Each year, the country’s top employers receive mountains of resumes from recent college graduates. With an average of 4 million students graduating each year, a virtual avalanche of digital resumes can make their way to employers of all sizes and sectors. How do you wade through your inbox to find the most talented new graduates hidden among all the other entry-level applicants? First, you learn from the best, and the best don’t wait for the right candidates to come to them each June. Instead, they develop new graduate recruitment strategies to engage them well ahead of graduation.
Successful employers meet the strongest, most sought-after candidates where they are: on social media, on campus, and in the market for internships before graduation. The following five steps can help strengthen your recruitment strategy, improving your chances of hiring the best new graduates available.
1. Use Social Media
Most employers routinely scour candidates’ social media accounts as part of their screening process. But an increasing number use social media platforms to engage with undergraduates. Social media is an effective, efficient, and inexpensive way to further your company’s new graduate recruitment efforts.
Consider hosting virtual events, joining industry groups, and posting informative career-focused videos. Highlight new accomplishments, explain how your product is made, and respond to comments and direct messages in a polished, professional, but enthusiastic tone that reflects your workplace culture.
Be strategic. Don’t try to do everything at once. Instead, ask your younger employees how they learned about your company and what prompted them to apply and how you can strengthen your social media efforts.
2. Collaborate With College Career Centers
One of the best ways to strengthen your new graduate recruitment process is to develop relationships with universities and colleges. Use sources like the National Center for Education Statistics to determine which institutions have strong programs in your field, and then reach out to their career centers. You may also choose to sponsor campus events, have top executives speak on campus, and attend campus career fairs.
Forming relationships with administrators and faculty will encourage them to recommend their top graduating students to you. Working with career centers or academic programs to set up internships can help create a pipeline of motivated students who just might end up being top performers down the line.
3. Emphasize Your Company Values
Gen Z is the most ethnically diverse generation yet, and this includes college graduates. Research points toward Gen Z being more values-focused than previous generations. But this doesn’t mean that they all have the same values. For some graduates work-life balance will outweigh sustainability; for others, a workplace that offers ample opportunity for community engagement may be more appealing than a few extra dollars a week in their paycheck.
The trick is to be authentic and communicate the values that matter to your organization. Don’t try to pander to theirs. Today’s graduates are savvy, and one thing they won’t find appealing is inauthenticity. Instead, use social media platforms to highlight what makes your company special with creative stories about community service projects or sustainability initiatives.
4. Promote Your Professional Development Initiatives
Attract ambitious candidates by showcasing your professional development initiatives in your job descriptions, on your career site, at new graduate recruiting events, and during the hiring process. For example, you may want to highlight your mentorship programs, internal training programs, professional development stipends, and your clear and equitable employee promotion process.
5. Develop a Fellowship Program
Only a small percentage of graduates currently opt for fellowships or similar short-term employment options during the first six months after graduation. However, evidence suggests more young workers would do so if more were available. Make your new graduate recruitment offering stand out by creating paid fellowship programs.
Offering paid post-graduate internships or fellowships allows employers to get a better sense of which new hires will work out in the long term. Without much of a work record, it’s hard to make permanent hiring decisions based almost entirely on new graduates’ potential as evidenced by a one-page resume and a couple of interviews. For just-graduating job applicants, it can be stressful to make a long-term commitment during one of the most drastic periods of transition they will ever face. A limited work commitment leaves them—and you—with multiple options.
If things go well during the trial period, they can accept a permanent offer from you. Many talented temporary hires will opt to go to graduate school, but that’s okay too. If they have a good experience, they’re likely to return to you when they complete their studies, more credentialed than they were before.
Get the Tools You Need to Develop a Successful New Graduate Recruitment Process
Today’s graduates are entering a quickly shifting job market, one that will make it harder than ever for employers to find and attract the right candidates for the right opportunities. Monster’s New Grad Hiring Guide can help you recruit top talent.