Campus Recruiting: Building a Strong Business Case

by Jan Hughes

You know your organization should invest more in campus recruiting; you know it and many others agree. But translating that knowledge into a solid business case can be a challenge. Here are some ideas to help you along the way.

In the first post of this series I talked about clearly defining WHY campus recruiting is important to your organization. That’s a great first step in creating your business case: it shows alignment between the objectives of your organization and those of your campus recruiting program. The purpose of your business case is to provide further proof that campus recruiting can help meet organizational objectives.

Before going further, I’d like to call out one thing that does NOT belong in your business case: the warm and fuzzy stuff. Things like “it’s the right thing to do,” “to give students a leg up,” “because it’s good for the community,” etc. I’m not saying these aren’t valid reasons to invest in campus recruiting, but I do believe they can weaken your business case. Leave them out, and let those receiving your case add them in on their own.

You want your case to be fully focused on reasons that benefit your organization, and ideally on things that don’t diminish when competition or the economy poses challenges to your business.

Here’s a quick list of things you’ll want to consider and explain more fully in your campus recruiting business case:


  • The workforce is aging quickly (the first boomers turn 70 in 2016) so you need to become established as top choice among young recruits.

Shortage of qualified students

  • Despite an abundance of unemployed graduates, there is a shortage coming out of programs coveted by many employers. Posting a job may attract hundreds of applicants but it’s not going to persuade the best to want to work for you.


  • If your organization has any diversity challenges, make it a part of your campus recruiting mission to help fill the gaps. Diversity groups can be easily reached through campus channels.

Disruptive innovation

  • Nobody can be as fearless in their creativity as new young recruits with few preconceptions of how things should be done.


  • No one likes to hear that a competitor is better at something; and if they are, that means they’re attracting great talent that you can’t have.


  • We all know the world of work is changing and even “traditional” businesses have roles they didn’t before. Today’s students have learned to adapt to change more than any generation before them.


  • As time passes your organization will need new leaders. If you don’t build your own through development programs you’re going to have “buy” them later at a higher cost and possibly with a poorer fit to your organization.

There are certainly other reasons for why your organization should invest in student recruitment (high energy workers, team players and cost savings to name a few) but this list should prove a good start.

On a final note, once you’ve compiled all this “data” to support greater investment, you should research the stories and anecdotes that will bring it to life. What great ideas and changes have come from past campus hires to your organization? Which leaders got their start as new grads at your company? What benefits can managers tell you about that students or grads brought to the organization? Adding real-life examples will make your factual arguments more memorable and impactful.

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