Attracting top talent is a priority for any company, and this often means getting the talent right at the source: straight out of college. Hiring fresh young talent is an important strategic way to secure innovative thinkers who will contribute greatly to a company. Collegefeed, a site dedicated to guiding recent grads through the process of preparing for a career and getting their first job, interviewed some 300 companies and found that 84 percent of them took college hiring to be important.

But attracting college talent is not always easy. In fact, a whopping 92 percent of companies admitted that they feel they have a “brand problem” when it comes to attracting recent college grads. Collegefeed also asked 9,000 college students and 6,000 recent college grads three questions: what companies they want to work for; what they look for when considering an employer; and how they find out about and get a first impression of the companies that are out there.

In response to the first question, 40 percent said they would like to work at Google, followed by 23 percent at Apple, and 15 percent at Facebook. Not surprising, since these brands are not only among the most well known and culturally popular in the world, but they also boast some of the coolest and best environments to work in.

Responding to the second question, 75 percent said they look for a good “people and culture fit,” while 70 percent said “career potential” was what they looked for, followed closely by “work/life balance.” The main takeaway here is that to attract college talent, companies must be able to effectively present the company culture and demonstrate the career growth potential within the company. Details about these aspects of a company’s operations will attract younger generations the most.

Finally, in response to the third question, the vast majority said they find out about and get a first impression about a company mainly through their friends, while approximately 40 percent said they found out on campus. This may come as a shock to most companies, especially since almost 100 percent of the companies polled by Collegefeed said they have an on-campus recruiting plan where they focus a great deal of their sourcing and branding efforts.

No wonder it’s difficult for companies to compete for college talent. Of course, not every grad gets a job at one of the most popular companies, where hiring is extremely competitive. So the potential is there to pose your company as a viable option for this generation of workers.

Whether you’re recruiting on-campus or not, remember these tips when formulating your college talent recruiting strategy.

  • Think young. Remember, the candidates you’re seeking are recent college grads – they’re in their early twenties, and they have perhaps idealistic views and expectations of the workplace. Keeping your audience at the top of your mind will help you put yourself in their shoes and determine how best to reach them and connect with them.
  • Show off your young talent. Let your younger recruits be front and center at recruiting events, and highlight their stories. They will relate with recent college grads better and will paint a more credible and accurate picture of what the company culture is like. Showcase your young talent on your social media platforms as well, maybe including a blog written by younger employees about their experiences at the company.
  • Go where they go. Don’t put all your eggs in the college-recruiting basket. Reach college grads where they spend most of their time – online. Make sure your website is easy to navigate, visually appealing, and mobile-friendly. Try to give it a younger feel by featuring images or information pertaining to your younger employees. Engage with them on social media by relating your content to trending information. You’d be surprised how much credibility you can build up with college grads if you cleverly connect your brand to a trending topic.
  • Give them a reason to care. Instead of focusing your efforts on what knick-knacks to give away at the campus job fair, think about how to connect with students on a deeper, more meaningful level. Connect with them over your mission and how they can expand their careers in your company. This doesn’t mean you should leave creativity behind – think of an appealing, informative, and impactful way to get the message across.

Do you have other tips for how to connect with the younger workforce? What strategies have worked for your company to attract college talent?

Adina Miron

1 Comment

  • Avatar Martin Jones says:

    In order to effectively communicate with college talent, HR should go mobile. There is no better way to communicate with students than through their mobile phones. You can use mobile technology for many types of recruiting communications and messages, including tweets, recruiting videos, social media connections, Instagram pictures, and text messages. It’s crucial to communicate with students using the channels that they prefer and not just the ones that you are comfortable with. If you don’t, you risk sending a message that your firm is behind the times.

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