Growing businesses often struggle to determine the target demographic of their hires: Old or young? From top-ranked universities or from local state colleges? Higher priority on significant past experience or attitude and willingness to learn? Someone who’s inexperienced and ready to be molded or someone with a boatload of experience? For many companies, a highly effective — and oft-underutilized — demographic is the most talented college grads. Although they require more training than older employees, the upfront investment is worth the payoff.
College graduates tend to be easier to find — they’re eagerly (and openly) looking for jobs. They’re also fresh out of learning about a particular discipline, they care about their careers, and they’re willing to work hard. Plus, they expect a lower money offer than more experienced candidates would.
Strategy to Get the Most Talented College Grads
Beyond onboarding, the challenge with new grads comes in the form of creating a robust hiring process — and convincing the most talented to join your business. With these seven steps, you can attract the strongest candidates to your company and increase your team’s energy, productivity, and efficiency.
1. Attend the career fairs of the best-fit programs near you.
No matter where your business is situated, there are universities in your vicinity. If you happen to be in a large city, you have more options. Even in a small town, there are students that qualify as the most talented college grads.
Many companies go after Ivy League students because of their reputation. While it’s true that a higher percentage of those students are likely to excel in a job, there’s also a lot more competition to hire them, including more established businesses with more money at their disposal. And the majority of Ivy League schools are clustered in one geographic region, putting those in other areas of the country at a distinct disadvantage.
However, there are plenty of strong students at schools near you, and if you can establish yourself at one or two, you’ll reap big rewards. Focusing on local universities makes it easier to recruit. Rather than travel to visit candidates or fly students in for interviews, you can take a short drive to career fairs and ask them to join you in the office.
Additionally, there are many strong students who are not as proactive about their career search because they are focused on having fun or simply are unsure where to start. Getting in front of them through university recruiting processes will allow you to find them — and give them an easy way to find you.
2. Recruit by leveraging young people.
Your company’s recruiters are critical. They have to be able to relate to the students they’re talking with. Otherwise, you stand little chance of capturing the attention of the most talented college grads.
That puts an emphasis on sending young employees to career fairs. It’s a bonus if they attended the particular university you’re sending them to — alumni can give students the lowdown on how their programs and skills will translate to the company’s work. They’ll better entice students and be able to share a valuable perspective.
3. Take advantage of LinkedIn.
Not every hire has to come to you. To find the most talented college grads, you also have to put in work.
You can use LinkedIn, and don’t be afraid of cold-emailing potentially strong candidates. They’ll appreciate the work they don’t have to do. It will also demonstrate that you care about hiring the best people, which is appealing to millennials.
4. Create a robust internship program.
Internship programs, effectively run, are extremely valuable. They bring in talent for a few months during the summer and create a path for full-time hires.
Although it takes work to set up such a program, there are likely employees at your company who would love an intern for the summer. A strong program will give your teams more force during the summer months. And because college students enjoy working with each other, you’ll have an easier time finding multiple students.
Internship programs give students a chance to test out your company and give you a chance to make a full-time offer to them early on, locking them in to save you both work down the road.
5. Carefully craft your messaging.
Millennials think differently. Their values, interests, and goals differ from older generations.
That means hiring university graduates requires unique messaging and approaches; you have to appeal to their desires. Therefore, you should showcase certain aspects of your company and add benefits that appeal specifically to them.
6. Reach out to professors, counselors, and deans.
Professors, counselors, and deans work directly with university students, helping them zone in on classes, career goals and the steps needed to get there.
That enables faculty members to influence students’ futures. At your target universities, you should locate the best faculty and administrators working with your target hires. Develop relationships with them, and signal that you’re looking for strong undergraduates.
If they believe in what you do, they’ll recommend your programs and jobs to their best students. This will send strong applicants your way on a consistent basis.
7. Establish a strong reputation.
Most importantly, working at your company has to be a good experience. You can attend career fairs, but if students have heard bad things about you or don’t believe in what you’re working toward, you’ll face an uphill battle in bringing them to your team.
This is the most challenging part of hiring because it’s so layered. It involves developing a healthy company culture, strong leadership, learning opportunities, fair salaries and more. Putting a focus on these things from the outset will make hiring much easier. You’ll have less convincing to do; the challenge will lie in finding people initially.
Plus, as you start internship programs and hire new grads, those who are enjoying themselves will spread the word. They’ll recruit younger friends to join them, and your hiring process will become self-sustaining.
Go Get the Most Talented College Grads
Hiring the most talented college grads doesn’t have to be elusive; it just takes some preparation and a willingness to step in new grads’ shoes.
7 Tips for Making Sure Your Company Claims the Most Talented College Grads was originally posted on Due.