The summer is in full swing, yet hiring teams are already thinking several steps ahead. With the fall semester already on the horizon, it’s time to start considering your upcoming campus recruiting strategies. And for good reason - despite the risk of recession, early-career recruiting remains forward-looking and optimistic, with more than half of employers having intentions to expand their new graduate hiring efforts during the next year.
With nearly three-quarters of employers recruiting from the university student talent pool, the significance of campus recruiting cannot be overstated, particularly in today’s tumultuous labor market where sourcing, engaging, and retaining young talent can be challenging. With nearly 20 million students enrolled in colleges and universities across the United States, this pool of talent becomes invaluable for fulfilling immediate hiring needs and establishing a robust pipeline of future talent.
In this post, we unpack 3 tips to help your team make the most of this year’s campus recruiting season. It’s never too early to start - read on!
Successful campus recruiting begins with a well-structured plan and definition of recruitment goals and objectives. Yet, that’s often easier said than done: According to Harvard Business Review, only 30% of companies measure the effectiveness of their recruiting efforts. If you’re part of the majority who aren’t measuring or evaluating your efforts, we’ve provided a starting point below.
Questions to help guide your goal setting include:
- What department(s) in your organization is in need of talent?
- What type of level of knowledge do you need from your candidates?
- What academic program or degree are you looking to hire from?
- Which school(s) can provide these academic programs?
- How do you plan to build your brand among student groups?
Taking time to assess your talent requirements and establish goals can identify the specific skill sets, backgrounds, and profiles you’re targeting and help to tailor your outreach accordingly. As part of goal setting, create a timeline that outlines key milestones, such as career fairs, information sessions, application deadlines, and other logistics, to create a full picture of your campus recruiting strategy.
Think proactively, not passively
Traditional campus recruiting events typically involve recruiters setting up booths at job fairs, relying on students to approach them if interested, and following up with potential candidates afterward. However, this approach in today’s market assumes pre-existing candidate interest, lacks active outreach post-event, and may not effectively showcase your employer brand. And, with 85% of candidates preferring to attend some type of career event before applying for a job, these limitations highlight the need for alternative approaches that encourage dynamic and engaging exchanges with candidates.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Take a proactive approach by contacting students directly. Actively pitch your company’s offerings and engage in two-way conversations that highlight what your company can provide and what the student is looking for in their career.
- Emphasize the unique selling points behind your employer brand and company culture. Aim to show students through interactive activities and experiences that your organization is a thought leader in its industry. This approach allows students to witness first-hand the innovation, expertise, and opportunities your company can provide, creating a powerful and lasting impression.
- Leverage technology and digital platforms to expand the reach of your campus recruiting events. Utilize social media, webinars, and virtual tours to engage with a wider audience and extend your company’s culture and presence.
Make a plan for post-event communication
Here’s another case for being proactive: rather than waiting until you’re back at your desk to follow up with candidates after a career fair, save time by planning ahead. Simple gestures of appreciation and personalization can yield unexpected results. Send personalized emails to each candidate you interacted with, expressing gratitude for their visit, and encourage them to apply or explore opportunities within your organization. Keep in touch with invites to other events your company hosts throughout the year: the goal here is to maintain regular contact with candidates, supporting their career development and paving the way for potential future employment within your organization.
Gen Z, in particular, anticipates a swift response time and communication pace that leaves no room for uncertainty. Embracing mobile apps and reliable communication tools enables you to proactively address their needs and ensure effective and timely interactions throughout the entire experience.
Note: personalization doesn’t have to be manual! Utilizing campus recruiting software (like Abode!) can help streamline your communication, making it easier to manage and engage with candidates.
The next generation of campus recruiting events requires active outreach and engagement, thoughtful goal-setting, and proactive follow-up. It entails pitching to students, fostering two-way conversations, highlighting your employer's brand and culture through experiential activities, and demonstrating thought leadership in your industry. By adopting these strategies and "showing" rather than just "telling," you can effectively capture the attention and interest of talented students, showcasing your organization as an employer of choice.
And remember - it’s never too early to promote your brand and market your company to the next generation of exceptional hires, whether they will join your organization in a few months or a year from now. Regularly review and revise your campus recruitment and employer branding strategies to adapt to changing dynamics. Embrace new marketing strategies and increase your presence on campus to create a memorable brand that resonates with potential students and leaves a lasting impression.
For more insights like these, or to automate your communication and engagement strategies, take a moment to explore Abode. Abode’s all-in-one platform is revolutionizing how companies communicate expectations, facilitate connections, and build community - the three components needed to cater to the newest workforce generation. Learn more here or schedule a free demo today.