How To Recruit Top College Student Talent

By Gretchen Kernbach on May 28, 2016

What is the problem with wanting the best of the best employees for your company?

The problem, most job recruiters fail to notice, is that other companies want them too. The trick to employing top college talent is accessing the right resources and becoming more involved. In addition, keep in mind that prospective employees want something out of you too. Recruiters have most of the power, but not all of it.

Utilize technology.

The most obvious way to attract more potential employees is to embrace technology. More people today than ever access their information through some medium of technology. This means placing an ad in the employment section of the newspaper will not have the same turnout as it did 50 years ago. On a side note, towards smaller businesses, a “help wanted” sign in the store window will not do you any good either.

According to, “Carl Schlotman, bestselling author of Cash in Your Diploma, believes the best chance employers have of attracting today’s leading talent is to connect with them on their level — through the technology and social platforms that they use in their daily lives.”

Online advertisements accessed through a computer or smart phone are the most popular forms of job promoting companies today, too. This means a presence needs to be made on online professional sites and social media — for example: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

According to, “College students spend two to four hours daily on sites like Facebook and Twitter. If you can target them based on specific interests, who they follow, and what they are searching for or talking about, real-time engagement can be quite powerful.” You are recruiting college students, so keep in mind that they will be present on most, if not all, of these platforms.

In addition, college students want fast and easy. Therefore, make sure your sites are easy to access and navigate around. If the online application process (and you should have this option) is too extensive and confusing, college students will quickly lose interest.

According to, “A complicated, multiple-page application form isn’t going to cut it anymore. For Millennials (and anyone else, really), the process should be easy and frictionless. In addition, you can’t always wait for students to come to you. After connecting with a student at a career fair or online, it’s important to go back to them and encourage them to apply when they are ready.”

Get on campus.

Besides making a strong presence online, you need to make your company well known on campus. This means associating with clubs and taking part in recruitment fairs. Students use these resources more than you think.

Heidi Newiger (University and Diversity Programs Manager of AppDynamics) stated, according to, “Make friends with the right organizations. For AppDynamics, the best students are the ones who love to code, and do so in their free time. See what kind of clubs the university has, such as ‘Women in Computer Science,’ ‘Hackers at [School Name],’ ‘Association for Computing Machinery,’ etc., and see if you can recruit from there.”

Making connections like so introduce your brand early on to students and keep them close throughout their time in the club, and hopefully throughout their four years as well. Campus recruitment continues on through job fairs put on by the school.

These days being present at college fairs is simply not good enough. You have to make yourself known. After all, what is the point of setting up a booth and giving up your time if only three students stop by? The key is to promote your presence weeks, even months, in advance. This brings us back to the technology aspect of recruiting. Promote your attendance at all your recruitment fairs through social media. It is important that you just do not rely on the college to advertise.

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According to, Glen Loveland (HR Manager of China Central Television) stated, “If you are looking to recruit international students, utilize social media platforms that they use. For example, Line is huge in Japan and WeChat is the market leader for China. Try to meet people on their terms so they understand that you ‘get them.’”

Offer internships.

Another tactic in recruiting top college talent is to offer internships ahead of time before such students graduate. As standards have risen over the past decade, young adults are jumping on any chance they have of enhancing their resume.

Internships allow prospective workers to really get a feel for the job and see what it is actually like every day. And remember, everyone talks, so someone who had a great experience temporarily working for you will spread the word to their peers.

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Through technology, campus involvement, and internship opportunities, recruiting top college talent does not have to be so difficult as it seems. Keep in mind that other companies are doing the same, so it is important to stand out.

A strong presence is what will attract prospective employees, and in the pool of applicants there will be your ‘top’ college talent.

By Gretchen Kernbach

Uloop Writer
Virginia Tech

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