In my experience in helping to set up the recruiting at local universities in my previous job and then working on doing the same for my current organization, I thought it extremely important to share some insights on this. I have been doing this for 4 years, and it is amazing how some companies do this right and some just don't get it. I was answering a question on LinkedIn that prompted this article, so as promised to those who read that response, here is a much more detailed version on recruiting at your local campus. I will be breaking this article down into 3 different posts, so stay tuned for the rest at a later time!
Fostering the Relationships
This is the first step in the process, and is by far the most important before making any on campus visits. In fostering relationships with the University there are many relationships you need to focus on. I have included a list here along with some suggestions as to how and why.
1. Deans, Executives, etc. - These relationships are merely for introduction purposes. Often when I speak to someone at this level they refer me to others within the university that can help in specific departments. That’s exactly why I contact them! It is very easy to find emails, phone numbers, and such on the school website, and they are very helpful in pointing you in the right direction to find the others in this list of people you want to know. Always send thank you emails as follow-ups for their time and always talk about how much you value their school and the education their students are receiving to prepare them for the careers you wish to provide their students. I cannot emphasize this enough.
2. Career Services- these are the folks that are going to be helping you with several things. They will often times set up your employer account if you cannot do so on your own at their website (if the school has an on-line program for employers, and it’s okay if they need to set it up because it gives you an excuse to talk to someone and start those relationships by phone). They are also responsible for keeping you up-to-date with career fairs, activities, and other events coming up that pertain to you and your organization. When a fair does occur, they can help with job postings, on-campus interviews, and the all important information session (something I think a lot of employers fail to use). I will go into more details on these items in the next section.
3. Professors - these folks are your biggest help when it comes to getting in touch with certain students. They work hand-in-hand with some of the very students that you wish to speak with, and if you haven’t been on campus before, they can steer you to the right departments of students that will fit well with what you are looking for. Plus, most of them can lead you to the one professor that can help with the next relationship:
4. Clubs - On-campus clubs I think are one of the most untapped resources today. One of the problems is that most universities that have them sometimes are not very organized with them. But it is interesting to note that this lack of organization is not due to lack of students. Nor is it due to lack of leadership. Oftentimes it is a lack of activities to keep the club busy and doing things that pertain to the purposes of the club in the first place. But the clubs do exist, and there are things you could be doing to tap into this. More on this later.
5. School Newspaper - I don’t think I need to go into too many details here, but I will go into details in the next section on your use of advertising and what you should and shouldn’t do.
6. Alumni- This is usually done through career services, but most schools have a completely separate department for these incredible resources of experienced and professionals with a degree. In fact, if you are reading this and are graduated from college and know nothing about your own alumni association for your school, you need to call your Alma Mater and sign up once you are done reading this article. Not being involved here in some way as a recruiter would be to your own detriment. Besides, if a recruiter is truly a professional networker, then get networking!