The path to becoming a recruiter is often not straightforward. It zigs and zags, taking detours into sales and customer service before it emerges happily into the previously unknown Land of Staffing. The career lacks visibility – and the kind of nudge that only a career counselor can provide.

But what if the seed were planted even earlier? What if students attended college to become recruiters? Picture it: recruitment surfaces in the University degree scene in the year 2020. (Given that the variety and availability of four-year degree programs swells every decade, it’s not that hard to imagine. Consider this list of college majors that didn’t exist ten years ago).

So what would a well-rounded Staffing Degree look like? Recently, I asked three veteran recruiters (and one newbie) to pretend for a moment they were the deans of their respective imaginary universities, saddled with the task of writing a course catalog for bright young prospects. Below is a short course catalog they've helped me compile. If nothing else, it helps highlight the sheer range of skills these people must possess – and how hard they would be to cultivate through “book-learning.”

[History] Foundations of the Excuse: From the Garden of Eden to Barry Bonds

In this text-heavy course, we’ll follow the evolution of the excuse – from Eve blaming the serpent to modern sports stars claiming innocence when confronted with steroid abuse. We’ll analyze the excuses you encounter in your daily life and work, with special focus on context, originality, and believability. At the end of the course, students will be able to distinguish between a legitimate excuse and the blame game.

What the dean says: Pam Goodwin, executive recruiter at CoWorx Staffing, dreamed up this course because often she wishes she could decipher the real reason why someone can’t go to work. Because all too often, people can’t go to work.

[Psychology] Blinks, Fidgets, and Yawns: Exploring the Psyche of the Nonverbal
In this course, you’ll dig into the subtle distinction between various sighs, shrugs, and nods by studying live volunteer subjects. Instead of a written final, we will conduct an interview simulation wherein you must translate and respond to these signals in real time.

What the dean says: Tim Perkins, a national recruiter for Diversified Sourcing Solutions, recommends this course because you’re bound to encounter impaired verbal skills. But understanding your candidate is crucial to the process.

[Technical/Creative Writing] Job Descriptions and the Art of Descriptive Shorthand
Staffing Majors will gain enough broad knowledge be able to apply their written skills to any industry. We'll break down the parts of the modern job description, explore how it got to be that way, and forecast where it's going – interactive, visual, multimedia, narrative, etc. You won't just learn how to write a job description – you'll learn how to write a job story. We’ll work on the parallel “story of the candidate” and learn how to build realism and deepen their character through nuanced vocabulary and descriptive shorthand.

What the dean says: Charlene Dupray, former manager of administrative recruitment at Accent International, said being able to instantly deliver a 3D version of candidate to a client is an indispensable tool. She often felt that she needed more adjectives and superlatives.

[Linguistics] Independent Study: How to Read Fifty Resumes in Twenty Minutes
Speed-reading is a part of daily life in a media-centric world. We scan google results, fly through dozens of emails, and consume social media and news constantly… but our comprehension leaves something to be desired. Luckily, comprehension and increased reading rates can be honed through frequent practice. Final exam includes a reflective essay and a timed reading test.

What the dean says: Rick Bernard, a corporate recruiter, confesses that speed-reading and keyword-scanning are valuable skills when you want to have some extra time to play on LinkedIn.

[History] The Game of Risk: Battle Strategies of the Ancients
An interview is much like a battle. It's all about approach, which weapons you decide to use, and when to retreat or press on. Who better to learn these techniques from than the Ancients? For your final project, you'll be required to choose a battle from history and design a parallel mock “interview.” Translate physical advancements into interview assertions and physical retreats into verbal retreats.

What the dean says: Charlene Dupray, former manager of administrative recruitment at Accent International, likened an interview to a game, a dance, or even a battle. “You need to know when to circle back around from a different angle,” she said.

[Ethics in Society] Moral Limits of Staffing
Would you place a candidate just for the commission? Would you mislead a candidate about job duties? Or do you subscribe to the moral code that “bad placements equal bad karma?” Either way, we confront uncomfortable questions in our discussion sections and are expected to keep a weekly “ethics” journal. This is a course focused on self-reflection and preparation for an emotionally intelligent career concordant with corporate ideals.

What the dean says: Charlene Dupray, former manager of administrative recruitment at Accent International, said that she was very conscious of the fact that she was shaping and molding people’s lives, and that integrity was essential to building trust and client/candidate relationships.

Other Great Electives from Pam, Tim, Rick, and Charlene:
[Marketing] Brand Awareness in the Age of ADD and Apple
[Kinesiology] How to Shake Two People’s Hands at Once, and Other Physical Feats
-->Prerequisite: Strength & Conditioning
[Mathematics] How to Hear a Salary and Instantly Convert It To Hourly Rate
[Economics] Foundations of Trade: “Everyday” Investments

Tags: Tim Perkins, Industry, Charlene Dupray, Pam Goodwin, Staffing Degree