Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

4 steps to create an effective college recruitment strategy

new gradsBy John Whyte, Sr. Product Manager, Dayforce Talent Management

It’s happening. Colleges and universities across North America have released their latest crop of eager young talent into the workforce. Wide-eyed graduates will leave fraternity parties and all-nighters behind to experience their first apartment, first vacationless summer, and most importantly, first full time job.

Millenials became the largest generation in the workforce last year, forcing companies to rethink the way they attract the young professionals who will shape their future success.  Here are four principles to help your organization create an effective college recruitment strategy.

Set Objectives

Why are you recruiting students/new graduates?  For which positions?  The advantages are many – less expensive, adept at networking, etc. – but it’s important to understand how hiring new graduates will help your company’s future success.  This includes setting specific hiring goals with an understanding of which schools will help you fill roles at different office locations.  It is also essential to have executive support of these goals.  Simply participating in career fairs without a clear picture of why you are there is not a path to success.

Refine Your Message

Lisa Sterling – Ceridian’s Chief People Officer – recently spoke about how companies must revise their recruiting strategies to attract young workers.  Our interviews with current university students have confirmed their interest in a company’s values and a desire to see how their work contributes to a bigger picture.  “It’s not all about money” is a common refrain.  These themes need to be woven into any conversations with today’s students.

Technology – along with a number of social factors – has changed the way we view the traditional behind-your-desk work day.  As a Gen-Xer born at the peak of the disco era, it would be easy for me to buy into the misconception that Millenials’ desire for better work-life balance is a sign of laziness.  However, I’m also a parent of twin toddlers and understand that flexibility in the workplace is essential to success.  Showing how your company allows people to manage both personal and professional responsibilities can help unlock the door to high potential talent.

Build Relationships

For your message to reach the desired audience – which includes sophomores and juniors who are seeking internships that may become full time jobs down the road – it’s essential to maintain relationships at top priority schools regardless of current job openings.  These relationships extend well beyond career fairs and can include:

  • Becoming active with student organizations whose membership aligns with your company’s needs
  • Sponsoring thought leadership talks in addition to traditional info sessions
  • Hosting high touch, on-campus events such as case competitions or coding competitions
  • Getting to know faculty in key departments and asking about their top students
  • Inviting top targets into your office to meet employees and learn more about your business

Be Consistent

How you execute these activities will vary slightly by school.  You may need to solicit local employees – ideally alumni of each target school – to help with the leg work.  But your overall approach needs to reflect a consistent strategy and message.  The story of why your company is a great place to start a career should ring true whether your audience is SFU in Vancouver or FSU in Tallahassee.

Companies with a successful college recruiting strategy often have a dedicated person (or team) to ensure that efforts are being optimized on all target campuses.  This includes everything from employment branding to the timing of events and job postings.

Ultimately, it’s important to have a steady presence that students recognize early in their college years.   With frequent and effective touch points, you can guide top candidates from the haze and confusion of job fairs to a promising new career.

John WhyteJohn Whyte joined Ceridian’s Talent Management product team in 2010 and has over 10 years of product management experience. Current responsibilities include driving the Dayforce Talent Management strategy for recruiting, performance development, compensation management and beyond.  John is a proud father of four year-old twin girls, a semi-retired bagpiper, and an avid sports fan.

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