How to hire recent graduates using campus recruitment

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How to hire recent graduates using campus recruitment

how to hire recent graduates using campus recruitment

There is always room for improvement when it comes to hiring strategies.

An essential part of the recruitment process is determining what job position would most suit the sort of individual you want to fill.

Are you in need of someone with a fresh perspective? 

Is high motivation important to you? 

Are you trying to build a diverse and well-educated team?

If you answered 'yes' to these questions, you might be interested in looking into the benefits of hiring young professionals and recent graduates.

After all, Millennials account for 35% of the US labor force, and Generation Z is expected to account for 30% of it by 2060. And according to NACE’s Survey from 2021, it is getting increasingly efficient if you’re looking for long-term employees: the conversion rate increased by 20% and is now at 66.4%. 

Campus recruiting could be an easier alternative to hiring young people for your company.

This guide will help you learn more about it and explore in-depth what you need to know when you start campus hiring.

Table of contents



What is campus recruitment?

A campus placement, campus recruiting, or campus recruitment strategy is a method of locating and hiring recent graduates or students nearing the completion of their studies. 

It often involves partnering with educational institutions such as university career services, where you might source fitting candidates or job fairs frequented by students and recent graduates.

Occasionally, a few industry leaders may sponsor small events where students can seek potential career prospects and employers can meet young talent in person. 

Companies typically want to hire college students for entry-level positions or internships. 



Is campus recruitment the right approach for your business?

Campus hiring is often seen as a method for medium and large companies seeking to fill their vacancies with fresh talent. 

However, having high-volume recruiting requirements isn’t required to conduct campus recruiting.

Hiring young professionals can be a critical step in establishing your company’s future. A report by Dell states that 85% of the positions that will exist by 2030 are yet to be established yet.

Innovative thinking and fresh perspectives are more important than ever in businesses now more than ever. The good news is that campus recruitment benefits students: the more you work during college, the more you earn after graduation

If your company is large or medium-sized, campus recruiting can be a highly beneficial technique for your hiring team, keeping your pipeline of fresh talent full. 

Campus hiring is still a possibility for small businesses requiring interns or opening entry-level employment positions less frequently.

Still, it’s preferable to make it low-effort: you can simply work with university career centers to source the right candidate for you.

Campus recruiting strategies are used by all types of companies, but there are a few categories of organizations that benefit the most from campus placements:

  • Product-based tech companies. Product-based technology companies have accounted for the major share of campus recruitment. Large corporations such as Microsoft, Adobe, Google, and Amazon seek to employ students and recent graduates. This type of company often seeks to source candidates for software engineering roles, but they also search for professionals in other fields such as electrical and mechanical engineering.

  • IT/tech service companies. These companies typically provide services to other businesses, such as IT consulting services to other tech firms. 

  • Multinational corporations. Because of the enormous volume of their employment demands, organizations that own or manage the production of goods or services in more than one country are usually interested in hiring on campus.

  • Business consulting services. Companies that professionally advise companies on achieving their goals or improving performance in a particular business area often prioritize hiring young talent to gain a fresh perspective and a competitive edge on tough business challenges.

  • Manufacturing organizations. There is a growing disparity between the jobs that need to be done and the competent personnel pool available to complete them, especially positions in manufacturing organizations. Because of the skills gap, talent acquisition in the manufacturing business is more competitive than ever, and campus recruitment is extremely beneficial to companies.

  • Finance companies. Finance companies often need to hire at scale, and one of the best ways to achieve that is through campus recruitment.

The industries that use campus hiring strategies to seek new employees, on the other hand, are continuously increasing.



What are the benefits of campus recruitment?

Roles that remain unfilled for an extended period of time can reduce your company’s productivity, negatively impact your team, hinder your progress on existing and future projects.

For these reasons, it’s critical to hire qualified employees as soon as possible.

The first step is to source suitable candidates.

But here's the catch: according to a Gartner survey, 63% of companies report that talent shortage is a key concern for them. Finding new employees can therefore be very challenging. 

That’s why, when it comes to recruiting qualified applicants quickly, a large pool of candidates can make all the difference, and this is where campus recruitment comes in. 

In 2019, around 20 million people were attending college, and this number is expected to keep rising over the next ten years.

Sixty-two percent of high school graduates were enrolled in college or university in 2020, expanding the talent pool of young professionals for campus recruiting. Graduate recruiting has become an effective strategy to promptly fill staffing gaps and provide a pipeline of high-competent employees.

Let’s look at  some of the advantages of campus recruitment:

benefits of campus recruitment in an image

1. Access to a vast talent pool

According to the National Center of Educational Statistics, 43% of undergraduate students were employed full-time, and 81% worked part-time in 2018. This means that you'll have a large pool of candidates to choose from when it comes to filling open positions at your organization.

With campus recruitment, your hiring team will be able to identify the best candidate from a large pool of applications from various young professionals who are eager to be selected. A high selection-to-hiring ratio is always beneficial to a company. 

Recruiters may also choose students who are exceptionally talented and aligned with their company’s values for future reference, just in case a job vacancy that would fit their talents becomes available.

2. Access to highly skilled & highly motivated applicants

Students and recent graduates have access to the most recent technological advancements and upgrades in their field of study. 

They are eager to put their newly acquired skills to good use at their first job and are highly motivated to find it before they graduate (or as soon as possible after graduation). And because motivation determines how hard your employees are willing to work, it directly impacts your productivity.

Maintaining employee motivation is a challenging and complex task. 

According to a study by Tim Judge and colleagues, which reviewed 120 years of data from 92 quantitative studies, there is no significant correlation between compensation and job satisfaction, implying that even attractive pay can’t ensure a motivated workforce. For this reason, it’s a good idea to make use of motivated applicants whenever possible.

3. Cost efficiency

According to Forbes, the cost of hiring a new employee might be higher than an individual's salary, particularly for small businesses. 

Campus recruitment allows you to maximize the resources you typically use when sourcing candidates for a job vacancy.

You don’t have to waste time and money on costly procedures like advertising your job offer or doing extensive resume screening. Campus recruitment is a straightforward and highly effective method of hiring.

4. Increased loyalty and retention

Employing new talent allows your company to grow from within. You can promote interns and entry-level employees, increasing your retention rate and benefiting from a committed workforce. 

People frequently form emotional attachments to their first place of employment. But, according to Nancy Moulday - Manager Recruitment at TDI Business Banking, the employment of 600 MBA candidates from Canadian campuses made the retention rate of the company she works for jump an impressive 98.6%

Campus recruitment allows you the opportunity to find committed and motivated employees. 

To establish trust and, eventually, loyalty, you must be explicit about what you want them to do in your firm, what possibilities for advancement they will have, and what working connections they will need to build.

You can easily attract an employee who will look at your company with respect and a desire to prove themselves valuable.

4. Building a future-ready workforce

Even if you’re using cutting-edge technology, the rapid evolution of technology isn’t enough to prepare your company for unpredictability. 

To survive and thrive in a changing business environment, organizations require highly adaptable, and well-trained employees prepared to meet challenges that you can’t yet predict. 

When developing a future-ready workforce, it is critical to revisit our approach to learning and teaching, and working with young and impressionable minds makes that effort easier. Remember that by hiring young individuals, you are shaping the future not only for your firm but for everyone.

5. Strengthen employer brand awareness & recognition

Do you know how millennials hear about companies?

It's normal to assume it is due to advertising (whether on social media or in traditional media channels), but this isn't always the case.

According to the Harvard Business Review, 72% of millennials frequently hear about companies through their friends. The second most common way for students to learn about or discover companies is via job boards(68%), followed by on-campus initiatives (45%).

Campus recruitment is an excellent opportunity to tap into that 45% while spreading the word to the other 72%. Increase brand recognition by speaking clearly and engagingly about it.

By introducing your organization to the participants of campus recruitment events, you can impress them and encourage them to tell their friends about your employer brand



How do you build a successful campus hiring strategy?

Every great recruiter understands that to make a successful hire, you must first design a practical approach. As with any other undertaking, planning comes first, followed by acting.

To create an effective campus recruitment strategy, you must first clearly define and determine your goals.

Consider the following questions for yourself and the hiring team:

  • What kind of positions are you looking to fill? 
  • Are you looking for interns? 
  • Which colleges or universities are you looking to target?
  • What colleges or universities have your current top performers attended?
  • What is your ideal candidate profile?

Second, you need to develop an on-campus recruitment team. 

  • How many people do you need? 
  • What kind of leader do they need?
  • How often will they attend on-campus events? 

Only then can you approach university career centers and begin to establish a network of motivated applicants. 

Let's take a step-by-step look at how to create a compelling college recruitment strategy:

how to build a successful campus hiring strategy

1. Select the right schools

Choosing the schools from which to source competent employees for your company can be complicated.

Here are some pointers to help you through the process:

  • Determine the crucial skills you need. For example, do you need a salesperson to fill a new sales position at your company? Is the work STEM-related? Look for the universities that offer degrees that are a good fit for your recruitment goals. Pay attention to accreditations and post-graduate placement. Using US News and World Report is a great way to verify the rankings of various academic programs. 

  • Top-tier schools are not necessarily better. You don’t need to aim for Ivy League graduates to hire highly skilled professionals. Good prospective employees don’t only attend the most elite schools.

    In fact, according to the Bloomberg Aptitude Test, which measures the skills and knowledge needed for investment banking,  students from top-tier universities aren’t always the best performers at work.

    There's also the fact that, according to professors Ronit Dinovitzer and Bryant Garth,  top-tier graduates are significantly less satisfied than other employees in large law firms and want to leave the company a year or two after they were hired, not even staying for long enough to recoup the money spent on recruiting and training.

    This isn't to say you should ignore prestigious colleges totally; it's merely a reminder that competent young professionals may be found at other universities as well.

  • Consider your existing employees. An excellent approach would be to talk to your company’s higher management and determine which schools they would like to add to the list. Next, identify the schools where your best employees graduated from as well. 

2. Build (or hire) an on-campus recruitment team

The campus recruitment team travels across the country to meet and talk to young, talented, and driven people about their future. It doesn’t sound like a bad job, does it?

On the other hand, on-campus recruiters have numerous problems, and those who haven’t dealt with this type of hiring before can easily find themselves in a challenging situation. This is why it's critical to plan out how to develop your on-campus recruitment team carefully

These people are your company's ambassadors, and you will be relying on their skills and knowledge for the crucial task of graduate recruiting.

Here is a list of questions to consider as you put together your campus recruitment team:

How many team members can you afford to hire? 

The main factor shouldn’t only be the budget and the difficulty of the assigned task and the location and number of the campuses you had planned to visit. Increasing the number of your campus recruitment team might help you save money. 

How many employees do you expect each recruiter to bring on board?

Will they have enough time to form solid connections and pick the right candidate carefully? 

A bad hire can be quite costly, so companies should avoid it as much as possible.

What kind of positions and structure is best for your recruiting team? 

In campus recruitment teams, there are four key roles.

Your team may include all of them, or you could create a smaller recruitment team for more specific recruitment missions.

  1. Campus recruiters attend recruitment events and interact, interview, and choose students for job openings.
  2. A campus recruiting director in charge of the overall strategy ensures that the team performs effectively and sticks to the plan?
  3. Recruitment operations managers optimize the campus hiring process by defining the working processes and managing the practicalities of hiring, such as arranging interviews, processing offers, and onboarding.
  4. Recruitment marketers promote your brand, attract prospects, develop branding materials and employee testimonial videos, email and text applicants to keep them linked during the recruiting process, and other similar duties.

How many on-the-ground campus recruiters do you need? 

Will your recruiters spend most of their time in the office, or will they travel frequently?

Virtual hiring is gaining popularity, with 84% of recruiters adapting their hiring processes to facilitate remote exchanges. 

Although personal contact is a crucial part of recruitment, some aspects of the hiring process may be virtualized to make it easier and more cost-effective. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential mistakes you can make when you’re hiring remotely.

Consider the following when determining the number of recruiters you'll need: 

  • What are the locations that you are recruiting for? Is there a significant distance between them?  How can you make traveling more efficient? Are there any other universities in the region that provide solid academic programs that you could explore?
  • What are the job positions that your recruitment team is looking to fill? Is there anything else to check for in possible applicants other than relevant skills? For example, do you require effective communicators? Is it necessary to have teamwork skills for the job?

3. Determine your hiring goals

The more specific your goals are, the more likely you are to achieve them.

To explain your goals, ask yourself these questions, and don't start campus recruitment until you've answered all of them:

  • Are you looking for interns? It’s best to search for last year’s students. 
  • Are you looking for someone to fill an entry-level position?  Soon-to-be-graduates and recent graduates are your best pick. 
  • What are the skills and abilities required for this position?  Your best chance is to hire those who obtained them via their education.
  • What about soft skills? You must accurately assess your candidates’ soft skills reliably, such as pre-employment skills tests.
  • What kinds of business relationships would you like your new hire to establish? Recent graduates frequently maintain close relationships with other young professionals as well as their professors.
  • Is there anything they'll need to learn in the future? Create an effective onboarding strategy.

4. Reach out to career centers

Once you’ve finished planning and organizing your hiring team, it’s time to move to action. 

Collaboration with university job centers, as well as staff and professors, may be quite beneficial.

Make it clear what your organization is seeking and what it has to offer when you contact job centers so they can assist you in finding the relevant school programs and departments.

They can provide invaluable information such as student demographics and specific programs that may be tailored to your company's requirements.

5. Build a community of interested students

A network of highly motivated, highly competent students interested in your company may be helpful for your present campus recruiting effort and as a pipeline for new talent when your firm has new job vacancies.

You may do the following to establish a robust and loyal base: 

  • Contact students in person. Despite their reputation for being obsessed with their cellphones, Generation Z individuals prefer face-to-face communication
  • Stay in touch year-long. It's a misconception to assume that campus recruitment requires only two seasons of activity(fall, when the students return to campus, and spring, when they graduate) is a mistake. Keep in touch with the students throughout the year and demonstrate consistent engagement to keep them interested and interested in your company. 
  • Share interesting content & company insights. This way, you'll increase brand recognition and retain potential recruits interested in your organization.  For example, you could distribute content through your blog, social media, and your newsletter.
  • Communicate about key events. Ensure you invite students and graduates to important recruitment events and provide them with all the necessary information. It’s a good idea to let them know about events directly from your company’s campus recruitment team and send them reminders before one. You can also use compellingly worded emails to re-engage students who have already attended previous events.

6. Define events to attend

If you want to establish a consistent presence, you must plan the essential events that your recruitment team must attend. 

This includes employment fairs, which are one of the most convenient methods to meet and engage students, as well as campus events, which provide you a more relaxed opportunity to explain your company’s values and politics. 

Don’t miss out on virtual career fairs, which provide a secure and convenient way to continue recruitment. Equipping your company with the necessary work tools for an optimal experience while you’re located remotely is critical because of the COVID-19 pandemic and because technology is rapidly evolving and transforming our working experience.

7. Connect on-site

One of the advantages of campus recruitment is the opportunity to meet the candidates in person. Now is the time to be responsible and enthusiastically represent your company. This is a good opportunity to create brand awareness among possible future workers.

What kind of first impression do you want to leave? What strategies can you use to improve your communication with the students and recent graduates? 

Remember, especially if you’re attending a large university job fair, you'll likely only have a limited amount of time to speak with each candidate due to a large number of people in attendance. Try to make your conversation more effective by adding a personal touch to your conversations while remaining professional. 

8. Collect applications

After you've successfully contacted and engaged a large number of young people who suit the criteria for your job opening, the applications will begin to pour in.

Having a large number of candidates is beneficial since it increases the chances of finding the best candidate for the job, but picking the best prospects among many qualified individuals is difficult. That’s why having an unbiased and efficient strategy for shortlisting candidates is crucial for the university recruitment process and where skills assessments will help.

9. Use skills tests to screen candidates

Because students and fresh graduates rarely have any working experience on their resumes, it makes resume screening a challenging process. This is where pre-employment skill tests come into play.

Pre-employment Psychometric tests can assess a wide range of skills, aptitudes, and traits, which can help you objectively filter through applications and determine which prospect possesses the skill set your company is looking for. 

You can choose from a wide range of pre-employment tests from TestGorilla’s test library, which you can sort by job role or test type.

There are several types of tests, each focused on a specific skill-set rated highly on the job market. You can choose from:

  • Cognitive Ability tests: which help you access the candidate’s cognitive, analytical, and reasoning skills.
  • Language tests: to assess a candidate’s language proficiency. 
  • Programming Skills tests: to compare the applicants’ skills in different programming languages and frameworks.
  • Role-Specific tests: allow you to test the candidate concerning the specific job position you’re looking to fill.
  • Situational Judgment tests: allow you to test the applicant’s ability to cope with complex business situations that will undoubtedly happen at work. 
  • Software Skills tests: help you assess the candidate’s competency with software tools they would be required to use in your company. 

Aside from skills tests, you can also use Personality & Culture tests to determine whether or not the applicants are a good fit for your firm.

According to a meta-analytic review of 25,000 participants, personality determines 40% of their satisfaction with their job. Having many satisfied employees leads to higher staff retention and increased productivity! As a result, Personality tests can prove beneficial when hiring. 

Culture Add tests also really help with campus recruiting, too: young people need brands to share their values, so working at a culturally aligned company is essential. Additionally, having a culturally diverse team with a shared vision and goal is key to business success.

10. Interview your best applicants

After you've successfully filtered the candidates, it’s time to interview the ones you see as most fit for the job vacancy. 

By asking the right questions, you can discover more about the applicants you have shortlisted.

While conducting an interview may appear simple, it is crucial to figure out certain fundamentals ahead of time and develop a structured interview process. 

What questions are you going to ask? What words can you use to make them as straightforward as possible? 

Have you made it clear and specific what you anticipate from your new hire? How do you compare efficiently the responses of the people you’re interviewing effectively?

11. Create a stellar candidate experience

As a recruiter, you’re responsible for presenting your company in a positive light. Make sure that each candidate is professional and they’re made to feel welcome. 

Even if you don’t hire them in the end, excellent impressions are long-lasting and helpful since they may tell others about their positive experience with your company. And if they aren’t, they’ll most certainly talk about it.

Here are some of the ways to create a stellar candidate experience:

  • Describe the interviewing process before you start. Tell them how long it will take, what kinds of questions you will ask, and whether or not they are required to use any sort of computer equipment.
  • Show the applicants you have prepared for the interview. Ask questions related specifically to their application - a personalized approach is always appreciated.
  • Contact candidates as soon as possible after the interview, even the ones who fail. Make sure to inform them of your decision and not leave them in the dark.  
  • Ask for genuine feedback. This will help make the recruiting process more efficient and create a positive impression by making your prospects feel heard.



How do you define your campus recruitment budget?

Campus recruiting may be a challenging task, especially if your team hasn’t done it before. Costs can add up quickly if you’re not prepared. For this reason, it's crucial to develop and stick to a campus recruitment budget.

The following are some key points to take into consideration when estimating your campus recruiting budget:

how to set a recruitment budget

1. Reassess your hiring goals to get a broad estimate of your expenses

Knowing that you’ll be hiring students or recent graduates isn’t enough.

Are you looking to fill entry-level jobs, or are you looking to hire interns? Are you trying to establish a long-term solution for your company’s hiring needs?

The clearer and more specific your goals are, the easier it is to build your budget.

2. Get the right people on the task 

You can consult hiring managers and people in authority in your HR team. Start seeking their input at least six months before your fiscal years’ annual budget is finalized. 

What is the projected headcount growth for the year? Which departments would require new hires?

Will you hire interns or entry-level employees? What positions are you planning to fill? 

You’ll need your campus recruiters to account for factors like how many events they'll attend, how long the hiring session will last, and how many hires will each team member be responsible for. Start preparing early!

3. Consider the costs and variables carefully

When it comes to establishing your campus recruitment budget, the following factors will play a significant role:

  1. Recruiter overhead (this includes things like salaries, bonuses, etc.)
  2. Traveling expenses
  3. Technology for the campus recruitment events
  4. Collateral for the career fair booth. You want to set up signs and distribute flyers to get people’s attention and keep participants informed. 
  5. Company merchandise(depending on your industry, this might range from self-care goods to computer accessories to water bottles.)

4. Calculate how much you can afford to spend

When developing your campus recruitment budget strategy, you don’t need to be very detailed but have a ballpark figure in mind. However, for it to be effective, it's critical to understand your limitations.

5. Try to cut costs whenever possible 

Even if you have a large budget, it is always good to look for methods to save costs,  like digitizing parts of the process.



Are there things you should avoid when recruiting on campus?

We discussed the most important things to do while you’re hiring on campus.

But, first, let’s go over some of the don’ts of on-campus recruitment.

things you should avoid when recruiting on campus

1. Don't rely too much on CVs, use skills tests instead

It's tough to assess a candidate only on their CV, especially regarding campus recruitment.

Universities have a large talent pool. As a result, you will most likely receive a high number of applications, making it challenging to filter through them. In addition, students and fresh graduates lack work experience, making the screening process even harder. 

That’s where pre-assessment tests come in. You can objectively analyze the skills of your candidates before you hire them and consider if they have what it takes to qualify for the job position. 

2. Don't just stick to a script: build genuine connections

Even if it's a good idea to conduct structured interviews and prepare questions to ask your candidates, don't stick to a script too strictly.

Building genuine connections is an essential element of the hiring process, and it also helps with onboarding.

Don’t be too formal when communicating with potential hires. Instead, be sincere and authentic, and tailor your approach to each candidate. 

3. Don't underestimate the impact of the candidate experience

Even if you don’t believe the candidate you’re interviewing is the right fit for you, it’s still important to make an excellent first impression. 

People notice even tiny things, such as a change in tone during the interview. Pay attention to the nuances and attempt to make the candidates feel at ease. 

A terrible candidate experience may have a significant influence on your company's reputation and lose you high-skilled prospective applicants as well as clients in the age of digital exposure and reviews. 

Campus recruitment can be hugely beneficial if done right

Your company can profit greatly from campus recruitment. It helps you access a large pool of highly motivated young professionals to provide fresh new perspectives and energy for your business.

Campus hiring prepares you for the future and improves the effectiveness of your hiring initiatives. 

There may be risks and challenges along the road, as with any recruitment process. But the more prepared you are when you start hiring, the easier it will be to have a seamless campus recruiting experience.

With TestGorilla, you’ll find the campus recruitment process to be simpler, faster, and much more effective. Try it for free today.

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