There is only one way to accurately categorize Google’s recruiting efforts: they are a recruiting machine.
While you might have heard speculation to the contrary, they continue to innovate, particularly in the area of employment branding, where they maintain global dominance. Several years ago, I wrote a broad case study on Google recruiting that highlighted its overall approach, but I didn’t go into any depth about the company’s bold approaches in the area of college recruiting.
In this article, I’ll highlight some of the creative things that Google has tried in college recruiting, including its latest triumph, the amazing Google College Ambassador Program. (If you missed the original case study, or would like to revisit it, you can find it here.)
The King of Employment Branding
The recent collapse of the banking and financial markets has subdued much of the consulting and investment banking competition that Google once faced on campuses. Despite some turbulence, the high-tech industry is still a shining light in this economy, and Google is by far most students’ number-one choice of employers among high-tech firms.
Recent research reveals that 45% of engineering students would like to work at Google. Even outside of high-tech, Google’s employment brand still shines. It was recently selected as the number-one ideal employer among all undergraduate students by Universum. In their most recent study, 17% of the students participating selected Google, up from 13% last year. Those leads will undoubtedly be lengthened next year following the implementation of their new and innovative College Ambassador Program.
The Google College Ambassador Program
The number-one weakness of all college recruiting programs is their inability to maintain a “continuous presence” on campuses throughout the academic year. Every firm is forced by travel expenses and a finite supply of recruiters to limit the number of days they can have a recruiter on any particular campus.
Because of the cost, recruiters typically fly in, spend a few days, and then fly out. As a result of this “here today gone tomorrow” approach, some college recruiters have even been labeled “seagulls” because they are viewed as “flying in frequently, dropping a load of crap, and then leaving.”
Even Google has realized that it cannot afford to park its recruiting staff on every key campus for enough days during the year to really make a difference. As a result, they developed an “on-campus ambassador” program that I predict will soon be copied by many other major firms.
The premise is simple. Instead of periodically flying in representatives, why not recruit individuals who are already there (students) and convert them into ambassadors?