Did you know that more companies are doing entry-level recruiting from colleges and universities than five years ago? A research from Harvard Business Review indicates that 84% of employers agree that college hiring is extremely important.
When Amazon faced a 25% increase in job vacancies, they aggressively recruited from top engineering colleges and B-schools. IIT-Bombay has been experiencing a steady increase in international offers. Evidently, pioneering companies are waking up to the fact that ‘catching them young’ has definite advantages.
What makes volume hiring on campus such an attractive proposition is that fresh talent brings new skills and knowledge to the marketplace. They are also easier to train and blend in better with the company’s existing culture. Companies also experience lower attrition rates from college hires who’ve been offered adequate opportunities to learn.
With so many companies vying for talent when volume hiring, how do you ensure that you position yourself as the employer of choice? Here are five best practices to keep in mind when hiring for volume on campus:
Build a strong employer brand, both online and offline
Find informal ways of connecting with college students and discover what it is they are looking for. Identify the top messages based on this preliminary research and customize your appeals.
Offline, student events are a great way to make your presence felt. You could even consider recruiting alumni as brand ambassadors.
On the digital front, ensure that professional networks like LinkedIn and Glassdoor position you as an attractive first career choice. Proactively share company news and successes, upcoming networking events, internal learning and training venues and new career posts. Videos are also considered a great way to interact with the student community, giving them a feel of your brand and culture.
Create an experience for your candidates
The Disney College Program emphasizes the importance of personal connections by sending a branded postcard to its chosen candidates. This has emerged as a top photo op and referral bonus rolled into one, as students generally pose on social media with their ‘offer’ postcard.
Marriot has raised the bar when it comes to leveraging technology to create a superlative candidate experience. It creatively uses the virtual reality platform to engage potential candidates through game-based assessments.
Conduct a recruitment drive or event
While walk-ins are considered passé, well-planned annual recruitment events have always had great results. Companies such as Mc Donald’s, Macy’s and Convergys have successfully led large-scale hiring drives.
High hiring volumes make headlines as was seen from the fact that several newspapers covered McDonald’s high volume hiring of 250,000 employees in 2018. Apart from garnering publicity, these recruitment drives also bring aspirants from various colleges to one spot, saving you the trouble of approaching various campuses. Apart from helping you meet your volumes, these events also position your company as a fast-growing one.
It is also the perfect opportunity for candidates to interact with your brand— an important piece in the social media era when candidates are quick to voice their opinions.
Use AI-based technology to identify best prospects
One of the biggest challenges when hiring for volume on campus is…well, the sheer volume! Over 75% of resumes received in a typical high-volume job posting is considered unqualified. This statistic is likely to hold good on campus too.
Moreover, sorting through resumes, statements of purpose or written tests can be time-consuming. Add to this the difficulty of scheduling interviews and shortlisting candidates and we are looking at several hundreds of work hours. AI can significantly lower these challenges and ensure better hires, both in terms of quality and quantity.
Quantity: By automating several low-level tasks, AI can dramatically reduce the burden on recruiters, freeing them to focus on high-touch activities. Retailers report reducing their time to hire by 75%, simply by automating manual resume screening.
Quality: AI can also be used to rank and grade candidates depending on various pre-defined parameters. This is especially helpful on campus where most candidates have very similar resumes and qualifications.
Companies like Amazon, Tesco and Cisco which receive thousands of applications for any given role have been using AI successfully to select their candidates.
Keep your eyes open for soft skills
As mentioned earlier, resumes from students—especially from the same college—can sound uncannily similar in terms of experience and technical skills. How then can recruiters identify the best talent? The Harvard Business Review says that the future of human work is imagination, creativity, and strategy, while the World Economic Forum states that talents such as coordinating with others, negotiation, and teaching will emerge as key differentiators in the future.
Clearly, soft skills are emerging as a better indicator of future growth and success. In fact, companies like Accenture and Citi have now begun to use soft skills as one of the key indicators when hiring. High-volume recruiters too would stand to benefit from this trend where they are required to evaluate from a sea of faces and resumes. For instance, if your company is high on creativity, identify candidates who exhibit innovative traits. Does teamwork play an important role in your organization? Then, align your parameters to grade candidates on their team spirit.
Eventually, companies need to realize that students today are spoilt for choices. They have far more power during the job search than just a few years ago. When volume hiring, companies will have to quickly make up their minds, sifting through thousands of applications to snag the top talent before their competitor does. Companies that take the time and make the effort to provide great experiences will ultimately emerge as the employer of choice.