Are You Rolling The Dice With College Recruiting?

This is probably the ideal location for me to go on some rant about how great “The Hangover” was this summer, but I’ll do my best to refrain – no guarantees. What I really want to touch on is how your college recruiting program can look a lot like the tables in Vegas. I’m inclined to write about this because: A. I just came back from a trip to Sin City in the last few weeks, where I surprisingly did a minute amount of gambling and B. College Recruiting has begun anew for the 09-10 school year. So, bonus points for me and my circular relevancy.

Vegas Baby! or Maybe State U!

Vegas Baby! or Maybe State U!

So here’s how a great deal of college recruiting goes: Company signs up for fair. Company goes to fair, yaks up company, collects resumes. Company holds PowerPoint slide show, branding extravaganza (Also known as Information Session).Company parses through resumes, and selects on-campus interviews. Company selects 2nd round (maybe 3rd round, as well) interviews. Company makes offer, student accepts (some decline). Company hires candidate.

What has the company gotten? Well, potentially a dud. Maybe someone who does not work out, who perhaps interviewed well. But potentially they get a rock star, a motivated, and successful hire. Hopefully more of the latter, but all of those people have a common trait. They came to the company – all of them. Not Vice Versa. So I liken this to gambling because you aren’t you really playing the odds every time you go through the process like this? Wouldn’t you be better served going after more students aggressively? Certainly, there is still going to be a cross-section of candidates who came to you, but why not reduce the need for relying on chance?

Equate this to another scenario: Plan and pay for Vegas trip. Get to Vegas, yak up dealers, friends, and anyone willing to listen. Spend money to play cards, dice or vice of choice. Spend more money if you lose. Potentially come home with a bit more cash or much less than you went with. Same Same.

There are many things that a company can do in order to make their brand better known, and to reach students before they even hit a job fair, and to be on the top of their mind.

  • Career Services gets a bad rap as a place where you don’t get much accomplished in trying to get connected to academia, or getting directly to students. And really, that’s not the primary function of their job at all universities. But if they are used correctly, as more of a conduit, than the end game. They can provide you with information about student groups, and groups, clubs or societies that are part of a major/school. They can provide information for you, and generally are happy to do so, if you are not walking in there and asking for a list of students that “are looking for jobs”.
  • You can contact many of the groups etc. and find out when they have events that you can sponsor. This might be a dinner, or awards event, or even guest speaker. These students are happy to help. The money they may or may not get donated helps. But hey, this is college recruiting, and it takes money to make money, right? They are also going to help you with finding out about small-scale fairs for students in their disciplines. These typically have fewer, but more targeted attendees.
  • You must kill the information session. In fact, it’s already dead, so you’ve saved time. Whatever is going to be provided in the “branding extravaganza” they can get in 15 minutes online, and…they like it that way. In this regard, faculty can be helpful. They want to get exposure for their students. Their students getting jobs is good business for them. But you’ve got to have something compelling to go in with that isn’t a “Rah-Rah” speech. If you can get candidates interested in your industry, you can get them interested in you. Remember that, and you’ll have some interesting stuff to deliver to them.
  • Finally, and most importantly, you have to stick to what you say you’ll do. There’s a big reason most students are mistrusting of the current process as it stands – many in our profession don’t keep their word. When we say that we want to stay in touch with them through the year (maybe they are a junior who already has an internship, or a sophomore we cannot use just yet) we need to do so. When we say that we’ll be contacting candidates back in 2-3 weeks, we need to do so. Or at the very least, let them know that you’ll be contacting back students who were selected, by “x” date. At least they know, that if “x” date comes and there is no word from you, then they have their answer.

Now, I will say that there are exceptions to these rules – we all know that there are certain……let’s call them Big Boys, who can just show up, and people will flock, they have all the connections they need at the school to get the best 5-10 candidates from each discipline (again, money helps A LOT with these issues). And they can just play the same old notes and get what they need, what with all their cool t-shirts and all (They actually are quite witty, to be frank). But let’s face it, we’re not all companies the size of a 3rd world country, and aren’t all afforded that luxury.

So, are you going to be the active hunter, trying to seek out the people you want at your company, or do you want to roll the dice, and see if your number eventually comes up?

PS – I couldn’t resist. The Hangover WAS a great movie. I’m sure many a bachelor party was scratched due to it’s release, and many a reminiscent moment was had around the country. Go see it, or get it on that Netflix queue.

Don't build relationships and networks, and it's all a gamble.

Don't build relationships and networks, and it's all a gamble.


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