Recruiting Fresh Talent – Tips on Creating a College Recruitment Program

According to NACE’s 2009 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey, “College recruiting appears to be an ever more important part of entry-level hiring, even as the overall labor market declines.” The survey indicates that respondents, on average, utilized new college graduates to fill 41.5% of their entry-level vacancies. Why are companies hiring recent college graduates? Perhaps it’s the wealth of fresh ideas, knowledge, and energy they bring to the organization. Or the fact that new graduates are often more willing to relocate and can be employed at reasonable rates. Whatever the reason, college recruiting is a viable way for organizations to build bench strength while injecting innovative ideas and perspectives into the workplace.

Before you start hiring recent grads , it is important to recognize that college recruitment is just one strategy in an organization’s overall recruitment plan and it requires the same degree of thought and consideration as other strategies. It is critical to align your strategy with long-term hiring needs and expectations over the next 12 months. Key questions to ask include:

  • Which departments or business units would benefit from a college hire?
  • Are there internship opportunities? What are the desired competencies and technical skills needed?
  • Once the foundation has been laid, schools can be targeted based on the academic majors offered, the perceived quality of the institution, the location, and the ability to leverage existing relationships.

Two of the most important elements in a college recruiting program, according to NACE, are

  1. identifying early on the talent needed
  2. effectively branding an organization on campus.

Both of these goals can be achieved by utilizing employees who are alumni of the targeted institutions. College alumni networks can significantly contribute to the flow of talent into an organization because of their existing relationships with faculty, students, and organizations. Alumni appearing at career fairs and other on-campus recruitment activities are able to more effectively connect with students while promoting the company and the opportunities available. Recent alumni can be leveraged during on-campus presentations to provide insight into the day-in-the life of a new hire and provide credible witness as to why the organization is an employer of choice. Alumni are relatively easy to locate within an organization and with a little training and support they are able to capitalize on their relationships to attract and identify talent the organization should pursue. There are also many more creative ways alumni can be incorporated into college recruitment efforts.

Does your organization have a college recruitment program? If so, we’d like to hear your success stories and comments. Write to us below. If you’d like to contribute an article of your own, please contact us.

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As a recruiter, I’m exposed to new opportunities and information on a daily basis. I thrive on learning about new industries, new technology, new positions—and then using what I’ve learned to help make a great candidate-company match.