Hackathon events in attracting computer science students on campus

Hackathon events in attracting computer science students on campus

March 15, 2018 - 3 minute read


With top university students so sought after, it’s important to make your company known on campuses. Follow these tips to take advantage of hackathons, events typically lasting several days in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming, and other major events on campus.

1. Create engaging informative content

It doesn’t matter if you bring in the CEO of a major company to a symposium and hackathon event, even if the subject matter isn’t relevant to the interests, hopes, and desires of your millennial audience. A major part of hackathons is having a one to five minute speech by sponsors, and with such a short time, storytelling and humor are vital to the speaker’s success.

As for content, computer science doesn’t need to be the topic of computer science lectures. Your best lecture will incorporate elements of the field but be interesting to pretty much any viewer. Incorporate a catchy title that will bring in students, like taking it from “Computer Science in Google” to “How My First Myspace Page Led Me to a Career in Google.”

2. Streamline your job fair presence

HR is a great element to have at a job fair. Millennials are notorious for not staying long at workplaces so hook them in with an idea of company culture as well as clearly defined benefits and perks. Lose the paperwork entirely, don’t force them to fill out extensive questionnaires or surveys when their time at the fair is precious. Avoid collecting resumes entirely with an app like Rakuna, where you can just snap a photo and eliminate cluttered piles of paper.

In terms of your campus recruiters, HR can gain some great insight to job fairs by going to recruiting conferences like Tru



These events are great for a more well-rounded understanding of job fairs, social media outreach, and and leading universities. Along with HR, you should have–get this–an engineer at the career fair. Who could inspire faith in the company more than a future coworker, the person they might sit across from? If these students have technical questions about the position, it’s great to have that engineer standing by to prove the aptitude of the company. 

3. Inspire with workshops and training courses

If your company is small and not likely to gain a lot of audience from an info session, try something that will increase your on-campus presence while teaching valuable skills to potential job candidates. Choose a skill your company is great at and has experience in, like coding mobile applications, and run a workshop.

Major companies do it–Apple ran a free coding workshop just this month. It’s a smart business decision, as having regular sessions will lead to repeat students that gain trust for the company. Not only will they become better candidates for your company, they will be more likely to apply for positions and more likely to create company recognition by word-of-mouth.

4. Arrange hackathon events

Hackathons are a great way to bring computer science students together and to recognize future job candidates. In hackathons “hackers” get a limited amount of time, generally a few days, to focus on a project like completely building an app from scratch. If your company sponsors this event, it builds brand recognition and you can even specify the parameters of the hackathon to involve your app or your field. This inspires a fantastic amount of creativity and can even give you ideas on improving your business. 



On the less technical side of it, hackathons are a great experience. Having free food, swag, workshops, games, and other interactive elements will leave people feeling positively about your company and encourage them to apply in the future. Top hackathons like the University Hacker Olympics in San Francisco and HopHacks in Maryland are helpful to attend or to sponsor to get some understanding of the hackathon business.

The most important element of these tips is to have a good time, but to plan carefully around your company image to make sure your event benefits the company as much as possible. With these elements well-considered, talent acquisition will be much easier.

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