In the ‘War for Talent,’ your business faces stiff competition to find interns/graduates with data analysis, programming, and foreign languages to name but a few of the most sought after skills. To improve the effectiveness of your talent acquisition strategy, your relationship with these candidates should begin before they start looking for a job. In order to establish yours as an employer of choice with this target group, you should be engaging with passive prospects while they are still in college. By giving your brand visibility early on in the candidate journey and cultivating that relationship, you ensure that when the time comes for top talent to make an employment decision, your organization is front and center in their minds.
Career Stands are not fit for purpose
Traditionally, companies set up stands at university career fairs. While a presence at such events certainly does no harm in terms of making your employer brand visible and demonstrating your willingness to meet students in person, the swarms of job hunters clamoring around the stand make it impossible to get to know candidates individually and tailor your story to appeal to their personal interests and needs.
Here are the four best alternatives to attracting and engaging the best young talent:
1. Insight Days
Insight days or spring weeks involve bringing students into the HQ to show them the inner workings of the company and allow them to shadow employees. This is an effective method to convey your message as a prospective employer and outline the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) while also facilitating some networking. The weakness, however, is that it doesn’t test passive candidates in any meaningful way.
2. Resumé Workshops/Mock Interviews
Many firms send employees (particularly alumni) into universities to assist students with fine-tuning their resumé and interview skills. Such practical guidance will be appreciated by students and also enables firms to quickly enrich their talent networks. Sitting down face to face gives recruiters the opportunity to better understand and evaluate passive candidates on a one-to-one basis.
Competitions allow recruiters to analyze how prospective employees perform under pressure and work in teams in real life situations. Examples of challenges firms can use include: startup idea competitions, hackathons, case study competitions, debating contests etc. The only disadvantage with competitions is that those with a particularly wide reach can end up bringing in applicants who may not be entirely suited to the organization.
4. Brand Ambassadors
A brand ambassadors program consists of students acting as paid representatives of the company on campus. It utilizes their networks, creativity, and ability to organize events to promote the employer brand and act as a bridge between the business and the student body. And what better way to assess how a candidate will perform for you than by putting them to work?
Treat these ideas as pieces of your talent acquisition puzzle which need to be stuck together. Perhaps you can ask your brand ambassadors to help organize the competitions and resumé workshops/mock interviews. Interesting prospects who distinguish themselves at these events can then be brought to an insight day. Remember, hiring is a marathon, not a sprint; the talent acquisition managers who consistently put in effort over three years will outrun those who dash for candidates during hiring season.