When it comes to campus recruiting, one of the most knowledgeable professionals in the field is Joshua Tunison, National Sales Manager at College Recruiter. College Recruiter is the leading job search site used by students and recent graduates. We had a recent talk with Tunison, who was kind enough to share his knowledge and insight on campus recruiting.
Are you seeing any emerging trends for campus recruiting this fall?
- Most organizations have a need for applied tech skills but many recruiters have a poor understanding of what they really are and how to identify them. A candidate who is able to integrate people, processes, data and devices has applied tech skills.
- Organizations continue to compete for candidates with soft skills (communication, problem solving, analytical skills, critical thinking), which can be the difference between a short-term and long-term employee.
- In addition to skills-based hiring, recruiters will be looking closely for cultural fit within their organization, recognizing that they may have to invest in more skills training to get new employees up to speed.
- Finally, employers who have a mobile-friendly job application process will see an increase in applications.
What do students look for from employers during their campus recruitment experience?
We’re finding that students are becoming more focused on the impact of the organization—millennials want to know their work is adding to the public good or, in some way, making the world a little better. They want to know about your company’s corporate social responsibility activities and efforts. And they remain interested in work-life balance, flexibility, and of course, salary.
What are some of the challenges that college recruiters struggle with, in your opinion?
More employers today understand the importance of mobile recruiting, which is good for students. But they often don’t realize that they are not accurately tracking the effectiveness of their sources via mobile devices. Employers are also making stronger efforts to build their employer brand on social media, but not everyone does it right. These are definite areas where you should invest time and attention.
How should recruiters go about attracting more diverse students and grads for their programs?
Recruiters tend to think of the millennial generation as drastically different from “everyone else,” but they need to see each candidate as an individual. Any candidate may be a product of their generation, but each person brings a unique perspective and expectations that recruiters may not recognize.
Recruiters and hiring managers whose goal is to diversify their workplaces need to understand that increasing diversity takes an investment of time and resources. HR teams need to work with leadership to develop a real diversity recruitment and retention plan. If current efforts aren’t working, then the organization needs to dive deep and look at barriers to entry, for example, their sources, hiring biases that emerge in the job description, resume review or interview, and culture of inclusion. Also, it's not just about the term “diversity hiring” but “inclusion” being their goal.
Do you have any examples of innovative campus recruitment initiatives or practices that have been highly successful that you can share?
Penn Mutual sponsored a rugby championship. They started to attract talent instead of just recruiting.
CIA has succeeded in diversity recruiting by building a Signature Schools Program and by employing Agency officers as Campus Ambassadors.
Ernst & Young has invested in an Academic Resource Center that provides college faculty with practical and relevant materials that help prepare students for success in the field of public accounting.
Finally, what are some of the basic dos and don’ts for campus recruiters?
What’s most important for your onsite presence and follow-up is candidate engagement. If a recruiter connects with job seekers and makes them feel like they are a real human being, it helps with retention. If an individual feels like they’re just lost in ATS cyberspace, they'll become disengaged and that has a real impact on their decision to keep pursuing the company's role.
- DO respect the candidate.
- DON'T just tell them to apply online without any additional tips or connection.
- DO be aware of biases in the hiring process (in the job description, ATS algorithm, interview questions) and work with your organization to reduce bias.
- DO stay engaged throughout the process; even if the candidate is not the right fit for this position, he or she may be the best person for a position coming up.