With summer in full swing and the fall semester just a couple of months away, many companies are starting to think about their campus recruitment efforts. And for good reason—college recruiting can be a great way to find your best hires and keep recruitment costs at bay. In fact, a recent report shows that 56% of interns eventually convert to full-time hires. So if you’re considering implementing a college recruitment strategy, this is the perfect time to do it. The best way to get started? Assess your company’s hiring needs and determine how college recruitment fits into the overall picture. Once you have a clear sense of where the gaps are, you can begin to build a strategy specific to your company.
Here are some important things to keep in mind as you get started.
Choose your schools carefully
If you’re like most employers, you’ve probably considered the benefits of attending top career fairs at schools like Caltech and Boston College. But the reality is that your best hires may actually come from smaller, more local schools. Before you begin developing your strategy, it’s important to identify the schools that are most likely to provide you with valuable candidates. Depending on your budget, start by creating a list of five to 10 schools that offer some of the key majors you’re targeting. Then, divide that list into two tiers. The first tier should be your primary schools—the ones where you think you’re most likely to find your top talent—while the second tier can consist of “dream schools” and schools that are outside of your geographical area. Once you’ve identified your target schools, you can start creating your strategy.
Develop ongoing relationships
Like other types of recruitment, campus recruiting is built on strong relationships so getting to know the career centers at your key schools is extremely important when you’re starting out. Reaching out to career counselors and telling them a little bit about your company and what types of candidates you’re looking for can make a big difference when it comes to getting the right hires. In addition to being able to provide you with relevant candidates, the staff at the career services centers can act as the perfect bridge between your team and various university departments. Once you’ve established a relationship, it’s important to stay connected. Touch base with the team at regular intervals and keep them looped in on company updates. This can be a great way to build a long-lasting relationship and to let the schools know about your changing recruitment needs.
Have a consistent campus presence
An ongoing presence on campus is a great way to build a strong employer brand, and it can make a big difference when it comes to attracting the right talent. Attending regular career fairs and campus events is a good way to establish this type of presence, but you shouldn’t stop there. Creating a brand ambassador program focused on helping students understand and connect with your brand is an effective way to grow your presence and potentially increase your reach and customer base. What’s more, it can help your ongoing recruiting efforts even when you’re not actively looking for new hires. And because it can offer students insights into your products and company culture, this type of program can be a wonderful way to build an impression that can have a long-lasting impact down the line. Although a brand ambassador program can take time and money to set up, having one at your target schools could cut costs on other types of outreach and recruitment efforts throughout the year.
Build an ongoing pipeline
Depending on your hiring needs, your impulse may be to target only upperclassmen who are looking for internships and entry-level jobs. But developing a more robust strategy could actually be beneficial in the long run. Taking the time to connect with first and second-year students at career fairs and developing a database of potential candidates can significantly improve your recruiting efforts and hiring time as students get closer to graduation.
We spoke to Christy Del Regno, Enterprise Head of University Recruiting at CVS Health, who leads the University Strategy to hire ~1500 undergraduate and graduate students, who had some great advice!
“Keep it simple, start with a vision, KPIs to measure your goals and share progress back to the business, and a roadmap to ladder the work back to the KPIs and vision. Strategic planning and focus is critical and requires business partnership 12 months prior to program start. Don’t look to the obvious schools and degree programs and make sure your vendor partners understand your business so they can help you with your strategy.”
Here is a sample strategy template she uses that will help you get started.
Define a 3 year talent forecast and talent strategy:
- Considerations: Attrition, succession planning, business growth
- Conversion into FT roles and/or rotational development program
- Define the career path 3-5 years from hire
Implement an internship that aligns with talent strategy:
- Identify roles that align with future hiring needs
Commit to strategy:
- Sr. Leader commitment to hire 12 months in the future from campus
While implementing a campus recruitment strategy does require some ramp-up time, implementing one for your company can help to boost your employer brand and limit your overall recruiting costs.
Want to improve recruiting at your company? Learn the three recruitment trends you should implement this year and how to build a potential candidate database.