Campus Recruiting: Growing Leaders or Filling Seats?

by Jan Hughes

Start with “why.”  

The first step in developing your strategic campus recruiting program is to understand why you’re doing it. This may seem obvious, but the reality is that many organizations are simply not clear on this. Starting with why – the ultimate purpose of your campus efforts – is a crucial first step to achieving focus and sorting priorities.

What is your intent?

Going on campus should be about more than just hiring top talent. At one end of the spectrum, you may take a very strategic approach to finding and filling your future talent pool, and at the other it may be about building community relations or simply getting work done. It is important to have an understanding of where your organization falls on this continuum between those extremes. This will affect everything else about the business case you want to build for your campus recruiting program, the schools you want to target your efforts on, and the profile of candidates you want to attract.

What is your mission?

Is the purpose of your program…
• To fill seats?
• Meet future workforce needs?
• “Breed your own” talent supply?
• Invigorate your organization with fresh thinking?

Whatever your reason, establishing the mission of your campus recruiting program for your organization is critically important. Further, aligning that mission to your overall corporate mission will go a long way to support your business case.

Campus recruiting case study

A few years ago I worked on a project for an organization with very large hiring needs. Their main offering was an internship program that brought in about 250 students every semester in the technology sector. These students received a lot of training and contributed plenty of work effort, but they were never hired back nor viewed as a future talent source. Meanwhile, senior management saw campus recruitment as a means to build future leaders for the organization. It was clear that there was a disconnection between the organization’s campus recruiting mission and what was taking place. Effectively what they were doing was training people and sending them off for someone else to hire: training the competition.

Determining your ‘why’ should be the first step of engaging key stakeholders in creating a strategic campus recruitment plan. Stay tuned for the next post about uncovering your greatest assets and weakest links through a campus recruiting audit.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to blog about the process behind building a truly strategic campus recruiting program. I hope this series of posts will encourage you to take a second look at what you’re doing for your own organization and help you maximize the potential of your campus recruiting program to achieve greater success. To learn about new posts as they’re published follow us on Twitter @DayConnect.