Back to School: Fill Your Early-Talent Pipeline by Designing an Effective University Recruiting Plan (Part 2 of 3)

October 18, 2021
Author: ThinkWhy Staff

Once you’ve confirmed your company’s strategy for university recruiting, with the tips from Part 1 of this article series, it’s time to focus on the tactical aspects. Effective university plans include several elements, which take time to put in place and will have your team working with other departments across your company to gather details and advance buy-in.

Will your university hiring program attract the top students your company needs?

Before reaching out to universities, design your organization’s approach and plan. Consider what will attract great student or graduate applicants to your company. In the current environment, it is more competitive than ever to convince top talent to choose your program.

Confirm Which Jobs Will Be Part of the Program and Get Internal Buy-In

Check with hiring managers to carefully identify the suitable jobs and capture job description elements and any entry barriers such as required competencies. Confirm with hiring managers that these will be actual jobs with real responsibilities so that both the intern or early talent program employee and the company achieve value from the experience.

Check with HR (human resources) to ensure a smooth application process and get any change requests in the queue as soon as possible; the entire process must be easy to complete on a mobile device.

Prepare Program Messaging

Your outreach and follow-up messaging will likely motivate this age group of Gen Z young adults if you clearly explain what students can expect if they decide to work for your company. Recent studies indicate that Gen Z is motivated the most by career security, safety and money.

Address WIIFM (what’s in it for me). Is an internship at your company a coherent program with built-in mentoring and the possibility of a full-time position? Is it hands-on experience in an area that is highly coveted? Is there a management track transition program? Is there an internship alumni site for career networking? Is there a new graduate career and development track for their role? Is the benefit package competitive?

What stories can you tell to support your program and job offerings that develop understanding and trust? Work with Marketing on great hiring materials and website landing pages, which include success stories and testimonials.

Pinpoint Preferred Source Universities

Once you have a forecast of demand and have developed your company story, the next step is to consider your preferred sources. While your alma mater or favorite local university might be top-of-mind, take a step back and do some research related to your specific hiring needs by role and any other factors, such as diversity.

Here are some questions to consider as you research potential universities:

  • Which universities are known for the quality of their chemical engineering program, accounting program, or other academic program that is relevant to the roles for which you are recruiting?
  • What is the diversity of the students in each program of interest, not just the university as a whole?
  • Is the location of the university convenient to your office or locations? Does the university have satellite campuses?
  • Is the role extremely specialized or does it have such a high annual hiring need that it merits a long-distance university relationship and periodic travel expenses?
  • How many graduates do they produce from the program annually?
  • Do they have a well-developed career office that could help streamline recruitment efforts?
  • Do they have any policies you should be aware of that could affect how you work with them?
  • Which universities are already represented within your young adult employees who have made a successful transition to full-time jobs?

university-hiring-plan-elements-graphic-Franco-Celanese: demand, location, demographics, ROI
Source: Taylor Franco, Celanese

Based on your research and demand plan, select a manageable number of universities to start with, those that you can justify to management for making your shortlist and for which you can allocate time and resources for regular, ongoing communication. The number of universities you consider to be manageable may be only three or four if you have a small recruiting team, or your list could include several campuses if you’re a large national company with a larger recruiting team and several locations.

Set the Program Schedule

Once you collect details from your selected universities about their campus career offerings and schedules, that can be combined with the internal company procedures and deadlines that were already confirmed.

Now it should be straight-forward to set a schedule for communication campaigns and events and assign staff to cover these. It’s time to look forward to rolling out your program; Part 3 of this series will offer some great pointers for that stage of your university recruiting program.

Related Reads:

Back to School: Fill Your Early-Talent Pipeline by Optimizing Your University Recruiting Strategy (Part 1 of 3)

Back to School: Fill Your Early-Talent Pipeline by Mastering Your University Recruiting Rollout (Part 3 of 3)