Flowing gowns, colorful tassels and glowing smiles can only mean one thing — there are new graduates on the hunt for employment. That is, of course, if they haven't accepted an offer already. This leads talent acquisition leaders to answer the question, "How can we tap into graduate talent pools before they start looking for employment?"
Like any hiring ramp-up, graduate recruitment shouldn’t be left for the last minute. By the time diplomas are presented, many university graduates have already been researching and applying for positions. Why risk your competition getting the first pick at fresh, bright-eyed and eager talent? We're sharing six key strategies you can implement right now to boost your chances at successfully engaging with university graduates.
Most colleges require graduating seniors to do an exit interview with their college advisor to make sure they are all set and ready for graduation. Providing entry-level job opportunities at least three to four months prior to graduation to specific departments while fostering relationships with advisors can help get you ahead of your competition. Make sure your job adverts include a link to where students can apply online or an email address where they can send their resume.
Career services can also be a huge asset because many students begin to look for employment options at the beginning of their last semester. Being able to target career service offices and their staff can help in generating awareness and traffic back to your open requisitions. Having the flexibility to hire students as interns before they graduate can also benefit both your organization and students. You have the opportunity to nurture and train them before making a full-time investment, and students are invested in the internship knowing they have a potential full-time position lined up if they perform well.
Many career services departments will also allow you to post jobs on their website. Take advantage of this resource since there usually isn’t a fee associated.
Most universities host a college fair once a term. These job fairs typically occur one to two months before graduation and many graduating seniors take the time to go out and meet potential employers. This is a great time to send out your top recruiters and brand ambassadors to talk with students. Be sure to explain all of the benefits and experiences they would gain by working for your organization. Most students get bombarded by employers at job fairs; those that stand out are the ones who remain top-of-mind. It's imperative to follow up! University graduates feel more inclined to pursue a company that is also excited in pursuing them.
A lot of universities will look for companies to bring in guests to speak to graduating classes about successes in their field. This allows companies to build relationships with the students while also developing a relationship with the university and its departments. Reaching out to deans of relevant colleges can present a company with sponsorship opportunities, panel discussions or more. If done properly, this can enable organizations and universities to build a strong, mutually beneficial partnership.
Career service offices often put together resume books of graduating classes that include the graduation term, full student information and programs from which they graduated. If you're able to quickly receive these resume books before or after graduation, it can give your organization a head start in tapping into a recent graduate talent pool. Resume books are also a great way of finding past graduates from previous years.
You can easily find Facebook and LinkedIn groups strictly dedicated to university graduating classes. Speaking from personal experience, it was a great way for me to meet people I went to college with; and, during my senior year, check in for possible postings from employers. Social media is an especially powerful tool in today’s digital age. Posting a job opportunity in one of these groups can easily get the role seen by hundreds of soon-to-be grads as well as making it easily shareable to their friends.
College recruiting is an ongoing process, and proper planning and strategic implementation are key in order to gain top talent for your company. Being able to beat competitors to the punch and take a multi-channel approach to recruiting graduating talent will ensure that your incoming entry-level employees are the brightest minds of their graduating class.
James Gamito is a millennial with a passion for gen Y. He holds an MBA with a focus in human resource management from Florida International University. In his tenure in the field he has worked in both public and private sectors in various capacities within human resources. He considers university recruitment and working with the millennial generation one of the smartest investments companies can make to secure top talent.