Posted by Brian | Posted in Recruitment, Technology, Web | Posted on 09-24-2007
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. I have a group of suspects that I’m sending print media to, and I want to upgrade their status to prospect (which means they’ve shown interest in our University) when they return the media they received. Here’s where it gets tricky. I want to implement this process efficiently. See, I knew you’d heard it before.
What’s more, I want to be able to distinguish between each of the groups of suspects that received the mailings in order to report on them in the future. How can something like this be done without tapping your entire data entry department?
It can be done, just use the Web!
That’s right, embrace that Web thing they’ve got nowadays – it’s there to help you. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1 – build a single application on your web server that allows a suspect to enter his/her essentials like name, contact information, and basic academic information, which interfaces with your recruitment software and stores this information.
Step 2 – add a handler to your application that, upon loading, looks at the querystring of the referring URL to find out which group of kids are arriving at your application, then serve them customized content on the web form (if necessary), and give them an activity that specifies the group they belong to.
For the URL http://www.youruniversity.edu/thisapplication/default.aspx?referrer=suspectGroup1 you would know that these suspects are part of “suspectGroup1″ based off the querystring, and you would give them a matching activity of “Suspect Group 1 Web Response” or a derivative thereof.
Step 3 – Set your recruitment software to automatically turn suspects into prospects when they receive the activities you created for this application.
Step 4 – Add the URL to the print media that you send to the kids and direct them to visit the web instead of returning the media. Each group of mailings you send throughout the year should have a unique URL which will be handled by your snazzy web application, and those suspects will be given a unique activity which will allow you to report on them in the future.
Bonus – We felt that plastering a long, dirty URL similar to “http://www.youruniversity.edu/thisapplication/default.aspx?referrer=suspectGroup1″ on our mailings was confusing and potentially hazardous to the student. With all that jumbled mess, what if they entered the URL incorrectly? Solution: set up a series of redirects. This will greatly anger your IIS manager, but that’s a risk we were willing to take.
So, print “www.youruniversity.edu/spring” (or some other unique URL that’s easy to type into the address bar) on your mailing, and make sure that URL redirects to your web application with the correct querystring identifier at the end.
Just like that you have eliminated your data entry department, or at least the data entry required for your suspect mailings. Over the past 2 years I’ve worked to eliminate our data entry department almost entirely by utilizing the web in this manner for most of our business processes. You can too! Just apply the lessons learned from this post to all of your student interactions.
If you’re reading this as a data entry person, I would suggest cutting the hard line to your building and trying to convince your staff that the internet doesn’t exist. It’s worth a shot.