College Recruiting: How to Own an On- or Off-Campus Event

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It may be January, but it’s never too early to start thinking about your college recruiting strategy. You want to be prepared to attract top talent as soon as they graduate and enter the job market.

Do you know about the kinds of college recruiting events you can attend? Do you know how to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of the best young candidates?

Whether you’re recruiting on or off campus, here are some tips to ensure your recruiting efforts succeed:

On-Campus Recruiting Vs. Off-Campus Recruiting

As the name suggests, on-campus recruiting means going straight to the source of new talent: the schools they attend. Campus career fairs, graduation events, and professional development days are all great opportunities to scout up-and-coming talent for your business.

On-campus recruiting events give you the opportunity to establish or reinforce why your organization is a great employer. The challenge with on-campus recruiting events is creating a unique, tailored experience for every candidate when you’re screening such a large number of people.

Off-campus recruiting events take place away from campus, and they can be anything from an open house at your company to a local hackathon you attend. These events allow you to bring in candidates who are interested in your industry and develop your employer brand’s reputation with promising talent in the field.

Unlike on-campus recruiting, going off-campus gives you a little more wiggle room. You can try different tactics for different types of events. For instance, a professional networking event is going to require a different strategy than an open house at your company headquarters. The latter allows your team to relax a little and show off its subject-matter experts, while the former lets you scope out passive candidates and make valuable connections with other brands.

In both on- and off-campus recruiting events, you have the opportunity to showcase the best parts of your company. Whether you’re attending a career fair or bringing candidates to your office, recruiters should be promoting why they love working at the organization and why the candidates will, too.

All high-volume recruiting events  will yield large numbers of candidates passing by your booth or walking through your doors. In any case, you’ll need a system to keep track of different candidates and manage relationships with them after the event.

Finally, both on- and off-campus recruiting can expose you to diverse pools of talent, but it’s important to be discerning about which events you attend. An on-campus event that targets IT students is obviously going to attract more tech-savvy candidates, while an event held by the English department will bring a wholly different kind of talent to your booth.

How to Succeed Both On and Off Campus

1. Build Trust That Lasts

For a lot of college students, a high-volume recruiting event is the first step to starting a career. For businesses, these events offer a prime opportunity to introduce their employer brands to a wide audience. For all parties involved, high-volume events are opportunities to build relationships that could last for years. The candidates you talk to might not accept a position on the spot, so it’s up to you to build a trusting relationship that can lead to a hire later on down the line.

2. Technology Is Your Friend

With the right technology and tools, you can build a recruitment event strategy that works. Mobile apps and candidate registrations sites make it easy to keep track of the event, and they can save information about what happened, who was there, and what goals you achieved.

3. Utilize All Parts of the Event

The event starts before anyone shows up. Research who will be attending. Whether you’re bringing people into the office or going to a hackathon, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into.

During the event, make sure to keep track of who comes to your table. You need a clear system for organizing resumes and contact information in order to follow up with the best candidates after the event.

High-volume recruiting comes in all shapes and sizes, and it takes time to master every type of event. No matter the specifics, being prepared and having a system in place to track interactions are key to succeeding at both on- and off-campus recruiting.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Oleeo blog.

Jeanette Maister is managing director of the Americas for Oleeo.

By Jeanette Maister