Let’s move beyond the “two-years experience required” for entry-level jobs generation of job ads, and talk about how to actually insert valuable numbers into your campus recruiting program. As we gear up for summer hiring, there’s been a lot of movement in the campus recruiting space: career centers continue to scour solutions to get their students into top roles, The Muse continues to grow its content empire, LinkedIn continues to try to onboard more university students with the launch of its new app (titled “Students”), and whichever way you slice it, the digital footprint of millennial talent is creating more informed hiring decisions.
Campus recruiting teams have to always be pushing to become more data informed. Couple this with the ground level work of your on-site campus recruiters, and you too can have a hiring machine! The collection and analysis of data, online and in-person makes for less biased hiring decisions. As we enter one of the high seasons of campus recruiting, let’s talk some dead-simple reasons and actionable steps to insert data into your campus recruiting program.
Standardize Essential Candidate Information
Agree on key questions and required information of all candidates, and aim for 100 percent of candidates in your system to have that information attached to their profile. It sounds simple, but it’s essential. All of your onsite representatives at career fairs and meetups need to collect information “on the go” with consistency. This will create your baseline of candidate information. While university talent is less proven, this will move the comparison of apples and oranges to — at the very least — granny apples to gala apples, so to speak.
- Simple step to make your campus recruiting more data driven: Define what two to four questions are essential that every applicant from a university needs to answer for your company and your departments.
Structure Your Database for the Machine Learning Revolution
Machine learning will improve and improve. You want a database structure that is set up to grow. Start simpler.What do you prioritize in your hiring efforts? Consider mapping the skills and traits you value to a scoring system. A scoring system helps to avoid making decision based on gut feeling or emotion. But gut still matters and can be a part of the scoring system; for example, you can rate candidates based on their soft skills. By standardizing candidate evaluation, you can set up your campus recruiting program to recommend a short list of candidates by just entering a few pieces of information about each.
- Simple step to make your campus recruiting more data driven: List out the top five hard and soft skills that your company values in millennial talent. Then set up a meeting with relevant decision makers with the goal of making the top five desired hard and soft skills a company-wide agreement.
Aggregate Recruiting Event Success Metrics
Recruiting events bring in new candidates, new hires, and brand awareness. New candidates and hires per event can be cross referenced with cost. And brand awareness, while traditionally an opaque measurement, can be found in the year-over-year growth in event performance when returning to the same universities. Without measuring ROI per school, per event type, and per recruiter, you cannot optimize your year-over-year recruitment budget spend. Quality campus recruiting programs keep all this data in one place, and are able to objectively report success by university, by event type, and individual recruiter performance. And then next year, choosing which events to attend, not attend, and invest more in become data-driven decisions.
- Simple step to make your campus recruiting more data driven: Across each recruiter and event, you need to know the cost per candidate and the cost per hire — it’s not the end all be all data, but it’s necessary information to begin evaluating.
Measure the Long-term Candidate Lifecycle
Forward-thinking companies nurture relationships with candidates well before the candidates are ready to be hired. As you grow your talent community for university students, you must consider the life-cycle of the candidate. A freshman could have a four-year recruitment sales cycle. If you effectively remain a top-of-mind employment option, you’ll have a competitive advantage over the many other companies vying for their attention when it’s time for the student to enter the workforce. Measure the interaction points of this candidate pool, such as email open rate, percentage that become applicants and percentage that become hires, as well as the overall growth of your company’s freshman, sophomore, and junior talent community.
- Simple step to make your campus recruiting more data driven: Decide on the key touch points with all long-term candidates. As a department, you should decide when groups of longer-term candidates receive standardized updates, and which high-value candidates also receive personalized messages. It’s about making you the top-of-mind employer.
Potential university recruits are some of the most unproven workers. But less work experience does not necessarily mean that you as an employer have to make less objective hiring decisions. By implementing a data-driven campus recruiting program from the top down, you can create a hiring machine that brings your company into the next generation.
This is the republishing of an original article that I contributed to ERE.