5 Best Practices for Recruiting College Students

By Victoria Robertson on December 16, 2015

When recruiting college students, it’s best to set up a plan, and stick to that plan, throughout your recruitment efforts (both for now and for the future). The more prepared you are, the more successful your recruitment efforts will be.

That being said, here are the best practices for recruiting college students.

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1. Choose target schools.

When recruiting, the first part of the plan you will want to implement is what specific schools you want to target and recruit from. While this seems silly, as you could easily recruit from just about any accredited university in the nation, by pinpointing the specific schools you want to target, you can handpick the demographic you want.

What I mean is: you can choose a university based on your needs. If you are recruiting for a position in marketing based in Chicago, Illinois, it would make sense to begin recruitment efforts in and around the Chicago area (looking at schools like DePaul or University of Chicago) and then targeting the marketing majors within these universities.

However, you will also need to be careful when picking your target schools, as not everything is as meets the eye. Many recruiters will rely on top schools’ lists or other, online information that may not be totally accurate, and could mess up your targeting efforts.

So do your research carefully and thoroughly, and you’ll be sure to find the right university for your recruitment efforts.

2. Set your recruiting goals.

The next step in this plan is to set up your recruiting goals on the campus (or campuses) you’ve selected. How many students do you want to recruit? What quality of students are you looking for? How quickly do you want to get to these students? How long do you want to spend surveying the options? What are you expecting of the students you recruit?

There are endless questions to consider when setting your recruiting goals, and you need to be sure that you are considering all of them. More often than not, recruiting goals are set far too high, where they either exceed realistic abilities or aren’t well enough researched and end up being useless.

For instance, make sure that the amount of students you want to recruit doesn’t exceed the amount of students you can pick from. You want to make sure that you do your research (following in line with tip number one) and ensure your recruitment goals don’t exceed reality. Fit the goals for your needs (and double-check that this is an attainable goal) and you’ll be just fine.

3. Make a relationship with the campus.

Before you’re going to be able to effectively recruit from a given university, you’re going to need to form some type of professional relationship with the university, not only increasing your credibility on campus, but also potentially increasing your outreach.

The best way to do this is to first begin posting on job boards, talking with academic advisors, etc. The more actively you are on campus, letting students know about the opportunity at hand, the better. Recruiters should also be involved in any career fairs and other similar opportunities, if not just to let students know that you’ll be hiring later in the year.

But while it’s definitely important to work for a relationship with the campus, you’ll also want to maintain that relationship, rather than moving in and out as your recruitment needs require. Always be active in the campus community, where and whenever possible. The more involved you are, the stronger your relationship will be.

4. Offer internships.

If your main recruitment goal is to hire full-time students upon graduation, it would make sense to begin your recruitment efforts with underclassmen through internship opportunities. This way, you’re not only helping your recruitment efforts by spreading the word about future opportunities, but you’re learning first-hand what the students at this university are capable of, and potentially finding good fits for later on.

You’re not only going to be able to gauge the rest of the student population, but you might just find someone that’s a good fit and will be useful to you later on in the hiring process. Feeding your hiring process through internships is a great way to establish a relationship, build loyalty and expand your recruitment efforts beyond the normal means.

5. Communication is key.

The relationship with the schools is important, but the relationship with students should be your top priority, at all times. Be in constant communication with the student body — whether it’s letting them know their status for a position, letting them know how to apply or what’s required of them, or simply letting them know that there’s an opportunity available to them.

The more informed the student body, the more likely you are to have successful recruitment efforts. So don’t let the communication slip, always make this a top priority, and when in doubt, keep the students in the loop.

There are tons of recruitment methods to implement in your outreach, but these are a few ways to help you get organized and plan for your future recruitment efforts. So good luck!

By Victoria Robertson

Uloop Writer
University of Illinois
Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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