How to Recruit College Grads for Your Small Business

December 7, 2016 Pete Jansons

writing job fair on blackboard

Small business owners looking for enthusiastic, highly trainable employees might want to expand their efforts to recruit new college grads. Your company may be just the environment they crave – a place to develop their talents and make an immediate impact — but first these young workers need to know that you exist. Get your name in front of this new crop of talent and stand out from competitors using these tips:

Hang where they hang

Send staff members who truly love to talk about your small business to collegiate job fairs. These brand ambassadors will engage participants and leave them excited about the prospect of joining such a great place. For added exposure, consider running an ad in the campus newspaper a few days before the event briefly explaining who you are and welcoming interested candidates to stop by your booth.

Look for other ways to become visible, too, especially at targeted regional institutions. Offer to discuss topics relevant to your industry as a guest speaker in a class. Become a sponsor of a theatrical production, athletic team, or charity event. Judge an entrepreneurship competition. Participate in a mentoring program. Keep in regular contact not only with career counselors but also with division heads. They may be able to identify students within their department with the specific skills you desire and connect on your behalf.

And, of course, there’s social media. College students spend two to four hours daily on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, so developing a strong presence on a variety of platforms can be valuable. Rather than blatant self-promotion, however, look for interesting ways to grab attention and engage — eye-catching photos depicting company culture, genuine participation in conversations, or perhaps a fun contest. Encourage your small business employees (especially young ones) to get in on the action. Content coming from someone in your personal social circle or from a fellow member of your online college alumni group stands a better chance of being read.

Start an internship program

College students know that “real world” experience can be a great thing to put on a resume. While they’re getting a taste of the future, you’ll gain eager and educated part-time or summer help (paid, unpaid, or perhaps in exchange for college credit). You’ll also enjoy a first-hand glimpse of someone you might want to hire after graduation. Additionally, the intern is bound to mention your small business to fellow students, which can help you attract more interest.

Play up your strengths

Modern grads want to know all they can about a potential employer, so make the information they desire easy to find. A recruitment video is a great way to showcase your workplace culture, values, perks, and awesome staff. Put one front and center on your website, social media pages, and even job ads. Highlight features important to this generation, such as career development, a non-hierarchal structure, meaningful work, project ownership, and a flexible schedule.

Stay in touch

Finally, make a point of valuing every connection with a new grad. While the person may not be the right addition to your staff at the present time, he or she may be just the talent you’ll want down the line as both your small business and the candidate’s professional attributes grow. Maintaining contact keeps the door open.

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