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How to Execute a Successful Campus Recruiting Event

We know that campus recruiting can be an effective way of boosting early in career hiring, however, events need to be impactful to accomplish your recruitment goals. Not all campus events are created equally, so you want to organize something that will stand out in students’ minds—in a good way—and keep your company top of mind when they start job hunting after graduation. The following are tips to help you execute a successful campus recruiting event, so you can create a strong funnel of young professionals.

1. Assemble an Event Team

Campus recruiting should never be an afterthought, but with professionals stretched so thin, people may not have the opportunity to dedicate as much time to organizing events as they would prefer. By assembling a team that specifically works on event planning, you end up with a group of people who are intimately familiar with what's going on at every stage of the process and better able to handle issues as they arise.

2. Choose Different Types of Events

Although generally when you think about campus recruiting events, you probably think about job fairs, they’re not the only way to connect with students at colleges and universities. In addition to large job fairs, it’s a good idea to consider regularly organizing smaller campus events that will keep your employer brand in front of the student body.  

For example, competitions like hackathons are a fun way to get an idea of what skills students bring to the table as they solve a real-world problem and have a good time doing it. You may also want to create educational content for students, such as workshops related to issues in your industry. By choosing different types of events, you can get in front of more students and potentially increase your talent pool.

3. Create Event Goals

As you decide on what type of events you want to plan, you should also think about what you hope to accomplish with them. Are you going in with the intention of getting seniors to apply for positions you know will be opening? Are you trying to help freshmen become familiar with your employer brand so you can build long-term relationships with them? Do you want to ensure that students have the skills you're looking for by providing them with the education they need? Do you want to tap into specific student populations, such as those from underrepresented backgrounds?

Whether you're trying to address upcoming staffing needs or build strong relationships that get students invested in your employer brand, your event should be a reflection of your goals. Think about what needs you’re trying to meet, and what steps you need to take to get there.

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4. Pay Attention to Attendee Experience 

No amount of planning is going to matter if you don't provide a positive experience for attendees. If the registration process isn't user-friendly, checking into the event is cumbersome, or the content isn't relevant and engaging, attendees will hold it against your company. As a result, it's important to pay close attention to students’ experience, which begins long before they ever walk through the door of the venue. Since your campus event may be the first interaction your organization has with students, you must strive to create the best impression possible.

5. Consider Virtual Events

Although companies are now getting back into the habit of having in-person events, it doesn't mean virtual events should be completely taken off the roster. Even in a post-pandemic world, virtual recruiting events can expand your reach. This can be especially helpful if you have a diversity recruitment plan, since many students from underserved groups may have to work full time, so online events can be more convenient for them. In addition, if you’re concerned about your budget, a virtual event can help you connect with students as you keep expenses down.

6. Develop a Post-Event Communication Plan

Your work doesn't end after attendees walk out the door. Be sure to capture students’ contact information so you can thank them for coming, as well as send them relevant information about your company and field to keep them engaged. Also, you can provide tips to help students get the most out of their education and keep them abreast of career opportunities. If you keep the momentum of a successful event going, students will remember you when they start looking for internships and full-time jobs.

Campus recruiting events are an important part of any early in career hiring strategy, however, you have to execute them in a way that sets you up for success. These tips can help you thoroughly plan your event, so you get—and keep—students’ attention.

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