Recruiting university students isn't all about sitting behind a desk.
I Want Your Job finds Torontonians who make a living doing exactly what they love to do, in any field, and for any salary, and asks them how they did it.
For most of us lowly mortals, travel and hobnobbing are limited to our hours off the clock. At best, they overlap during those slivers of the year we call “vacation.” Not so for Adam Lotesto, whose bread and butter—the innocuous-sounding position of university recruitment officer—involves both of those things.
Lotesto started recruiting students for the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus in 2004. A friend held a position in the office, and thought Lotesto would be a good fit.
“He said, ‘I think the job that I do would be good for you, too,’ probably because it involved a lot of public speaking and I’d studied theatre in school,” said Lotesto.
A few months later, there was an opening in the office. Lotesto was hired on a contract basis, and eventually he was taken on full-time.
“I kinda lucked into it,” he admits. But eight years and a move to the university’s main campus later, the position continues to be a solid match.
Torontoist: What does your workday look like?
Adam Lotesto: When I’m actually recruiting, it involves visiting various high schools during the day. We have two seasons when we’re on the road recruiting: the fall, from September to late November, and from late March to early May. So in the fall, I’d be going to three to four different high schools during the day, visiting with prospective students and giving them a general overview of the university and answering questions that they have. So, typically, three or four of those in a day, and then in the evening there’s a college fair. That happens for about four months out of the year.
What about when you’re not on the road?
My office is a visitor’s centre, where prospective students come in for a campus tour or to learn more about the school, so we’ll often sit down with students and their families to answer their questions in more detail after or before they’ve gone on a campus tour. We’re also answering phone calls from guidance counsellors on behalf of their students. We [recently] hosted international guidance counsellors from all over the world who came in to learn about our school. So, there’s a lot of event planning involved. Actually, a lot of planning in general, as far as flights, hotels, booking visits, and booking certain events that might happen out of province and out of country.
How many different places do you tend to visit during the year?
I cover primarily the U.S., so I cover parts of New York, Boston, Cleveland, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Houston and Dallas, Atlanta, and Bermuda. Also, Eastern Canada and Manitoba. My colleagues in the office, who are also recruitment officers, have different areas. There are people that go to Turkey, to India, to the UK—we all have our different markets. I’m hoping that I can branch out and get a little more international in the coming years, but for now I’m enjoying where I’m covering.
What is your favourite part of the job?
I really enjoy the travel aspect, being able to go to different cities and explore different parts of the world. And, ultimately, I do really enjoy the interaction with students and being able to help them make informed choices about post-secondary education, because that’s a big decision and I can remember going through that as a high school student. And just promoting the university, and why it would be a good fit for them. But I think my favourite part is really highlighting the city of Toronto. I love this city. I’m fortunate to get to travel to a lot of U.S. cities, but I’m always happy to come home. That’s one great thing about this job—promoting not only the university, but the city itself.