Build a Successful Campus Recruiting Team

With employers facing the tightest labor market in decades, more and more companies are turning to college campuses to source talent for internships and entry-level positions. But building a campus recruitment strategy and hiring the right employees to execute it can be a lengthy process, and there’s no one solution that will work for every organization. 

How big should your campus recruiting team be? Which roles are necessary to be successful? How do you manage a team that’s often on the road, and how can you incorporate modern recruiting practices into your team’s strategy?

Here’s what to know about hiring a campus recruiting team:

Setting Campus Recruitment Goals

Before you start looking for talent acquisition professionals to join your college recruiting team, think about the goals you’re hoping to accomplish on campus. Knowing the types of roles you’re hoping to fill, the skill sets you’re looking for, and how many new employees you’re hoping to hire will help you define what your campus recruiting team will look like. 

As a first step, put together a hiring strategy and think about the campus recruiting KPIs you’re hoping to measure.

Before you build your campus recruitment team, asi:

  • What’s your campus recruiting budget? 
  • How many new employees do you expect to hire on campus?
  • How many new hires will each recruiter be responsible for? 
  • What types of leadership positions does your recruiting team need?
  • Will your recruiters travel, or spend most of their time in the office?
  • What types of roles and skills are your recruiters hiring for?
  • What office locations are you recruiting for?
  • What universities are you targeting? 

Types of Campus-recruiting Team Roles

Now that you have goals in place, think about the types of people you’ll need to execute your recruiting strategy. Who’s already on your hiring team, and who should you add? Do you have any skill gaps, such as strong interview abilities? What about project management skills? 

While campus recruiters are the obvious first step in building a college hiring team, there are several other key roles necessary to make sure your recruitment process is a well-oiled machine. Here’s a look at the most important ones:

Campus recruiters

The true hero of college hiring, campus recruiters wear many hats, and require a broad array of skills to attract, engage, screen, interview and place students into internships and entry-level positions. These employees often travel to college campuses across the country for recruitment events like career fairs and employer information sessions, and are the main team members responsible for communicating your employer brand to students, sending candidate communications, and ultimately hiring top talent for your organization.

Campus recruiting director 

A campus recruiting director or head of university recruiting leads overall hiring strategy, personnel management, and team performance. Campus recruiting directors may be in charge of maintaining relationships with key universities across the country, working with hiring managers to understand business needs, tracking recruiting ROI, identifying areas for improvement, providing the correct resources for the team, and more. 

Recruitment operations managers

Recruiting operations managers define work processes, help talent acquisition teams run more efficiently, and oversee logistics like interview scheduling, offer processing and onboarding. In other words, recruitment operations managers maximize an organization’s ability to hire quickly, reduce costs, and ensure resources are used effectively. 

Recruitment marketers

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Recruitment marketers focus on the earliest stage of hiring — attracting the right candidates to your organization. They’re responsible for publicizing employer brand, communicating why your company is a great place to work, and nurturing potential new hires as they go through the recruitment process. Recruitment marketers might be in charge of creating branding materials, employee testimonial videos, and emails and texts to engage candidates throughout the hiring funnel.

While you may have individuals serving each unique need within your college recruitment strategy, members of your talent-acquisition team may wear multiple hats, contributing to many of the above roles. While it’s great to have a campus recruiter who can also focus on recruitment marketing initiatives, make sure your team has the time and resources they need to accomplish their goals. If they’re stretched too thin, it might be time to think about adding a new role to your team.

Attracting Top Candidates to Your Campus-recruiting Team

Just like attracting talent from colleges and universities, you also want to attract top performers for your campus recruiting team. When drafting a job description for campus recruiters, focus on the potential impact your new hires will make. Today’s job seekers want to know that their work will be meaningful, and that their contributions to the organization will make a difference. 

Additionally, you’ll want to include key responsibilities, like attending on-campus career fairs, hosting social gatherings or career days, establishing relationships with students to create a talent pipeline, and screening resumes, job skills, and other abilities for potential hires. Don’t forget other key skill sets, like comfort using social media, excellent networking abilities, and familiarity with human resources or sales. Popular skills for campus recruiters also include event planning, program development, project management, and, of course, recruiting.

Sample campus recruiter job description

What roles and responsibilities are usually included on a campus recruiter job description? Here’s what you might find:

We’re looking for someone with: 

  • 2+ years as a recruiter or similar HR role
  • Candidate interview experience 
  • Hands-on experience with candidate sourcing databases and applicant tracking systems
  • Familiarity with recruitment marketing techniques
  • Good networking skills
  • Bachelor’s degree in human resources or other relevant field
  • Ability to travel at least six months of the year

How you’ll make an impact:

  • Define and execute the organization’s campus recruitment process
  • Recruit college students and recent graduates for internships and job opportunities post-graduation
  • Work with hiring managers to understand hiring needs, open roles and job responsibilities
  • Foster strong relationships with the career center on university campuses
  • Attend college career fairs, interacting with students and sourcing potential candidates
  • Host on-campus information sessions to promote our employer brand
  • Screen resumes, conduct interviews, and perform skills assessment tests
  • Identify opportunities to improve and optimize our hiring process

Best Practices for Modern Campus Recruiting Teams

With a move towards decentralized teams, and virtual recruiting becoming common practice, campus recruiting teams need a whole new set of skills in order to be successful. Think about which parts of your hiring process cause the biggest administrative burden (candidate communication? interview scheduling? evaluating candidates?) and what can be automated. Consider incorporating more off-campus tactics into your strategy, like engaging candidates through email, social media, virtual employer information sessions and video interviews.

Generation Z ranks quality relationships formed with their recruiters higher than any other component of the candidate experience. For students, recruiters are trusted contacts who can provide encouragement and advice while communicating employer brand and offering insight into open roles. Until a candidate accepts your offer and joins your team, there just won’t be another person with whom a candidate spends more time. Modern recruiters shouldn’t just think of themselves as a middleman, but as someone who can establish authentic relationships and connections with candidates.

Jason Weingarten is the co-founder and CEO of Yello, a talent acquisition platform built for enterprise and fast-growing recruiting teams to strengthen employer brand, drive hard cost savings and maximize ROI. Weingarten’s vision for reinventing the way enterprise companies acquire top talent has helped Yello grow an impressive client roster; the software powers recruitment initiatives for hundreds of the world’s leading brands. Weingarten and co-founder Dan Bartfield previously founded a company to help college students find jobs online, which was sold in 2008. Weingarten’s serial entrepreneurship and business savvy has been noticed by investors, with funding rounds exceeding $46M, led by investors JMI Equity, First Analysis, and Argentum.

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