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Engaging new graduates

Are you looking to hire the best and the brightest students out there? Do you sometimes feel lost in a sea of booths at a career fair and wonder if you’ll really get noticed?

December 9, 2014  By Laurie Cooper

While career fairs still, and will likely always, play a key role in student recruitment, the key to a successful campus recruitment strategy is often a multi-pronged one.

A hot topic, but not necessarily the most widely-used strategy (yet), is social media.  LinkedIn, YouTube, company blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (and much more) are all ways in which students stay connected. Social media is one of the most current and fastest growing methods to reach students.

Depending on the organization, some are able to execute on a social strategy quickly. However, many have protocol to wade through prior to being able to truly embrace it. If this is you, know that you’re not alone! Social media encompasses a lot and it may make sense for a company to focus on one or two areas and do them well versus attempting to do it all. When employing a social media campaign, it is also important to remember that creativity goes a long way. For example, holding contests for grad positions where potential candidates have to create their own Twitter or Facebook campaign as part of the selection process.

Relationship recruitment should also be a key component of your strategy. It involves building direct, more meaningful relationships with students, career offices, and professors through various methods such as: small and interactive information sessions, panel discussions, social settings (i.e. barbecues), focus groups and special events.


While students may initially be introduced to you through Twitter or job postings, they will get to know you, and better yet, get a sense that you care.  

There is a multiplicity of other options that can be considered when planning your campus recruitment strategy. These include: a high calibre student employment website, mobile recruitment (e.g., using QR codes and ensuring your career site is mobile enabled), radio advertising, online chat sessions, virtual recruitment fairs, campus ambassador programs and rotational/graduate programs that provide feelings of camaraderie, importance and support.

But with so many strategies available, how do you choose? First and foremost, know your business. What are the short, mid and long term goals of the organization and how can your recruitment program support you in reaching these goals? It’s also imperative to have a sense of the competitive landscape and how other companies are engaging with students. What opportunities are you missing out on and how can you stand out from the rest?  Become a subject matter expert by staying on top of the latest tools and trends. Last but definitely not least, develop key performance indicators (KPIs). Measuring your results will be critical for reporting back to the business and for continued improvement. Understand these results and make required changes. 

Laurie Cooper is practice leader, recruitment solutions and human resources at HirePower (www.hirepower.ca)

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