With graduation season right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to sharpen your college recruitment strategy to connect with up-and-coming talent. And this latest batch of newly-minted job seekers is more savvy than ever: 76% of Gen Z job seekers view themselves as the owners of their careers and opportunities for career growth are a top priority. To get the next generation of workers excited to join your organization, here are a few ways to refresh your college recruitment strategy.
Blend virtual and in-person connection
The hybrid model wins again! To reach the largest number of college graduates possible, your best bet is to leverage both in-person and virtual strategies. Different tactics will work better on different people, and making your organization widely available will enable you to connect with a wide range of applicants.
Face-to-face interactions, like campus career fairs, help you connect directly with early talent. Having a booth on campus will allow you to interact with a variety of students from different backgrounds and build rapport with candidates. Hackathons are another great option to get engaged with students and see their problem-solving prowess in real-time while creating a memorable first impression of your organization.
But virtual interactions boast their own benefits. You’re able to reach candidates from all over (rather than just local campuses) and you’re meeting students where they’re already at: online. Participating in online job fairs, leveraging your organization’s social media channels, and even meetups in virtual reality are great ways to connect with the next generation of job seekers.
Since 79% of applicants use social media to look for work, positioning your business as tech-savvy can go a long way in attracting younger talent. Keep your company socials active (especially LinkedIn) and encourage current employees to share their experience on review sites like Glassdoor. To highlight your employer brand, make sure your company’s website has an up-to-date careers page that showcases the benefits of working there along with all current openings.
Prioritize candidate experience from start to finish
Once you’ve connected with candidates, seal the deal with a positive candidate experience. From application to offer, how you treat your candidates has a huge impact on their decision to work with your company. Candidates often view the way they’re treated during the hiring process as analogous to how your business treats its current employees.
And since the college recruitment strategy often operates with a high volume of candidates, focus on the heavy-hitters. Keep the lines of communication open, be respectful of their time, and provide personalized feedback whenever possible. This last one is especially appealing to recent graduates, as they are often new to the world of interviewing and job hunting. Helping early career candidates better understand their strengths and weaknesses goes a long way in help them get hired and feel good about their experience with you – whether you choose to hire them or not.
Hire for potential, not specific skills
One thing many recent college grads have in common is a lack of job experience. While they certainly picked up useful transferrable skills at university, the work history section of their resume is typically slim. Fortunately, past job experience and a specific skillset don’t need to be relied on to find great candidates.
When you’re recruiting entry-level talent, you want to focus on a candidate’s potential to grow with your company. By hiring for potential, you’re looking towards the future instead of hiring based on the skills of the past. For your college recruitment strategy, put more stake in innate qualities like soft skills, cognitive aptitude, work ethic, and integrity. Pre-hire assessments are great way to reliably capture this insight objectively, but you can also craft questions to assess candidate potential during the interviewing stage.
A successfully executed college recruitment strategy will bring a influx of fresh talent and perspective to your organization. Graduation season is a great opportunity to both grow your team and inject your workforce with new energy.