How to Bring D&I to On-Campus Recruiting Programs

Enhancing Diversity in Campus Recruiting Programs: Tips from an Expert

Diversity recruiting continues to be a core element of overall on-campus recruiting programs. 

In a Havard Business Review Research, out off 1800 professionals throughout 40 case studies, It was discovered that companies that employed Diverstiy and Inclusion mearsures within their daily operation and recruitment are 70% more likely to report sucessful capture of new market.

In this video, you are going to learn from the expert what you can do to increase the diversity in your campus recruiting program.

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Welcome to In and Outs of Recruiting Millennials, a monthly video podcast interviewing innovators in talent acquisition focusing on hiring millennials and early-career talents. This podcast is the production of Rakuna. We help organizations to enhance and optimize their campus recruiting process.

This month, we are going to talk about “Increase the Diversity in Your Campus Recruiting Program”

My name is Trong Dong, CEO & Co-founder at Rakuna. Joining us today is Iram Jamil, University Relations for Ericsson Silicon Valley, a world-leading provider of communication technology and services.

Trong: Iram, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today on Rakuna’s channel. So tell us a bit about your background and anything interesting that you are working on at Ericsson

Iram: Hi Trong, thanks for having me. I come from an extensive HR background and have worked in many areas of human resources, including HR automation, employee data management, employee marketing and branding, strategic planning, and experienced recruiting. But for the past 3 years, my focus has been university relations. So I manage the university relations program at Ericsson Silicon Valley, which is part of a larger North America program that employs up to 360 employees each semester. I run the Silicon Valley internship program, build faculty and student relationships, create brand awareness at university campuses, and hire interns and college grads for entry and mid-level positions.

So Ericsson is a global ICT or Information & Communication Technology leader. Ericsson employs over 160,000 people across the world and over 14,000 in North America alone. So talent acquisition is definitely an impactful place to be. We are working on so many exciting things at Ericsson it is hard to pick just one. But one thing that is fresh in my mind is the Watermark Conference for Women which I attended just yesterday. Ericsson is proud to be one of the event sponsors for Watermark, and it is one of the most drawing events I had the privilege to take part in. Next week, I’ve got “Girls in ICT”, which is an event coming up focusing on inspiring elementary school girls to be interested in science, technology, engineering & math. And then of course, with the summer internship program coming up, my team and I are always gearing up for the internship program during this time of the year especially. We expect to have 400 interns start across the U.S. and Canada, in just about 4 weeks.

Trong: Wow! That’s pretty impressive. Can you tell us a bit about the program? How long has it been around?

Iram: Absolutely! Ericsson University Relations Program has been around for more than a decade. The University Relations team runs the program for all of North America, and as a group, we partner with other counterparts in other regions when we organize global programs and other initiatives. So each member of our University Relations team starts with a recruiter, a brand ambassador, a campus & program manager, and a resource for interns. So in my team, we’ve got 12 members. The majority of my team sits in Plano, Texas, which is where our corporate headquarter is for North America. And we’ve got two recruiters on the West Coast, just me and my colleague, two recruiters in Canada, and one recruiter on the East Coast.

So Ericsson hires interns for the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms. Our goal is to ultimately convert our interns into full-time hires. Ericsson is the 5th largest software company in the world, and it’s a major IT infrastructure solution service provider. We have a tremendous need to hire across areas of the business so we have a definite focus on cloud, TV, media, radio, networking, and support software and consulting services.

Trong: Given your experiences in campus recruiting, what do you think is the role of campus recruiting in your organization’s diversity recruiting efforts?

Iram: Well I believe we have a unique opportunity and freedom to innovate new strategies to create a diverse talent pipeline. The Internet and the information age mean we have access to the global marketplace and the ability to impact it. At Ericsson, we inspire innovation, communication, and connectivity around the world. Without a diverse workforce, our company would not be as equipped to market our services to market and sell them to the wide range of customers and consumers that we encounter in the global economy. So as an external face of a global organization on college campuses, we have a huge responsibility to attract not only the best talent but also diverse talent.

We also have the responsibility to build awareness internally so employees and managers understand the benefits of hiring diverse candidates. It’s also important that they understand that different recruiting methods attract different types of students.

Trong: I have seen companies go very creative with diversity recruiting. How would you describe Ericsson’s approach to diversity recruiting?

Iram: Ericsson recognizes that each employee possesses unique strengths and weaknesses from personal experiences, so the more diverse the population of employees is, the wider the experiences and understanding you are drawing from. When managed properly in the workplace, diversity can leverage the strengths and complement the weaknesses of each worker to make the impact of the workforce greater than the sum of its parts. I’m excited about the positive impact our UR program is making on our diversity goals. Over the past three years that I have been here, I’ve seen the university relations team really transform the focus from college recruitment to implementing creative and diversity-focused recruitment strategies on campuses. One of Ericsson’s goals is that by 2020, 30% of our global workforce population should be females. We understand that in order to compete with that, we must create a focus on diversity and work on a wide range of employees, and make efforts to evolve with the trend.

Trong: Well, clearly it’s very important to have a specific target goal to pursue. In your case, it would be 30% of females in the workforce by 2020. Now help me understand how you go about managing that diversity recruiting at Ericsson.

Iram: Well, there is not one group that is entirely charged with diversity recruitment. Instead, it is a labor of many different groups, and we all seeking to achieve the same outcome. So university relations relies on many groups throughout the year in order to be successful. We have a Global Branding team that works to strengthen Ericsson’s employer brand globally. Often, they assist us with large campaigns, events, social media, and support. Our local Campus and Community division hosts diversity events in the Bay Area, which often includes students. And we also partner with our marketing or internal communications groups as well. So collaboration across various organizations is vital to our success because it helps us to create a better end product while also building valuable support and awareness internally.

Trong: Let’s switch our gear a little bit here. Big data is a hot buzzword nowadays. A lot of people talk about that. How do you go about tracking diversity recruiting data in your campus recruiting program?

Iram: Tracking diversity is a tricky thing because it’s important to understand how many diverse candidates you are reaching out to. But, you also do not want to encourage any unconscious bias by marking candidates as diverse.

Our team overcomes this challenge by:

  • Setting targets around specific sourcing opportunities
  • We attend conferences, career fairs, and networking events that are targeted toward or proven to bring in diverse groups, we set this focus
  • We have a set percentage goal around these types of events and make them an integral part of our recruiting cycle.

Our system allows candidates to choose whether to input gender and ethnicity information into our hiring system. So we welcome when they elect not to give this information, but if they do, this personal information is confidential and the system does generate reports on overall activity. This gives us a good understanding of the total group. So we are able to measure the percentage of diversity-focused events we engage in each year and compare them to the steady rise of interviews, employees, and retained diverse groups within the company. So using this method, we know that, we increased the percentage of external female applicants to one of our key global job portals from 16 percent to 21 percent in just the last 9 months

Trong: Well of course nothing in the world worth doing comes easy. Can you share, what are the most challenging parts of diversity recruiting at entry-level? And how do you tackle these challenges?


Unconscious bias in job descriptions is definitely a challenge to overcome. Studies show that certain language and requirements within a job description are more or less likely to attract certain kinds of candidates. So sometimes that job description encourages bias, even though the writer might not have intended it that way

To overcome this issue, we have a team that uses software to scrub our job descriptions of language that can be problematic. Of course, there could be unconscious bias when reviewing resumes as well. This is a matter of continuous education so our team is aware of the bias and will overcome it in the future.

The greatest issue in the past has been that not enough females were applying for our jobs. So with that understanding, our aim has been to focus our outreach to diversity-specific universities and building relationships with career services, faculty, student organizations, and business fraternities to help gain insight and ideas on ways we can promote our brand. Our students know who Ericsson is as a business, and as a major player using technology for good as its core value, we can also add depth to that. Different core values and offerings resonate with different groups of people. We work to be very intentional and strategic with our messaging.

TrongWhat are some of the first steps that a company needs to take if they want to incorporate diversity recruiting in their current UR program?

Iram: Attracting and retaining diverse talent begins with management. So our initiative to create a more diverse workforce environment starts with our CEO, our diversity council, our employee resources group, and hiring managers.

We have created an Unconscious Bias training program within Ericsson which teaches our talent acquisition team how to hire managers how to work in a diverse environment, and then to manage people from different backgrounds, and how to be more interactive and grow their departments. It’s not just about hiring a diverse group, it’s also about retaining them.

So Ericsson’s goal is for 30% of our workforce to be females, and we are taking very strong initiatives to make that focus our objective in talent acquisition. And then while there are several other initiatives that will be needed to solve this multi-dimensional challenge, doing this one thing in big organizations will get instantaneous results. So ensuring there is a balance of men and women in the C-suite, board, and the extended executive leadership. So having an equal number of men and women at the top is a clear signal to the next level and the level below that the organization is embracing and requiring diversity.

While doing that, companies can also bring in their customers to validate this approach as most companies have as many women customers as men. So managing this well, can give a positive brand boost to the company and provide a great group of mentors who can encourage and support future hires.

We’ve invested a lot in corporate collaboration tools for our internal learning programs. It is increasing the way people want to learn, particularly millennials – that’s what we found through our research. We created Ericsson Play, a video learning model, where any employee can upload their own videos. And today we have over 30 video channels with over 450,000 video views. We also launched Ericsson Academy Virtual Campus, which makes online training available to all our employees and we’ve included mobile programs as well so people can learn on the go. Coaching managers on making diversity a notable objective on their radar and understanding why it matters to hire more women is also a key part of our program.

TrongCould you share some tactics that you recommend for companies to boost recruiting diverse students through their on-campus activities?

Iram: Working with student organizations is an obvious choice. When we hold female-focused events, we want to show our audience the male support in our organization so we invite the men to speak at the event. So it is not only a women-focused event, we want to show that male support. It is amazing how much support we got from Ericsson from our male colleagues.

Also, partnering with students who have a pulse on the campus and talking to them to see where there are diversity gaps and how can your company fill that void when we go on campus. When you hold events on campus, you must exhibit diversity from our recruiting team when doing campus events to represent our current organization’s diversity. We like to have a mix of executives, technical, and non-technical, men, and women, people from diverse ethnicities, different age groups, and even different work locations so that they can bring in a new dimension to our messaging on campus.

Managers and employees who attend your event should be especially conscious of your goals around diversity and should be able to speak to different groups of people in ways that will resonate with them and that will not promote unconscious bias.

Trong: We already talked about challenges. So you know what I’m gonna ask you. Can you share some success stories that you have at Ericsson with diversity recruiting?

Iram: Support and advocacy come from the top. So before Ericsson had females in the executive team and now there are 4 in the last few years. So if employees don’t see it from the leaders, then it won’t happen across the board. Recently, Ericsson has held our 3rd annual Women In Technology and Innovation event, and this is an all-day conference held at our Silicon Valley campus where we invite female students from local universities to learn and be inspired by our Ericsson executive team of female and male, and also our management and employees, men and women, to learn about ways in which women can be successful in the workplace.

Each year, the event has grown in numbers, so that is exciting to see it take a life of its own. Through this event, we’ve been able to build relationships with students who want us to partner with their university or various student organizations for specific recruiting events. So the Women in Technology event alone has given us access to opening up different channels to connect with other faculty and groups who share the same goals in recruiting diverse students.

This month, Ericsson sponsors the annual Watermark event, which is a conference for women. Later this year, we will attend the Grace Hopper Conference, the largest conference of its kind. Last year, we held a recruiting event specific to NSBE. These are just some of the successes that we have in our diversity initiatives.

Trong: My last question before I let you go to enjoy your weekends. Is there anything else that is near and dear to your heart about diversity recruiting and campus recruiting that we’ve not covered but you want to talk about?

Iram: During some of our Women in Technology and Innovation events, I heard first-hand about the difficulties of females being outnumbered and working extra hard to prove themselves in male-dominated technical disciplines.

I remember one girl who said she was in mechanical engineering and she was the only female mechanical engineer in her entire class, and everyone knew her as a Female. She was like, “I had to try to prove myself and work harder so I could be on par with those males.” But she continues to persevere, and that courage just makes me want to help women more by taking on STEM discipline, being a part of that, and not giving up. So, I made it a personal objective to do what I could to be a huge advocate for women in STEM, and I hope that I can inspire them in some way.

I know that I’m in a position to make that change possible. I empathize with these women and applaud for their courage to remain strong and persevere. So diversity is near and dear to me. I think it’s just a matter of time as more organizations understand the focus of diversity recruitment and place an emphasis on corporate goals and a top-down approach with leadership. It’s possible that we are in the middle of this evolution, and the fact that I could be a part of it is really exciting for me personally.

Trong: Absolutely. I believe evolution is really happening now. Iram, thank you again so much for taking the time to share your advice with us today. And folks, this is where I leave you for today. Don’t forget to check us out on YouTubeSoundcloud, and of course, subscribe to stay updated. See you back next month!

Diversity & Inclusion Check-List for Your On-Campus Recruiting Efforts

Diversity recruitment is more than just sticking to quotas or protected characteristics; it’s about embracing a wider spectrum of identities. Beyond legality, it enhances your talent pool by tapping into unique perspectives and experiences. The advantages are tangible: faster problem-solving, elevated team engagement, and improved recruitment through employee referrals.

Based on Trong’s and Iram’s discussion, consider the following key strategies:

  1. Attend Virtual Career Fairs: Leverage cost-effective virtual career fairs to connect with diverse talent pools, fostering inclusivity in hiring.
  2. Recruit Where Diversity Thrives: Collaborate with universities known for diverse student bodies, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) or Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).
  3. Collaborate with Associations: Engage with multicultural associations and student groups to enhance brand visibility and attract a steady influx of diverse candidates.
  4. Establish Your Diversity Brand: Cultivate a reputation for diversity through clear statements, visuals, and statistics on your company’s career page, social media, and print materials.
  5. Enhance Employee Referral Programs: Capitalize on word-of-mouth by encouraging employees, including members of Employee Resource Groups, to actively refer diverse talent.
  6. Utilize Social Media Effectively: Leverage platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to connect with diverse talent, using targeted advertising and engaging with professional communities.
  7. Support Diversity through Philanthropy: Establish partnerships and initiatives supporting underrepresented communities to enhance your company’s image and access a diverse talent pool.
  8. Organize Specific Events: Design internship programs and short-term events tailored to underrepresented student groups, fostering a pipeline for diverse talent.
  9. Measure Diversity Recruiting Efforts: Implement clear metrics to monitor diversity at different stages of recruitment, including minority representation and employee satisfaction.
  10. Develop Inclusive Policies: Embed diversity in everyday operations through inclusive time-off policies, fostering open communication, and promoting transparency.
  11. Enhance Candidate Screening: Reevaluate screening criteria, consider blind-hiring techniques and address recruiters’ burnout to mitigate unconscious biases.
  12. Diversify Talent Pipelines: Implement the “two in the pool effect” by intentionally including multiple qualified candidates from the same minority demographic in your shortlist.
  13. Promote ERGs Early: Showcase Employee Resource Groups during the interview process to demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity from the start.

Want more tips and guides for each of these strategies and more? Take a look at our guide on 16 Tried-And-True Diversity Recruiting Strategies for Recruiters