Walking through the halls of your old high school or college can cause memories to come flooding back. And who doesn’t love a hit of nostalgia? But for companies, a campus visit is much more than a trip down memory lane — it's a strategic move to pull the best new talent into your organization.
Successful campus recruiting takes careful planning, research, and the willingness to think outside the box. As you navigate this process, you'll meet impressive candidates, gain valuable market insights, and build a valuable network of contacts that strengthen your long-term talent acquisition strategy.
Ready to tackle campus recruiting like a pro? Here's what you need to know to get started.
What is Campus Recruiting?
Campus recruiting is the process of hiring students directly from college or university campuses. Companies typically visit college campuses to recruit potential candidates who they think can be valuable additions to their organization.
Campus recruiting provides an opportunity for companies to access highly trained and experienced graduates, as well as those with specialized knowledge in certain areas such as engineering or finance.
The goal of campus recruiting is to identify and hire the best potential recruits who are up-to-date on current trends and technologies, as well as those who have already demonstrated their success in a university setting. Networking with students pursuing their Bachelors degree can build your talent pipeline for entry-level positions. Meanwhile, potential hires pursuing a Masters or PhD are often suited for higher-level roles within an organization.
The Benefits of Campus Recruitment
Connecting with fresh talent through campus recruitment is a great way for companies to tap into the potential of freshly trained and highly motivated individuals. Organizations that engage in campus recruitment often find it helps in a variety of ways:
- Employer Branding: A campus presence helps create visibility for your organization among top university students who may not otherwise be aware of potential opportunities with your company. It sends the signal your organization is interested in fresh talent, helps position your organization as an employer dedicated to professional development.
- Up-To-Date Skills: Employers on campus are networking with talent engaged in the most latest training for in-demand skills, from software development to communication and leadership. By investing resources into engaging in campus recruitment, employers can gain a competitive edge to stay ahead of their competition.
- Tailored Talent Pool: Job fairs at universities are often tied to specific programs, such as engineering or environmental sciences. Taking part in such events related to your organization’s needs gives you access to a group of potential hires deeply invested in what you need addressed.
- Cost Savings: Campus recruitment can be cost-effective by eliminating the need to advertise open roles or pay recruitment agency fees.
- University Relationship Building: Establishing a relationship with a school can help an organization’s long-term recruitment strategies. It helps companies establish a continuous talent pipeline for future hiring needs with the most recent training.
How Does Campus Recruitment Work?
Traditional campus recruitment involved companies sending representatives to colleges to meet with students and potential candidates. The process has expanded in the last few years to also encompass virtual talent recruitment. While the two pipelines have the same goals (hire great talent), they operate a little differently.
- In-person campus recruitment: Company recruiters travel to universities to organize meetings and events on campus. This allows potential candidates to learn more about the company, meet with representatives, and discuss job opportunities.
- Virtual talent recruitment: Virtual talent recruitment has become increasingly popular, because it helps companies to reach a larger pool of potential hires without having to physically visit each college or university. This approach includes using social media, university email newsletters, and job boards to attract students. It can also involve remote career fairs or corporate video interviews.
Five Engaging Campus Recruiting Strategies
Recruiting from a college is a lot like attending a university lecture: it goes a lot better if you prepare ahead of time. Here are several tactics you can use to develop a game plan that leverages campus recruiting to its full potential.
- Establish a Strong Relationship with Campus Career Counselors
Getting your company in front of college students and future job seekers is easier when you have a strong partnership with the university career department. By staying up to date on upcoming job fairs and events, you can improve visibility and establish a positive relationship with potential candidates. This not only helps attract top talent, it also enables you to tailor your outreach programs for interested college students.
- Attend Career Fairs
Career fairs are an effective way to connect with college students and graduates looking for job opportunities. While attending, you can hand out company information and promotional materials, answer questions about your company, and even schedule follow-up interviews. Interacting with potential candidates in person helps establish trust and credibility while providing valuable insights into the student talent pool.
- Keep a Strong On-Campus Presence
Attending events is great, but establishing an enduring presence on campus helps your organization stay top-of-mind for students exploring their career options. This requires deploying a variety of tactics, such as sponsoring on-campus mailings or relevant student organizations. Involving alumni currently employed at your organization can be a great way to help students visualize a career path and earn their trust. Companies can also send speakers to different universities to discuss topics such as job trends or industry news, which can provide great exposure for their organization.
- Connect With Professors
Professors often serve as great resources when recruiting for college positions. Encourage your recruiters to connect with professors and department heads who may be able to refer qualified candidates. You can also tap into the knowledge of faculty members by asking them about career trends, job requirements, and even what type of qualities they look for in their students. This intel can help ensure you’re targeting the right jobs and getting the best talent possible from the university.
- Develop an Internship Program
This takes campus recruiting to the next level, as it allows you to hire students before they hit the full-time workforce. Not only do internships provide students with invaluable work experience, but they also give employers the chance to assess potential hires before committing in a full-time capacity. When the pairing does work, it’s wonderful—many former summer hires often return as permanent employees after graduation.
Support Wellbeing to Attract Top Talent on Campus
Employee wellbeing is critical to today’s college-age talent. Over half of new and soon-to-be college graduates say they’d turn down a job offer from a company that doesn’t offer work-life balance. This sentiment is increasingly shared by workers through their career: people are more likely to select an employer offering work-life balance over a position with a higher salary, a study by Aviva found.
Including wellbeing programs in your benefit package makes your commitment to worker wellness clear. It provides on campus recruiters with evidence of your organization’s commitment to fostering work-life wellness, which can help you stand out in a crowded career fair.
Gympass gives your workforce access to thousands of fitness facilities and dozens of other wellness resources. Connect with a wellbeing specialist today for help setting up a wellness program that can strengthen any talent acquisition strategy!
- Aviva(2022, August 24). Work-life balance overtakes salary post-pandemic. Aviva Plc. https://www.aviva.com/newsroom/news-releases/2022/08/work-life-balance-overtakes-salary-post-pandemic/
- Monster. (n.d.). 2023 State of the Graduate Report. https://learnmore.monster.com/2023-state-of-the-graduate-report
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.