happy young graduates throwing hats in the airThe National Association of Colleges and Employers is predicting robust growth in the hiring of the Class of 2014 with growth in jobs around 7.8 percent when compared to the Class of 2013. Throw in opportunities at international operations and the number jumps to 12 percent.

Overall, the report (PDF) said, degrees in business, engineering, computer/information science, sciences, and communications disciplines are going to be most in demand by employers. Now the employers just have to find the soon-to-be-minted college graduates to hire.

Texas A&M offers some strong advice that can be helpful to both on-campus recruiters and prospective graduates looking for work. On its career center website, the university says, “The key to successful recruiting is building and maintaining a presence on campus. Organizations who enjoy the most success are those who have name recognition and a positive image with students. In order to attain a higher level of campus presence, employers are encouraged to use an integrated approach involving a variety of activities.”

The university’s first suggestion is participation in on-campus career fairs. OK, so not all of the advice is revolutionary but it’s good to cover the basics. When Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he answered, “Because that’s where the money is.” Potential employees are going to be at career fairs.

Avail yourself of any job posting sites universities and colleges have to offer. They’re a common way for prospective grads and recent alum to see what you have to offer.

Use any online-recruitment tools that universities and colleges have to offer. The career centers will provide you spots for on-campus interviews.

Host an information session on campus. It’s good marketing for getting your brand in front of the students. As Texas A&M points out, it allows businesses to “explain their organizations to students, rather than use interview time for this purpose. Others use these sessions to observe and interact with interview candidates in a less structured environment.”

This won’t help you during spring recruitment drives, but it does lay the foundation for future hiring. The university recommends providing “students with learning opportunities while exposing them to your organization by offering internship, cooperative education, or externship opportunities. Test out potential hires before graduation and enhance your staffing resources.” As the university points out, once a student has gone through your organization as an intern, he or she becomes a brand ambassador for you on campus.

Texas A&M says companies can also have success by volunteering on campus. Its career center programs, for example, include mock interviews, the company visit, career profiling, and interview techniques. Again, as with the information sessions, it helps recruiters be seen in a more informal light outside of the formal interview and it also helps students get to know your brand as being community minded and informed because of your expert presence on topics important to them.

Of course, money goes a long way in your recruiting efforts, too. Texas A&M says (and it’s hardly unique among institutions of higher learning), “Generous contributions from employer partners have enabled The Career Center to expand services and resources to better serve students and employers. As a result of their highly visible contributions, employers have enjoyed a competitive advantage through enhanced publicity and the opportunity to work directly with staff.”

All of the above advice works for students, too. Take part when a company you are interested in comes to campus and you’ll get noticed by company recruiters in a less formal setting. Career center fairs, sessions on mock interviews and career profiling, as well as interview techniques are all forms of networking that will be valuable tools to develop further along in your career.

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