6 Best Practices for Recruiting College Students

What are the best practices for recruiting college students?


To help you recruit college students, we asked recruiting professionals and career coaches this question for their best tips. From sending in the right recruiters to partnering with universities, there are several insights that may help you recruit college students to employ in your business.

Here are six tips for recruiting college students:

  • Send in the Right Recruiters
  • Host a Virtual Recruiting Fair
  • Contact a University’s Job Center for Applicants
  • Build Relationships for the Win!
  • Make It Early and Memorable
  • Partner with Universities


6 Best Practices for Recruiting College Students


Send in the Right Recruiters

Recruiting college students is not the same as getting onboard workers who are experienced in their field of work. It takes a special set of skills to engage with students, look beyond their relative expertise and zero in on the promise and commitment they won’t always be able to show up front. It is therefore crucial that you send in the right personnel when recruiting college students. 

HR personnel who have worked with youngsters before are a good choice. Those who have been associated with a college environment are better.

And especially suitable would be those HR personnel who have previous experience, and know exactly what they need to pay attention to when recruiting from this special crowd.

Riley Beam, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.


Host a Virtual Recruiting Fair

Recruiting fairs can be helpful for reaching large numbers of candidates at once, and now that we have the technology for it, virtual recruiting fairs can extend your reach even more. In a matter of a few hours, you can invite students from across the country to meet with your team, chat and get to know about the possibilities for jobs or internships. Zoom doesn’t always facilitate 1:1 conversations, but there are other virtual networking platforms that aren’t too expensive and that can help HR teams host a successful virtual recruiting fair.

Ed Stevens, Preciate


Contact a University’s Job Center for Applicants

Contacting a particular university’s job center is the best way to find qualified college candidates. Depending on if you want to hire in-person or remote candidates, you can find huge databases of students who are eager to join the job market. You can filter the data by industry and streamline which students might be the best fit for what you do. Then, you can contact them directly or through their university, to see if they are interested in what you have to offer.

Gerald Lombardo, The Word Counter


Build Relationships for the Win!

The best practice for recruiting college students is establishing multiple touchpoints throughout their junior year. This will ensure students have multiple encounters with your company by way of on-campus job fairs, classroom presentations and invite-only open houses. The hope is that by the time the student is a senior in college, there is established familiarity with your organization as well as a familiar face.

Nakeisha Martinez, Zendesk


Make It Early and Memorable

Students can explore and truly experience the spirit and culture of the institution and city during open days. It gives candidates the chance to consult with qualified experts.
However, sometimes it is not practical for foreign and postgraduate students to attend an open day on campus. When it comes to organizing events, it’s critical to offer options and to be inclusive. Provide more frequent, shorter “coffee catch ups” and make sure a free online option is available.

Top firms engage students as early as their first year of university to access the greatest potential. In fact, several businesses now send representatives to high schools to promote and educate students about their employer brands early on. You’ll lose out on the best candidates if you wait to begin recruiting until the fall of their senior year. 365 days a year, have a campus recruitment approach that keeps your employer value offer top-of-mind.

Josh Tyler, Walk Big Media


Partner with Universities

Recruiting college students should begin before senior year. In fact, there should be work opportunities available for students throughout the college experience. Universities should identify—in addition to the course objectives—the skills students will develop in each course. Then, professors should require students to connect with businesses, non-profits, government agencies etc. to apply the skills they have learned.

These should be paid positions. The projects should be made available on a customized or public platform—see the Parker Dewey platform or the Johns Hopkins SMILE platform.

Sadly, the student hire rate has been very poor in the past. According to the Washington.edu DO-IT Report, approximately 53% of college graduates are unemployed or working in a job that does not require a bachelor’s degree. Let’s change that and start earlier with the recruiting process in the form of project/gig work for undergraduates.

Deborah Waddill, Restek Consulting, LLC



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