5 Ways to Make the Most of Campus Recruitment

April 20th, 2017
Jon-Mark Sabel

Campus hiring season is upon us, and recruiting teams are out in force. Today's students are only a few years' experience away from becoming leaders in your organization, so attracting the highest potential talent now is critical for future success.

Here are five ways to make the most of your campus recruiting efforts and attract the most promising students to your organization:

1. Work with relevant clubs (and alumni) to publicize your presence

Notifying student organizations is an easy way to get the most out of your on-campus recruitment spend. Every college has substantial number of student-run organizations, so the chances are high that there are at least a couple in your niche.

A simple email from a recruiter to a student leader can go a long way toward driving the attendance of your target student demographic. Almost all student leaders will be more than happy to publicize your event to their members, and most will jump on the chance to network with a potential employer.

Working with on-campus groups is also a great way to provide educational opportunities (see point #3). Student organizations have existing, highly specific resources that you can leverage.

For example, if you work with a student organization focused on networking, they will already have a list of prominent alumni and examples of job placement - creating specific, targeted value for each student that attends your event.

Recent graduates that work for your organization are also the perfect recruiters. If you have a history of employing graduates from a certain college, don’t be afraid of asking them to attend the event. Chances are they’ll jump at the opportunity to return to their alma mater.

2. Devote resources to campuses you can’t visit

Obviously having a physical presence on each college campus is preferable to not having one. But there are over 4000 colleges in the US, so without a recruiting budget the size of Belguim’s GDP, you’re not going to make it to all of them.

Work with college career centers to advertise availabilities for students outside of your target schools. These career centers are heavily utilized by the most earnest and high-achieving students, and are always looking for new places to direct them.

Companies that use HireVue can offer video interviews to students on demand, allowing them to be completed on their own time and around hectic class schedules. This capability isn’t just great for giving students at less-known colleges a shot, it also increases the size of your applicant pool.

3. Use it as a great branding opportunity

If you are in the B2C space, it is likely that college-age students are a demographic you take great pains to target. On campus events are not only free publicity, they are a great way to improve your reputation among a notoriously difficult to reach demographic.

A similar argument can be made for B2B. Forward-thinking organizations realize that while college students may not be decision makers now, they will be in the future. Making an impression with a phenomenal campus presence will make future sales much easier.

So what are the components of a great on-campus event?

  • Real answers. College students are not familiar with your company’s slogans and marketing jargon. Frame responses in a way that is accessible, not a sales pitch.
  • Education. Students are in college to learn. Help prepare them for the world outside of academia with things like interview practice and resume help. While lots of colleges offer these services as part of their career center, they are often not field-specific - which is where you can come in. If you offer actual interviewing opportunities as part of the event, give each student feedback on how they performed and what they could do better.
  • Collaboration with campus groups. Working with on campus groups isn’t just a great way to boost turnout, it also increases engagement among those who attend.
  • Free stuff. Everybody loves free stuff, especially college students. If you decide to cater food, choose something that isn’t pizza. While pizza is great, it’s the go-to free food for every other college event, and many students experience pizza fatigue.

4. Consider interview “speed dating”

“Speed dating” is a form of rapid-fire round robin interviewing, where each candidate spends only 5-7 minutes with each recruiter and hiring manager.

Depending on the resources devoted to your on-campus presence, you could have up to five recruiters interviewing at the same time, comparing notes as they go. This is not only a great way to get multiple pairs of eyes on the same candidate, it's a perfect setup for students with sporadic schedules.  

Organizations that use video interviewing could do a similar thing with less manpower. By setting up an “interview booth” with predetermined questions, college recruiters can view each response at their leisure - letting them focus on responding to student questions during the event.

5. Track metrics like Quality of Hire

Students of certain colleges will outperform others. This could be due to the schools’ unique curriculum or the type of student they attract. One way or the other, there will almost certainly be a trend.

Tracking the job performance of new hires in relation to their alma mater will give future year’s recruiting efforts valuable direction, and help you budget for the next season of campus recruiting.

Ace your college recruiting efforts.

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