Hiring and Recruiting College Students
by Roxanne Ebbers
College and university students are an important source of entry level professional and technical employees. It is important to research local schools in the area that are offering the fields of studies to which you might recruit future employees and actively build continuing relationships with the faculty members and career staff in those schools. Colleges and universities welcome local employers with open arms and are always happy to have their involvement. Reach out to these schools and discuss ways that your company can become more involved, either through offering to be guest speakers at certain events, attending career fairs, or taking part in a tour of the campus. Skill specific events such as guest speaking and career fairs usually offer more satisfactory prospects. Such career fairs aid in targeting graduates who have very recently starting their employment search, but may have not put their resume on the internet yet. Maintaining a strong presence with local schools increase contacts for an employer and because of that, these employers are more likely to see more positive graduate recruiting results.
Employers are discovering that attracting recent graduates are becoming increasingly difficult and competitive in today’s market, especially recruiting those talented individuals within the Design and Engineering fields. Graduates are in these fields are realizing more and more that they are crucial to the labor force and because of that, they are becoming more interested in a more interactive recruitment experience, in which they receive extensive information about the workplace and are interested in discussing all of their options, benefits, and career advancement opportunities. They seek employers who not only provide excellent opportunities for their employees, but who also impact the community in which they live. Since these are important positions in an increasingly competitive market, employers that have the most success in college student recruitment, create strategies to attract talent coming out of college. Companies who are able to present these opportunities have a distinct advantage when it comes to hiring recent graduates.
In addition to creative effective strategies to attract talent coming out of college, it is important to ensure that you are attracting and hiring the right talent for the position, team, and company. Ensure that the candidates are going to be a long term fit for the department as well as the culture of the company. For many employers, a desirable grade point average is a key qualification in the evaluation process. A GPA reflects a student’s motivation and that could be an indicator of the performance level that would be brought by the graduate to the company. Although a student’s grades do provide insight into their motivation, they do not provide insight into the individual’s personality traits. If you are looking to secure this individual long term, it is important to investigate and understand their work habits, how they work under pressure, their ability to work independently or with a team, how self- motivated they really are, how their personality would fit with the department, and how valuable they would be to the company both short term and long term. Only so much of this can be unveiled during an interview. Because of this, companies are becoming more creative and thorough in their hiring process. Some companies have graduates shadow the existing team for a set amount of time, others request the graduate have lunches or coffee with members of the team, and some even have the graduate work on a contractual basis in that they work on a probationary period to ensure they are the right fit before hiring the individual permanently. This is a more cost effective option if there is uncertainty in the graduate being a perfect fit. Companies will turn to staffing agencies, like M Force, to payroll the individual during this probationary timeframe so that they are not having to afford all of the onboarding costs (Insurance, workers comp liability, etc.) in the event this individual does not work out long term. During this contractual partnership, a company is able to determine if the individual is perfect for the position, team, and company before fully investing and committing to the candidate long term.