Efficient Campus Recruitment 101: Everything You Need to Know



Do you know that in 2020, Cognizant - the US-based technology company, had a plan to hire up to 23,000 STEM students? Campus recruiting has always been a crucial piece in the recruitment operation of global businesses. It is a missed opportunity, not giving enough attention to the young and innovative talents. Whether you are a seasoned talent acquisition leader or a fresh recruiter, it is very important to have a solid grasp of campus recruitment. Read on to know more about campus recruitment fundamentals and how you can improve your strategy.

What Is Campus Recruiting?

Campus recruitment is the process of finding, attracting, and employing college students, university students, and fresh graduates for internship or entry-level positions. Businesses that engage in campus recruitment add these students to the company's roster once they officially graduate. Campus recruiting comes in many forms and sizes. Unlike most would imagine, recruiters don't necessarily have to set foot on campus to reach out to prospective candidates. Recruiters can operate small-scale operations such as working with career centers to announce available positions, purchase resume books from schools, and join student-focused portal platforms like WayUp, Piazza, and Handshake

With the COVID-19 Pandemic thrown into the mix in early 2020, most businesses included the option to conduct campus recruitment operations in the virtual space. Virtual events solutions such as vFairs, Hubilo, or HopIn suddenly become a must-have tool for event organizers in 2020 and onward.

The advance in technology, especially the virtualization of most campus recruitment processes, means hiring young talent is no longer confined to on-campus activities. Other novel ideas to approach university students are also employed, such as virtual Q&A sessions.


The Responsibility of a Campus Recruiter

A Campus Recruiter is responsible for attracting, evaluating, and hiring college graduates or students for entry-level positions within an organization. Their primary focus is on recruiting talent from universities and colleges. The role involves various activities to ensure a steady pipeline of qualified candidates for the organization. Here are some key responsibilities and tasks associated with the role of a Campus Recruiter:

  1. Developing Relationships with Universities:

    • Build and maintain relationships with academic institutions, including universities and colleges.
    • Collaborate with career services offices and faculty to understand the university environment and access potential candidates.
  2. Planning and Executing Campus Events:

    • Organize and participate in career fairs, information sessions, workshops, and other campus events to promote the organization and engage with students.
  3. Employer Branding:

    • Promote the employer brand to make the organization an attractive and desirable place for potential candidates.
    • Develop and implement strategies to highlight the company's culture, values, and career opportunities.
  4. Identifying Talent:

    • Actively search for and identify top talent by reviewing resumes, attending networking events, and conducting on-campus interviews.
    • Utilize various recruitment channels to identify and connect with potential candidates.
  5. Interviewing and Selection:

    • Conduct interviews and assess candidates' skills, qualifications, and cultural fit for the organization.
    • Coordinate with hiring managers to ensure alignment between candidate profiles and the company's needs.
  6. Internship Programs:

    • Manage internship programs, including recruitment, onboarding, and evaluation of interns.
    • Identify high-performing interns for potential full-time employment opportunities.
  7. Administrative Tasks:

    • Handle administrative tasks related to campus recruitment, such as scheduling interviews, managing candidate databases, and coordinating logistics for campus events.
  8. Collaboration with Hiring Managers:

    • Work closely with hiring managers and other stakeholders to understand their hiring needs and preferences.
    • Provide feedback and updates on the progress of campus recruitment activities.
  9. Data Analysis and Reporting:

    • Track and analyze key metrics related to campus recruitment, such as conversion rates, time-to-fill, and candidate demographics.
    • Generate reports to assess the success of recruitment strategies and make data-driven improvements.

In a nutshell, the Campus Recruiter is the matchmaker, party planner, brand ambassador, and data maestro all rolled into one. They make the job-hunting journey a little less daunting and a lot more fun for everyone involved.

How Do Companies Engage in Campus Recruitment?

Employers engage in campus recruiting to tap into the pool of talented and freshly educated individuals emerging from universities and colleges. Here are several approaches to conducting campus recruiting:

  1. Establish Relationships with Academic Institutions:

    • Connect with career services offices, faculty, and other relevant departments.
    • Attend career fairs, industry events, and networking sessions hosted by academic institutions.
  2. Build Employer Branding:

    • Showcase the company's culture, values, and career opportunities through various channels, including social media, company websites, and promotional materials.
    • Engage with students through online platforms and employer branding initiatives.
  3. Participate in Campus Events:

    • Attend and sponsor career fairs, information sessions, workshops, and other campus events.
    • Set up attractive booths or virtual spaces to interact with students and distribute promotional materials.
  4. Utilize Online Platforms:

    • Leverage online platforms and job boards specific to universities or general job search platforms to reach a broader audience.
    • Engage with students on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.
  5. Coordinate On-Campus Interviews:

    • Schedule on-campus interviews to assess candidates' skills, qualifications, and cultural fit.
    • Work closely with career services to facilitate interview logistics and provide a seamless experience for candidates.
  6. Host Company Presentations:

    • Conduct informative and engaging presentations about the company, its values, and available opportunities.
    • Allow students to interact with current employees or alumni who can share their experiences.
  7. Offer Internship Programs:

    • Develop and promote internship programs to provide students with hands-on experience.
    • Use internships as a pipeline for potential full-time hires.
  8. Collaborate with Campus Ambassadors:

    • Recruit and work with campus ambassadors – students who represent the company on campus and help in promoting employer branding.

3 Reasons Why You Should Pay Attention to Campus Recruiting

A Pool of Fresh Ideas and Innovation

If you notice a shortage of creative ideas and innovative approaches in your business, perhaps it is time to bring some fresh minds through campus recruiting. Students are caught up with the latest trends thanks to their naturally constant interaction with the internet. Aside from being an excellent gateway to market information, student candidates can be a source of innovation to your business. Knowing the latest trends has its perks; they can introduce new ideas or novel solutions to your business's ongoing problems.

The Digital Revolution Is Changing the Way We Work

In the Cisco Annual Internet Report, by 2023, the total number of Internet users will be 5.3 billion users. With the Covid 19 Pandemic further pushing more business activities on the internet, it is, without a doubt, a top concern for businesses to acquire talents with the ability to navigate the virtual space. As most Millennials are now within the global workforce, recruiters are turning their attention to Gen-Z. The latter is likely to be even more adept at technology.

It Is a Cost-Effective Way to Recruit Young Talent

Campus recruitment can be a cost-effective method compared to other hiring channels. It eliminates or reduces the need for extensive advertising and recruiting efforts, as companies can connect with a large number of potential candidates during career fairs and campus events or gain the support of student career offices in chosen colleges.

Smart organizations can use Campus recruiting to prepare a talent pipeline beforehand. Enrolling prospective students in internships is an economically wise method of attracting and retaining talents. You can enroll prospective candidates in internship programs. Seeing your candidates in action is far superior to resume screening when assessing their ability to work. Afterward, you can make informed decisions whether to hire or not. This way, campus recruiting can partially lift the stress of competing for top candidates.

Campus Recruiting Team Standard Structure

Businesses of any size can participate in campus recruiting. Having said that, the recruiting team responsible for the job would look very different between a startup business with 10+ vacancies per year and a large business with up to 1000+ vacancies. In this section, we will go through a few structure variations of a campus recruitment team.

The Standard Structure

A recruiting team's standard structure is commonly seen within medium-sized businesses up to large corporations with 1000+ positions to fill every year. The recruitment team's exact structure depends significantly on your business's actual needs and your targeted talents' rarity. No matter the size, there are always 4 critical roles presented in the standard structure:

Campus Recruiter

The titular role of the campus recruiting team. These are the people with boots on the ground, having direct contact with candidates. To be a campus recruiter requires an extensive set of skills to identify, attract and engage with college students and university students. Campus recruiters are responsible for conveying the company values, creating connections, and ultimately attracting the right talents. They are the voice of your recruiting team.

Talent Acquisition (TA) Director / Campus Recruiting Director

This person will be the brain, the leader of your recruiting team. A TA director's list of responsibilities will usually include identifying needed talents by working with other departments, coming up with the overall recruitment strategy, team member management, and even reaching out and maintaining a relationship with chosen universities.

Recruitment Operation Managers

As the name suggested, recruitment operation managers handle the logistic side of campus recruitment. Things such as interview scheduling, arranging transportation for the recruiter team, or processing accepted candidates fall into their domain. Having a recruiting operation manager on your team can increase your team speed-to-hire, optimize resource consumption, and reduce overall cost.

Recruitment Marketer

Before you can start to recruit young talent, people need to know that your company is hiring; this is the job of a recruitment marketer. This position is responsible for creating branding material such as banners, blog posts and communicating why your business is the right choice to work in.

Depending on the size of a team, it is common to see members multitask in multiple positions. If you feel like your campus recruitment team is being stretched thin, you can consider expanding the side of a specific position. Have a look at a variation of the standard recruitment team structure. KPMG's Greater Toronto Area Team consists of:

  • 2 "Talent Attraction Managers,"
  • 4 "Talent Attraction Specialist,"
  • 2 "Talent Attraction Coordinator."

The name might not be the same, but you can easily align the KPMG team with the standard structure above.


The One-Man Recruitment Team

For companies that only require 80 positions per year at most, the responsibility of campus recruiting would usually fall on one or two individuals. A single individual might have to handle all positions within a standard recruiting team:

  • Work with other departments within your firm to identify recruitment needs: you might have to help design an internship program for entry-level or short-term positions in some cases.
  • Create an overall campus recruiting strategy and calendar: Forming a strategy and calendar for a one-man team can be a challenging balancing game to win. Modern recruiters within a small team can utilize automated tools such as a campus & event recruiting app to eliminate time-consuming processes.
  • Build and manage a positive relationship with universities: especially with those in the career service office. Most schools have a career service room that connects students and alumni with suitable jobs.
  • Design and arrange to put up advertisements on campus ground: You will have to work with your team of aspiring designers to develop the ad material to capture candidates at just the first glance.
  • Provide career service staff with informative materials such as pamphlets, case studies, and job descriptions.
  • Reach out to alumni groups online and offline: each supportive alumni can create a powerful word-of-mouth effect. Imagine how a supportive employee who retains many positive connections in their school life can help with your recruiting effort.
  • Present in career fairs, interact, and attract students towards your employer business: To many students, you will be their first link to your company. Candidates will ask questions, and resumes will change hands. Your big role is to identify suitable candidates and make them want to work for your company. No pressure.
  • Post and manage the open positions on social media: this is another link for you to pursue. Coming back to the Cisco Annual Internet Report, with 5.3 billion internet users expected in 2023, the internet will be even busier.
  • Report back your result after any recruiting campaign or career fair: this is not only for your employer to assess your effectiveness, this is also the chance for you to improve your strategy, see what works and what does not. Here are some key statistics to monitor the success and effectiveness of your event.

Common Mistakes in Campus Recruiting

With so many candidates coming your way in a single event, making mistakes is unavoidable. However, you have already won half the battle knowing these mistakes. Here are some common errors you are likely to make in a recruiting campaign.

Disqualifying Potential Candidates for Their Initial Lack of Experience

Some people treat recruiting like a game of a puzzle. One must find a piece with the exact shape and color to fit the missing spot. It is not wrong for recruiters to employ this recruitment method as some companies can have stringent demands for a position.

However, by tightening your requirements, you are potentially missing prospective students who simply lack experience. An impressive resume and a high GPA score do not mean the candidate is the one for the job. Soft skills such as adaptiveness or leadership qualities are found through trial-and-errors. To make the most out of your talent pool, you can offer micro-internships or short projects to observe your candidates further.

Not Having a Proper Campus Recruiting Strategy

For small to mid-sized businesses, the lack of funding and competition from bigger competitors means campus recruiting is usually a tiny part of the entire recruitment campaign. Even so, to approach campus recruiting without a proper strategy means those businesses missed out on the chance of capitalizing on the young, fresh, and cost-effective labor. Without a solid recruiting plan or a clear skill profile, one might still be able to fill missing positions, but only after an exceedingly long period of searching or with hires that are below expectations.


Straggling Behind Trends

Seeing how Gen Zs interact and communicate with each other on new social media websites such as TikTok, YouTube, or Twitter, one can understand why even traditional Facebook posts lose their effectiveness in attracting talent.

Not all social media sites are new and trendy in the eyes of a Gen Z applicant. Do you know, Gen Zs consider Facebook as the social media gateway for older people? Perhaps it is time to switch your attention from email pamphlets and Facebook posts to short and concise video snippets about available positions on YouTube, Instagram, or even TikTok. Organizations such as the Global Web Index regularly publish detailed survey reports regarding social media usage trends amongst the global population. These metrics are crucial for planning your social marketing strategy.

In a Nutshell: A Comprehensive Guide to Campus Recruitment Success

Coming up with a detailed campus recruiting strategy is not easy. In this section, learn how you can start forming an action plan to start your hiring campaign smoothly.

1. Preparation Strategy for Your Campus Recruiting Event:

  • Set Clear Goals: Identify specific talent needs, and essential skills, and enhance brand visibility.
  • Evaluate Campus Relationships: Build intentional partnerships with schools aligning with your talent requirements.
  • Choose Business Representatives Wisely: Select knowledgeable and enthusiastic representatives aligned with hiring goals.
  • Promote Your Presence: Utilize social media, dedicated website sections, and advance advertising to maximize reach.
  • Produce Engaging Materials: Craft unique promotional materials for different roles, incorporating both physical and digital formats.
  • Plan Career Fair Logistics: Strategize and implement a recruitment schedule, monitoring event shipments closely.
  • Provide Training: Train your team on job fair goals, metrics, and recruiting applications to ensure smooth execution.
  • Post-Event Communication: Develop a detailed post-event communication plan, including personalized emails and engagement strategies.

2. Marketing and Communications for Your Campus Recruitment Strategy:

  • Build Social Media Relationships: Engage with students on social media, offering a direct view of company life.
  • Create Career-Oriented Content: Craft messages appealing to young professionals' desires, leveraging alumni stories.
  • Mobile-Friendly Content: Tailor content for mobile devices, optimizing for search engines and social media.
  • Keep in Touch: Establish ongoing communication with prospective students, offering valuable insights and study tips.
  • Regular Strategy Review: Adapt marketing and branding strategies annually for a lasting impact on potential students.

3. Applying Technology Solutions for Your Campus Recruitment Strategy:

  • Online Job Boards: Utilize platforms like Portfolium for a comprehensive view of candidates' skills and projects.
  • Traditional and Virtual Career Fairs: Employ Rakuna for mobile solutions in traditional fairs and Brazen for virtual career fairs.
  • Digital Interview Platforms: Enhance efficiency with HireVue, conducting asynchronous and synchronous video interviews.

4. Partnership Strategy with College Career Services:

  • Support Career Services: Collaborate on resume reviews, mock interviews, and career events, aligning with student needs.
  • Alumni Ambassadors: Elevate your image by involving alumni or peers as relatable company ambassadors.
  • Office Tours: Offer insights into company culture with office tours, catering to students' interest in long-term prospects.
  • Showcase Diversity: Actively showcase diversity in company events, contributing to a welcoming and inclusive environment.
  • Host Student Events: Engage with universities through various events, providing unique insights for students.
  • Follow-Up: Foster positive relationships with students through responsive and consistent communication.

Campus Recruiting Best Practices Summary

Like the famous martial artist - Bruce Lee once said, "Be Water." A campus recruiting team must be able to adapt to the changing trend to hire the best talents. This section will lay out some of the best practices to hire tech-savvy talents:

Personalized Interactions at the Forefront of the Recruiting Strategy

Generation Z still prefers authentic, personalized interactions to automated and machine-like exchanges a generation that grows up in the company of digital devices.

This reaction is not a surprising discovery. As recruiters adopted video interviews as part of the recruiting strategy due to the Global Pandemic at the start of 2020, they discovered the lack of human interaction in one-way video interviews resulted in negative experiences and ultimately deterred candidates from advancing further in the recruitment process. If you are yet to believe the effect of personalization on young generations, check out this informative infographic survey report of Telus International on the power of personalization.

Actions such as sharing job and industry information that resonates with each candidate's indicated interest or keeping them updated with their interview status are the right steps toward personalizing your recruitment process. Remember to follow the privacy policy of your chosen platform so as not to annoy your candidates.

Using Social Media to Access Talent Communities

Without a doubt, the virtual world can be as busy, if not even more, than the physical counterpart. A recent survey conducted by IBM's Institute for Business Value revealed that a smartphone is the device of choice for Gen Zs. Out of 15,600 global Gen Zs, 75% said they spend most of their time on smartphones each day. 25% of respondents go online using smartphones for more than 5 hours each day.

With the young generation so hyper-connected, it is easy for like-minded individuals to create talent communities. In 2021, it is easy to see talent communities popping up in social portals such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Employers should never look past these websites when looking to connect with young talent.

Virtual Career Fairs and Video Interviews Earn a Special Spot in a Recruiter’s Toolbox

It was easy to see this trend coming from miles away. The appearance of the Covid 19 Pandemic forced the recruitment community to approach talent recruiting differently. By the end of November 2020, the number of daily active users of the Zoom meeting application reached a peak of 1.7 million users. After a year of forging virtual connections, these recruiting solutions have proven that they are not just a niche. With no regard to geographical barriers, benefits such as recruitment cost and time-saving make these solutions a viable choice in any campaign.

Be Creative With Your Social Posts

To attract young talents in 2021 and onward, it takes more than just your standard job posts. If your recruiting team wants to draw attention at just the first glance, consider creating your material in a visually vibrant style. It is well known that the brain recognizes and remembers images better. Instead of a wall-o-text, let the world know about your company through an energetic infographic. Keep your content design consistent. Let the world know that your business has its style and uniqueness.

Be Active on Social Media

It is common knowledge that you must remain active on mainstream sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook to hunt for potential candidates. However, there are many more websites where like-minded individuals can come together. Reddit groups, Whatsapp groups, niche job sites, and even Instagram are places where you can find talented individuals. Each site has its own style of content and audience. Remember to have a meeting with your team to identify the type of candidates and content you want to pursue. Once all that is settled, consider hosting online information sessions for your targeted audience.


Involve Your Employee in Sharing Your Content on Social Media

The value of an employee testimonial is priceless in an age of advertising bombardment. It is easier for a candidate to build trust with someone they know that is working for you. Simply encourage your employee to spread the marketing content through their social media network. This strategy can help you best utilize your employees as individual brand ambassadors. Before you know it, you can have an internal pipeline of potential candidates.


When done right, Campus recruiting doesn't just stop at career fairs and school bulletin boards. University students, college students, and young talents are always sought after by all kinds of businesses. One must know the ins and outs of campus recruiting to gain the upper hand in this competitive race. With each different generation of candidates, a recruiter must also continuously innovate to attract the best applicants. To make more effective campus hiring strategies in 2021 and onward, consider these goals when brainstorming with your recruiting team.

Images used in this post : Freepik