Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3 - 91

The Price of Hiring Resident Assistants

Framing the design of RA hiring processes while
being mindful of human capital, opportunity costs,
and personnel wages has powerful effects on the success
and continuity of housing operations.
If that were the case, it begs questioning the
actual value of overinvesting human capital
in the other components to collect minimal
objective information about candidates.
	
Departments looking to increase operational efficiency would benefit from applying
a similar analysis to areas outside of paraprofessional hiring. For example, it costs 15
hours of personnel time for ten entry-level
staff members to meet for 90 minutes. If
the meeting reoccurs weekly, the cost of
the meeting expands to 420 hours over the
course of an academic year (at 14 meetings
per semester). Departments should then ask
themselves if it is worth $7,000+ in staff
wages to hold that weekly meeting. Perhaps
their departmental goals would be better
served by moving to a biweekly format and
releasing 210 hours (or 26 work days) of staff
time each academic year.

88

The Journal of College and University Student Housing

CONCLUSION
This study explored the human capital and
time economy associated with the resource
intensive process of hiring paraprofessional
RA staff. Interesting and alternative considerations emerged when viewing the process
of hiring RAs through a basic lens of opportunity costs. Analysis of the presented baseline process evaluating 125 RA candidates
revealed a total requirement of 300 hours and
$4,500 as represented by the combined time
and wage commitments of both entry-level
and paraprofessional staff. This study demonstrated the value of intentional efforts to alter
both staffing structures and hiring component configurations. Framing the design of
RA hiring processes while being mindful of
human capital, opportunity costs, and personnel wages has powerful effects on the success and continuity of housing operations.

*



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

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