Dear Hungry for Talent:
The truth is, there has never been a better time than now to launch a college recruitment program. The current talent pool is rich with potential, and businesses that have struggled with successfully attracting top graduates in the past have a much better shot at landing exceptional new people. However, it can feel like a daunting task to structure an effective college recruiting program (and hire the right people) with such a competitive talent pool, and less time than ever. Here's what you need to know about college recruiting in this post-recession era.
Determine a good hire–despite lack of experience
A large percentage of recent college grads simply don't have the real-world experience most recruiters need to help make their selection decisions, so be prepared to assess college grads differently. Résumé reviews and reference checks are more difficult with limited information to go on, so structured assessments that measure competency potential, critical reasoning and essential knowledge/skills are critical, because they offer objective, job-relevant information to help ensure a more accurate selection.
Don't fret about perceived hurdles
Although you may think college grads will be deterred by a selective screening process, don't worry. Even during the "talent war" era, interview dropout rates were reasonable for most employers, ranging from 10 to 18 percent. The risks associated with making a wrong hiring decision are much higher and costlier than the risks associated with possibly turning off candidates from an application process that is considered too structured. The likelihood that you will lose out on top talent is more than offset by the potential gems you may find that could have been missed in a typical interview process.
Get going on social networking
Getting in on the latest activity when it comes to social networking is critical to the success of any college recruiting program. It's essential to be where the action is for your audience, which means being active on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn—and at on-campus resources such as career service center job boards and alumni networks. Feel as if you can skip this step? It may mean missing out on a major top talent recruitment tool.
Fast communication is critical
Many college graduates have surprisingly high expectations when it comes to feedback and response from potential employers because they're coming from a highly connected environment—one where they're used to active online responses from friends, family, peers and professors. They are savvy customers who know the tools and technology that exist for quick interaction via the Web. In stark contrast, they usually aren't savvy in the recruitment processes companies must follow. The key to hooking this audience is being ready to respond—good or bad—as quickly as possible. Even if you do have a good excuse for your two-week delay in responding to them, grads may have already moved on, so communication is important.
Build your brand
College recruiting can be a valuable tool for building your employer brand, simply because your target audience is more connected and Internet-savvy than most other groups. The more positive the interview process, the greater the chance they'll spread the good word about your company to their peers, so getting it right is important. Employers that use structured and fair recruiting methods generally are perceived better by college graduates, so keep this in mind as you develop your college recruiting program.
Remember that when hiring, you're looking for potential as much (or more so) than trained experience. Be ready to have a structured onboarding and training program to get the fastest and best productivity from new college hires. And remember: This group is far more willing to walk away from an employer if they are not engaged, so be ready to manage your new hires more aggressively in the short term to ensure they stay engaged for the long haul.
SOURCE: Nels Wroe, SHL Group, Denver, May 13, 2010
LEARN MORE: Please read how recruiters are using freshly minted college grads to replenish staffs.
Workforce Management Online, June 2010 -- Register Now!
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.