Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3 - 47

Hiring Decisions

Ultimately, the goal of hiring decisions is to
accurately predict staff members' future performance.

tation found only grade point average, class
rank, and number of residents were related
to RA performance while Berg and Stoner
(2016) discovered " traditional multiple-component selection processes fail to adequately
predict future job performance in new resident assistants " (p. 27). Beyond the efficacy
of processes, we know very little about how
hiring professionals process, rank, and use
the information gathered from the process in
their decision making.

IMPORTANCE OF RA ROLE
RAs are considered the backbone of nearly
every residence life program across the nation (Bailey & Grandpre, 1997; Blimling,
2010; Bowman & Bowman, 1995; Carns et
al., 1993). Their paraprofessional roles as
policy enforcers, conflict mediators, referral
agents, and programmers are integral to their
residents' personal growth and development.
Blimling (2010) outlined 10 major roles of
RAs: student, role model, problem solver,
conflict mediator, campus resource, trained
observer, community builder, group facilitator, counselor, and administrator (p. 33).
The current college student population has
grown more diverse in the past ten years
with postsecondary institutions enrolling
more African-American, Hispanic, Asian,
and Nonresident alien students (National
Center for Educational Statistics, 2020).
Veteran students represented four percent
of all undergraduates enrolled in postsecondary institutions in 2007-08 (Radford,
2009), with their enrollment increasing
to six percent in 2015-16 (Holian & Adam,
2020). Many students entering college cope
with concerns of mental health (Hefner &

44

The Journal of College and University Student Housing

Eisenberg, 2009; Kisch, Leino, & Silverman,
2005). As a result, the complexity of the RA
position has increased (Taub & Servaty-Seib,
2011) along with its importance. RAs serve
as a specialized peer group on the frontline
of students' college experiences (Denzine &
Anderson, 1999), and Astin (1993) asserted
that a student's peer group is the source of
the single greatest impact on a person during
their undergraduate years. New students
come to comprehend the university and
engage in campus activities outside of the
classroom through their peer environment
(Blimling, 2014). There is no doubt that the
RA position is crucial to ensure success for
every residence life program, which in turn,
makes RA hiring critically important.

PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS AND
EDUCATION
ACPA and NASPA's (2015) competencies
for student affairs educators identified two
foundational competencies concerning hiring: " Describe ethical hiring techniques and
institutional hiring policies, procedures, and
processes " and " Advocate for ethical hiring
practices " (p. 24). However, as with many
competencies, there can be a lack of congruence between graduate preparation program
faculty and graduate assistant supervisors
concerning where and how these hiring
competencies should be developed (Cooper
et al., 2016; Kuk et al., 2007; Torres et al.,
2019). Cooper et al.'s (2016) content analysis of 136 program curricula found only nine
percent of programs included curriculum
focused on supervision, which is surprising
as supervisors typically have critical hiring
responsibilities for their organizations.



Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3

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