A young man in a shirt and tie sits across from an interviewer and holds a piece of paper. College job fairs are an ideal way to meet potential employees. — Getty Images/SDI Productions

Colleges are great places to recruit top entry-level talent. Soon-to-be college graduates are looking for jobs and internships long before their graduation date. As they search, it’s important to know how to get their attention by forming strong relationships and having recruitment strategies on hand. Here are six tips for recruiting employees from colleges.

6 tips to recruit college graduates

Sign up for college job fairs

College job fairs happen throughout the school year and can capture the attention of a plethora of students looking to pad their resumes. Job fairs usually have multiple booths for college students to browse and communicate with companies and organizations. Entice students to your booth by talking about your company’s culture and the importance of a healthy work-life balance schedule within your company’s benefits.

Consider offering a giveaway or raffle with items that have your company logo on them so students will have your branding on hand. You can also get students’ contact details to send them information about your job offerings. In addition, these events will place your business in good standing with the school’s career services department.

[Read more: 6 Recruiting Strategies to Improve Your Talent Pipeline]

Consider hiring interns

It’s common for college students to look for internships before graduation, and many consider interning while they’re still in school. Internships are great options to have at your company because they can turn into full-time work for a graduate. This is beneficial because former interns will already know the ropes by the time they become full-time employees.

Internships can assist students in gaining constructive feedback, learning accountability and adjusting to the culture of your company before they make a commitment with your business long-term. Many interns are offered positions at the end of their internships, which promotes company culture by hiring internally.

[Read more: Recruiting Tech Tools for Building More Diverse Teams]

If students find themselves with incentive to recruit top talent, they’re more likely to recommend another student to your company.

Have an employee referral program in place

Having a referral program in place is beneficial for all parties involved. As college students graduate, parents and family members may be on the lookout to assist them with the job hunt. An employee referral program gives family members incentive to pass their recently graduated relatives onto your business. You gain an employee, and they gain a bonus from providing the reference.

Other students you hire or have as interns may have friends or classmates who could be potential candidates for your company. If students find themselves with incentive to recruit top talent, they’re more likely to recommend another student to your company.

Partner with campus career centers

Career centers are focused on assisting college students in finding internships and jobs based on their skill sets and majors. By partnering with campus career centers, you’ll receive major insight into the talent of the university or college and may even be promoted to the students. This partnership also allows for opportunities such as presentations, mock interviews and speaking engagements with students graduating in your company’s field.

[Read more: 5 Tips for Using Social Media to Recruit Employees]

Contact college organizations in your niche

To recruit students who will best fit with your company, be on the lookout for college organizations, clubs and societies that relate to your industry. Reach out to these organizations for networking opportunities and leaders’ recommendations of members who may be a match. You may also be able to come to meetings, community events or mixers within these organizations to make your name known and form relationships with potential candidates. This allows for face-to-face contact that will assist you in gaining trust and knowledge of the candidates that can best add to your company.

Attract younger candidates

To gain the appeal of younger graduates, you’ll have to cater your business to younger candidates accordingly. One of the best ways to reach this younger demographic is through the use of social media. LinkedIn and Twitter can point your business in the direction of potential candidates looking to be hired. However, email recruitment also works well to gain the attention of younger generations, including millennials and Gen Z. It helps to adopt a progressive approach to learning and expanding your company alongside these younger generations.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published March 31, 2021