Are You Tapping into Your Local University's Talent?
How much time do you spend cultivating and utilizing the talent in your neighborhood? Many SMB’s don’t even consider local colleges and universities when it comes time to hire entry-level positions. Some companies assume that college students would prefer to work with bigger companies, others have decided that their “jack of all trades” sales position needs someone with experience.
Both of those ideas are wrong. College students and recent graduates are eager to learn from you. They can be molded into the right blend of “all trades” for your organization. They care less about the size of your company and more about their opportunity to grow within it.
College students today have a unique view of the workplace. A 2017 study by NACE found that they care more about friendly co-workers than a benefits package. They are often very independent and eager to prove their work-related skills. In short- college students are way more of an asset than you might currently think.
If you’re not sure how to tap into your local college and universities' talent, here are a few ideas from our team:
PAID internship programs.
Internships are not a new concept. If you’re under the age of 40, chances are you took on one or two to pad your resume while you were in school. It makes sense why they are so popular for employers. It’s cheap (or free) labor, it gives you an opportunity to assess how people balance work-life and stress over time, and it helps you keep in touch with the younger end of the job force.
Here’s the thing: at this point, a student can apply to dozens of different internships in your field. If you want to attract the hungriest candidates to your organization, offer what we all know college students need the most- a wage. You don’t need to go crazy. Students don’t need your 401k or benefits package, but offering minimum wage or a stipend in today’s internship market will turn some heads in your direction. You’ll have better luck attracting the best of the best in your field, and be more likely to hire the students on after graduation, which saves time on your interviewing and onboarding process.
Talk to Professors
Many companies spend most of their time on campus engaging with the career center. That’s a great place to find talent, don’t get us wrong. However, students aren’t guaranteed to talk to career counselors on a regular basis. Professors, in contrast, spend their entire day getting to know your talent pool.
Are you looking for entry level engineers? Create a lasting relationship with the department head, and ask them to send the best students your way. Looking for motivated SDR’s? Ask if you can sit in (or speak to) senior level business courses and scope out talent. Faculty wants to help their students find good jobs post-graduation and can help connect you to the best the college or university has to offer. Let them know you’re on the map, and they’re likely to take an interest in pairing you with students that are likely to be a good fit.
Use Career Sites
All of that said, it’s essential to have a presence on the platforms where students expect jobs to be advertised. Don’t merely rely on word of mouth from professors and interns when you’re promoting a role. Hook up with the college’s career center and advertise on any job boards that they have in place. Most big businesses know about this- but there are plenty of students that would love an opportunity to work and grow in a smaller environment. Advertise your jobs on student and alumni job boards and make sure any connections you have on campus (see: interns and faculty) know to point students in that direction.
Remember, if you can snatch talent right out of college and keep them for the long-haul, you have the unique opportunity to train, mentor, and grow your staff from the ground up.