Entering the workforce is scary but inevitable. Most of us are just finishing our degrees with majors in what we thought we wanted to do, only to find out that our careers cannot always be planned. We do internships, talk to recruiters, attend info sessions, and still feel overwhelmed because we don’t know what we want to do with our professional lives.
We want our first jobs to be good, but not so good that we stay for more than five years. After hearing about employee perks like gym memberships and work-from-home policies, we look for fun companies like Google with competitive pay, days off, and work-life balance. We’re insatiable and ready for the workforce, with no clue where to start. I’ve been on the receiving end of numerous corporate recruiting strategies and some have been more successful than others.
Here are five things to think about when trying to attract graduating students:
Get on campus!
While we spend most of our time buried in our phones or Netflix-ing on our laptops, we still like in-person interactions. Holding an event on campus sends the message to students that you are committed to recruiting us to work for your company. The power of networking can go only so far online. At some point in the application process, we will speak to someone in person, so starting off with the recruiters on campus helps us get comfortable, and makes us more likely to attend and participate in these events.
If holding on-campus events isn’t possible, take advantage of the school’s career site – students can spend hours browsing the different jobs on the site.
We need options
According to a survey by Express Employment Professionals, 58% of recent college graduates stay in their first job for seven months to a year. More so than ever, we look for our first jobs with the intention of leaving quickly and moving on to somewhere else. We know new hires are an investment, so for higher retention rates, be transparent about the opportunities available to us from the very beginning. We want an idea of what our career could look like if we stayed with your company long term.
Has anyone asked you about it lately? Most likely they have, because it’s extremely important to everyone, especially students. According to the Accenture Strategy 2016 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study, companies should be highlighting their culture. We care about things like dress code, social opportunities, and even office floor layouts. If you think you’ve got a great culture, flaunt it!
A positive candidate experience
Many of us are discouraged from applying to jobs because the process is not clear. Tell us when you’re not moving forward with our applications because nothing is worse than having an interview and never hearing from the company again. It creates a poor candidate experience and leaves a bad impression. If you can, provide students with a rough timeline for the entire application process (from resume drop to job offer decisions) and let us know what we should expect in terms of interviews, additional information required, etc. You may be looking for potential employees but remember we’re looking for potential employers.
Social media matters … and so does content
We’re so technologically dependent and quick to watch videos, take online quizzes, and scroll Twitter for news. If you want to impress us, make sure your career site is engaging. We want to know as much about the company as possible, so employee testimonials, infographics, and engaging job descriptions enhance the experience for us. Use your social media channels: Tweet at us, make YouTube videos, post to your Instagram. The more tech-savvy you are, the more you’ll get noticed by us. It could be the big difference between you and your biggest competitor.
Many of these points are reinforced by findings of a LinkedIn survey of 13,300 Millennials (born early 1980s to late ‘90s). Not unexpectedly, Millennials are less likely than Generation Xers or Baby Boomers to know anything about your company. To learn more, we are more likely than older generations to follow your company on social media. And the No. 1 thing we want to know about your organization? Its culture and values.
And please, dispense with bureaucratese and company boilerplate. Remember that we look for and value authenticity!