Bring More Than Just Jobs to Campus This Fall

Smedstad-HeadshotShannon Smedstad, Employment Brand Director, Global Communications & Engagement Team, CEB
Twitter: @shannonsmedstad
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/shannonsmedstad
Blogs from Shannon Smedstad.

When a company’s core message on campus is simply “WE’RE HIRING,” it can get lost amidst the other noise.  Students may have a difficult time differentiating jobs at one company over jobs at another. This is particularly true if your organization is new to campus, in a highly competitive industry, or relatively unknown.

According to the CEB 2014 Employment Branding Effectiveness Survey, millennials spend more than 50 percent less time than other generations researching organizations before they decide to apply. On average, millennials spent 12.4 hours learning about employers during their most recent job search, whereas other generations averaged 25.9 hours. Now more than ever, employers must think of innovative and “consultative” ways to increase their employer brand awareness to reach this highly sought after demographic.

One way to stand out, while continuing to add value to your overall campus relationships, is to do more than just promote jobs. You’ll also have to do more than just promote your company. Here are several ideas to brainstorm with your teams as you begin your fall planning:

Scholarships and Award Programs

What college student couldn’t use a little extra cash for school? Scholarships and other monetary awards—offered directly to target universities, via student organization partnerships, or through online submission platforms—are a great way to build brand awareness in a more altruistic way.

For example, if your company hires engineering majors, consider offering scholarships to second- and third-year students. This will allow you to identify engineering talent early and learn more about them, while also positioning your organization as a place that gives back.

Real Life Projects and Case Competitions

Years ago, my previous employer partnered with a professor at Penn State on a semester-long capstone project for one of his classes. We sponsored a team of five incredibly bright students as they worked through a real-world IT issue affecting our business. At the end of the semester, the CIO traveled with me to campus to listen to the group’s presentation. He was so impressed by the students that he wanted to make offers on the spot!

This is just one example of how companies can partner with universities to bring value to students’ academic experiences. It was a great way to get executive buy-in for future partnerships and to engage top university talent on a more consultative level.

Internships and Externships

Right now, many companies are in the throes of summer internship programs. The best companies know the value of providing meaningful work experiences to students. Executing a 10-week internship requires time, effort and resources, as well as people with a passion for developing talent. But what happens when summer is over and students are back on campus? By offering a week-long externship during breaks, organizations can continue to foster relationships and stay top-of-mind with key universities, pipeline candidates, and student organizations.

Purposeful Offerings With Business Outcomes

Building up additional programs on top of your existing campus strategy takes a lot of time and effort. Not only are talent acquisition teams expected to fill 50, 100, or 1,000 entry-level job openings, they are now being asked to commit to developing, marketing, administering, and measuring programs. This can be overwhelming to some campus recruiters, and the programs that should be adding value become just one more box to check.

Before rolling out a new program or revamping an existing one, find a champion—someone who’s excited about owning the program and driving results. A well thought-out initiative that is superbly executed can translate into real business outcomes, including:

•    Higher participation in on-campus events
•    Greater brand awareness at tier-one schools
•    Uptick in website traffic and social media engagement
•    Increased internship and/or full-time job applications
•    Increase in quality of hire due to early identification and relationship building

If your organization does not have the resources for add-on programs, another key way to attract students is through the interactions they have with your recruiters and hiring managers. Encourage your teams to take a more consultative approach to their recruiting or interviewing styles, by seeking to build relationships and trust, listen carefully, and foster open lines of communication.

Instead of funneling candidates through the hiring process like a widget on a conveyor belt, teach recruiters to focus on building relationships and creating positive candidate experiences. The CEB survey also states that millennials receive 12.5 percent more offers than other generations, so dedicating extra attention to the candidate experience is likely to help organizations improve their offer to acceptance conversion rates of millennial candidates.

Will your organization take more than just jobs to campus this fall? How are your teams taking a more consultative approach to hiring millennials? Share your insights below.

You’ll find more information on best practices in recruiting on NACEWeb.

This entry was posted in career counseling, recruiting by Shannon Smedstad. Bookmark the permalink.

About Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad currently serves as the Employment Brand Director at CEB, the leading member-based advisory company. She has a passion for all things employer branding and recruiting, and more than 15 years of recruitment industry experience. In 2013, she was named a Talent Warrior by Glassdoor for social recruiting leadership and innovation. Shannon graduated with a degree in Speech Communication from Shippensburg University and currently resides in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Connect on Twitter @shannonsmedstad.

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