Focusing on Diversity on College Campuses

by Tom Borgerding

Last in a series.

Expanding the diversity at a company can look like a challenge at times, especially when looking for college students. It’s not as easy as showing up for a career fair or hosting an information sessions. Below are a list of five ways to expand your diversity recruiting efforts on college campuses.

  1. Career Services: The offices of career services are set up to help employers connect with and find students who are a match for available careers. Take the time to speak with the employer relations staff within the career center. This may sound like a simple solution but employers rarely spend the time to ask the career services staff what they think are the best recruiting opportunities. The staff is most familiar with the different options available on their campus through career services as well as having relationships with students who fit the profiles you are looking to reach. Slow down, ask questions, and get involved. A single job posting is rarely enough effort to reach the best students. Career services typically offer mentoring programs, resume reviews, mock interviews, and other training to help students. Employers are encouraged to be part of those efforts. Ask and then take the next step to engage.
  2. Diversity, Inclusion, Equity Departments: Most medium and large universities will have an Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which will include diversity, LGBTQ, and many other subgroups. These departments have separate events that are not tied to the career centers. Look at sponsoring and having recruiters available at those events. While there, develop long-term relationships with these departments. They are uniquely setup to engage and connect with the diversity groups on their campuses. Offer mentorship programs to students who fit your target audience. Offer information about careers in the industry your company lives as many college students (not just diverse candidates) are exploring which career paths to pursue including up until they graduate.
  3. Student Life: The Office of Student Life (or similar titles) houses many student-run organizations, up to hundreds of them on a single campus. They approve the groups each year or semester. Fraternities, sororities, clubs, and associations fall into this category. Reach out to Student Life to find out which student groups may be a fit for you: women in business, student government, Hispanic students, African-American students, religious groups, Native American students, female students, non-U.S. citizens, etc. Serve as a mentor to specific student groups that fit the target candidates you wish to reach.
  4. Leadership: Many campuses also have an Office of Leadership and Development. The students involved with this office are those who are stepping out and being trained in leadership skills they would not have had access to prior to college. Again, you have the opportunity to provide speakers for retreats or specialty topics these students want to learn. Diversity training and inclusion can be part of the leadership messages they hear.
  5. Your Careers Website: Make sure you speak to diversity topics on the careers pages of your employer’s website. Speak to the specific topics that students of diversity care about, topics such as the diversity groups available at your company and how to get involved, what each group is designed to do, support available, etc. Let this be a jumping-off point for students to dive in deep into the transition from hundreds of options for engagement and support that exist on campus to an employer setting and the fact that they can still be connected and supported while at your company. Develop videos for the diversity groups available at your company. Show pictures of current diverse employees. Don’t make the assumption that if you list that you have diversity groups at your company be the only way students can find employees who are relatable to their interests.

Diversity doesn’t and shouldn’t be a scary endeavor. Use the departments on campus who are there to support students of diversity and engage not as a bypasser for each but get involved beyond the job posting. Mentor, sponsor and engage the offices and groups listed above. You’ll find new ways to stand out as an employer by doing so and in the end find more qualified students to fill your hiring needs.

Tom BorgerdingTom Borgerding, President/CEO, Campus Media Group, Inc.
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/borgerding
Twitter: @mytasca, @Campus_Media