Skip to content

Transform Your Campus Recruitment Strategy with These 5 Tips

Transform Your Campus Recruitment Strategy with These 5 Tips

When did you last update your campus recruitment strategy? Your business could be missing out on the newest top talent. Here’s why…

Campus recruitment is the process of finding, engaging, and employing young people with the ideal skills to fill entry-level positions. Traditionally, businesses have visited career fairs and met with career service teams to find new recruits.

But with 74% of employers planning to hire young talent fresh (or recently) out of college, competition to source the strongest new candidates is fierce.

Why? Generation Z will account for 30% of the U.S. workforce by 2030, and these candidates are hungry to progress, with more than 75% aiming for a promotion after six months. College graduates are eager to find work in their chosen field, too, with 94% willing to relocate if offered the right job.

And the best grads with sought-after skills may have a number of options to choose from. That means your campus recruitment strategy must be effective to attract their interest, engage them, and harness their talent.

What are the most common campus recruitment challenges?

While sourcing and hiring early talent is important, businesses may face the same obstacles. Let’s understand what these are before we start exploring the best campus recruitment strategies:

Your proposition is non-inclusive

Diversity hasn’t always been a priority in recruitment. But thankfully, more and more businesses are investing in building a diverse and inclusive workforce.

This isn’t about ticking boxes or trying to generate publicity. It’s about giving all grads the same opportunities — regardless of their background, ethnicity, gender, etc.

Failing to appeal to a broad range of graduates means your business could be missing out on amazing new talent and increased revenue, too. After all, businesses with the best workforce diversity are 33% more likely to financially outperform less-diverse competitors.

Struggling to attract younger people

Research shows that more than 90% of employers feel their brand struggles to attract interest with campus recruitment. This may be because a business appears to be outdated or of little relevance to younger generations.

Obviously, the less awareness and interest early talent has in your company, the less likely you are to connect with the best candidates. You’ll be at a major disadvantage compared to brands that attract a lot of interest from graduates and sell themselves as a fantastic place to launch a career.

An outmoded approach to campus recruitment

Following on from the previous challenge, an outmoded approach to campus recruitment can leave your business lagging behind those exhibiting the latest techniques.

Visiting career fairs is one thing, but failing to take advantage of digital channels means you’re far less equipped to stand out. Companies must align with young talent’s expectations and preferences, to cut through.

Time and resource limitations

Posting jobs, generating interest, engaging with potential candidates, conducting interviews, and ensuring you’ve seen as many qualified graduates as possible can be incredibly time-consuming. Smaller businesses may struggle, but rushing the process and interviewing only a small number of candidates means you may overlook impressive young people with the power to do great things for your company.

Fortunately, cutting-edge recruitment technologies offer a solution — enabling businesses to reach and screen early talent effectively, in far less time.

Each of these challenges can make successful campus recruitment harder than it has to be. But the five ideas below offer valuable solutions that can make sourcing the best talent simpler than ever, for businesses on a range of scales and budgets.

5 ideas to attract, engage, and hire the best early talent

Here are five campus recruitment best practices to try:

1. Leverage new technologies to generate excitement and boost engagement

Whether your business is tech-focused or not, using the latest technologies can make your campus recruiting strategy more successful. Simply handing out flyers or pinning posters to a few notice boards doesn’t cut it any more.

First and foremost, your company has to be active on social media if you want to reach young talent. Glassdoor research shows that 79% of applicants use social media when searching for a suitable vacancy, and more than 70% of job-hunters aged 18-34 found their most recent position via a social channel.

Secondly, use tech to your advantage at careers fairs and when inviting candidates to interviews. For example, virtual reality headsets allow you to show off your sleek working environments and state-of-the-art facilities via immersive video tours.

The aim is to position your business as a tech-savvy brand. That’s crucial when more than 53% of Gen Zs want to use smart/connected devices at work — it shows you understand what they’re looking for in a role, and that you’re able to provide it.

2. Nurture connections between your business and local campuses

Small companies with tight marketing campaigns have to work harder to raise awareness during campus recruitment. That’s why you may need to visit local campuses and take a more active role in college-related issues.

Consider supporting charity events that Gen Zs tend to feel passionate about (global warming, promoting diversity, etc.), running workshops designed to help students find jobs, and even offering to mentor those looking to work in your industry.

All of this can help your company become more visible at local colleges, increasing the likelihood that students and graduates will recognize (and trust) your brand when searching for jobs.

3. Take advantage of the latest recruitment software for unbiased screening

Avoiding bias (conscious or unconscious) is vital to build a diverse workforce and afford all candidates equal opportunities to find the right entry-level job for their skills.

One of the most effective ways to do this is to embrace the latest recruitment software, which matches candidates to vacancies based on their qualifications. Smart machine learning enables you to screen applicants faster and more effectively, helping even the smallest business to find the best early talent without unintentional discrimination.

Better still, this is an affordable way for even smaller businesses to prioritize talent and raw skill, over more trivial characteristics.

4. Dedicate a website landing page to job-hunting early talent

Landing pages are an essential element of a strong digital presence — and they can help your business generate interest from new and recent graduates.

Think of how young people would search for your career opportunities, and use that language on a dedicated landing page. Speak to them in a language they understand: you’re promoting your company as a terrific place to work, not trying to make sales.

That means focusing on the development journey you offer and the potential impact the role could make on their future. Make it easy for them to get in touch to learn more and register their interest.

5. Pay attention to your campus recruitment data

If you continue to invest in campus recruitment without analyzing the results, you could be wasting time and money.

Look at the success you’ve achieved so far. Consider:

  • How many students or graduates have you hired, and which colleges are they from?
  • How many people connected with your business after you hosted an event?
  • What’s your average retention rate on new hires sourced via campus recruitment strategies?
  • How many leads (email addresses, callbacks, etc.) do your student/graduate-specific landing pages capture?

All of this data can help you identify where your recruitment drive needs work, and which techniques should be exploited further.

Implement these ideas to strengthen your campus recruitment strategy and make your business more appealing to the right early talent. Finding ambitious new employees with the skills to help your company succeed can take time and a lot of effort. But, as research shows, effective campus recruitment offers real long-term value.

Get HR Insights In Your Inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter for original insights and bias-busting resources, every month.

What is conscious leadership, and how can it help make recruitment more equitable?

Hard as you might try, it’s very difficult to build an inclusive organization without switched-on leaders who are committed to…

Why creating a DEI team is only half the battle

You know that focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion is important for your company. You’ve probably seen the stats a…