An economic upswing, innovative new technologies and increasingly career-savvy graduates have spurred a widespread recalibration in the recruitment industry over the last few years – yet university recruitment processes have remained largely unchanged.
Competition for skilled graduates has reached its highest point in years. This surge in demand for capable young employees, commonly known as the skills gap, means that graduates are more aware of the power they hold than ever before, and they’ve changed how they look for and evaluate jobs as a result.
University recruitment methods must change to reflect the shift in the attitudes of young applicants. However, it may not be enough to simply modernise and play ‘catch-up’ with big business – by implementing bold, innovative strategies, you can invigorate the market, stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of hiring the most qualified graduates.
Bold and Innovative
With some help from ERE media, we’ve identified some of the boldest and most innovative recruitment strategies that will undoubtedly improve any graduate programme:
1. Data, Data, Data – Most modern businesses are already utilising data-driven metric technology as part of their everyday practice. Graduate recruitment should follow suit. By tracking quality of hire metrics and predictive analytics, universities can hone in on the best schools and students while keeping a scientific eye on the effectiveness of other changes to the recruitment process.
2. Hire Grad Assistants – A common misconception is that professors are the best assessors of incoming talent. While they may be able to handpick the top students in terms of academic progress or knowledge, they are often oblivious to how these students will handle a real world, working environment.
Teaching and grad assistants, on the other hand, spend more time than professors advising and tutoring students directly, and therefore will often have a better sense as to which students will make the best hires. They may also be better at convincing these students to accept an offer after one’s been made.
3. Delayed Hiring Tactics – Most of the companies vying for a highly skilled graduate will back off once the graduate has made a decision. To help you stand out from the crowd, keep in contact with them even if they go work for another firm – It only takes a few minutes every 6-12 months.
You may eventually discover that they’ve become disillusioned with their first choice, providing you with a chance to pick them back up. If this tactic fails, you lose nothing – if it succeeds, you gain a top-talent graduate who now has a few extra months experience in the workplace under his or her belt.
4) Influential Friends – Your firm could also pull its ace card by arranging for the CEO to call the graduate directly. It may be hard for you to convince them to give up even a few minutes of their time, but some companies have achieved a 100% success rate by adopting this approach. Letting the graduate know that influential people want to recruit them can often be worth more than any pitch a recruiter can deliver.
5. Technology – The biggest difference between the way that graduates used to find jobs and the methods used by millennials entering the workforce today is the technology. Recruiting can capitalise on this fact by making use of the following:
- Social Media: By campaigning via social media, you can target graduates who may not even be actively looking for jobs.
- Mobile Technology: Re-focus your recruiting message so that it takes the mobile devices like smartphones and tablets into account. Graduates use their phones more than any other platform – using short, simple messages and popular apps you can reach a much larger audience.
- Personalised Messages: Target the top graduates by personalising their job-offer, perhaps through a team video-message, or by letting them know you looked at their LinkedIn page.
- Remote Recruitment: Through the use of technology, you no longer need to have ambassadors at every university. Content marketing offers the possibility of remotely spreading your message and video interviewing software allows recruiters to screen more effectively without them ever having to set foot on the campus.
Coming out on top amidst strong competition requires being innovative and bold when the time is right. By acting quickly and adopting some of the aforementioned practices, you get out ahead of the competition improve your chances at hiring the best talent available.
(Main image credit: Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography/flickr)