Student Recruiting: Why You Need to Show Up on Campus Regularly
Campus recruitment events are hotbeds for high-quality candidates who are chomping at the bit to join your company and help it succeed. To get the most out of these events, your organization needs to maintain a consistent presence on campus throughout the year. Simply dropping in on occasion is not enough. Showing up regularly can boost your employer brand, improve candidate engagement, and strengthen your talent pipeline.
Boosting Employer Brand Awareness
Career fairs and other events on campus are great sources of game-changing talent, but you can only attract this talent if your brand is strong. According to a joint report from Oleeo and Universum, 48 percent of candidates will not designate an employer as “ideal” if they do not know enough about the company. Furthermore, 54 percent of recruiters said a lack of brand awareness was a major problem they faced when recruiting students. Both of these obstacles can be overcome through more frequent attendance of career fairs on campus.
Before you show up for your next campus recruiting event, get serious about your branding. Promote your appearance on social media, and work with the school to promote your company on campus as well, if possible. The more involved you get with the university, the more exposure you’ll gain.
That said, mere exposure is not enough. Your branding efforts need to provide potential candidates with the information they seek about your company. Research what recent college grads are looking for in employers, and target your messaging accordingly. Disseminating your company values and playing up your company culture can help to attract candidates who are not only interested, but also good fits for your organization.
Improving Candidate Engagement
A more frequent presence on campus can also drive candidate engagement. Showing up regularly allows you to connect with more candidates and reconnect with the people you met at past events.
Remember: Engagement is not the same as branding. While you are promoting your brand on social media and campus, you also need to be communicating directly with interested students. For example, tweeting at students with fun hashtags and valuable information about when you’ll be on campus can improve your chances of meeting an exciting candidate in person!
Once you have attracted a candidate to your table, it is time to connect on a personal level. Candidates visit your booth because they want to know more about your company, so be sure to give them the important information they desire. Keep your messaging concise: This will give you more face-to-face time with your candidates while affording them more opportunities to ask questions of their own.
Strengthening Your Talent Pipeline
Continued engagement on campus will keep your talent pipeline full of high-quality candidates — but don’t take our word for it. Here is what Stephanie Ahrens, EMEA head of talent acquisition at Morgan Stanley, had to say in the Universum and Oleeo report:
“At Morgan Stanley, we have used themed campaigns to … devote attention to running more events outside the busy autumn cycle, with some regions also pushing up their recruiting timeline[s]. These crucial school outreach events and programs help pipeline into spring and summer analyst schemes. Interacting with promising talent earlier has helped — and continues to help — increase applications to the Morgan Stanley campus programs, and [it] also helps the firm to build on its brand awareness and diversity intakes aligned to operational goals.”
To keep your pipeline strong, be sure to interact with candidates after your event. Use text messaging or email to update candidates on job openings and application statuses and inform them about your next campus visit. Maintaining contact with candidates keeps engagement high, leading to faster, easier hires when the time is right.
It is imperative that your company generate a positive reputation on campus, as this is the only way to engage students and funnel them into your talent pipeline. Showing up to campus recruiting events multiple times per year will give you more opportunities to promote your brand, capture candidate attention, and nurture lasting relationships with your talent pool.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Oleeo blog.
Jeanette Maister is managing director of the Americas for Oleeo.