Best Practices in Campus Hiring | Aparna Sharma | Consulting Editor | The People Management

hrCampus recruitment is a commonly used Recruitment & Selection procedure led by HR. Companies visit eminent academic or professional institutes for recruiting candidates. It is beneficial for both students and companies. Companies get to choose the best from a large pool of young talent. Also, students get a job offer while still in college.

Here are the “Best Practices” that can be deployed –

1. Build, Develop, Manage, and Maintain Campus relationships –

A successful university relations and campus recruiting program looks at the long haul, not just short-term results, and is built on strong relationships.

Most Talent Acquisition (TA) professionals identify the career cell as their “base” in institutes/colleges. These typically offer career fairs, job posting services, on-campus recruiting, and other options for connecting with students. Plus, career cell staff/members can provide you with intelligence about their campus—its culture and traditions, specifics about their students’ attitudes and behaviors, – which you can use to tailor your strategy. Career cell staff can also help you develop relationships with other key campus contacts, including faculty and administrators.

The reality is, no program can guarantee job openings for new college grads every year, but organizations achieving greatest success don’t abandon campus when they aren’t hiring. Instead, they find ways to maintain their ties, such as continuing their Internship program, taking part in Mock Interviews, or performing Resume critiques, for example.

2. Choose your Target Schools carefully –

Most TA professionals say they build their target school list around majors available, quality of programs, experience of recruiting at the school, and school location. This requires research and careful tracking, so you can see which schools are working best for your organization.

A word of caution: In researching which schools offer the majors you seek, be wary of “best schools for” rankings; it’s tempting to use these as a short cut around real research, but be aware that rankings are based on criteria that may not match up with your organization’s needs.

3. Send the Right people to Campus –

Would you approach a career fair booth if the booth staff looked bored? Would you be impressed by a representative who told you to check the company website to get answers to your questions? How comfortable would you feel in an interview if the recruiter asked you for a date? Unfortunately, this is how some company reps have behaved on campus.

Don’t take great pains to build a brand only to negate it by sending a “warm body” to campus. Research shows that who you send to campus is critical: Your reps have the most influence on how students view your organization. Send well-trained professionals who are equipped to answer questions, address concerns, represent your brand, and sell your organization.

4. Communicate with Students about the process –

Students need to know what the steps are in the Selection and Hiring process. Keep them apprised of what’s happening, what they can expect, and when they can expect it. Follow up with students you have talked to at a Career Fair. Keep in touch with interns after they have returned to campus. Let students know promptly about their status.

5. Measure and analyze your results—and adjust accordingly –

Track how many hires you make, but also track your interview to offer, offer to acceptance, and retention rates. These can help you identify where you’re having the most trouble, so you can adjust.

For example, a high number of interviews but few offers can tip you off to a problem in screening candidates for interviews. Is your job description too vague, meaning candidates can’t screen themselves out? Are you unclear about what you want in a candidate?

Similarly, if you are extending many offers but getting few acceptances, you can zero in on what’s going on in this part of the process. Where are the snags? Are your salaries competitive? Are you taking too long to extend the offer—and losing candidates to other organizations? (In this case, you will want to gather information from students who have turned you down to identify what went wrong, but you should also find out what prompted acceptance among those who agreed to come work for your organization. Both can be illuminating!) Once you have identified where you are having trouble, you can take steps to adjust your process as possible.

6. Feed your full-time hiring with an Internship Program –

An Internship Program is one of the most effective Recruiting techniques, helping you build a relationship with potential hires early in their college career (before they are “on the job market”) and gauge their fit for your organization. An internship program can also help you achieve better retention: Research shows new college hires who have served an internship are more likely to stay with the employer.

7. Use Social Media to supplement your effort –

Social Media is not a replacement for a well-developed campus effort, but can be a helpful supplement—if used properly—not only in reaching and connecting with students at your target schools but in surfacing talent that doesn’t attend those schools. Take care to set realistic goals and expectations for your social media efforts, and measure your results periodically to ensure you are getting what you need.