What to Know Before Planning Your Campus Recruiting Strategy

What to Know Before Planning Your Campus Recruiting Strategy

May 31, 2018 - 21 minute read -
university hr recruiting strategy college-recruiting


What To Know When Planning Your Campus Recruiting Strategy

University campus is a hub of talents. A proper campus recruiting strategy can greatly benefit an organization and create a strong entry-level talent pipeline. Check out our guide below to plan your best campus recruiting strategy

1. Campus event recruiting event preparation strategy

Set career fair goals

Career fairs require time away from the office as well as expenses like travel costs, booth rentals, promotional materials and so on. Set your defined goals early on to make the most of every career fair. What is your goal of entry-level or internship positions? How do you plan to build your brand among student groups? How to build your pipeline for future openings? Identify your goals to drive the campus recruiting strategy and maximize ROI for every event.

Evaluate campus relationships

Do established relationships with on-campus organizations and career centers bring you back to the same schools each recruiting season? If a university no longer provides a major you target to recruit or did not produce to high-quality hires the previous year, it may not be worthwhile to invest time and resources in that campus.

Instead of repeatedly recruiting at familiar universities, evaluate campus partnerships to find out which result in ROI for your organization. Use hiring software for your campus recruiting strategy to track each university partnership and identify campuses that result in quality hires. Register for career fairs at universities that contribute to your campus hiring goals and consider foregoing career fairs that do not produce ROI. Leaving long-term but ineffective university partnerships is not easy but is critical to achieving your career fair goals.

Pick business representatives

Business representatives are often the first people to greet a candidate and introduce them to your company, so choose people who will boost student excitement about your organization. The business representatives you choose should be knowledgeable about current positions, passionate about the organization, and enthusiastic and outgoing. Select representatives who have a vested interested in attracting qualified candidates; if a campus hiring goal is to recruit entry-level engineers, bring current engineers to the fair. Alumni of the college and entry-level team members may also be good fits for the career fair.

Among the things on your to-do list when hosting a recruitment event are marketing and attracting high-potential candidates. The same should be done for your career fair booth instead of relying on word-of-mouth. Remember that your competitors might have already scheduled on-campus interviews.

Leverage campus recruiting software to promote your career fair and encourage pre-registration. Share sign-up links on social media and create a section on your careers site to allow interested applicants to register and upload their resumes. Send email campaigns to potential candidates you met last year and ask the career center to send a sign-up link in student emails. Market your career fair before the event to review resumes, evaluate candidates, and advance students through the hiring process before the on-campus competition arrives.

Create compelling promotional materials

Given your company website, social media and third-party review sites, students might know a great deal about your company before the event. Use the career event to your advantage when planning your campus recruiting strategy and share information that candidates cannot find online. Consider loading tablets with photos from company events, or Q&A videos with employees to provide candidates an insight into your company. When producing promotional materials, make them tailored to the majors you target to recruit. If you are hiring sales positions, create materials that demonstrate the career path an entry-level sales professional take at your company. For marketing roles, show examples of creative campaigns your marketing team have completed.

Plan for career fair logistics

There’s a lot to prepare before your career events: booth decorations, name tags, business cards, giveaways, tablets and so many more. Prior to the career fair, check the shipment deadlines for each event you would attend. Use campus recruiting software to make a list of all collateral needed at the event, which each team member can access and update. Create detailed timeline of material drop-off and pick up, booth set-up and breakdown as well as team member responsibilities and shifts for business attendees.

Train business attendees

The first day of a hiring event can be a chaos, so designate time to train all attendees before leaving the office. Set your career fair goals and metrics you hope to hit by the end of the event and make sure that everyone understands what to work towards. Provide a timeline of responsibilities and review common candidate questions as well as suggested responses. Train business attendees on your recruiting software, including how to evaluate a candidate and schedule interviews with high-potential students on-the-spot. Create a mock career fair for business attendees to use the technology and practice the evaluation and scheduling of candidates before arriving on campus.

Create a post career fair communication plan

Do not wait to follow up with candidates after the career fair because it will give your competitor time to extend an offer. Before the hiring event, come up with a post-event communication plan. Leverage talent relationship management software to send an email to each and every candidate you met; do not forget to thank them for visiting the booth and encourage potential students to self-schedule an interview. If a candidate needs more experience, include them in your talent community to keep them engaged until they are ready for a position in your company. Advance candidates through the recruiting process quickly after the career fair to hire the top talent and meet career fair goals.

Career fairs are an opportunity for hundreds of candidates to interact with your brand, learn about the company and make in-person connections. Make a plan for the career event in advance to leave every fair with a pipeline of high-quality potential candidates.

2. Marketing and communications for your campus recruiting strategy

Build relationships with potential college students through social media.

Social media marketing provides recruiters a unique way to engage with prospective students as they travel through their campus recruiting journey.  Not only can you offer them a direct view into the company life – you can use social media channels to easily offer quick replies to any questions or concerns they might have, encourage them to connect with other students that share their path and goals, and gain valuable insight into their needs and interests.Make sure your social media marketing strategy involves branding your organization as a cool place to work, where young professionals can continue to learn and grow. Every post conveys something about your company’s culture, so consider what messages you would like to communicate.

Through effective use of social media channels, a company can build and nurture close relationships with potential college candidates, welcome them into your community and make them feel excited about a future at your organization. And by building a deep understanding of the interests and motivations of potential students, recruiters can gain valuable insight into exactly what types of content to convey, and at what stage of their recruiting journey to do so.

Create content that are useful for college students for career orientation.

Graduates are concerned about the career opportunities that your company can offer and how they can develop their careers over time. If they cannot see a future path at your organization, they probably will not apply.So think of what your organization can provide that is unique and that young people would want? Young generations tend to follow their passions, desire to work on something meaningful, develop their career, and have work/life balance. Create an appealing message that attracts graduates.

Also, use young professionals to connect and engage with students. Send young professionals or alumni on-campus and encourage them to engage and connect with students. Let them tell positive and compelling stories about their experiences and careers at your organization. Allow students to job shadow and witness the daily operations at your company to help them get a better insight into the job and experience the work environment.

Make your content findable and mobile-friendly

Make your content accessible on mobile devices with ease, as that’s the tool the young generation use to find career opportunities. It is a fact that 70% of all job searches start on Google. So leverage search engine optimization for keywords and post content on social media, including your blog, LinkedIn, Facebook pages and Twitter.

As you’re putting information out there, you also need to promote your reputation and talent brand by frequently refreshing your content and controlling what is being communicated about your company on sites like Glassdoor. Addressing negative reviews is just as crucial as encouraging your employees to write positive feedbacks and comments.

Keep in touch with all prospective students

“Keep in touch” is more than just a slogan. Top students are invited to the 8 to 9 events throughout the year, ranging from personal coaching events to professional workshops. So your goal is to stay in contact with your former interns, promote their career development and pave the way for them to join your organization at some point in the future. Let them know the benefits of working with your company and how you are interested in talking with them about a position once they have graduated. Establish email communication that include studying tips, interview etiquette advice, industry updates or even a good luck note during exam time. Just as consumer brands interact with their customers on social media, connect directly with top student prospects. Wish them good luck prior to exams or share with them industry thought leadership pieces, to stay relevant to them.

Don’t just focus your attention on seniors. Instead, consider all students.  It’s never too early to promote branding and market your company to the next great hire, whether they will join the company in a couple of months or a year from now. Campus recruiting strategy, along with employer branding strategies, need reviewing and revising annually. Adopt a fresh marketing strategy and increase your presence on campus will allow you and your organization to become a memorable brand to potential students.

3. Applying technology solutions for your campus recruiting strategy

As a campus recruiter, you must keep yourself up-to-date with the ever-changing landscape, and yes, things are very much changing now. With the tech-savvy Gen Z and millennials reshaping the work world, your technical toolbox needs sharpening. Whether you are sourcing for candidates online, conducting field work at career events or preparing for a promising follow-up, here are 4 must-know campus recruiting solutions for your campus recruiting strategy.

Online job boards

First of all, check out Portfolium, a leading e-portfolio network for students to present their academic work, skills and projects to employers. It is a rather cutting-edge cloud-based platform to curate candidate skills and credentials with style. In practice, Portfolium provides a digital portfolio that showcases the best qualities of students that simply cannot be indicated in a rigid resume format.

Not to trample their fire, their team has put it beautifully:“Portfolium partners with colleges & universities to help students connect learning with opportunity. Our ePortfolio network helps 5M+ students from over 150 partner institutions manage their skills and launch their careers. Portfolium’s cloud-based platform empowers students with lifelong opportunities to capture, curate, and convert skills into job offers, while giving learning institutions and employers the tools they need to assess competencies and recruit talent”.

As you know about the troubles of recruiting young people, you will be impressed with how Portfolium brings a view of a student’s abilities and builds a network of qualified candidates to help recruiters improve candidate quality, reduce hiring time and costs. If you need to cast your net wider through online sourcing, take a look at this platform.

Traditional Career Fairs and Campus Recruiting

Career fairs and on-campus events are the fundamental of any campus recruiting strategy, so of course you want to hit with maximum effectiveness here. At Rakuna, we have developed a targeted solution to the classical issues of campus and career fair recruiting. You are obviously now stranger to bloated paper trails, loss of candidate data, and stacks of clipboards after each career fair or recruiting event, which can actually be translated to a waste of time and reduced productivity.

To help you overcome this nightmare, we provide a mobile solution for the campus recruiters to capture and evaluate candidates’ credentials in person, and a dashboard for the HR team to enhance the follow-up process and connect with young talent. Unlike check-in solutions, our app allows recruiters to be completely engaging with candidates while gathering required information at fingertips. Imagine having a central online hub to manage your early-career talent pipeline. No more worry about your top candidates getting lost in a spreadsheet or pile of paper resumes in your filing cabinets, your ATS, or even the recycling bin.

From filtering candidates by specific criteria, sending out bulk messages for follow-up, to collaborating with hiring managers, other recruiting team members, and having a visual, meaningful campus recruiting metric report at hand – you can have all done om one place using our platform. That is the kind of next-generation campus recruiting solution that we talk about.

Virtual Career Fair

In campus recruiting, career fairs are going nowhere, but they will definitely evolve, and we think virtual career fair is the next thing your organization should embrace – if you want to cast a wider net at a lower cost.

When it comes to virtual career fairs, you can join broad-based virtual career fairs hosted by companies such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, or organize your own. If you are keen on having your own virtual career fair instead, Brazen is worth your attention. Its cloud-based platform for virtual career fairs and networking sessions allow companies to hold online events with ease. The technology allowed for timed, one-on-one interactions via Web chat in which job applicants and recruiters can get to know each other without ever leaving their homes or offices.

Digital Interview Platform

Campus recruiting often requires a great deal of budget and resources to reach all of the campuses you would want to, so live and on-demand video can be totally an asset. There is a mass of video interviewing software out there, but we believe HireVue is the pioneer in this area.HireVue offers both asynchronous (one-way) and synchronous (two-way) video interviews, all the while making use of nifty extras like predictive analytics. In other words, it’s an cool format for checking more candidates in shorter amount of time while at the same time, maximizing personalization and candidate experience. What a way to speed up the recruiting process, with a flavor of digital jazz to boot.

4. Partnering strategy with college career services as part of your campus recruiting strategy

Below, we highlight the best 10 pieces of advice suggested by Career Services Professionals for working more efficiently and harmoniously with university career services and getting the right candidates for the job!

Support career services to prepare students for job searching & application process

Many university career offices offer programs for employers to help grow students into young professionals. Consider asking universities about opportunities to support student workshops, mock interviews, or resume reviews. You might even propose a topic that has broad appeal, such as salary negotiation. Our panelists strongly believe that volunteering is a great way to establish brand presence on campus and shape students into strong candidates.

Bring alumni or peers as the company’s ambassadors

Steve Jobs might make an appealing pitchman for his company, but it is believed that executives and other high-ranking company representatives can be intimidating for students. Employees who have a fresh outlook on the college-to-career transition are approachable and often raise topics of interest. Recent alumni can even be more effective ambassadors, whether or not they are formally part of the recruiting team.

Offer office tours to student groups

Surveys suggest that top performing students are increasingly interested in long-term career prospects within a company. As a consequence, career services offices have reported demand for more focus on company culture, advancement opportunity, and work-life balance. Offer office tours to student groups to present a complete portrayal of the workplace – including trade-offs – is a precious and important part of drawing and retaining prospective future employees.

Showcase your culture and diversity

Sometimes, recruiters rely too much on websites and print materials to communicate a varied culture. Real world indicators of this message stick with students. They notice when company events and interactions reveal a diverse and welcoming population. “Don’t bring in a group of people with identical backgrounds, especially if you’re trying to engage a diverse pool of individuals,” says one panelist.

Host or sponsor student events.

The career services professionals in our discussion listed a number of one-of-a-kind events that they’ve worked with employers to develop to great effect. From in-class presentations to shadowing days, there are many chances to work with career services and stand out on campus. And be careful about repeating the same PowerPoint presentation every year; as one career services professional pleads, “please, please, please don’t just read the students your webpage.” Some career services offices collaborate with employers and appropriate faculty or student groups to effectively engage career-oriented students. Alumni events are always popular. Finally, competitions, when appropriate, are also exciting tools for finding and encouraging talented students, whether they are business cases, design projects, or anything in between.

Follow up with students

Students list unresponsive employers at the top of their frustrations with the recruiting process usually, especially if the silence comes after an initial response or interview. Applicant limbo and lack of feedback can also be difficult for career services to interpret as they help students work toward better outcomes. A powerful on-campus brand takes time to cultivate. “One year does not build a brand,” notes a panelist, adding that repeated presence makes a big difference. Work on building relationships, finding mutually beneficial events, and offering interns and new hires a great workplace experience. The resulting word of mouth will pay off, but requires time to measure. While it is often impossible to respond to each and every application individually, eRecruiting allows recruiters to easily update students on the status of their candidacy. Those status updates are also shared with career services offices and are very much appreciated.

5. Other innovative campus recruiting tactics to incorporate in your campus recruiting strategy

Classroom Sessions or Lunches

Do you recruit from one or more universities on a campus? Consider holding an informational session in the classroom with the dean or a professor there. While these are incredibly powerful ways to get undivided attention from your grads, you can also pack a one-two punch by doing one before or after a career fair.

Online Communities

Students are eager and willing to learn as much as possible about their new industry. Give them a leg up by creating an online community that publishes reports, industry trends, FAQs about jobs in the industry and even online learning curriculum that will prepare them for jobs in your organization.

Hackathons and Contests

Work with the career center to create a hackathon (these aren’t just for computer geeks anymore) in any industry or support one in your space that’s already planned! Either way, it’s a fun and less formal way to get to know students.


Once again, the career center and your recruitment event software can be your best friends in creating time outside the traditional career fair times to simply conduct interviews. Have an interview day with those you met at a career fair, or work with professors and alumni associations to fill up a day with pre-selected applicants. The career center can also direct students your way and WILL, if you help provide them with email templates, flyers and guides for their students.

Team Hiring

A huge trend throughout the United States is team hiring. Why NOT extend it to college groups? After all, in many cases, students are already working on teams to complete assignments and projects.

Tech-Enabled Interviews

Don’t have the budget to travel everywhere for events? Try video interviewing and screening. This is an efficient and easy way to see lots of prospects in a limited amount of time.

Be a resource

If the university you want to recruit from is near your home base, consider in person events like being a judge on a panel, helping to assess and grade student portfolios, getting involved or supporting sporting and fine arts events and participating in semester long projects as a “client.”

6. Successful hiring event ideas for your campus recruiting strategy

Amazon Jobs Day

In August 2017, Amazon hosted the largest recruiting event in the US, attracting a total of 20,000 applicants. As the company was expanding, there was a greater demand for those in the “fulfillment network”, which is where people to package the orders and deliver them. Amazon’s benefits package drew many with pre-payment for tuition and medical benefits for full-time positions.

As a nationwide event, locations were set up in Maryland, New York, Washington, Ohio, Tennessee and many more. Guided tours of the facility were delivered to all the potential hires and interviews were held in tents set up outside.

Ford Days

Setting up a car show on campus is one way to attract students according to the Ford Motor Company. The 100-year-old car company may be ancient but they have been on top of their game when it comes to recruitment marketing. “Ford Days” is a series of events held at college campuses like MIT, UCBerkley, and UMichigan to attract top talent.

The day-long recruitment event includes a vehicle display, meeting Ford team members, and a lecture by a senior level individual. This year, Ford Day at MIT will have Dr. Ken Washington, Ford VP of Research & Advanced Engineering and Chief Technology Officer, as the guest speaker. Students have a chance to spend a whole day learning more about the opportunities Ford while staying right on campus.

IBM - Developer Week

DeveloperWeek is the world’s largest developer expo and tech conference series, held in San Francisco, New York, Austin, and Chicago with over 8,000+ attendees. IBM is just one of many companies who are attending the Hiring Mixer at the event to find top talent in the pool of candidates participating in the conference. The week-long event includes multiple developer conferences, a hackathon, and the hiring mixer.

LEGO Brick Factor

The LEGO Brick Factor is a competition held by LEGO around the country where 100 competitors complete three building challenges to earn the title of Master Model Builder at a Legoland Discovery Center and is hired on spot.

The challenges require the builders to create pieces based on prompts such as “build something from your favorite book”. Children are invited to watch the competition and the builders are expected to interact with the kids. Ian Coffey, winner of the Brick Factor in Boston, was chosen for his excellence in engaging the children. At one point, he stopped designing to ask the kids, “What blocks should go here? What color should this be?” Among other responsibilities like constructing new features and models at the Legoland Discovery Center, the work of a Master Model builder also involves hosting workshops and visiting public schools to teach children about wonders of Lego. What can be a better way to see if a candidate can be successful at a job than hosting an event where they can prove just that!

L’Oréal - Weekend Retreat

Every year, L’Oréal hosts “Taste of L’Oréal” – an internship recruitment program to offer around 100 undergraduates and graduates the chance to learn what it is like to work at the company. The weekend retreat invites students to New York City for an in-depth orientation, presentations from presidents of Divisions, and a full-day to work on a case study. Students can also learn more about career choices and have an opportunity to interview in-person for a position.

NBA Hackathon

Sports aren’t all about athleticism. Hackathons present a unique type of sport that focus on mental strength rather than physical and requires a computer not a basketball. For two years, the NBA has hosted a hackathon to attract college students to contribute developing analytical tools to overcome the challenges in the NBA. Teams work for 24 hours before they present their work to a panel of judges, NBA personnel, and the media. The grand prize includes lunch with NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, and a trip to the NBA All-Star Game.

Hackathons are a fantastic way to predict how a candidate will perform by having them complete a task before hiring. These types of competitions have evolved from a way for a company to showcase their product to the public in an interactive way to an effective recruitment campaign.

Spotify - Diversify

Hackathon events usually attract a large number of programmers, developers, and coders, which is predictably often male-dominated. In fact, there are events that have a 15/85 female to male ratio. Seeing this, Spotify exerted their influence to promote a change. In 2015, Spotify hosted a hackathon named “Diversify” to attract 50/50 female and male participants.

Spotify has worked hard to market this event beyond the usual Facebook hacker groups by means of word-of-mouth. Though coding a product was the key aspect of the event, there were also lectures and workshops with aim of stepping away from the traditional idea of a hackathon. The company managed to pull in a 43% female and 57% male participant ratio, which was unprecedented at any tech events.

About Rakuna - Campus And Event Recruiting Software

Rakuna is the campus recruiting platform redefining how top employers recruit young people. The Rakuna Platform includes Rakuna Recruit, the simplest mobile app for recruiting events, and Rakuna Recruit Dashboard, the candidate relationship management dashboard for campus recruiting.

Rakuna Recruit App is a great assistant to help you make a successful college recruiting strategy:

  • 100% engaging experience: Impress your student applicants with paperless technology. Converse and connect instead of dealing with manual check-in and data entry.
  • Instant and easy data access: Our intuitive design requires no user training. Make your career fair experiences fun and easy with Rakuna’s intuitive app.
  • Professional and streamlined solution: Make a connection with college students and impress your colleagues with a paper-free, eco-friendly smartphone app.

Rakuna Recruit Dashboard benefits your college recruiting strategy by:

  • Making your game plan: Unify your team with common goals, questions, and forms that everyone can access during the career fair. Use the dashboard to track dates, staff, and attendees in advance.
  • Engaging top talents: Connect with candidates and use standardized forms to eliminate the administrative side and focus on discussing career options, goals, and ideas with millennials.
  • Beat the competition: Get a headstart on other companies by using the information made immediately available at your fingertips. Scroll through resumes and follow up with your favorite candidates.

To learn more, contact sales@rakuna.co. For more tips and tricks on campus recruiting and college recruiting, visit our blog at www.rakuna.co/blog, subscribe to “In & Outs of Recruiting Millennials” vid-cast, and join the conversation on our LinkedIn Group.

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