By John Bevell, Director, Business Development and Employer Relations, Career and Professional Development Services, ASU
University students today are talented, smart and tech savvy. They are also entering one of the best jobs markets in recent memory, so competition for talent is real.
I speak with corporate university recruiters every day, and while every organization is different, the most successful share two commonalities when recruiting university students: quantity and quality.
Quantity of jobs and internships available to students
At Arizona State University we have over 18,000 distinct organizations that actively recruit Sun Devils. This means that one job or internship posting could potentially be competing with thousands of others. The competition gets stiffer if the job post was written by someone in human resources and reads like a laundry list of prerequisite skills and qualifications (as a side note, if a job description was boring to write then it will be boring to read). Essentially, recruiters are competing for attention – getting more students to read their job descriptions and apply. This is a game of numbers.
The organizations that succeed in recruiting ASU students post a minimum of 50 jobs/internships per year
In a sense, success comes down to how much a company’s brand is seen. “But, John, I’m recruiting for an organization with less than 1,000 total employees. We don’t even have 50 openings in a year.” Good point. I can’t argue there. Large organizations have an advantage in winning the war on posting opportunities. However, most of them don’t leverage this advantage.
Quality of on-campus engagements
Stop hosting dull information sessions. Stop. Students are more tech savvy than ever. This means that a recruiter who prepares a slide deck highlighting “a day-in-the-life while working at fill in the blank,” is likely to be disappointed by low attendance or lackluster engagement. (The same recruiter will also likely share their presentation with career services staff. Now, I’ll never pass up an opportunity to learn, but I’m not the targeted audience.)
Successful organizations send recruiters that are informed about multiple parts of the company and create in-person experiences on campus that tell a story. Technology is increasing at a rate faster than the human capacity to adapt. This means that every company has an interesting story to share. Students want to understand the culture of a potential employer, how they solve problems, how they handle failure and how they invest in the learning and development of their employees. Through sharing problems, solutions, failures and successes, students gain insight into company culture that they can’t get from a YouTube video or corporate human resources website – and that value is exactly what will bring them to your information session.
Successful companies do two things when recruiting on campus, and they do them really well: Post tons of jobs and internships, and engage on campus early and often.