The Spring semester has kicked off across the country, and with it, a brand new set of opportunities to visit campuses and recruit the next generation of top talent. It’s time to think beyond setting up a booth at the big career fair and start thinking of ways to get more from your campus visits by branching out into other events, implementing new technology, and trying out new tactics.
Here are a few suggestions to maximize the return on your hard work.
A candidate makes the effort to come to your event. Sometimes, this means they skip class to attend the career fair or forgo valuable studying time to come see you. The last thing he or she wants to hear is that you're not accepting resumes. This signals to the candidate that they should have just applied online, putting an application into the online ATS that most candidates consider a black hole.
Accepting resumes at the event may sound daunting if you’re afraid of adding to your already giant stack of paper resumes, but you can use alternatives that are much more efficient. For example, you could ask candidates to email resumes to a special email address during or after the event as a particularly scrappy solution. Alternatively, you could begin using recruitment event management software to collect resumes, interests, and other relevant candidate information on the spot. Candidates will be able to upload their resumes ( a surprising number of students have resumes on their phone) or be reminded to submit it later without any struggling on your end to keep things organized.
Being involved with student clubs is a good way to create awareness before you even show up on campus. These clubs are also good ways to have a more targeted campaign for your diversity initiatives. Reach out to black, latinx, and women focused professional organizations to speak to students of these backgrounds directly. If your company has thriving employee resource groups that these students could choose to join if they joined your company, you should highlight those opportunities at your organization. Many employers will host a traditional company presentation, but we suggest you do something more personal like sending out employees for coffee chats, hosting dinners or lunches, or creating interactive experiences that give candidates an idea of what it is like to work at your company. Focus on providing student groups with value beyond simply informing them about your company. Ideally, design something that gets students talking or contemplating a real life challenge you face in your business. Even if these students don't end up being your hires, they will talk to their peers about the experience you gave them if it is unique, entertaining, and valuable, which is an invaluable opportunity for free employer branding.
Career fairs and events are meant for students to learn something. This is your opportunity to help students learn as much as they can about the opportunities available for them at your organization, as well as help them discern what they want to do after graduation. For many students, the idea of choosing what they want to do after graduation is a daunting task. Your goal should be to position yourself as a trusted partner, someone who has their best interests in mind regardless of their decision to join your organization. Talk to students about their interests, help guide them to relevant openings and offer to connect them to employees who might provide an authentic picture of their experience working at the company. This can be particularly helpful for ensuring that students of minority backgrounds feel excited and welcomed to work at your company. No one will expect your company to be perfect, so the employee representative who volunteers to meet with the student should feel free to truly discuss his or her experience. However, the student will come away with a clear picture of how he or she will be able to succeed and move up in the company, which prepares both them and you for success when they arrive on the first day. Students will be grateful to you and your company if you can show a genuine interest in doing what is best for them. As such, every time you host an event, think to yourself: what is the value to the student? We suggest workshops, mock interviews, and resume review sessions to show students that you are invested in them as people, even if that means potentially helping them land a job somewhere else.
You have to talk to hundreds of candidates across a recruiting season, so it’s useful to have a handful of questions ready to help you quickly screen some candidates further along in the process. Some of the questions might be pretty basic, think work authorization, location preferences etc. Software like Flo Recruit could be very helpful here by allowing you to have candidates answer these questions right from their mobile phone saving you a ton of time. You can go back later and screen candidates based on the qualifying questions you asked.
You’ll also want to keep track of other data like feedback on specific candidates from your employees who spoke to them. You should implement a candidate rating scale so that your recruiters and volunteer employees can enter more objective feedback on each candidate which you can quickly sort through later. Once again, Flo Recruit would be ideal for this task and will help you rapidly evaluate candidates after events to decide who to invite to future events, which events were most effective, and where to allocate resources in the future. You can also begin to draw insights on the demographics of those who show up to your events versus who you ultimately hire as a way to begin detecting whether there is bias in your hiring process.
Surely, you’ll meet a handful of candidates who really stand out and you’ll want to move them along. Your competitors are also likely to have liked these same candidates. Make sure you’re the first to reach out to them and do so in a personalized way. Your follow up is a great step in the process to leverage all of the information you gathered at the campus recruiting events to send out highly personalized emails. You’ll want to make those stellar candidates special to win them over.