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Why Your Talent Strategy Should Include Campus Recruiting

Kelly Lee
Digital Content Specialist


Across the world there are thousands of college campuses full of soon-to-graduate students eager to enter the workforce. Recruiters can enrich their candidate pipeline by forging relations with this demographic.

University or campus recruiting refers to the strategies for sourcing, connecting with and hiring college students and recent graduates for internships and entry-level positions.

While campus recruiting is most common with larger companies with significant talent needs, it can benefit firms of any size. Tech, finance, engineering, and consulting are industries that rely heavily on campus recruiting.

Common college recruiting strategies include working with campus career services centers, attending career fairs to interface directly with students, and utilizing social media campaigns.?

Who Should Be on Your Campus Recruiting Team?

An overly-simplistic approach to assembling a campus recruiting team would be to select young team members in an effort to appear ?relatable? to young students. Certainly, relatability is important.

Having students talk with young professionals who were recently in their shoes, as college students attending career fairs, and can speak to why they chose to join your team can be an effective strategy. But effective college recruiting obviously entails more than the age of a campus recruiter.?

You need team members that are engaging, informed, enthusiastic, personable, and prepared to answer any and all questions students will have. Recent graduates you?ve hired that meet these criteria are optimal, but that doesn?t mean older team members aren?t also an asset.

Higher-level employees also have vital information to share with college students. After all, the people that come to your booth at a career fair aren?t just interested in how other people their age like working at your company. They also want to see the appeal of a broader career arc.

Building a Digital Campus Recruiting Strategy

Some recruiters question the efficacy of social media recruiting. We think this issue is less a question of whether or not social media recruiting yields positive results and more about the expectations recruiters place on social media platforms. In other words, social media recruiting works if you ?ask? it to do the right thing.

As one recruiter writes, social media recruiting is a useful tool to offer a ?peak behind the curtain? of a company. In fact, 60% of students who look for jobs use social media to get a better sense of a company?s culture.?

So don?t look to social media recruiting to generate applicants. Instead, think of it as a place to offer valuable information about your values, workplace environment, and culture.?

How to Host Virtual Career Fairs

We offer a much more in-depth look at virtual recruiting here. These are our best practices for creating your virtual recruiting event:

  • Choose the right platform: Conferencing software like Zoom is very popular, but there are other options like Brazen that provide greater functionality.
  • Promote the event across all of your digital platforms: Everything from your website to your social media pages should advertise the event in order to maximize candidate participation.?
  • Follow-up with attendees: Make sure you send an email or direct message to all of your attendees thanking them for attending and encouraging them to reach out if they have additional questions.?
  • Implement metrics to track success: In addition to tracking the number of people who register and attend your virtual events, you should also calculate the conversion rate and offer acceptance rate of attendees.??

Recruiting Gen Z

Be careful about broad generalizations about an entire generation of workers. Generic claims that Gen Z is ?more determined to change the world than other other generations? are overblown. However, this does not mean that there are not unique features of the world Gen Z has grown up in that make their experiences and recruitment unique.

There are plenty of in-depth articles about recruiting Gen Z, like this one and this one. But when it comes to building a strategy for recruiting them, here are some general Gen Z characteristics and trends to keep in mind: Gen Z?

  • Is tech savvy
  • Is risk-averse?
  • Is looking for companies that have a strong moral compass
  • Values diversity & conclusion
  • Cares most about salary and work/life balance

Building a Career Page to Connect With College Students and Recent Graduates

Some job sites do a far better job than others to cater to recent graduates. You can read more about companies that do it well here. Indeed and College Grad are two especially impressive models. Each of those sites offer easy to use features that allow candidates to sort available positions by ?entry-level?? ?junior,? ?internship,? etc.??

Your job site should do the same. It?s an easy way to implicitly communicate to recent graduates that you want them to apply to your organization.?

Better yet, consider making a stand alone career page specifically for students and recent graduates. Such a page could not only simplify and organize their job search by only containing entry-level positions and internships, it could also offer information relevant to students?i.e. benefits of particular interest to new hires like mentorship programs.

Use Internships to Identify and Retain Top Young Talent

Internship programs are one of the most effective recruiting strategies. They help you identify young people with potential and facilitate the building of a relationship with potential hires before they?ve entered the professional world.

Internships also provide an extensive period for you to familiarize yourself with a worker and for them to familiarize themselves with your organization and culture.?

All of these factors promote better hiring and better retention. Research shows new college hires who had previously interned at a company are more likely to stay with that employer long term.

Moreover, by establishing a track record of hiring your interns to full-time positions after graduation, you?re likely to generate substantial interest among promising candidates before they?ve entered the job market.?


Campus recruiting, when done right, is a crucial way for companies to attract promising young talent. By using a combination of tried and true recruiting techniques and more innovative technological tools, you can help ensure your organization is one young talent flocks to.

Are you interested in learning more about the benefits of campus recruiting and how SmartRecruiters can help? We?re just a click away! ??


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