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Dec 23, 2022

Joining us in conversation are two guests from Hire Hopkins, the recruiting arm of Johns Hopkins University. They are Executive Director Alia Poonawala, and Associate Director Emma O'Rourke Powell. We kick off our conversation with a detailed look at the career journey that brought each of our guests to their current roles, and what motivates them most. Alia and Emma have a white glove approach and share how building an infrastructure streamlines and supports the recruitment process.

Key Points From This Episode:


  • Today’s topic: university recruitment.
  • Welcome to our guests: Executive Director Alia Poonawala and Associate Director Emma O’Rourke Powell with Hire Hopkins.
  • Alia’s background in education and focus to bring outcomes-focused, data-driven, ROI approach to higher education.
  • Emma’s story of recruitment to Hire Hopkins after working in higher education for 10 years.
  • Her focus on women’s equity and advocacy.
  • The far-reaching influence of Farouk Dey, VP at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Challenges posed by bureaucracy in higher education.
  • How the ‘Red Ocean’ principle results in a bidding war between top paying companies.
  • One-on-one work and data-driven work within Alia and Emma’s white glove approach.
  • How creating an infrastructure and formula has streamlined their recruitment process.
  • Starting with historical data and observing what has worked for employers in the past.
  • Reframing job descriptions to generate interest from your target market of employees.
  • Why flexibility is vital in the resume process.
  • Where Alia and Emma’s insights on the upcoming generation comes from. 
  • Translating between employers and higher education professionals.
  • Why Alia and Emma encourage companies to consider international talent.
  • Why it is so beneficial for international students to be driven and committed to their US role.




“Here at John Hopkins University, my work is in helping ensure that our underrepresented students have equal opportunities in internships and in jobs when they graduate.” — Emma O’Rourke Powell [0:06:55]


“What I learned from the boot camp world is that most people learn by doing.” — Alia Poonawala [0:15:11]


“The companies that do well are the ones that are teachable and willing to experiment” — Alia Poonawala [0:22:25]


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


Alia Poonawala on LinkedIn

Emma O’Rourke Powell on LinkedIn

Farouk Dey on Twitter

Johns Hopkins University

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