College Recruiting: Is it right for my organization?

CorneliusThe “baby boomer” generation will be retiring in mass numbers over the next few years. Succession planning, or the need to develop people for key operational and future management-level positions, must begin now. Now is the best time to decide whether college recruiting makes sense for your business, and if so, where and how you will find the right people.

The competition for talented college grads will be intense. Whether you’re a large company with an established program or a small company looking to begin hiring college grads, you should understand the importance of reaching out to educational institutions when seeking top talent. State universities have become the favorite of many companies recruiting new hires because of their big student populations and focus on teaching practical skills that give companies more bang for their recruiting buck.

Recruiters say graduates of top public universities are often among the most prepared and well-rounded academically. Companies have found they fit well into their corporate cultures and, over time, have the best track record as employees.

However, many recruiting managers, under pressure to cut costs and streamline their hiring efforts, find it’s more efficient to focus on smaller schools and forge deeper relationships with them. Corporate budget constraints play a role. Recruiter salaries, travel expenses, advertising and relocation costs run upwards of $500,000 to recruit 100 college grads, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

To save on some of this expense and cut cost, many recruiters say they are closely eyeing schools in their own backyard. Aside from the obvious convenience of proximity, companies are drawn to nearby schools for year-round access to interns. There also is a greater chance that new-graduate hires reside locally, which would eliminate relocation expenses.

Usually it is large corporations that can afford the high cost of college recruitment. These expenses are often intimidating to small businesses that may have to compete with them. Competing means they have to work harder to explain who they are and what a career at their company would offer. However, by using a different approach, these businesses, as well as non-profits, can apply the same principles as large companies to find and hire great talent.

Small companies need to develop a college recruiting strategy. They need to get involved in campus groups or sponsored activities to develop connections on campuses. These types of activities cost time and money; but for the long run, they provide the opportunity to get involved and establish good recruitment relationships. Companies will find that costs will be recovered quickly because they will reduce the need to pay recruiting agency fees and higher salaries for experienced professionals.

I believe that every organization needs to do all that it can to increase the quality, breadth, and age range of its workforce. Organizations that do no college hiring could end up with an older workforce that is less connected to emerging trends and technologies.

Cornelius Booker is a senior member of the Regional Navigator team and a graduate of Oklahoma State University where he received his Bachelors in Marketing and later received his M.B.A with a focus on Business Marketing and Management. With his personal experience and passion for the disabled community, Cornelius’ insights are an invaluable asset to the Workforce Solutions organization.



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