Reputation versus reality: The impact of US News and World Report rankings and education branding on hiring decisions in the job market
Typically, leading brands provide benchmarks for constructing consumer preference in the marketplace. Reputation rankings have sustained and advanced the status of brand names in higher education with an implication that the degrees awarded by higher ranked schools have added prestige, a cachet with the potential of facilitating success in the job market. This implication makes reputation rankings a dependable tool for college and university marketing departments eager to increase student enrollment and retention by communicating its superiority among its peers.
By examining the influence of reputation rankings on the pre-decision preferences of human resource hiring professionals in evaluating employment applicants, this study found that there is little if any relationship between a degree from a higher education institution in the top tier of a reputation ranking and employment acquisition. Work experience emerged as the major deciding factor in the assessment of an applicant’s qualifications. Degree field and employee referral appeared as important matters, while education program and academic record followed in playing a slightly diminished role. Academic record and non academic activities had a lesser degree of influence on hiring decisions.
Future study into the subconscious and conscious effect of reputation rankings on the job attainment goal of a college student in relation to the student’s choice of HEI could provide new insights into student choice, college marketing strategy, and the value of rankings in education.
0514: School administration
0745: Higher education