School is in Session: 5 Lessons on Better Graduate Engagement

avatureWhen it comes to successful graduate recruitment, engagement is everything. Tomorrow’s talent wants to connect with real people, experience the authenticity of a brand, and delve into company culture — all before they even consider applying. But what is the best way to facilitate that? Graduate recruitment remains one of the most cost-effective ways to make contact with these talent pools, so it’s a good time to make sure your organization is making the most of this opportunity. In this post we will examine five fundamental ways you can better engage graduates and show them that your organization is the best fit for them.

1. Build Relationships Before, During, and After the Event

Top candidates are constantly searching for authenticity and real people to talk to. To connect with the best talent, organizations must promote early and maintain ongoing engagement — setting up a booth at a careers fair is not enough.

  • Before the event:

Rather than solely using event-marketing tactics to attract graduates to your stand on the day of the event, create custom invites and reminders or send additional information with links to registration pages or dedicated career pages to spark students’ interest. This type of early engagement ensures graduates will seek you out on the day of the event, creating a steady flow of student interest.

  • After the event:

As with all engagement activities, it’s important to follow up. From a simple “thank you” email, to great-to-meet-you notes with additional information; from brief surveys to find out what’s important, to answering any unanswered questions — anything that opens the lines of communication and makes it easy for graduates to get in touch with you.

  • At all times:

Maintain periodic contact with students to build your pipeline for the future. Give current students the opportunity to really get to know your organization and become familiar with operations, from industry-specific career fairs to online webinars, targeted job openings, and even articles and blogs that match their career preferences. If you make it easy for them to ask you questions, there’s a higher chance your company will be at the forefront of their minds come graduation day.

  • Long-term relationships:

Realistically, not every graduate will choose your organization. But that doesn’t mean your engagement should end. This is a great opportunity to build brand awareness, develop a relationship with employed graduates, and learn about their career preferences over time. Six months, one year, or even three years down the road you may have the exact offer they’re looking for.

2. Career Sites, Microsites, and Dedicated Landing Pages

The best and brightest students don’t hang around for long, so you need to make an impression quickly. Only by understanding your target audience can you deliver timely content relevant to their area of interest. But how do you deliver that juicy content?

  • Career sites

Career sites are almost always a first port of call for graduates. For them, career sites are a window into what it’s like to work at your organization, the culture, available job openings, and more. For your organization, career sites offer a golden opportunity to leverage your employer brand, inspire graduates, and make a positive first impression.

  • Microsites

Career sites are all-singing, all-dancing hubs of information; microsites are a smaller, more focused set of pages. Consider leveraging microsites to deliver your more targeted content, images and videos for unique audiences, such as in-depth information about internships or graduate programs.

  • Landing pages

A further option to maximize your impact at events is to harness dedicated landing pages. They provide the opportunity to quickly and easily deploy fully branded, mobile-optimized pages to deliver relevant content to any segment, whether you want to promote events, manage registrations, or stimulate participation and feedback.

3. Invite & Manage On-Campus Interviews

Time is of the essence during graduate recruiting days. It’s difficult to see everyone, so it’s crucial to seize every opportunity to make contact. By combining customized invitations and branded landing pages with interview-scheduling tools, you can invite students for short on-site interviews or “get-to-know-you” sessions in advance. This way you’re building your agenda prior to the event, gauging interest, and engaging students in the process by letting them select the time that’s most suitable for them.

Once students are registered for an interview, you have the opportunity to communicate with them beforehand. You can thank them for registering, let them know you’re excited to meet them, and provide pre-event information.

4. Prompt Feedback and Follow-Up

The best and brightest don’t hang around for long. To assure early engagement and maintain a positive candidate experience, provide prompt feedback to students who visited you during a recruiting event.

Furthermore, your professionals at the event need real-time collaborative technologies to provide candidate feedback to recruiters and hiring managers back at HQ, who can quickly and easily review potential within hours of the recruiting event. They can then decide to invite candidates in for further interviews or flag graduates as “high-value” or “not right fit”, which can trigger personalized communications to all stakeholders. Check out some examples of great personalized communications in our blog post Recruiting the Next Generation of Campus Talent  Pt. 2.”

Remember – it’s crucial to provide feedback quickly. The longer it takes to provide and gather feedback, the less accurate it becomes, with a higher chance of losing valuable insights, details, and the opportunity to engage.

5. The Technology to Marry Two Distinct Worlds

Campus recruiting requires Events Management and Recruitment Marketing to come together and execute their separate sets of tasks smoothly. Currently, many organizations manage both aspects with their applicant tracking systems and consequently fail.

At Avature, we believe that this failure is simply due to software limitations. Traditional ATSs are neither flexible enough to support these types of processes, nor do they contain the communication tools necessary to engage top graduate talent. On the other hand, conventional recruitment marketing systems are not powerful enough to support the entire events management process, nor are they able to manage core-recruiting aspects like internships or track rotational programs all in one system.  Organizations that look to recruit top graduate talent need cutting edge technology with real-time collaboration tools, so they can marry these two seemingly disconnected worlds and properly engage with critical talent segments.

In Summary:

It’s clear that when it comes to young talent, engagement matters. Your relationship with graduates must be constantly reaffirmed and supported, starting long before the career fair and continuing throughout the event, interview process, and beyond, offer or no offer. Using the right tools, from dedicated landing pages and microsites to a flexible software that promotes real-time collaboration, allows your organization to properly manage the recruitment process and keep in contact with the candidate from the very beginning.

I hope these five tips have inspired you to revisit your graduate recruitment strategy and re-examine the way you engage graduates. Even the smallest changes can go a long way in giving your candidates the most positive experience possible.

Did you find this post useful? Share it with a colleague, or check out other Avature blog posts where we dig deeper into how to get the most out of Campus Recruiting:

Evelyn Duskey

Written by , Senior Content Producer at Avature

Avature is a highly flexible enterprise SaaS platform for Global Talent Acquisition and Talent Management, and the leading global provider of CRM for recruiting. Founded by Dimitri Boylan, co-founder and former CEO of HotJobs.com, Avature brings commercial internet technology and innovation to recruiting, internal mobility, and performance challenges. Used in 64 countries and 14 languages, Avature has over 380 customers and delivers its private cloud services from data centers in the US, Europe, & Asia. Avature has offices in Buenos Aires, Dublin, London, Madrid, Melbourne, New York, Paris, Singapore, and Shenzhen.

Contact Evelyn:
evelyn.duskey@avature.net
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