Do you know that in 2020, Cognizant - the US-based technology company, had a plan to hire up to 23,000 STEM students? Campus recruiting has always been a crucial piece in the recruitment operation of global businesses. It is a missed opportunity, not giving enough attention to the young and innovative talents. Whether you are a seasoned talent acquisition leader or a fresh recruiter, it is very important to have a solid grasp of campus recruitment. Read on to know more about campus recruitment fundamentals and how you can improve your strategy.
What Is Campus Recruiting?
Campus recruitment is the process of finding, attracting, and employing university students and fresh graduates in an internship or entry-level positions. Businesses that engage in campus recruitment to add these students to the company’s roster once they officially graduate. Campus recruiting comes in many forms and sizes. Unlike most would imagine, recruiters don’t necessarily have to set foot on campus to reach out to prospective candidates. Recruiters can operate small-scale operations such as working with career centers to announce available positions, purchase resume books from schools, join student-focused portal platforms like WayUp, Piazza and Handshake.
With the Covid 19 Pandemic thrown into the mix in early 2020, most businesses moved campus recruitment operations to the virtual space. Virtual events solutions such as vFairs, Hubilo, or HopIn suddenly become a must-have tool for event organizers in 2020 and onward.
The advance in technology, especially the virtualization of most campus recruitment processes, means hiring young talent is no longer confined to on-campus activities . Other novel ideas to approach university students are also employed, such as virtual Q&A sessions.
3 Reasons Why You Should Pay Attention to Campus Recruiting
A Pool of Fresh Ideas and Innovation
If you notice a shortage of creative ideas and innovative approaches in your business, perhaps it is time to bring some fresh minds through campus recruiting. Students are caught up with the latest trends thanks to their naturally constant interaction with the internet. Aside from being an excellent gateway to market information, student candidates can be a source of innovation to your business. Knowing the latest trends has its perks; they can introduce new ideas or novel solutions to your business’s on-going problems.
The Digital Revolution Is Changing the Way We Work
In the Cisco Annual Internet Report, by 2023, the total number of internet users will be 5.3 billion users. With the Covid 19 Pandemic further pushes more business activities on the internet, it is, without a doubt, a top concern for businesses to acquire talents with the ability to navigate the virtual space. As most Millennials are now within the global workforce, recruiters are turning their attention to Gen-Z. The latter is likely to be even more adept at technology.
It Is a Cost-Effective Way to Bounce Back From the Mass-Layoff
The Covid 19 Pandemic triggered a massive layoff wave in 2020. In the United Kingdom, 1.72 million people were unemployed in September and November 2020. Global businesses are looking at an eventual rough comeback as companies scramble to rehire in a post-Covid 19 age.
Smart organizations can use Campus recruiting to prepare a talent pipeline beforehand. Enrolling prospective students into internships is an economically-wise method of attracting and retaining talents. You can enroll prospective candidates into internship programs. Seeing your candidates in action is far superior to resume screening when assessing their ability to work. Afterward, you can make informed decisions whether to hire or not. This way, campus recruiting can partially lift the stress of competing for top candidates.
Campus Recruiting Team Standard Structure
Businesses of any size can participate in campus recruiting. Having said that, the recruiting team responsible for the job would look very different between a startup business with 10+ vacancies per year and a large business with up to 1000+ vacancies. In this section, we will go through a few structure variations of a campus recruitment team.
The Standard Structure
A recruiting team’s standard structure is commonly seen within medium-sized businesses up to large corporations with 1000+ positions to fill every year. The recruitment team’s exact structure depends significantly on your business’s actual needs and your targeted talents’ rarity. No matter the size, there are always 4 critical roles presented in the standard structure:
The titular role of the campus recruiting team. These are the people with boots on the ground, having direct contact with candidates. To be a campus recruiter requires an extensive set of skills to identify, attract and engage with young talents. Campus recruiters are responsible for conveying the company values, creating connections, and ultimately attracting the right talents. They are the voice of your recruiting team.
Talent Acquisition (TA) Director / Campus Recruiting Director
This person will be the brain, the leader of your recruiting team. A TA director’s list of responsibilities will usually include identifying needed talents by working with other departments, coming up with the overall recruitment strategy, team member management, and even reaching out and maintaining a relationship with chosen universities.
Recruitment Operation Managers
As the name suggested, recruitment operation managers handle the logistic side of campus recruitment. Things such as interview scheduling, arranging transportation for the recruiter team, or processing accepted candidates fall into their domain. Having a recruiting operation manager in your team can increase your team speed-to-hire, optimize resource consumption and reduce overall cost.
Before you can start to recruit young talent, people need to know that your company is hiring; this is the job of a recruitment marketeer. This position is responsible for creating branding material such as banners, blog posts and communicating why your business is the right choice to work in.
Depending on the size of a team, it is common to see members multitask multiple positions. If you feel like your campus recruitment team being stretched thin, you can consider expanding the side of a specific position. Have a look at a variation of the standard recruitment team structure. KPMG’s Greater Toronto Area Team consists of :
- 2 "Talent Attraction Managers,"
- 4 "Talent Attraction Specialist,"
- 2 "Talent Attraction Coordinator."
The name might not be the same, but you can easily align the KPMG team with the standard structure above.
The One-Man Recruitment Team
For companies that only require 80 positions per year at most, the responsibility of campus recruiting would usually fall on one or two individuals. A single individual might have to handle all positions within a standard recruiting team:
- Work with other departments within your firm to identify recruitment needs: you might have to help design an internship program for entry-level or short-termed positions in some cases.
- Create an overall campus recruiting strategy and calendar: Forming a strategy and calendar for a one-man team can be a challenging balancing game to win. Modern recruiters within a small team can utilize automated tools such as an campus & event recruiting app to eliminate time-consuming processes.
- Build and manage a positive relationship with universities: especially with those in the career service office. Most schools have a career service room that connects students and alumni with suitable jobs.
- Design and arrange to put up advertisements on campus ground: You will have to work with your team of aspiring designers to develop the ads material to capture candidates at just the first glance.
- Provide career service staff with informative materials such as pamphlets, case studies, job descriptions.
- Reach out to alumni groups online and offline: each supportive alumni can create a powerful word-of-mouth effect. Imagine how a supportive employee who retains many positive connections in their school life can help with your recruiting effort.
- Present in career fairs, interact and attract students towards your employer business: To many students, you will be their first link to your company. Candidates will ask questions, and resumes will change hands. Your big role is to identify the suitable candidate and make them want to work for your company. No pressure.
- Post and manage the open positions on social media: this is another link for you to pursue. Coming back to the Cisco Annual Internet Report, with 5.3 billion internet users expected in 2023, the internet will be even busier.
- Report back your result after any recruiting campaign or career fair: this is not only for your employer to assess your effectiveness, this is also the chance for you to improve your strategy, see what works and what does not. Here are some key statistics to monitor the success and effectiveness of your event.
Common Mistakes in Campus Recruiting
With so many candidates coming your way in a single event, making mistakes is unavoidable. However, you have already won half the battle knowing these mistakes. Here are some common errors you are likely to make in a recruiting campaign.
Disqualifying Potential Candidates for Their Initial Lack of Experience
Some people treat recruiting like a game of a puzzle. That one must find a piece with the exact shape and color to fit the missing spot. It is not wrong for recruiters to employ this recruitment method as some companies can have stringent demands for a position.
However, by tightening your requirement, you are potentially missing prospective students who simply lack experience. An impressive resume and a high GPA score do not mean the candidate is the one for the job. Soft skills such as adaptiveness or leadership qualities are found through trial-and-errors. To make the most out of your talent pool, you can offer micro-internships or short projects to observe your candidates further.
Not Having a Proper Campus Recruiting Strategy
For small to mid-sized businesses, the lack of funding and competition from bigger competitors means campus recruiting is usually a tiny part of the entire recruitment campaign. Even so, to approach campus recruiting without a proper strategy means those businesses missed out on the chance of capitalizing on the young, fresh and cost-effective labor. Without a solid recruiting plan, one might still be able to fill missing positions, but only after an exceedingly long period of searching or with hires that are below expectation.
Straggling Behind Trends
Seeing how Gen Zs interact and communicate with each other on new social media websites such as Tik Tok, Youtube, or Twitter, one can understand why even traditional Facebook posts lose their effectiveness in attracting talents.
Not all social media sites are new and trendy in the eyes of a Gen Z applicant. Do you know, Gen Zs consider Facebook as the social media gateway for older people? Perhaps it is time to switch your attention from email pamphlets and Facebook posts to short and concise video snippets about available positions on Youtube, Instagram, or even Tik Tok. Organizations such as the Global Web Index regularly publish detailed survey reports regarding social media usage trends amongst the global population. These metrics are crucial for planning your social marketing strategy.
How to Build Your Campus Recruiting Strategy From Scratch
Coming up with a detailed plan for a campus recruiting campaign is not easy. In this section, learn how you can start forming an action plan to start your hiring campaign smoothly.
Establish Your Recruiting Goals
First, identify what your team set out to achieve. Visualize your targeted candidates and identify your ROI. How do you plan to approach prospective students? Will you be attending a physical career fair or joining a virtual event? How do you plan to build and sell your brand to candidates? The earlier you identify your goals, the more time you have to plan around them. You can also look back at your previous campaigns to develop new ideas for better candidate engagement.
Identify Your Targeted Campus
As a recruiting team, you do not have all the time and resources in the world. It would be counter-productive to recruit in a university that does not have your targeted candidates simply because you have a good relationship with the establishment. When selecting a recruiting target, remember to take your return on investment (ROI) into account.
Select Your Representatives
The first impression is essential when building a good relationship. Representatives are usually the first people in your company the students meet. Therefore, make sure your representatives are knowledgeable about your business but also are energetic and approachable. They will also have to be relevant to the students. It is ill-advised to bring a designer to talk to marketing candidates.
Announce Your Presence
For candidates to start coming, you need to let the public know that your business is hiring. Being active on social media will significantly help this step. You can start inserting small announcements or sign-up links to your daily posts and updates. You can also start email campaigns aiming toward past candidates you missed last season.
Ready Your Promotional Material
Once your position starts attracting attention, students will actively search for information relating to your company and related openings. Thanks to the internet, students can gain access to information relating to your business in a matter of seconds. The company’s homepage and social media sites like LinkedIn or review sites are potential locations to look for information. Carefully planning promotional materials’ placement can better help you convince candidates.
Train Your Team Member
Technologies such as video interview applications and virtual event platforms now play a more prevalent role in the recruiting process. Familiarising your member with the event’s common goals and the tools used to achieve them is something any leader must not forget. Before the event, you can host live practice or even do a mock-up session, so your team members can quickly adapt to any new applications.
Hot Recruiting Trends to Know
Generation Z is now in the spotlight of the campus recruiting effort in 2021. Seeing how this young generation is so different from those before, recruiters might have difficulty identifying the current trends and strategy to best recruit Gen Z talents.
Here are the top campus recruiting trends to attract young talents:
Personalized Interactions at the Forefront of the Recruiting Strategy
Generation Z still prefers authentic, personalized interactions to automated and machine-like exchanges for a generation that grows up in the company of digital devices.
This reaction is not a surprising discovery. As recruiters adopting video interviews as part of the recruiting strategy due to the Global Pandemic at the start of 2020, they discovered the lack of human interaction in one-way video interviews resulted in negative experiences and ultimately deterred candidates from advancing further in the recruitment process. If you are yet to believe the effect of personalization on young generations, check out this informative infographic survey report of Telus International on the power of personalization.
Actions such as sharing job and industry information that resonates with each candidate’s indicated interest or keep them updated with their interview status are the right steps toward personalizing your recruitment process.
Using Social Media to Access Talent Communities
Without a doubt, the virtual world can be as busy, if not even more, than the physical counterpart. A recent survey conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value revealed that a smartphone is the device of choice for Gen Zs. Out of 15,600 global Gen Zs, 75% said they spend most of their time on smartphones each day. 25% of respondents go online using smartphones for more than 5 hours each day.
With the young generation so hyper-connected, it is easy for like-minded individuals to create talent communities. In 2021, it is easy to see talent communities popping up in social portals such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Employers should never pass out these websites when looking to connect with young talent.
Virtual Career Fairs and Video Interviews Earn a Special Spot in a Recruiter’s Toolbox
It was easy to see this trend coming from miles away. The appearance of the Covid 19 Pandemic forced the recruitment community to approach talent recruiting differently. By the end of November 2020, the number of daily active users of the Zoom meeting application reached a peak of 1.7 million users. After a year of forging virtual connections, these recruiting solutions have proven that they are not just a niche. With no regard to geographical barriers, benefits such as recruitment cost and time-saving make these solutions a viable choice in any campaign.
Campus Recruiting Best Practices Summary
Like the famous martial artist - Bruce Lee once said, “Be Water.” A campus recruiting team must be able to adapt to the changing trend to hire the best talents. This section will lay out some of the , best practices to hire tech-savvy talents:
Be Creative With Your Social Posts
To attract young talents in 2021 and onward, it takes more than just your standard job posts. If your recruiting team wants to draw attention at just the first glance, consider creating your material in a visually vibrant style. It is well known that the brain recognizes and remembers images better. Instead of a wall-o-text, let the world know your company through an energetic infographic. Keep your content design consistent. Let the world know that your business has its style and uniqueness.
Be Active on Social Media
It is common knowledge that you must remain active on mainstream sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook to hunt for potential candidates. However, there are many more websites that like-minded individuals can come together. Reddit groups, Whatsapp groups, niche job sites, and even Instagram are places where you can find talented individuals. Each site has its own style of content and audience. Remember to have a meeting with your team to identify the type of candidates and content you want to pursue.
Involve Your Employee in Sharing Your Content on Social Media
The value of an employee testimonial is priceless in an age of advertising bombardment. It is easier for a candidate to build trust with someone they know that is working for you. Simply encourage your employee to spread the marketing content through their social media network. This strategy can help you best utilize your employees as individual brand ambassadors. Before you know it, you can have an internal pipeline of potential candidates.
When done right, Campus recruiting doesn’t just stop at career fairs and school bulletin boards. Young talents are always sought-after by all kinds of businesses. One must know the ins and outs of campus recruiting to gain the upper hand in this competitive race. With each different generation of candidates, a recruiter must also continuously innovate to attract the best applicants. To make more effective campus hiring strategies in 2021 and onward, consider these goals when brainstorming with your recruiting team.
Images used in this post : Freepik