A campus hiring strategy is a formal plan employed to identify and hire the best candidate for a vacant job position in an organization. Campus hiring strategy is a step-by-step process of campus identification, building a strong and impressionable recruitment team to visit colleges, organize engagement activities, screen suitable candidates and ultimately conduct interviews.
To answer “why campus recruitment is important,” it is one of the most-used methods to discover and onboard new talent in your organization. A group of motivated individuals seeking learning and growth, bringing in new-age skills, catalyze a company’s growth. However, identifying such top-rated candidates is a daunting and artful task. According to research conducted by Mercer | Mettl, about 74 percent of organizations reported that talent acquisition continues to be a challenge for them.
Organizations encounter several challenges in building a successful and scalable campus hiring strategy. These challenges range from making several campus visits, aligning stakeholders’ schedules to managing time and investing in the right resources to conduct the drive. Given the current remote working scenario, organizations are investing extensively to augment digital processes. Consequently, HR leaders are compelled to construct a high-yielding campus hiring strategy that works as efficiently as an on-site campus drive and spouts notable results.
Do read our report on Campus Hiring 2019-2020: Challenges, Trends and Best Practices.
‘Generation Z’ is an online generation, which works hugely in favor of employers planning virtual recruitment strategies. Employers can unhesitatingly innovate by leveraging virtual events and developing creative online marketing campaigns. Virtual campus hiring was already gaining rapid traction over the last few years, and the pandemic has further accelerated its adoption.
Here are 15 effective campus hiring strategies to consider to boost your hiring game.
Comprehensive research is an essential measure upon which you must base your complete campus hiring strategy. Understanding the competencies and roles for which you wish to hire will determine the campuses you must target, the hiring partner you require and the process you must undertake. A list of strategies that you must adopt while conducting your pre-campus recruitment research follows:
Listing down your hiring needs is the preliminary step to building an effective campus hiring strategy. You must gain an insight into your organizational needs to roll out relevant job positions. Measuring your company’s workforce requirements by receiving inputs from team leaders of various departments is the first step. You must understand the workload distribution and the short-and-long-term team member requirements for upcoming projects, followed by a comprehensive understanding of the current attrition rates in the key departments. If your company has recently launched a new product or plans to start a new venture, the hiring requirements would be evident. HR professionals could also understand the skills gap among the current workforce by implementing skills gap analysis solutions to gain data-driven results. A step-by-step approach assimilating the factors mentioned above will determine the existing workforce challenges and help you create a viable hiring plan.
As the next step, identifying the best recruitment partner could reduce the workload substantially. A hiring partner will get you easy access to resources, marketing ideas and technical skills, frontloading the entire gamut of the hiring process. Using various hiring methods, a hiring partner will help you single out the best talent to finalize candidates for job positions.
Building campus intelligence requires organizations to collate the data and experiences of conducting campus hiring in past years and analyze the outcomes. This can help attribute scores to each campus in terms of how the students perform in their assessments or how many students fall within the preferred salary range of your organization. Campus intelligence also involves creating a competency heat map, whereby each campus’s overall students’ performance can be mapped onto the competencies prevalent in the industry and then assigned to the competency requirements of individual organizations.
A campus hiring drive is one of the astute means of creating a strong brand presence. Therefore, building an impressive recruitment team is one of the best practices for recruiting college students. A team of engaged employees aligned to the company’s goals can represent your organization suitably. Employee engagement strategies would offer you insights into which team members should be a part of the recruitment program.
A well-thought-out promotion strategy ensures a successful campus hiring strategy. From reaching out to students through social media to creating an attractive careers page and promoting your recruitment drive through rewarding programs- you must clearly define your job descriptions and the drive’s goals to attract the most suitable participants.
Leverage social media platforms, such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Quora, etc., to market your campus recruitment drive among college students. Do not hesitate to innovate in the ways you could announce the drive; it could be a catchy banner or an engaging short video. A robust social media presence is a remarkable way to attract the talent pool. Ensure you keep your messaging short and to the point, loaded with captivating content that can be sustained on your careers webpage and linked to your social media pages.
You must entice the candidates with a creative and interactive careers page on your organization's official website. Use catchy headlines and highlight your organization’s qualities that may attract college students. Highlight topics such as the company’s work culture, goals, benefits and rewards, etc. The visual content could include images, employee videos or graphics to create a story. A well-designed job description that interests candidates can surely influence students’ decisions. Add value to the job description by explaining the profiles well to attract a higher rate of candidates for the job role.
Another innovative campus recruitment strategy adopted by companies is the Campus Ambassador Program. It is a creative way for brands to enhance awareness about their services through university students. Here is the chronology of these programs: first, the brand identifies a group of enthusiastic students who are willing to learn. Then a group of mentors and teachers are assigned to teach them different skills, enabling students to gain a well-rounded understanding of the company's technologies and how things are executed. These campus ambassadors then help other students to make career decisions by conducting workshops and seminars for the brand.
“Word of mouth” is vouched for as one of the most valuable marketing efforts. You can identify talent by using the current students' social networks by using a referral program. Typically, employers build a program in which they pay a referral fee to their current employees, encouraging them to recommend potential candidates for vacant positions. Student referral programs work in the same manner and improve the quality of hire, time-to-hire and reduce the cost-per-hire. You will also boost your company’s brand and enhance your reputation as an employer.
Nurturing a connection with students is critical for any brand to create a strong presence. You could pre-engage with students and connect with them to enjoy a pole position. Spread awareness about your brand by hosting interactive “ask me anything” sessions. Capture their attention by conducting engaging hackathons and identify their abilities even before commencing the recruitment process.
Businesses typically employ pre-placement interactions and presentations even before commencing the placement drive. Companies can build the brand's image and highlight its propositions by visiting the campus. You must develop your company's brand visibility through an engaging presentation. If possible, let alumni undertake such interactions to create a stronger impact. From hosting information sessions to allowing students to ask questions about the company, establishing a robust brand image helps candidates recognize the company and excites them about future prospects.
One of the most engaging ways to source candidates and build unique brand identity is through innovative contests, such as hackathons, ideathons or case study competitions. These tools are excellent platforms to exhibit the company’s unique culture, technology, learning opportunities and the challenges it faces. Such contests allow students to experience the brand closely. Hackathons, ideathons and case study competitions create a business simulation to help assess the students’ actual on-ground skills. The rewards can be an additional attraction. You can execute these contests online seamlessly without employing a dedicated team to set up a base on the campus. A student ambassador can drive engagement and participation, ensuring a smooth experience for all involved.
The most crucial step in a campus recruitment drive is skills assessment. Tap into the students’ potential by conducting high-yielding assessments for diverse roles. Evaluate and filter students based on their skills and find the best to proceed with the drive ahead.
Effective screening assessments can significantly impact any organization’s hiring quality. Screening assessment results have a direct correlation with on-job performance and culture fitment. It is possible to analyze data to predict hiring outcomes by using new-age screening assessments and tools. These holistically virtual tools, powered by AI and remote proctoring, evaluate students on multiple levels of aptitude, communication skills, domain skills, personality traits, etc. A customizable set of assessments that measures all aspects of a potential employee, such as agility and domain-specific knowledge, can help improve the hiring quality and onboarding rate. Assessments are also effective filter tools that enable organizations to select the best candidates from the lot. For instance, you can effortlessly filter 50 most suitable candidates out of 500 applicants based on data-backed results.
Simulator-based tests are unique interactive tests to assess the candidates’ problem-solving and coding skills. They are one of the most used coding skill tests as employers get a detailed insight into the candidates’ problem-solving abilities in real-life situations. A candidate is provided with a comprehensive abstract problem, which needs to be solved by him/her. Backed by an auto-grading system, the results are data-driven and credible. Simulation tests serve as an effective strategy for campus recruitment by identifying and hiring the best coders.
Interviews are the ultimate step in a campus recruitment drive. After you have shortlisted candidates with assessments, apply the next filter for a refined outcome with structured interviews.
You should conduct structured interviews as a part of your campus hiring process where the hiring manager creates interview questions focusing on the organization’s present and future competency needs. In the case of technical hiring, evaluating the candidates’ technical skills is also critical. Pair programming interviews can help employers expedite technical skills assessment by assessing candidates based on real-time programming skills. Pair programming interviews are backed by an online interview platform, pre-embedded with a coding simulator. The platform allows candidates to solve a real-world problem during the interview, where the interviewer can invigilate and evaluate their proficiencies in real-time. These virtual interviews are location agnostic and can be used for hiring candidates for technical departments.
Successful onboarding is fundamental to engaging and retaining your new team members post a successful campus hiring process. Build an interactive plan to make the new joiner feel comfortable in the team and the company. The next step is to measure the effectiveness of your campus hiring drive to adapt and innovate for future campaigns.
Virtual onboarding should be engaging, straightforward and stress-free. Accommodate the requirements of remote employees, such as laptops, monitors and headsets. Upload all your new hires’ paperwork into signing software and use your new hires’ email addresses to send them everything they need to sign before their joining date. Make the new team members feel like a part of the team and answer their questions. It is always nice to put a face to a name, so we suggest using videoconferencing software for virtual face-to-face meetings with team members. Another fun way to introduce the company to a new workforce is through virtual onboarding games. The games can be built around the company’s values and vision. A virtual scavenger hunt or games like “two truths, one lie” could help develop and sustain new employees’ interest.
You also need to assess whether your efforts are paying off. Therefore, you must measure the effectiveness of your campus recruiting strategy. Begin with the number of students you hired through your campus recruitment process at each university; how did you manage to hire them? Assess whether it was through a student referral program or a hackathon event? How many offers were accepted? Besides, what is the retention rate of your new hires? How cost-effective was the drive? The number of people hired vis-à-vis the set target? And, post this analysis, how efficiently is the newly hired workforce performing? Measuring these metrics will offer you insights and help you decide a roadmap for future strategies.
Learn more With Mercer | Mettl’s report on Redefining Your Recruitment Strategy
A campus recruitment process demands considerable time and resources. Therefore, organizations wish to transform this process. Mercer | Mettl enables organizations to break away from the traditional and redundant hiring processes and take the first step toward an innovative and holistically virtual hiring process, using the best in technology. Mercer | Mettl’s campus hiring strategy has helped India’s leading organizations reach out to and filter a large pool of candidates by increasing campus footprint and improving the turnaround time.
Redefine your Campus Hiring Program with Mercer | Mettl’s Suite of Campus Hiring Tools
TVS, India’s third-largest two-wheeler manufacturer, conducted a scalable and successful campus drive in partnership with Mercer | Mettl. The company was facing challenges in conducting a scalable recruitment drive due to the lack of tools to assess hands-on skills, unavailability of instantaneous and comprehensive reports, aside from other concerns. TVS Motors asked Mercer | Mettl to find a structured and efficient global recruitment solution for lateral and campus hiring. Our stellar flexible and scalable assessment solutions, backed by AI proctoring and real-time reporting, conducted assessments of 300 skills and competencies, along with hiring candidates in diversified roles.
Indus Valley Partners (IVP), in partnership with Mercer | Mettl, hosted a successful campus hiring drive. The company was initially investing significant human effort to administer, evaluate and declare results. Therefore, the company was eager to simplify the complexities of technical hiring through automated solutions and handpick preeminent techies and coders. Mercer | Mettl’s vast library of coding MCQs and simulators enabled IVP to shortlist candidates for the desired skills in the shortest possible period. The organizational efficiency, while conducting technical hiring, increased by up to 50 percent.
The internationally recognized brand Amazon hosted a global case study competition, Amazon Customer Excellence (ACE) 2019, in partnership with Mercer | Mettl. The competition allowed students to exercise lateral thinking, brainstorm and evaluate challenging case studies. The ACE Challenge 2019 was able to scout the smartest of minds from top B- Schools and rewarded them with exciting prizes.
Campuses are a gold mine of fresh talent possessing new-age skills, curiosity and an elevated level of motivation. Organizations can easily tap into this talent pool by inculcating the right set of campus hiring strategies. Right from building a connection with students to assessing their skills as per the job role and then finally onboarding, attracting the finest talent demands structured planning. Organizations that do not value measuring their campus hiring strategies that determine the quality of their hires lack the most significant basics. Such anomalies can have long-term consequences, especially in a fast market where companies continuously vie to attract the best and brightest.
Campus recruitment strategies help recruitment professionals prepare for talent that offers many possibilities. The placement season pressurizes students and talent acquisition professionals equally. The new-age campus recruitment needs a revamped strategy that works well, even when organizations do not visit numerous campuses. It is the only scalable and sustainable model for campus recruitment. Implementing innovative virtual campus recruitment strategies can help you limit the overall recruiting cost. Furthermore, virtual recruitment strategies also allow you the freedom to get creative and find innovative ways to engage and assess students.
Originally published April 1 2018, Updated November 23 2021
With an honours degree in English Literature, Arshmeet has been contributing in field of content for more than six years. From working in NDTV Ethnic, Ideal Home & Garden Magazine to MakeMyTrip India, Arshmeet had the opportunity to write for varied industries. She enjoys writing interactive yet unambiguous content that is relatable and informative.
Campus hiring is the process of recruiting fresh graduates from colleges. Campus recruitment starts with campus selection, following which a recruitment team visits campuses for engagement activities, candidate screening and interviewing.