses are preparing students properly. PwC is an example of a company that does this well. The professional services firm hosts a yearly faculty forum where it updates HBCU representatives on the latest capabilities it is looking for in new hires, and listens to feedback from our side.
These efforts mean a lot to us. The firm shows that it genuinely wants our students, and takes strides to help us better prepare them for lasting careers. Even something as simple as periodic conversations with faculty members to mutually share any feedback, roadblocks, or advice can go a long way. Real progress in this space is rooted in strong, trust-based relationships.
Be present with students
A few years ago, my institution launched an executive speaker series where we host representatives from companies to share career advice. Topics range from “a day in the life” to the skills and knowledge that hiring managers expect from recruits. Two companies that do this effectively are BMW and Boeing: Boeing designates a certain day each year where company representatives speak in different classes, and both companies provide students scholarships.
Efforts like these don’t just offer vital advice to future workers—they send a message to my students that they have a chance to fill a role where they have an equal footing from day one. This form of direct interaction can speak volumes.
Head over to Fortune to read more.