Though Valentine’s Day has passed, love still lingers in the air for our Mystery Shopping evaluators!  Our team of evaluators is traveling the country at this very moment, talking with representatives in one-on-one meetings.  While a strong admissions representative knows that building rapport is critical to understanding the unique needs and circumstances of a prospective student, they can sometimes cross the line and go from genuinely interested to truly unprofessional.  Even the most irresistible prospective student should not be on the receiving end of unsolicited flirtations or suggestions.

 

It can be more than a little surprising to uncover comments like this one, made by a director of admissions:

 

Throughout the interview, Donald referred to me as ‘honey’ and used my name only once. While talking about job placement via externships, Donald said that once they get to know you, they want to keep you. He said I looked like I took care of myself, am attractive, am nice to look at and seemed smart, adding, “Hey, why not keep someone like you around, right?”

 

After conversing and getting to know the prospective student, some representatives can get a little TOO comfortable.  Imagine having a prospective student visit your school, engaged and interested in the school and program, only to have the representative giggling and flirting:

 

At the start of the meeting when I commented that the page Edna pulled up looked different from the website I’d seen at home, she commented that it was a communist plot. She giggled and said that I looked like ‘this dude she’d known for like 15 years.’ She later told me a couple of times that school sucks and everyone hates it, but that you have to do it to show that you can stick with something.

 

Earning the trust of a student can take some time but even if sparks are flying on the first visit, it’s the job of each representative to conduct himself or herself professionally and appropriately as an ambassador of an institute of higher education.  And mystery shopping is a great way to know exactly what kind of first and lasting impressions your staff is making with your prospective students.