How to build a good campus recruitment team

Campus recruitment continues to be one of the most lucrative hiring avenues for organisations across the globe. College campuses are where all the budding talents with diverse skills thrive. Considering that quality talent is scarce and enormous challenges abound in lateral hiring, campus hiring is an attractive and worthwhile option for organisations. Companies visiting chosen campuses connect with and hire fresh talent through varied options such as ambassadors, interns, scholarships, or direct hiring.

Fresh talent brings innovative thinking to the table through varied skills, knowledge, and a fresh approach. Gen Z is also highly tech-savvy, quick to grasp new technologies, and ready to help others. The compensation package of freshers is lesser than that of experienced professionals. Also, it is easier for companies to mould these young recruits as they are more open to change. More importantly, they are more likely to stay longer, provided they are convinced about the organisational vision, culture, and growth opportunities which translates into an better retention rate.

How to build a good campus recruitment team

Traditionally, organisations visited campuses annually to assess and pick up the top graduates. The campus placement percentage, the profile of the companies visiting for campus placement, and the minimum campus compensation packages are benchmarks that students use to shortlist their colleges. Thus, campus placements have three interactive components — companies, colleges, and students, each of which is crucial. Also, being on the top list of eminent colleges is good for employer branding.

The traditional campus recruitment mode had a mild setback during the pandemic. However, it bounced back with remote hiring tools that proved more successful than people had anticipated. The only hitch — campus recruitment has moved away from the traditional off-campus formulae to more evolved and efficient processes which need fresh perspectives.

The right time for campus recruitment is now all through the year as campus engagement has become a continuous activity. However, there are now many challenges that further complicate campus placement, such as:

  • Volumes are higher
  • Most resumes look similar
  • Candidate expectations keep changing
  • Shrinking budgets
  • Ensuring great candidate experiences.

Talent acquisition teams must reimagine campus recruitment starting with a robust yet flexible strategy.

An effective strategy that works through the year must be in place for organisations to succeed in campus recruitment. It is not a one-time activity like many think it to be, as campus engagement has to be a continuous process. It all comes down to a good campus recruitment team that must be aligned with the strategy and be able to implement it efficiently.

How can organisations put together this winning campus recruitment team? Here are a few tips you can use.

  1. Assess the team against the strategy

Once the strategy is in place, you must assess the team against it. This assessment will help the organisations decide on various aspects, such as:

  • Size of the team
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Budget to achieve the set goals
  • Any specific constraints

Depending on the budget, you can decide the team size. The next step is to match the team members and their capabilities to the planned activities.

Let us understand the various roles campus recruiters have to play.

  • Research: The first step is identifying the campuses to visit based on the specific requirements. This research will involve studying the campus trends, the curriculum and its relevance, the compensation trends, the location, the quality of the intake, etc.
  • Sales and marketing: The next step is to reach out, convince the college authorities about your employer brand, and create a strong presence using relevant avenues to attract the audience.
  • Event management: Once an agreement is in place with the chosen campuses, it is a rollercoaster ride of various events across the year. Campus recruiters can opt for student ambassadors and interns, offline events such as hackathons, webinars and other online sessions, career fairs, etc. There has to be a constant buzz around happenings that must establish your brand presence strongly.
  • Recruitment: The actual recruitment process may happen only once a year. However, campus recruiters need to innovate the process to suit the changing expectations of Gen Z, like making it more appealing and fast, adopting gamification, etc. Considering companies roll out offers one semester in advance, resume screening, filtering, interviews, and constant post-offer engagement till they join.
  • Career coach: Campus recruiters must always be prepared to play the role of a career coach to the extent that when students have doubts about organisational culture, growth opportunities and possible career paths, they should help students understand their strengths and limitations based on hiring insights, etc. One’s first job is a big career decision, and students naturally want assurance that they are making the right choice.
  • Brand ambassador: Every employee is a brand ambassador, and campus recruiters, perhaps slightly more so! They are being watched and heard as conveyors of the brand message — they represent the employer brand in totality and cannot afford to slip up at any stage.

Can one member assume multiple responsibilities, perhaps with some upskilling, or do you need to hire some specialists for specific activities? An assessment will bring forth answers to these concerns.

  1. Fill talent gaps in the team: After assessing the gap, if required, you can recruit appropriate team members to complete the team. Campus recruitment is a different ball game and may not suit every recruiter. The team has to function proactively to make a mark and stay ahead. Explore internal and external recruiting to fill gaps identified in the first step, if any. Use employee referrals, or look for former graduates from the target colleges to fill the gaps, as that can make the job easier. One effective way would be to employ student ambassadors, interns, etc., for initial study and engagement with proper guidance and monitoring. They could well be your future recruiters. You could also reskill members to take on diverse roles to ensure multitasking efficiency.

still-life-business-roles-with-various-puzzle-pieces (1)

If the budget permits, you could also hire campus recruitment specialists for partial outsourcing of activities based on your internal competencies. For example, you could approach specialists for research, preparing strategy, campus engagement, or actual hiring process, or only for interviews, etc. You may even consider complete outsourcing after doing a thorough cost-benefit analysis. It is a myth that recruitment outsourcing will cost you more. By choosing to go with credible campus recruitment specialists like HirePro, you could gain much more and be cost-effective. As professionals, they have the right technology solutions and industry expertise to ensure success. Such a partner could be your external team member to complement your inhouse team.

  1. Conduct training sessions: Once the team is ready, you must conduct awareness training about campus life, Gen Z’s expectations, dealing with academia, etc. This training is essential to ensure smooth campus recruitment. Training should equip the team to keep track of changing campus trends to ensure the strategy gets fine-tuned every year. Even if you have tied up with an external agency, it is essential to have a sitting with them to understand their competencies and for them to understand your culture, values, etc., and set the expectations right. Evaluate their expertise to ensure that they can implement your strategy and achieve the desired goals while remaining aligned with your company’s goals. Additionally, the training sessions should touch upon documentation, using technology effectively, etc., to ensure you can use the know-how gained for analysis and actionable insights for the future.

The insights are crucial, and the team must learn to track and monitor some metrics that can help them become more effective. For example, mapping diversity goals, understanding which event got the maximum conversion rate, figuring out whether the intern-to-permanent route is a more cost-effective strategy, etc. A good campus recruitment team must leverage every resource to deliver better value to the organisation. They should also be able to equally present the case of the students to the management internally.

Cheerful business coach explaining strategy

  1. Ensure the team has a senior person: The presence of one high-ranked individual on the campus recruitment team is essential. This person needs to be involved in the process, from the planning to the final onboarding. Either someone from the talent acquisition function or the management can take up this position. The idea is to make this person’s presence felt throughout the process. The person must inspire confidence in the company and drive campus relationships. This person can ensure that the messaging is correct at all stages so that the college authorities and students connect to the employer brand.

Building a good campus recruitment team is like solving a puzzle whose complex pieces can prove challenging. It is not tough if you understand what it takes, identify the individual puzzle pieces for what they are and place them perfectly. Work at it with a focused effort and you will make it happen!