Before school's in session, classes are out for the summer. Some businesses are taking a breather from the campus recruiting scene. However, smart companies are already ramping up their campus recruiting strategy for the fall — if they even took a break in the first place. So, what can organizations do to prepare for a successful series of hiring for the school year?
Continue building a talent pipeline.
Creative organizations are not focusing solely on the graduating class. Instead, they are looking at the classes succeeding. Are you examining the efficacy of your internship programs in identifying quality candidates before they start looking for full-time employment? Have you talked with the faculty who teach core courses about their high-performing students? Are you also paying attention to and establishing relationships with sophomores and juniors who attend job fairs? Do you offer scholarships to high school graduates, and are you building a database of promising future stars?
Improve your anticipatory socialization.
Anticipatory socialization occurs before new hires become part of the organization. Potential employees get a sense of what the organization is like through interaction with company representatives, the company website, and other markers of the organization. Are you aware of how college students and other candidates view your company? What data is your business using when it comes to recruiting and candidate experience? Does it take longer for students to apply for the job than you spend reviewing the application? What is the bounce rate? At what point do candidates quit before completing the application? Do you know your Net Promoter Score? If you align your employment brand, candidate experience, and technology with the recruiting strategy, college students (as will all candidates) will be much more likely to want to work for your organization.
Workforce planning is your friend.
An April 2016 CareerBuilder college hiring report indicated that many college students are not ready for the rigors of the workplace. Employers stated there was too much emphasis on book learning instead of real-world learning (47 percent), as well as a shortage of workers with a blend of technical skills and skills gained from the liberal arts. Also, many employers felt recent college graduates lacked interpersonal or people skills (52 percent) or problem-solving skills (48 percent). Given these deficiencies, smart companies are either prioritizing those with the appropriate soft skills early on in the recruiting cycle or, conversely, ramping up their training and development efforts. If organizations can’t find the skills needed externally, they should consider hiring them and addressing it internally.
Closing the deal.
With rising retirements and improved opportunities for advancement, attention should turn toward what will make candidates say “yes.” As CareerBuilder’s college hiring outlook indicates, more than a third of employers will be offering higher starting salaries than the year before. Beyond salary and advancement, providing unique benefits may help your organization stand apart. Only a small percentage of companies are currently offering student loan repayment programs to help candidates reduce the debt they have accumulated to attend college. Similarly, with more millennials living at their parents’ home than in any other living arrangement, this might be an opportune time to provide company-sponsored housing as a way to set yourself apart from the competition.
Asking these questions and following these suggestions are the first steps to take as your prepare for the fall recruiting season.