College Recruiting to the Millennials

Recruiting college students for internships and entry-level jobs has evolved much like marketing has within an organization....or at least it should have.

It was not too long ago that every company had a “push” approach to marketing. Where they would collectively sit down and define their markets, build targeted lists of companies and contacts and blindly “push” out their marketing messages to the masses. One message to all was the mind-set and the marketer was in full control.

Well thankfully those days are almost gone and companies have become wiser…..or maybe better stated…the prospects are now in control. Marketers are now obsessed with providing a hyper-local experience and are doing their best to target their brand and marketing messages to the individual based on personal habits, behaviors, interests, demographics and preferences. Companies have also evolved into implementing a “pull” approach to marketing. The “pull” happens when a prospect invites you into their world, inner circle or personal network. Prospects will invite you in b/c you have built an affinity, earned their trust, peaked their curiosity or created value for them as an individual without being intrusive. This mindset and approach is being embraced by companies who either want to start or have well established campus recruiting teams.

Recruiting the best talent at a college is just one form of marketing/sales that every company, regardless of size, must be leveraging because the talent is immense. To be successful your company must apply this same “pull” approach to marketing students and your company. This ensures that you will be attracting the best students and properly building your company’s brand.

Companies who recruit college students for internships and entry-level jobs are now going through this evolution. The biggest challenge for companies today is finding that early entry-point and destination where college students live, without coming across as intrusive and disruptive. Facebook can be leveraged to an extent, but it is still very much the preferred social site and students are not comfortable, nor do they want to turn it into a professional site. Facebook is for friends. Linked-In on the other hand is very professional, but students see little reason to join because they have not entered their professional careers yet and feel like they can’t represent themselves or their academic accomplishments properly.  Job boards and job aggregation sites are ridden with confusion, have bad UI’s and are filled with jobs that don’t apply to the individual.

The single most powerful talent pool is a “passive talent pool”. The passive talent pool in college is the freshman through junior classes. Don’t wait to build a relationship at a career fair or on-campus event…go upstream and build your brand early with the students. Once they allow you into their personal media experience, your company has just built an identity with the individual. Now you have earned the right to ask them if they would like to attend your on-campus event or work for your company. Your campus recruiting teams now have the confidence that you have built the best pipeline of talented students and have done so in a very cost-effective and scalable way. They key is choosing the right medium!

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