Both recruiters and candidates can benefit from some tips that will make recruiting college grads more productive.
Every year, it’s a big happening.
Corporate recruiters descend upon college campuses. They begin in the fall with information sessions. Then they return in the spring for the job fairs, looking for the best and the brightest and identifying those who either need further interviewing or who should be offered a position immediately before they get away.
At the same time, college seniors are eagerly meeting with these recruiters, looking fresh and enthusiastic and armed with their resumes.
This “ritual” is really a two-way process of exploration, with both employers and candidates making impressions upon one another in the hopes of finding good “matches.” Both recruiters and candidates can benefit from some tips that will make this process more productive.
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Tips For Recruiters
Improving Recruiting Strategies – the Information Session
You want an information session that is packed, of course. Even if you have not been packed in the past, you can take important steps to improve your brand and your presentation. Over the next couple of years, then, you will continue to increase the numbers. The key is in your preparation and in your presentation.
Preparation for Information Sessions
- Long before you ever hit campus for your session, make sure that you have developed relationships with key departments, the career office, the Greeks, and with other campus organizations that have members who might make good candidates. Keeping these relationships going throughout the year, builds your brand and keeps it in front of people’s faces.
- Use graduates who are current employees as an “advance guard” for you. Have them contact groups and organizations and publicize your event.
- Be certain that department chairs have the information and announcements – posters, flyers, and email announcements that can be sent to all students.
The Information Session Itself
How are you engaging your audiences? How enjoyable is your session for your participants? You may attract participants with some great snacks or even a meal, but they won’t “stick” with you if the presentation is boring.
- Consider trashing the PowerPoint slide presentation. Instead, create a video of actual people in real positions with your company. Have each of them speak to their responsibilities, what they find challenging, what they enjoy about working for your company. Each employee can target a different aspect. Have this video professionally produced, and get young enthusiastic employees to star in it.
- Speak to your personal experience as a company employee. Tell your own story and speak to what a great environment and what great opportunities there are for growth from within.
- This generation is really tapped into companies that have social responsibility. Spend some time on the causes you support and the outreach activities in your community. Include that in our video.
- This generation is also really tapped into companies that have great diversity – show that diversity, don’t just speak to it.
- Does your organization support flexibility in work scheduling? Candidates are interested in corporate efforts to improve work life for its employees. If you have things in place to meet such needs, be sure to speak to them – it’s important to this generation.
- If you have interns from this campus, bring them along to speak informally with participants during a “social” session afterward. The same goes for graduates who are now working for you.
There are many additional strategies and tips that promote year-round branding on campuses. A recent study by Deloitte Research provides a numbers of activities that should be considered.
Improving Recruiting Strategies – the Job Fair
Success at a job fair depends upon your goals for the event. If you see the event as an opportunity to pre-qualify candidates and to promote your company, you will not be disappointed. If your goal is to employ right then and there you are unrealistic and too aggressive. Here are some quick tips for the event:
- Have large visuals with company name and have all important company information in print – professionally done in the form of brochures.
- Have business cards with your personal email and phone for candidates you really like and want to talk to more.
- Determine whether you will accept paper resumes; if not, be certain you highlight your email address on your card so that the resumes of attractive candidates get to you.
- Have job descriptions prepared for the positions you have open for spring grads. Make your job postings creative and engaging.
- Have our pre-qualification questions prepared in advance. It is not that you have to focus only on these, but you do want certain questions answered before you decide on the suitability of a candidate for further consideration.
- When you are not talking with a candidate, stand in front of your booth and greet participants. Offer an extra something to attract – snacks are always good for college students.
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Tips for Student Candidates
Whether you are a junior looking for an internship or a senior look for a job offer, your job is to keep yourself aware of when recruiters will be on campus for both information sessions and job fairs/recruitment events. Your second job is to look professional and enthusiastic. Here are some tips to help you make the most of recruitment activities.
Just as a company is trying to promote its brand to you, you have a brand to promote as well – you.
- Attend all pre-career fair events that are related in any way to your major. Ask good questions. Try to be noticed.
- Really work on that resume and do some solid research about what recruiters and hiring managers want to see on a resume. Get professional advice and pay for it if you have to. There are some great resume writing services out there and some bad ones. Find one that will involve you in the process all the way through and that provides you with just one writer to work with. Ask for samples before you put out your money. You want to be the steak on a platter full of chicken livers.
- Print out your resume on good linen paper. Some recruiter will only take digital resumes, but they will look at yours when you sit down with them. Have several copies in case some take your resume. And put each copy into a nice cover – you can have a cover title that has the name of the company or is just left blank for other companies you decide to visit at the last minute.
- If you have a LinkedIn profile (and you should), put the link to it on your resume.
- If you plan to see several different recruiters, fashion several different resumes.
- Do the research on companies you plan to talk to during a job fair. Impress them that you have taken the time to learn a little bit about them.
- Introduce yourself with confidence and a firm handshake. Have an “elevator speech” prepared as your introduction too. Go to a couple of companies you don’t care about and practice it before you go to the ones you are really interested in.
- Review all of these steps and tips so that you continue to remember them.
Remember your goal is to get that follow-up call or email that indicates interest and wants to set up another interview. You are now on your path to an actual job offer – you will need to prepare for that too if you want that offer.
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The entire recruitment and employment process is a lot like playing “match.com” in real life. When both parties do their due diligence and present themselves honestly and compellingly, there are great “matches” to be made.