Hiring for Strategy

“Opportunistic hires” help the W.P. Carey School better fulfill its mission.
Hiring for Strategy
HOW CAN DEANS ENSURE that when their schools bring new faculty aboard, they make strategic hires—adding individuals with specific skills, for instance, or diversifying the roster? At the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State in Tempe, dean Amy Hillman offers a “free” faculty hire for what she calls opportunistic hires.

Hillman sets aside funds for one tenure-track position for the school every year, and department heads are encouraged to look for candidates who meet the school’s strategic or diversity needs. For instance, department heads can look to hire women, underrepresented minorities, or other individuals whose skills match a specific need—such as fluency in Mandarin to support the school’s programs in China.

So far, the accounting, information systems, and management departments have taken advantage of the special funds to make strategic hires. Hillman believes that when department heads know the funding exists for targeted hires, they are much more aware of the connection between hiring personnel and achieving the strategic goals of the college.

Still, she adds, “I was surprised at how hard this can be. Most chairs are excited at the prospect of a ‘free’ hire, but it’s a lot of work to find people who are the right fit overall for the college and who also fit the strategic goal.”