Let’s face it: College recruiting is tough. With hundreds of applicants, numerous institutions vying for recruiters’ attention, and limited resources, college recruiters must be strategic in their outreach to achieve their goals. Illinois State University’s Career Center provides the following tips from the National Association of Colleges and Employers to help recruiters be effective in their outreach.
- Build, develop, manage, and maintain campus relationships. A successful college recruiting program looks at the long haul, not just short-term results, and is built on strong relationships. Most college recruiting professionals identify the career center as their “base.” This typically includes career fairs, job-posting services, on-campus recruiting, and other options for connecting with students. Recruiters should also consider the career center staff as part of their strategy. Career centers offer the additional benefit of providing recruiters with their campus culture and traditions and their students’ attitudes and behaviors, which recruiters can use to tailor their strategy. Career centers can also help recruiters develop relationships with other key campus contacts, including faculty and administrators. The reality is, no college recruiting program can guarantee job openings for new college grads every year. But organizations achieving the greatest success remain tight with a college even when they aren’t hiring. They find ways to maintain their ties, such as continuing their internship program, taking part in mock interviews, or performing resume critiques. Career center staff can tell recruiters what options are open, and what will and won’t work for their campus.
- Set realistic recruiting goals. Base their goals on supply, demand, and related factors. How large is the potential pool? Where are the candidates? Who are their competitors? What are they offering? If recruiters do this work up front, they will be better able to set reachable goals.
- Choose target schools carefully. Most college recruiting professionals say they build their target school list around majors available, quality of programs, experience recruiting at the school, and school location. This requires research and careful tracking, so recruiters can see which schools are working best for their organization. In researching which schools offer the majors recruiters seek, recruiters should be wary of “best schools for” rankings; it’s tempting to use these as a shortcut around real research. Recruiters should be aware that rankings are based on criteria that may not match up with their organization’s needs.
- Send the right people to campus. Would a recruiter approach a career fair booth if the booth staff looked bored? Would they be impressed by a representative who told them to check the company website to get answers to their questions? Research shows that who recruiters send to campus is critical: Their reps have the most influence on how students view their organization. Recruiters should send well-trained professionals who are equipped to answer questions, address concerns, represent their brand, and sell their organization.
- Communicate with students about the process. Students need to know what the steps are in the selection and hiring process. Keep them apprised of what’s happening, what they can expect, and when they can expect it. Follow up with students they have talked to at a career fair. Keep in touch with interns after they have returned to campus. Let students know promptly about their status.
- Measure and analyze results—and adjust accordingly. Recruiters should track how many hires they make, but also track their interview to offer, offer to acceptance, and retention rates. This data can help recruiters identify where they’re having the most trouble, so they can adjust. For example, a high number of interviews but few offers can tip a recruiter off to a problem with screening in candidates for interviews. Is the job description too vague? Are the recruiters unclear about what they want in a candidate? Are they extending many offers? Are their salaries competitive? Are they taking too long to extend the offer—and losing candidates to other organizations? Once recruiters have identified where they are having trouble, they can take steps to adjust their process. Recruiters also want to benchmark against others involved in college recruiting, to compare “apples to apples.”
- Feed full-time hiring with an internship program. An internship program is one of the most effective recruiting techniques, helping recruiters build a relationship with potential hires early in their college career (before they are “on the job market”) and gauge their fit for the recruiter’s organization. An internship program can also help recruiters achieve better retention.
For more information on how Illinois State can assist recruiters with their recruitment efforts, contact the Career Center.
Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers