June 30, 2022

The Best & Brightest: How to Recruit College Graduate Students

Thousands upon thousands of college graduates leave their campuses each year in pursuit of appealing full-time positions. These graduates are brimming with potential and eager to be hired – but that doesn’t mean that recruiting them is a simple process for employers. 

When looking to learn how to recruit college graduates, recruitment teams need to focus on the same guiding principles that they would use to select regular employees. Your company needs to set its sights on the most promising, high-achieving graduates in order to find the ideal candidates for the positions it’s looking to fill, be they high school grad jobs or more complex.

The high achievers in every graduation group will be the most sought-after individuals come December and May. This is why it’s important to implement recruitment best practices in order to secure your chances of hiring the cream of the crop. 

Here are some effective practices to follow when learning how to recruit graduate students for your enterprise.

1. Promote Your Company to Pre-Graduates

Your company needs to be front and center in graduates’ minds when it comes time to begin their job searches. You can achieve this by ensuring that your company’s presence has been made known long before the graduates you have your eye on have actually graduated.

Promote your organization to soon-to-be-graduates by sponsoring on-campus events, sending your best employees to give presentations about relevant topics, and involve yourself in professional organizations at the campuses of your choice. 

Your approach to promoting your company should be similar to the approach you’d use to market a new product to a target market. You want graduates to have a positive impression of your brand, and to have some familiarity with it as well, if they are going to apply for the jobs you offer once they are qualified to do so.

One highly effective way to promote your internships to students is hosting a well-organized job fair. You can organize and host a successful job fair by:

  • Spreading the word on your social media channels that you will be hosting a job fair, and advertising all of the available jobs ahead of time.
  • Having multiple representatives working in your booth, even if you’re a smaller company. Your booth should never be unattended.
  • Using professional signage whether traditional or digital, that highlights the job positions you want to fill.
  • Offering useful giveaway items like portable chargers and power banks, USB drives and stationery so that top candidates will always have your brand in view.

2. Mention Generation-Specific Benefits

Knowing how to recruit college graduates has much to do with your understanding of each generation you aim to approach. Recruiting Baby Boomer or Generation X graduates required a remarkably different approach to the one needed to successfully reach out to Millennials and Generation Z. 

When speaking with graduates, mention elements of your company that their generation deems important and worthy of respect. For younger generations, you could speak about your firm’s social welfare projects, environmental drives, and sustainability initiatives to pique their interest.

Most of today’s college graduates are as interested in the social and environmental welfare aspects of their future careers as they are in their financial benefits. They also appreciate diverse, inclusive and flexible schedules, as well as environments that value creativity and workplace autonomy. Mention these elements in your speeches and the right graduates will quickly gravitate towards your company.

3. Take Advantage of Social Media Channels

If you’ve been wondering how to recruit graduate students, look no further than social media. Over 83% of 18-29 year-olds use social media in some form or another, making it a valuable tool when it comes to reaching young graduates with your messages. 

Use channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Reddit to your advantage to reach new graduates. Not every social platform will be well suited to your specific business or industry, but even so, they could offer some value regardless. Pinterest, for example, might strike you as a website designed for sharing artworks and recipes, but statistics show that it actually attracts users with higher levels of education.

4. Use Internships to Create a New Graduate Pipeline

Internships are to college graduates what high school grad jobs are to high school graduates. They offer a coveted way for students to gain on-the-job experience, and they are also an effective way of staffing your business with diligent, full-time employees who deserve a chance to prove themselves.

Your company should think of internships as long-term investments rather than short-term semester positions. Your eager interns will immediately see how much you value your staff members when you give them a chance to learn from experience and seasoned mentors.

The key here is to make your internships valuable and worthwhile to your students. When the time comes for them to seek out permanent employment, you’ll be at the top of their lists due to the many ways in which your internships could enhance their careers.

5. Put Your Trust in an Outside Recruiter

Nobody knows how to recruit college graduates better than a firm that specializes in exactly that. Staffing and recruitment companies like ROCS Grad Staffing have specific expertise in finding the ideal graduate candidates for your company’s vacant positions. 

A third-party recruiter can streamline the screening, interviewing, hiring and onboarding processes with their in-depth understanding of Millennial and Generation Z candidates. Outsourced college recruitment firms like ours can prove to be an effective and efficient solution for companies aiming to hire the best and brightest graduates that top colleges have to offer.

The Takeaway

Recruiting talented college students requires effort, direct communication, and a focus on the benefits that your vacant positions and internships can offer your potential recruits. Focus on developing long-term relationships with outside recruiters, students, campus organizations, and colleges at large. 

Remain consistent with your recruiting process, and take any opportunity you can to connect with students in person and on social platforms. Connecting with students will make it easier for them to connect with your company once they’ve graduated and are ready to join the working world.

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