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

October 18, 2021
Author: ThinkWhy Staff

First you established a university recruiting strategy that would fulfill the needs of your company and of the students you plan to attract to your early talent pipeline. Next, you made a plan that took into account specific jobs, human resource procedures and selected university career centers to ensure all the elements would be in place and scheduled for a successful rollout. Now let’s cover some important tips that will make the difference in getting that talent successfully on board.

Will your university recruiting program get the attention and trust of your targeted students?

Rolling Out Your Program

These tips will add the magic touch when putting your program into action.

  1. Understand where your prospective candidates are and meet them there – on their phones. You will have undergraduates looking for internships, soon-to-be graduates seeking full-time positions and recent graduates visiting campus for career fairs who have more job-hunting experience. Make your communications mobile-first.

  2. Develop relationships and build trust with the school. Establish contact and work with the university career department and directly with the individual schools or departments that teach students the skills you need, if possible. For example, develop contacts in the engineering school if that is your focus.

  3. Build trust with students by being seen and heard around their school and career center. You can attain visibility at job fairs, in the student center, and perhaps as a sponsor for targeted competitive events such as a hackathon or even on the sports field. Never mislead interns about the facts of an internship or their chances of getting hired to a full-time position after an internship, because a breach of this trust will spread through the intern’s university network and sour any hard-earned trust. This is a long-term relationship.

  4. Communicate compellingly. Have great stories prepared about company stability or growth, career development and how your company takes care of its employees. If you can, invite a current young talent representative from your company to visit the campus with you and interact with students or to be available for online interaction.

  5. Make sure your job postings are carefully worded to be non-discriminatory. Taylor Franco, university and diversity recruiting director for Celanese, a chemical manufacturing and innovation company based in Irving, TX, advises including measurable criteria in job descriptions. For example, avoid requirements such as “excellent communication skills” and instead use “able to communicate with leadership and peers using conversation, written communication and presentations.”

  6. Follow up regularly with connected students. “Even if they have completed an application and have been accepted into your program, they are a flight risk until the day they walk through the door,” Franco emphasizes. Implement a mix of communication methods, such as monthly phone calls to just ask how they are doing, texts with status updates, social media posts encouraging interaction, and emails inviting them to Teams sessions for Q&A or interesting topics.

  7. Be flexible. If a student you have hired is about to graduate, be flexible with the start date and support that flexibility; it’s much better for them to take a two-week trip before starting work than to get frustrated and quit because they went directly from studying and testing to job onboarding.

Assessing Your Program

After you have a university hiring season, track how many students were hired from each university and for which roles. Also, track diversity details if that is part of your program. Keep in touch with those who joined full-time to offer encouragement and track their progress within your company.

Continue to follow up regularly with students who have worked as summer interns to help them accomplish their transition to full-time employees after graduation. In addition to helping the students and motivating more of them to follow through, keeping track of successful transitions will provide an additional measure of each university’s suitability within your hiring plan.

Once you have sufficient data, this will enable you to calculate the ROI on individual universities when deciding which make sense to keep on your list. If you retain students from a particular university but they seem to be lacking a foundational skill, if your company can manage it, work with the university to help them improve their program. This helps with the pipeline quality, builds trust with the school and fosters the long-term relationship.

Editor’s note: Celanese is a ThinkWhy customer.

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