We have written series about all the work that recruiters have to do in the short time that students apply, interview and accept offers, but all those hard work will be in vain if the students are not interested in the company in the first place. An effective student ambassador program can solve such problem - which is one of the most common problems faced by recruiters: How can we ignite students’ interest in our company?
I. Benefits of Student Ambassador Program
Recruiters can adopt Student Ambassador Program as a powerful tool to tackle various challenges arising throughout the recruitment campaigns. These are top 03 challenges in the recruitment process that can be solved with a well-curated Student Ambassador program.
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1. Promoting Company Brand
According to a report conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employer branding is rated as the most important aspect of the recruiting program. Research from CollegeFeed, however, revealed that 92% of employers believe they have problems with their company brands. As the Ambassadors are still students at the universities, they can help promote company brands throughout the school year, such as launching ‘office hour’ to answer questions from students or work with the administration to strengthen the relationship between your company and the school.
2. Gaining Advantage In The Competition For Young Talents
74% of employers aim to target fresh graduates for their employment, according to the Annual CareerBuilder Survey . Even with the Covid-19 Pandemic affecting the world’s economy, the UK’s unemployment rate for graduates remained at a single digit, at 5.2% in Q4 (October to December) of 2020, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics.
When you enter the increasingly intense competition for young talents, having the upper hand in attracting them is more important than ever. A clue to solve this problem is revealed by Mary Scott, the Director of Scott Resource Group: “What students are interested in is what has been the experience of their peers—either at their university or other students in general—in terms of workplace experience. Did it meet their expectations? Was it a positive experience? That’s what students care about rather than the brand that’s conveyed through your logo and commercials.” With the advantage of having their own connections within the student community, Ambassadors help spread the word about your company in both informal and formal settings. They can subtly advertise your company’s cool initiatives or the next campus visits in student gatherings, university events. They can also share their personal experience and knowledge when working with your company in official company tours, workshops or during the college career fair.
3. Enabling A More Comprehensive Recruitment Approach
One of the top challenges in attracting fresh graduates is the limit of traditional approaches: recruiters can only present their job opportunities during career fairs and/or within limited column on newspapers. The game has changed nowadays: recruiters can advertise open positions on digital platforms. Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are utilized more than ever as platforms for a match between job seekers and providers, especially within young people. As Ambassadors are active in the student community, they are familiar with catching trends to utilize social media for marketing strategies in recruitment campaigns.
II. Building A Student Ambassador Program
1. Define Your Goals
You need time and effort to set up an effective Ambassador Program. Therefore, every decision you made during this program should serve one ultimate goal: Do you want to make your brand more recognizable on campus? Are you trying to seize more students in the next career fairs? Are you expecting more applications for your upcoming recruitment campaign? If you wish to imprint your company’s name into students’ minds, you can sponsor different activities on campus. If you want more resumes: create more small workshops/ mini games with valuable giveaways in return for CVs. And so on. The main goals will shape all your activities throughout the program, so take the time to define them.
2. Select Your Universities
After defining your goals, now you need to narrow down your target. Together with thinking about your company’s needs and goals, you can consult certain university ranking for a more in-depth analysis. Other more detailed ways to make the shortlist include: universities that often win big competitions related to the field, universities within an appropriate distance from the company or universities of your current employees.
3. Choose Your Ambassadors
They are the heroes of your campus recruiting program, thus you should invest more time and effort in this step. If you already have an internship program at your targeted university, consider rehiring these interns as your ambassadors. These students can provide authentic student voice with a realistic impression of what it feels like when joining your company as an intern.
If you do not run an internship program, consider having a short recruitment campaign. You should use various approaches to attract a large pool of potential ambassadors such as posting on-campus job boards, connecting with alumni, reaching out to student clubs or organizations which are relevant to your fields, or even sourcing on Linkedin. An ambassador recruitment process should be light and efficient. You can tailor the Ambassador recruitment to your needs and employ two basic steps that are conducting written assessments and followed by phone interviews. These two steps allow both non-verbal and verbal evaluations.
Ideal Ambassadors should be popular, outgoing, resourceful, and professional. You also should check their social media accounts to make sure that they have certain influence in their universities. An ambassador, though still a student, is the reflection of your company. If you choose an influencer who presents himself/ herself in a poor light, your own company brand can be harmed.
4. Provide Resources
Once they have the position, make sure they can help you achieve your goals. Make sure that they can convey the targeted message by providing guides and training. You can even ask your colleagues to share tips to identify and attract fresh graduates. When Ambassadors are well-trained, they can start adding values to your upcoming recruitment campaign by:
- Posting company offers and updates on social media
- Organizing workshops or events
- Building connections with clubs and organizations
- Gathering resumes from their peers
- Assessing potential candidates and providing feedback
When you get the right student ambassadors the right resources, the results can be amazing. Nike Student Ambassador Program is a good example to learn from: They ran a successful student ambassador program with laser focus on active, enthusiastic college students who can be the walking manifestation Nike brand values of fitness, passion and team achievement. Nike’s student ambassadors are granted access to Nike’s fitness facilities, product discounts and summer hours along with transportation and even opportunities for relocation and travel. With such perks, these ambassadors embrace Nike spirit to their hearts, part it to their peers and ensure their social circles have Nike at the top of their minds when making sport purchase.
5. Measure Effectiveness
Student Ambassador Program, if well-conducted, can be utilized for many years to ease the workload during the recruitment campaigns and maximize your campus recruiting ROI. You should talk to your Ambassadors regularly to get updated about what they are doing, how are the results and whether there is any initiative they want to launch. Student Ambassador will give you direct insights into the student community, so listening to their insights and creative ideas (as long as they’re feasible) may provide transformative and effective approaches.
Word-of-mouth marketing lies at the core of student ambassador program. WOM Marketing can be unbeatable when it comes to ROI. Consumer endorsements are free and trusted over any form of advertising as they carry more authenticity than messaging that comes from the brand.
Therefore, Student Ambassador Program, albeit a long-term investment, is a worthwhile one. With a little care and time, you can mount an effective ambassador program, driving young generation of consumers to talk about your brand and give out trusted recommendations to their peers. Follow the above tips to leverage student ambassador program to a more comprehensive and powerful campus recruiting strategy!