This article is based on research for our recent eGuide, Building a successful campus recruitment strategy.
Last week, we gave you three reasons why every small business needs a campus recruitment strategy. Now it’s time to get your own strategy in place. After all, attracting the right young talent requires a year-round commitment – and there’s no time like the present to get started.
Here are five things you need to do to start recruiting on-campus.
Identify your needs (and goals)
Before setting up shop on campus, consider your overall needs. Start by asking yourself what your current staffing requirements are, and what they will be in six to 12 months. Also, consider what the key departments and/or positions that your company is looking to fill, and whether any of these teams could use an internship or co-op program. Finally, look at any skills or proficiencies that you’re having trouble finding in your existing talent pool.
This should give you enough information to set clear and concise goals for your strategy. An important reminder: your sole goal shouldn’t be to hire. Good campus recruitment is as much about developing relationships and improving awareness. Your goals might include starting an internship or co-op program, developing a liaison with a school’s career centre to fill future roles, hiring new grads, or even simply disseminating your employer brand.
Size up the competition
Looking at what your competitors are doing will help you understand how to best attract the student talent you’re looking for. Look at their overall campus approach. Where are they going? What kinds of events are they taking part in? What are they offering to students and new grads? In general, do they seem to be getting a lot of attention? What, in general, is their reputation among schools and their students?
For the latter two questions – essentially, how their strategy is working – you can do some recon through any contacts you have at relevant colleges and universities, and even tap into any recent grads you already have employed at your company.
Getting as much of this info as possible will help to align your own goals and ensure that you’re aware of all your options and opportunities.
Commit the necessary resources (and people)
To get a good return on any recruitment strategy, you need to commit to the necessary resources – and on-campus recruitment is no exception. These resources will differ depending on the specifics of your approach, but here’s a basic run-down of what to prepare:
- Digital assets, including a career site and content, ideally geared toward students
- A lead/info tracking system to harvest contact info quickly
- Active social media platforms, with a content strategy geared toward students
- Marketing material tied to the school or department
- Business cards or info sheets with up-to-date contact info
- Employee ambassadors
- Intern/co-op student testimonials
- Giveaways and/or swag to attract interest
- Members of your team to attend events
A few thoughts on that final resource (a.k.a. your campus recruitment team): choosing the right employees depends, in part, on what the event is. But there are a few core groups to include. Relevant hiring managers and, if possible, members of the HR team should lead the effort. Lastly, include ambassadors to your employer brand that can showcase these aspects of your company and make students want to work alongside people like them. You’ll also want to include recent alumnus from the institution – people who were in the same shoes as your potential recruits just a few short years ago, and are now enjoying their new career at your organization.
Choose where to go
Analyzing and targeting the right schools is one of the most important parts of the campus recruitment process. There are many ways to find the schools that will provide the best talent pool to fit your company’s specific needs.
One great resource is your existing employees. Review the schools that produced your top-performers. Also, poll your staff about the institutions they think produce quality candidates, and any existing contacts or relationships they have with nearby campuses.
When you have a longlist, look at each school in more detail. Get the number of graduates in the fields you’re targeting, as well as any relevant research programs that exist on campus. Also, note the geographical distance between schools and your office, which could be an important factor.
Choose the right events for your brand
There’s so much more to a campus recruitment strategy than simply attending the annual job fairs. To find the right talent, you need to go where the ideal candidates are. There options will differ widely depending on the school and the type of candidates you’re looking for, but some of the activities to consider are training sessions, career advice workshops, mentorship programs, guest lectures, facility tours, and hackathons.
Your campus recruitment should include online events as well. On your website, link to the various schools you’re active at, and include dates and details on events you’re taking part in. Consider Twitter chats and Facebook live streaming, or use online contests or competitions to attract the attention of student talent and present your company as an envelope-pushing brand looking for fresh, exciting ideas.
With these steps in place, you’re ready to start engaging with the next generation of star talent.
Remember: download our free eGuide, Building a successful campus recruitment strategy, for checklists, timelines, and more. Here’s a sneak peek: