Back To School: College Recruiting Tips

Almost everyone is back to school or soon will be, and right behind the students will come the corporate recruiters. Unfortunately for the corporate recruiters, the job market is HOT and candidates with graduate business or technical degrees are receiving an average of 7 offers each. Salaries are definitely inflated, as could be predicted by the tight supply and healthy job market. But, even if your company is willing and able to pay the salaries and provide the bonuses this lucky generation of college seniors will most likely demand, can your company attract them? What is going to differentiate your company from the competitors? What IS a world-class college recruiting program? Here are a few tips and ideas I have picked up in discussions with college recruiting managers, recently hired college students, placement officers, professors and from my own experiences. 1.) Get to know the campus and the students. The more you can relate to them and discuss campus “stuff” informally with them, the more they will tend to listen to you and your “sales” pitch. 2.) Be honest and upfront about your company, products, economic situation, and leadership team. They will quickly discover cover-ups and it will completely discredit your effort. 3.) Talk to professors and counselors to find out early on who the best potential candidates are from a variety of perspectives: academic, extracurricular, personal. Professors are much better recruiters than we realize and have high credibility with the students. If they recommend a particular company or job, chances are the student will accept any offer. 4.) Work the campus early and often — not just when official recruiting is scheduled. Have an on-campus representative for your company. This person can be a student who knows your company and can represent it to other students, or it could be an employee who visits the campus regularly. Find sophomores and juniors who would make good candidates. 5.) If your company makes an appropriate product, provide it to the students for free or offer discounts. Place the product in the school store or other location where it will be seen by many. Hold a product reviews or even a sales seminar on campus and invite students to attend. This builds awareness and legitimacy for your company and product. This technique has been used by Sun Microsystems, Apple, National Semiconductor and many, many others. 6.) Offer short-term jobs or shadowing experiences to students over holidays or part-time during the school year. Let the students see your site and get to know some of your employees. It is easier to say yes to an offer when you know whom you will be working with than when you have no idea. Let’s leave it at six tips for this week. I’ll provide at least another six next time. And good hunting. . .

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Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at