We sat down with VTLO consultant Elisa Maselli, who has worked extensively with executives on their internal communication strategies and content, to talk about campus recruiting. She has recently advised clients on refreshing their campus recruiting efforts.
Q: What trends or changes are happening in the realm of on-campus recruiting?
A: Organizational demand for new graduate hires in on the rise, creating a highly competitive college recruiting environment. Baby boomers are retiring, opening up new career paths, and unemployment is decreasing. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (2016), more than half of employers worldwide expect their organizations to expand or grow, and new graduate hiring is expected to increase by 15 percent. As Millenials and Generation Z enter the workforce, they bring new expectations about jobs and employment. And even though career fairs remain a very popular way for students to find out about prospective employers, they haven’t changed in decades. Innovative companies are turning towards creating an experience beyond the career fair that establishes a connection with good candidates.
Q: What are hackathons and why are they so popular?
A: Hackathons started in the tech world—groups of programmers and other IT functions get together to solve technology problems or create software in a compressed timeframe, often a day or two. They are now being used in fields other than technology, putting groups of young people together to create a business plan or marketing strategy. Sponsoring a hackathon allows companies get to know students in a simulated work environment, see how they work collaboratively as a team, and evaluate the level of their business and leadership skills. And it brings your brand top-of-mind, too.
Q: What can employers do to stand out at a career fair with thousands of students in attendance?
A: There are a number of things. Network with the faculty before the career fair, find out who their best students are, and invite those students to dinner while you’re on campus. This helps build a relationship in a more relaxed setting and gives both the recruiting team and students more time to ask and answer questions. Bring a selected group of students to your corporate campus for a brown bag lunch with your executives and recent hires so prospective students can see your work environment and culture firsthand. Make sure you have branded giveaways—such as travel mugs, Frisbees and other goodies—on hand to keep your logo and brand in front of students after you leave. And finally, be tech-savvy. Automate as much as possible and provide quick feedback. Use web-based platforms like MindSumo to reach students with real business challenges and develop a pipeline of students for potential hires. Use social media to stay in touch before (pre-promotion of campus events), during (tweeting about the event, Periscope or live Facebook streaming, texting, Instagram and Snapchat photo ops), and after the event (quick follow-up, sharing LinkedIn and Facebook updates).
Q: Do you have any tips or best practices for recruiters attending career fairs?
A: Yes, I do. In a brief video I recorded (shown below), I discuss a few tips that recruiters can use to cater their recruitment strategy for Millennials and Generation Z.