Sometimes you want to be the company everyone is talking about, sometimes you don’t, but if you are hoping to build your workforce with the best and brightest – you do! Especially when the venue is college campuses during recruiting season and the chatter is positive! Working a career fair booth and seeing a line of students who want to talk to your company representatives can be a warm and fuzzy moment for anyone who works in recruiting, however, that line doesn’t form overnight. Building a strong campus brand takes time, creativity, some financial investment, and more time. Then there is maintenance, but that is an entirely different post! Here are 5 ideas to help your company begin the process of building an on-campus brand.
Connect with a Campus Partner
In most cases, this will be someone in a career services role and ideally, that person is housed within the college of agriculture, or they may work at the departmental level from which you’re recruiting. Not all campuses or departments will have someone in a defined role like career services so this could be someone who recruits for that college, administrative staff, faculty or even a dean or assistant dean. Utilize the AgCareers.com College and University Database to search for contacts at the schools you hope to target. Send an email, invite them to lunch/coffee or visit their office. Spend time helping them better understand your needs, better understand what their college has to offer in terms of majors and graduates availability, events, career fairs, etc. and work from there.
Understand Your Target
It’s 2017, you’re recruiting the last of the Millennials. You’ve got about two to three more years before you’ll begin recruiting the first members of Generation Z. Do some homework about these generations, how to recruit them, how to train them, how to work with them and train your staff not just yourself. Read blogs, watch YouTube videos, Google.
If you identify a class, club or organization or career fair to visit and you begin developing a presence, be consistent with your presence. This is where you may have to get creative, your day-to-day can be very busy, and developing a campus brand is rarely 100% of someone’s job responsibility. You can’t be everywhere all the time so maybe you present to a class or club virtually or send someone else on occasion. Students will come to expect to see you/your company at these events on their campus and the moment you’re absent the chatter develops a disappointing tone and the competition has the opportunity to swoop in!
Utilize Your Internal Resources
If you have new hires within your company (in any role) or former interns who are alumni or still a student on campus, utilize that valuable resource while it’s hot! These people bring an energy to the interaction that others cannot. They know the ins and outs of that campus better than your faculty/staff connection may. They can help open doors for you that you didn’t even know existed. You may need to spend a little time training them on some history, HR terminology, and next steps for the candidates. Help filter their young honesty before you put them out front, but certainly, involve them in guiding some of your on-campus strategies.
Do not be Johnny Come Lately
Johnny Come Lately Company is the company who only uses career services only for pushing out their information. They are the company who post their internship and full-time job opportunities 2 days before the closing date or the day before the career fair. Johnny Come Lately Company decides to have an internship program in April then calls or emails faculty asking for their ‘best’ student. Hint: the best students commit to internships as early as November! Students and faculty on campus talk about Johnny Come Lately companies but not typically in a positive tone!
If you starting to build your on-campus brand you may want to check out our upcoming Internship Programs that Yield Results workshop or our Gearing Up for Campus Recruitment, and Building a Workplace for the Future Generation Z webinars. Better yet, attend the 2017 Ag & Food HR Roundtablewhere you can interact with 80+ career service and campus contacts from across the country!