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How to Recruit Employees on College Campuses

College campuses have long been fertile hunting ground for businesses recruiting entry-level talent. Smaller firms without well-organized college recruiting programs have always been at something of a disadvantage. If you’re one of the “smaller guys,” here are some tips on how to level the playing field:

  • Get to know the folks in the career center. Campus recruiting is usually coordinated by the college career center. The best way to build a strong relationship with career center personnel is to pay them a personal visit — or better still, invite them to your company to see what you have to offer. The career center is also the place to gain access to campus job fairs.

  • Get to know the students better in small groups. You can target students pursuing a major or majors in the field in which you’re seeking talent by contacting student organizations. This can take the form of cosponsoring study hours, community events, or other small activities with the student group where you can provide snacks, network, and sometimes even make a presentation about your company.

  • Focus on topics that students will be interested in. When speaking to students at job fairs or student events, limit the time you touch on generalities about your company and instead focus on students’ interest areas, such as opportunities for advancement in your firm or what to expect in the recruiting process. They don’t want just a rehash of what they can read on your website.

  • Be prepared to promote your company. The image you project goes a long way toward determining how successful you are at attracting a school’s top candidates. Put together a PowerPoint presentation that you can use repeatedly on your laptop, but don’t stop there. Students want to hear your company’s story in your own words. How did you build your own career there? They want real-life examples and testimonials.

  • Speak their language. In order to build interests among students, you just need to think like a student. Words like opportunity, growth, and learn will strike exactly the right chord. Yes, money still talks for most college students today, but students also want to know the nature of the job and the culture of the company.

  • Promote volunteerism. If your company is active in the community, don’t forget to mention it. According to results from Deloitte’s 2011 Volunteer IMPACT Survey, 70 percent of Millennials strongly favor companies that are committed to the community.

  • Follow through. For certain positions, recruiting on campus can be very competitive with other companies, so you’ll need to be a lot more than a dog-and-pony show. Students expect a short turnaround time in the recruiting process. Let them know when you’ll be back on campus. And needless to say, follow through on your promise to be there.

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