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Recruitment | 14 Min Read

Redefining Your Campus Recruitment Strategy for 2020


Day-one hiring is an important indicator of recruitment pattern in campuses as it accounts for 50-60 percent of job offers with the rest made during the next six months of the academic year.

Mercer | Mettl has been working on campus hiring programs with India’s leading corporates for the past eight years. Our campus assessments have helped filter a large pool of candidates, increased reach to more campuses in lesser time, and ensured an improved turnaround time.  The journey has been an immense source of learning, thus enabling us to improve our process over time. Based on our experience of empowering organizations, we have come up with this 6-step guide which collates all the learnings to build an ideal campus recruitment program.


with minimal operational hassle while maintaining high productivity and high efficiency.

Build Campus Intelligence

Before starting with the onboarding, it is critical to have a clear vision in mind. Often organizations overlook the most vital part of campus placement, i.e., building intelligence before approaching colleges. Effective planning is the first step in developing a robust campus recruitment strategy.  Conducting a campus placement drive is not as fancy as it sounds. From shortlisting the top institutes, assessing and selecting skilled candidates to offering them competitive salary packages and further engaging them till onboarding, campus hiring comes with different set of challenges which can be resolved if companies structure their hiring process.

Where to Look For

Every organization wants brilliant minds who would take them to the next level. Companies looking for experts in their field may not necessarily need to visit Tier 1 campuses. Students excelling in a niche area can be found in a Tier 2 campus as well. But, how to figure out which campus to visit? This can be done by building intelligence over time. The bridge which connects campuses and organizations are subject matter experts who have experience in conducting campus drives in the past. Look for partners who can help you in targeting the right set of campuses based on year-on-year built intelligence.

Whom to Hire

Genuine skills and competencies of individuals may not be completely assessed through interview alone. This may at times, leave scope for the candidate to be a misfit. However, to zero-in-on the best match, scientific tools like assessments help you track the right candidate for a job role. Additionally, the data-backed insights give clarity and credibility to decision making.

What to Offer

Pay packages are all about managing expectations of candidates while taking into consideration the company’s budget. High drop off rates may lower the morale of organizations. But knowing what to offer to keep candidates from joining competitors, it becomes crucial to provide a competitive package to meet your long-term vision. Understanding the market trend and best practices can work as a milestone in evaluating new hires.


                                  One-Stop Solution

                                       A partner that helps you:


Create Campus Competency Heat Map

Competency heat maps represent how campuses score on competencies prevalent in the industry. They are a useful piece of information that aids employers to select the right colleges based on their competency framework. In this kind of analysis, competencies are mapped based on a college’s overall students’ performance in the assessment. Accordingly, campuses are rated as low, moderate, high and very high. It is a sophisticated approach where external performance indicators are identified at an early stage.


Overall college performance based on students’ competencies

Foresee On-Job Performance

Predicting on-job performance is an asset for organizations. If employers are aware of how the new hires will perform in a workplace setting, hiring decisions become a lot easier. Mercer | Mettl’s analysis reveals that employee performance has a high positive correlation with assessment performance, an indication of how assessments directly impact businesses. A higher mean score means high performance, indicating that a particular group of candidates would turn out to be culturally fit.


Overall candidates’ performance based on assessment

Generate Campus Scorecard

Mercer | Mettl generates a scorecard based on the client’s needs. We create report cards to analyze the quality of new hires. This is done by evaluating candidates’ performance through analytical and logical thinking assessment. The report of top performing campuses gets generated by comparing the mean scores of each college. The scorecard helps organizations in making pay decisions based on their budget, the intel serves as a benchmark to assist in future hiring.


A higher mean score means a higher average salary.

Build Year-On-Year Intelligence

Campus Hiring trends and best practices give a holistic view of best campuses, the average salaries they offer and key employers at various institutes. The trends highlight prevalent standard key figures that align with multiple regions and job roles. Since organizations compete to fetch candidates in an overcrowded job market, these benchmarks assist HRs in picking crème de la crème freshers with the right skill set.

Read Our Campus Hiring: Salary & Employment Report 2018

Stay Tuned for Our Campus Hiring Report 2019

Build Relationship with Campus

Campuses and students are not going to believe in a company if no information about the brand has reached their ears in the past few years. To build recognition within colleges, companies should take part in events like cultural festivals and academic contests. Conducting regular interactive sessions also helps in reaching out to the students.  To keep campus the engagement efforts more focused, organizations should consider three things before approaching universities:



When making a decision on where to apply for a job, 84% of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important.

Brand value plays a crucial role in campus placements. Campus Placement Cells (CPCs) aim to get the best industry players, while not giving a second thought to start-ups. However, if you educate them about your history, ethics and vision, it will create a positive impression on them.


Work Culture

55% of job seekers abandon applications after reading negative reviews online, and only 45% employers ever monitor or address those reviews.

Work culture is the most crucial aspect of any job. Before inviting any organization for campus recruitments, campus placement cells do a thorough check of the work culture. So, it is imperative for your organization to have a friendly and thriving work environment. You can showcase your work culture by letting your employees take the podium during pre-placement conversations with faculty and CPC. A positive work environment creates a positive impact in a student’s career growth.


Innovation & Growth

84% of executives say that innovation is important to their growth strategy.

Placement cell coordinators look for areas of innovation for their students. Where there is innovation, there is growth. Your company should be open to new ideas and welcome technological advancements to ensure that new hires get the best opportunities to learn and explore. To communicate your vision to respective placement cells, a presentation on previous projects, recognition and success in innovative methods can go a long way.

Connect with Students

After you have built a healthy relationship with the campus, the next thing in line is knowing your new hires. The best way of understanding them is to engage with them directly, identify their areas of interest, their dreams and long-term goals. As easy as it may sound, it requires efforts to seek their attention. Listed below are a few ways that Maple Holistics HR Manager Nate Masterson suggests to connect with students:

Capture Their Interest

As per Masterson, students are often bombarded with information and opportunities. Capturing their interest requires doing something different and doing things that are focused on their needs, not your own. Students appreciate the opportunity to learn from practitioners. Their professors are great, but often it all seems theoretical until they hear about the real-world applications from somebody who lives the subject daily. Consequently, expert presentations, round tables or panel discussions are regularly more impactful than a presentation about the company.

Create Brand Awareness

Masterson believes that sponsoring a workshop on resume-writing or interviewing will help students in their career pursuits. When you sponsor such an event, you not only increase attendance and theoretically improve the quality with which applicants present themselves, you also brand yourself as a company that cares about the students rather than your agenda.  When trying to engage with students on campus, organizations should let the younger employees do the pitching. College students want to hear from people who are not much older than them, those who have recently been through similar experiences and know what they are going through. If you send relatable employees, these students will be more likely to stop and listen to what your company has to say.

Build Engagement

According to Mettl’s State of Hackathons 2018, around 19% organizations conduct hackathons to hire top talent.

Hackathons are quite popular amongst fresh graduates as they give rise to the perfect opportunity for creative and technical minds to come together to build something new and exciting. Such events attract the new-age millennial who is looking for a chance to work with a dynamic organization that values innovation, collaboration, and autonomy in the workplace. Similarly, on-campus or online contests and quizzes provide a helping hand in getting student traction. Campus ambassador programs also do the trick.

Ambassadors are college students who are “influencers on campus.” Attack! Marketing describes them as a “walking and talking personification of your brand.

John O’Brien
Group President, Around Campus

Use Modern Tools

The increased use of data has helped organizations strategize their hiring decisions. With new-age tools collating data to produce actionable insights, prediction of hiring outcomes has become possible. Students’ performance in pre-hiring assessments has a direct correlation with on-job performance as mentioned earlier. Consequently, this acts as fuel in improving the feedback loop for years to come.


Increased use of modern tools in recruiting top talent

Source: Talentnow

Assessment tools assist in evaluating every aspect of your candidate – be it behavior or aptitude, acquired or technical skills.  The tools that help you identify, and onboard quality talent comprise of the following:


Conduct Structured Interviews

HRs are in dire need of a method that can be effectively used to evaluate candidates on a set of competencies required for a specific job role. Structured interview is the means that ensures continuous improvement of the recruitment process. It is a standardized and user-friendly way of comparing freshers. The interview questions are based on skills the organization is looking for, while a scale is used for evaluating candidates on the same questions.


You can structure your recruitment through:

Competency-Based Interviews

The best predictor of future behaviour is past behavior.

Mark Twain

Competency-based interviews are based on the principle of prediction. In a competency-based interview, core competencies are identified for job roles that require hiring. The questions target behavioral traits that help in determining if the candidate is culturally fit. After the interview, critical incidents, decisions and actions are evaluated to find key competencies which are then built into a predictive model. That’s how competency-based interviews help in predicting future performance.

Video Interviews

Live video interviews are 6X faster than phone interviews. A 5-minute live video interview is equal to a 200-question written assessment.

Recruitment Trends 2018

Engage Students Post Offer Roll-Out

To have a better understanding of student engagement, we interviewed experts in the field to know what it takes for organizations to make prospective candidates turn up on the first day of their jobs.

CoxInnovations President Mike Cox believes that if the company does not know why it is likely to receive an acceptance or a decline, then it hasn’t done enough listening to the candidate. According to him, the company needs to share a vision with a person’s career. He says, “Let them know what timelines are reasonable for getting a promotion and what that would mean for them. Help them imagine working for the company for a few years, not just what to expect on day one.”

According to our next expert Chris Chancey, founder of Amplio Recruiting, recent graduates have their whole career ahead of them so organizations must go the extra mile to retain hard-to-come-by talent.

This can be achieved by:




A robust campus strategy is one which benefits organizations, colleges and young graduates. Before reaching out to colleges, corporates should already have intel on the kind of skills the campus has to offer. This knowledge acts as a building block of any recruitment strategy, enabling employers to offer the right salary package to the right candidate. When fresh graduates feel valued, they strive harder to achieve their KRAs, in turn lowering back-out and attrition rate.

Mettl’s Innovation in Campus Recruitment


6 Step Guide to Redefining Campus Hiring Strategy

Originally published September 11 2019, Updated December 16 2020

Megha Singh

Written by

A writer at heart, Megha has been in the content industry for 4 years. Starting her career from print, her journey spans across IT, legal and consulting industries. She has been associated with Mercer | Mettl as Assistant Manager, Content Marketing for 2 years.

About This Topic

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.

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