The best college recruitment strategies

May 30th, 2023
The HireVue Team
Recruiting Teams,
Tips & Tricks

Hiring people right out of college is a great way to bring new talent and innovative viewpoints into the workplace. However, since so many businesses are interested in college students, it can be a bit of a challenge to get the best and brightest. If you want to ensure your company ends up with the best possible candidates, you need excellent college recruitment strategies. Ready to learn how to appeal to promising young graduates and find people that are a great fit for your business? Explore our graduate recruitment guidelines below and discover the best college recruiting tools.

What are the best college recruitment strategies?

There are a lot of different ways to go about recruiting college graduates. Some companies still rely heavily on traditional methods like setting up a booth at a hiring fair. Most companies are utilizing more advanced college recruiting tools like video meetups and software tools to facilitate the hiring process. If you want to avoid wasting time on inefficient methods, it’s important to do some research. Here are the top recruitment strategies that you need to know about.

Offer more internship programs

In many cases, it pays to start working with college students long before they graduate. The 2022 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Internship Report found that over half of all eligible interns go on to become full-time employees with their internship provider. Furthermore, 85% of surveyed employers say that internships are their most effective way of recruiting students.

Offering internships is effective because it lets students get an idea of what it is like to work for your business. They make strong connections with coworkers and become invested in your company goals. This makes them more likely to accept a job offer from you after they graduate. Internships are also an easy way to make students aware of your company. Since so many students are competing for internships during college, any company that offers this valuable assistance is a company they’ll remember.

Emphasize your learning and growth opportunities

Of course, the majority of college graduates want to make a livable wage. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to offer a salary 10 times as high as your competitors. As long as your business is providing an industry-standard wage, you should consider other incentives. In 2022, The Muse surveyed almost 900 graduates and found that most college students have priorities besides salary.

It turns out that the majority of survey respondents pick jobs based on learning and growth opportunities. Job growth was more than twice as important as salary because new graduates are mostly looking for ways to establish their careers. Knowing this detail makes it a lot easier to appeal to graduates. Successful recruiters can get candidates by emphasizing all the ways their company helps new workers grow. In addition to promotion opportunities, things like mentorship programs or continuing education options also appeal to college graduates.

Promote virtual career fairs over in-person ones

Virtual hiring and virtual job fairs have revolutionized the recruitment process, offering companies a powerful way to connect with a wider pool of candidates. Unlike traditional in-person job fairs, which limit hiring teams to a specific location, virtual job fairs can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Today, tech-savvy young candidates now prefer virtual job fairs over in-person ones due to their convenience and accessibility.

By embracing virtual hiring strategies, companies can harness the power of technology to streamline the recruitment process. For example, virtual job fairs allow hiring managers to connect with candidates in real-time through video chats, and online assessments can be used to quickly evaluate a candidate’s skills and suitability. Additionally, virtual hiring platforms can provide touchpoints like text messaging and video conferencing to facilitate communication and keep candidates engaged throughout the hiring process, from the job fair to the job offer.

Overall, virtual job fairs and virtual hiring offer a more efficient and effective way to connect with top talent, regardless of location. By taking advantage of these digital tools, companies can expand their reach, connect with a wider pool of candidates, and find the right fit for their team faster and more effectively than ever before.

Be more flexible when choosing candidates

Recruitment strategies are all about finding the best candidates for your company. However, keep in mind that defining the best candidates can be tricky. More and more jobs are relaxing their requirements for employees. The 2021 Collegiate Employment Research Institute study of recruitment trends found that the majority of employers now accept candidates who take gap years or have online degrees. Furthermore, 63% of employers no longer screen by GPA.

Jumping onto this industry trend can prove useful. Due to COVID and economic uncertainty, more and more college graduates have non-traditional resumes and credentials. Academic standards like GPA no longer provide a clear look at a candidate’s skills and strengths. By being flexible, you get a wider pool of candidates, and more options ensure you can find the right person for the job. You might discover that a certain candidate is perfect for your company even though their GPA might have caused you to overlook them in the past.

Engage on-campus with students in relevant fields

Taking part in campus life is an underrated but very effective recruitment strategy. But only 3% of employers say they participate in campus panels and other similar on-campus activities. This gives you an opportunity to gain an advantage by developing an effective, on-campus recruitment strategy. Try to look for student-led organizations or campus events happening in similar fields. For example, a software company might want to sponsor a computer-science club or offer a special lecture for engineering students.

And engaging with students on-campus doesn’t have to be in-person. Students are well-versed in video meeting technology and widely embrace it. So your recruiters can visit more campuses virtually and effectively reach more students without having to be present on campus. All it takes is the right technology!

Having an on-campus presence, whether it’s in-person or virtual, does more than just build brand recognition for your company. It also gives you a chance to educate students on job perks that you can’t easily include in a job listing. As the survey from The Muse showed, most college students pick jobs that offer growth, work-life balance, and positive social interactions. Showing students things like your mentorship programs or the many vacations your employees take can make your business look far more appealing than any flashy job posting will.

Tips for recruiting college graduates

Knowing about the best college recruitment strategies is always a good place to start. However, it can take a little practice to get used to actually implementing recruitment strategies. Here are examples of ways you can take theoretical recruitment strategies and turn them into effective workplace policies.

Streamline career fair interactions with technology

Virtual career fairs offer the opportunity to use advanced technology like text engagement and assessments to create a more interactive experience for candidates. By leveraging technology in virtual career fairs, companies can not only connect with more candidates but also create a more efficient and effective recruitment process. Digital tools can streamline the collection of candidate information and provide more engaging experiences, all while reducing the need for staffing and other resources.

Create comprehensive assessment tests

The most successful college recruiters never automatically rule out a candidate for simple reasons like poor grades or a lack of experience. Instead, they use more accurate methods of measuring potential. Assessment software lets you see how well a college graduate will perform at your company instead of just considering how well they perform in a college setting. Screening tests that do things like check coding skills or learn a candidate’s level of patience provide a more accurate way of finding high-quality candidates.

Stay available 24/7

Most good recruitment strategies involve someone being available to discuss the job with candidates. However, college students often follow unconventional schedules that the standard recruiter can’t keep. Fortunately, automation makes things easier. Try to set up messaging and answering services, such as SMS text engagement, that ensure your prospective employees have someone to talk to even on nights and weekends. 

Engage students without specifically focusing on hiring

Not all college recruitment involves directly pitching a job opening to a student. Instead, good recruitment is often just about spreading awareness. When students know who your company is and know you offer good jobs, they’re more motivated to apply. A lot of recruitment strategies, like internships and on-campus lectures, prioritize communicating with students in a low-pressure environment. Focus on building a network that collects students’ contact information and informs them of industry events. You can then easily transition this to job pitches when a relevant position opens.

Implement new programs in the workplace

Truly effective recruiters work in tandem with other departments to design programs that allow students to see first-hand what it’s like to work there. Data shows that internships and growth opportunities are extremely important to college students, so consider starting some new programs to bring in qualified student interns. Then, find ways to involve these interns in daily business and create classes that show them how you prepare employees for promotions. You attract college graduates by showing them you truly value their input and participation with internships. 

Create a hiring process that encourages diversity

With 7% of college graduates prioritizing a socially-conscious workplace, diversity is an essential part of your recruitment strategy. To demonstrate your company’s commitment to diversity, utilize hiring technology to help eliminate biases. For example, on-demand interviewing creates a structured and consistent process that promotes a fair interview experience. Also, if possible, create a diverse recruiting team, so interested students can speak to and see a broad range of people. This strategy is useful because it does more than just appeal to certain types of college students. 2021 research also shows diverse workforces outperform competitors and have greater financial returns.

Make the interview process less stressful

Most college graduates are new to the world of business and aren’t interested in going through multiple rounds of formal interviews. Many are more willing to apply for a job if the process seems easy and stress-free. An easy way to appeal to college students’ laid-back nature is by rethinking the interview process. Moving to shorter video interviews lets you learn about candidates without intimidating them. Switching to digital interviews also has the bonus perk of saving time for recruitment offices.

How to use college recruiting tools

As you can see, there are a lot of little details that go into recruiting college students. A good recruitment strategy requires you to stay engaged with campus life, offer desirable perks, and communicate with a broad range of students. Managing all these tasks requires modern solutions. With HireVue’s recruiting software, recruiters can quickly and effectively reach as many potential candidates as possible. Our broad range of college recruiting tools includes these helpful features:

  • Video interviewing: Talk to candidates from around the world with ease. Our video interviewing lets you connect to graduates without the hassle of downloading apps.
  • Candidate assessment software: Our highly-trained psychologists help you create personalized tests to fully assess a candidate’s skills without having to rely on outdated measurements like GPA.
  • Conversational AI: AI-based chats allow you to discuss job details quickly and professionally. College graduates get a welcoming experience while you save time on small chat.
  • Scheduling: Our college graduate recruiting tools let candidates pick the time that works best for them. You can set up interviews without spending a bunch of time manually entering times and dates.
  • Interview builder: Know what you want but don’t know the best way to phrase it? Our interview builder gives helpful prompts that make it easy to see if a candidate is a good fit.
  • Text recruiting: Instead of getting lost in a sea of recruitment emails, use our text recruiting to send your pitch straight to candidates’ phones. This easy, modern way of communicating is perfect for college graduates.

With the right software, it’s easier to focus on building connections with potential candidates. HireVue’s seamless hiring system handles all recruiting tasks from a convenient, streamlined interface. We take care of little details like scheduling and storing recruiting data, so you can focus on the human interactions that make your business stronger.