5 Things You Can Do To Hire More College Students!

For part of my career, I did the standard corporate college recruiting gig. It sounds “super-cool” when you first think about it. “Wait, I get to fly around the country and go to the best college campuses and recruit people who actually want to be recruited?!”

The reality is college recruiting as a corporate recruiter is much less sexy. Think a lot of Courtyard Marriotts, a pizza, and a six-pack, while you watch crapping hotel TV and follow up on work email. Then wake up early and get to the next campus. You quickly begin to hate travel, hate college campuses, and miss actually being in the office!

But, corporations believe they must be on campus to recruit the best and brightest college students. Here is where the problem begins. College students don’t even know you’re there! A recent study by Walker Sands found out that the majority of college students don’t even know you were on campus:

Walker Sands’ new Perceptions of Consulting Careers study, 56 percent of college students don’t even know if consulting firms recruit at their school. On top of that, 82 percent feel that major firms only recruit from a limited group of select universities.  

Okay, this study focused on consulting firms, but the reality is the students don’t really know the difference between Deloitte and Dell when it comes to getting a job!   What can you do to make your company stand out and be remembered while you’re on campus?

Try these five things:    

1. Develop a Pre-visit communication strategy. Work with the schools you want to recruit from most to find out how you can get your message in front of them (email, text, the student newspaper, geo-targeted social media campaign, billboards on campus, etc.). Each school has a way to reach every student, you need to find out what that is, and how you can tap into that, even it costs a little money.    

2. Come in early and take over classes in the majors you’re most interested in. Professors are like most people, they don’t want to work hard if they don’t have to. So, if you build 45 minutes of great content, most Professors will let you ‘guest’ lecture as long as it’s not one big sales pitch. Come up with great contact professors will find valuable for their students, then go deliver it the day before the major career fair. Then invite each class to come to see you.    

3. Make a splash in high-traffic areas on the day of your visit. College kids haven’t changed much, they like free food and drink free stuff, basically anything free! So, find the highest traffic area on campus and give away free stuff college kids will like. If you’re only interested in one specific school within the university, find out where those students hang out.    

4. Stay a day later after everyone else leaves. Whether it’s the day after or even another time altogether, find a time to be on campus when you don’t have any competition to getting your message out. 99% of employers only show up on career fair days. Stand out and be the employer that is there when no one else is!    

5. Post-visit communication strategy. Most organizations never contact the students who show interest in them after they leave campus.  They’ll contact a handful of the ones who stood out to them, but so is every other employer. Recruiting kids after you leave is more important than the time you spend on campus. Most kids will see 20+ employers and will only remember a couple. If you stalk them after the fact, they’ll remember you!

1 thought on “5 Things You Can Do To Hire More College Students!

  1. These are great strategies for employers who are still focusing their early careers efforts on on-campus recruiting, which hasn’t changed much since the 1950s. Organizations that have massive recruiting teams like the military can scale this campus-by-campus approach but even they don’t do the above well.

    Of the suggestions above, the guest lecture is probably the most underused as it takes very little time and produces huge, huge dividends. The most sought-after students find their jobs through their professors far more than career services, so guest lecturing is a much better path to that.

    That said, the large majority of college and university students are hired by large employers and more and more of them are centralizing their recruitment efforts both domestically and even internationally. More and more are discovering that their most productive employees are not those from elite schools or even elite majors as those folks tend to have the shortest tenure. They’ll work for you for a year and then they’re on to their next opportunity and few organizations are good at providing new grads with the upward mobility they want and need if they’re to stay for years.

    More and more employers — particularly the large ones — are shifting more and more of their budgets online. And the growth in online recruitment advertising is almost all in programmatic, performance-based, or some combination of the two.

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