3 Ways to Improve Your Campus Recruiting Strategy

September 25, 2018

3 Ways to Improve Your Campus Recruiting Strategy

The back to school season is an apt time to reflect on the spring campus recruiting cycle, even as we prepare for fall recruiting ahead.

While recruiter team bandwidth continues to shrink, the college applicant pool in the U.S. continues to grow, putting mounting pressure on recruiters to act quickly, effectively and fairly in order to attract and vet top young talent ahead of their competition.
Thankfully, college recruiting has come a long way in recent years—companies are no longer limiting their footprint to ivy leagues, the number of women in the process is on the rise, and we’re getting savvier about more compelling ways to engage college graduates.
That’s the good news. But there is still work to be done, especially as the talent market continues to heat up. As this year’s crop of college graduates settles into life as a professional, companies are gearing up for the fall 2018 and spring 2019 recruiting cycles. Based on decades working with companies such as NBC Universal, Express Scripts and Morgan Stanley to transform and evolve their campus recruiting practices, here are three top predictions for your campus recruiting success in the year ahead:
1. Engagement. Oleeo looked at anonymized data covering 990,000 applications from college candidates around the world and found only about 2 percent make it to the offer stage. Fallout rates are big so engagement is king. 
What can you do in the immediate?

  • Keep it social. Students have spoken, and they want to be engaged where they are—Facebook. While this is no excuse for a static careers webpage, if you aren’t already creating two-way dialogue opportunities via social, now is the time.
  • Don’t limit engagement to on-campus events. If this is the first—or last—time that top candidates hear from you, there is a critical gap in your process. Engaging videos, thoughtful email communications, and social dialogue are all ways you can keep the conversations going throughout the recruiting season.
  • Share employee and executive stories. Graduates today are accustomed to a high level of access to the information and commentary they need to make key decisions. The more you can give them a glimpse of life at your company, the better off you’ll be.

2. Speed. Here is a stark illustration of this supply and demand phenomenon at work: McKinsey estimates that by 2020, there will be a global deficit of 40 million university educated people. So pronounced is this, we’re already seeing firms entering salary negotiations to ensure they get first-time job seekers. But, by making wages a larger proportion of costs, it’s not a sustainable solution. Instead, those who can attract, vet and engage the best candidates the fastest, the more successful they will be. A recent survey shows that candidate fallout rates are highest in the U.S. at 23 percent. Time between interview and offer seems to be the peak point for withdrawn applications, with 14 percent leaving the process in between these stages.
What can you do in the immediate?

  • Leverage technology to help with intelligent, automated upfront screening.
  • Develop talent pool opportunities so that candidates genuinely interested in your organization can be nurtured pre-application and fast tracked for roles that suit their profile once opened.
  • Use events as a tool to get to know candidates ahead of the application stage—technology tools can help make these seamless. 

3. Diversity. We know from recent PwC research that upwards of three-quarters of female and male graduates seek out a company’s diversity and inclusion practices as among their key employment criteria. But research also tells us that we have significant gaps in the success of diverse candidates, specifically African American and Hispanic candidates, even as minority presence on college campuses in on the rise. 
What can you do in the immediate?

  • Remove any remnants of an elitist on-campus recruiting strategy limited to a handful of top universities. Some have to look no further than a company’s campus recruiting strategy to see where many of us fall short. Nevertheless, when looking at the proportion of Ivy League universities against placement of services, an average two thirds of hires were not from the eight elite universities in the U.S., indicating a good mix of schools sourced from across the U.S.
  • Tap into technologies such as video interviewing to allow more candidates to interview.
  • Consider gender-blind recruiting, stripping candidate names from the interview process to put the focus squarely on performance and potential.

There is no doubt that hiring trends from this year—technology included—and shifts from beyond the walls of HR—including consumerization—are impacting the way we engage, attract and vet graduates. Translation: students are more empowered than ever before—making true engagement key.

The Authors: 

Jeanette Maister is managing director and head of the Americas for Oleeo (formerly WCN), a leading recruiting software and talent acquisition solution serving the campus recruiting needs of companies worldwide. Connect with her on Twitter @JeanetteMaister and @Oleeo.