How to Select the Best Colleges to Recruit From

By Madison White on May 25, 2017

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With over 2,000 universities in the United States alone, how do you know which colleges will provide the right employees for your company? Choosing which ones to recruit from isn’t an easy task. The perfect employee could be studying virtually anywhere. There are, however, a few tips and tricks to put you on the right path to choosing the right colleges.

From thinking about locations to field-specific majors, just a few main criteria can really help narrow down the options.

1. Look for affluent programs

The most obvious colleges to go after are ones with already outstanding programs in your chosen field. It’s already likely that these programs are producing some of the best workers in your area, so of course, you’d want to recruit at this school.

Be warned, however, that a great program will already come with great connections and opportunities for their students. You’ll likely be competing against other related businesses for the students of this highly respected program. Because of high competition, really think about what your business can offer them that is different from other companies. Flexible hours? Paid vacation time? Whatever it is, make sure that it’s setting you apart from the rest of the employers.

2. Search for related organizations

Many colleges have major or interest-specific clubs or organizations for students to be a part of. Many college majors and fields have societies with chapters nationwide. It can be really simple to look into these organizations and find out which universities have active chapters. This will give you a great insight into how dedicated their students are in their field.

It also ensures that should you hire anyone from one of these organizations, they’ll likely have already developed leadership and interpersonal skills. If you’d like, reach out to these organizations and offer to help with one of their events. Becoming a sponsor can make a huge impression on potential hires.

3. Think small

When recruiting, it’s easy to fall into the “bigger is better” trap. You may think that recruiting from a larger university will yield more results because there is a larger student population. You may also be biased towards the school’s name and reputation. While big schools can result in perfectly good hires, it might be worth it to look around for smaller schools.

With a quick search, you’ll probably find that there are many smaller colleges close by that you’ve never heard of. These can be great opportunities because there’s likely to be fewer employer competitions. Plus, if you’re attending career fairs, it will allow you to make more substantial connections with students that are genuinely interested. Also, if you have positions that don’t require four-year degrees, don’t dismiss the idea of recruiting at community colleges.

4. Find loosely related majors

It’s simple to go after college students who have specific majors in your field of employment. However, there are many majors that fill a wide variety of roles that might not be directly related.

For instance, you may be recruiting for a company based on business alone, but that doesn’t mean you should target only business majors. Many other majors have applicable skills like marketing majors, communications majors, computer science majors, and English majors. Brainstorm with your coworkers about potential majors that might be related to your new positions and look for universities that have all of these loosely related majors.

5. Consider location

Of course, you’ll want to recruit at universities that already provide employees within a close distance of your company. However, you should also consider recruiting to colleges far away. Some students are happy to stay in the same city after college, but many are looking for a fresh start. If you’re working in a larger city, try recruiting to students from smaller towns and cities looking to move to a more exciting place.

Oppositely, if you are living in a smaller town with not much attraction, you may consider advertising to colleges in large, bustling cities and offer a new approach to students looking to leave. It’s also worth it to look into areas that are known for certain industries. You may be able to find a cluster of highly skilled employees in those areas.

When it comes to choosing the right colleges, it is imperative that you keep an open mind when brainstorming ideas. At the start, you don’t want to rule out potential options just because they don’t have immediate prestige or presence in the public sphere. Remember that these large scale universities will already attract a lot of employer attention and put you at an immediate disadvantage.

Once you’ve settled on the criteria you want to use to narrow down your search, then you can start being picky and ruthless. You never want to compromise on the absolute necessities when it comes to your workers.

By Madison White

Uloop Writer
Wichita State University
My list of places traveled is growing but will never exceed my list of places to travel next.

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