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How to Source College Students for Clients' Future Open Roles

How to Source College Students For Clients’ Future Open Roles

The newest generation of young professionals has made its debut in the workforce. Surprise! Generation Z is here to make their mark on the recruiting process earlier than you thought.

The ambitious and passionate students of this generation search and apply for their dream jobs long before they graduate college. In fact, according to a Yello Recruiting study, only one in ten plans to wait until graduation to begin their job search. 

Understanding what drives Gen Z is essential to source this fresh new talent. This generation is determined and confident. Gen Z isn’t cutting corners in their quest for the perfect career. The previously-mentioned Yello study also found as many as 35 percent of Gen Z expect to receive more than one job offer before they graduate. 

College students are an exceptional pipeline of talent you need to access to stay ahead of the competition and prepare for your clients’ future talent acquisition needs. Here’s how you can start building a pool of top talent to funnel directly into your clients’ hiring processes after college graduation:

1. Work with clients to anticipate future talent needs

Your clients have major strategic plans for the future. It’s easy to get caught up in finding talent to fill clients’ current open roles. Be sure you’re also aligning your sourcing strategy with your clients’ forecasted talent needs.

This could mean learning details of projected company growth, the development of new roles, or even knowing which roles are likely to open up due to employees reaching retirement age. No matter the reason, sourcing young talent early gives your clients an advantage in their market. 

Discuss hiring goals with clients for the next one to five years. Determine what skills their company will need to keep up with their competitors and how they’re preparing their team for shifts in the talent market. Use this information to screen current college students in your network.

Make connections with those pursuing specific degrees and certifications that will be in high demand and learn more about their interests to start assessing for fit. Find out how students prefer to connect with recruiters and staffing pros and use these conversations to be an ambassador for your clients’ future job opportunities.

2. Attend college career events

Technology hasn’t suppressed Gen Z’s desire for fitting face-to-face time into their fast-paced lives. In fact, the previously mentioned Yello study found 51 percent of Gen Z prefers face-to-face communication. Yello’s research also revealed Gen Z candidates hold the information they receive from conversations at college career centers and hiring events in very high esteem. They rank these sources nearly twice as high as their millennial counterparts.

Attend career fairs and hiring events regularly. Don’t just collect names or hand out branded goodies. Make thoughtful and personal connections that leave a lasting impression by tapping into students’ career ambitions and expectations.

Use this time to assess their personalities and soft skills. Clearly communicate why they’d fit into your client’s team and when possible, connect them with current employees to reinforce their experience. Nearly 62 percent of Gen Z values referrals from a company’s current and former employees, according to Yello’s Recruiting study. This means they will appreciate the opportunity to collect more information and nurture an internal connection of their own.

3. Follow-up with personalized communication

This rising generation of talent believes recruiters make a big difference when it comes to their candidate experience. Yello reported nearly half (44 percent) of Gen Z candidates agree recruiters have the most significant impact on their decision to accept a job.

Recruiters, as trusted advisors, ranked 5x higher than technology and almost 4x higher than a speedy interview process. In comparison, only 29 percent of millennials in Yello’s aforementioned study ranked recruiters No. 1 for the impact they make on their future job decisions. This means making a positive human connection and showing current college students they are valued individually is critical when sourcing this group of top talent.

Ramp up your personalized communication to make a positive impact on students. For example, you can create custom video messages following an in-person introduction to nurture the connection. Follow up with a video response to a question they asked at a career fair you didn’t have the answer to or check in with a fun company update from a client that piqued their interest.

If a student expresses a desire to be considered for future job openings, send them a one-way video interview invitation with a set of structured interview questions for the role they are best suited for. Candidates can always submit a new video interview if their career ambitions or skills have shifted when contacted in the future. Keep these video profiles in your talent library to revisit and share with clients as roles open up.

4. Prepare to mentor them through the hiring process

When sourcing talent just entering the workforce, they may require more guidance through the hiring process. However, by guiding high-potential talent from student status through to your clients’ hiring process, you nurture a connection that improves your placement rates, the candidate experience, and your clients’ hiring outcomes. Everybody wins.

Rather than overextending and exhausting your availability, provide advice for determining what skills they should build on, tips for interviewing, and other insight through short informational videos. Not only does this help candidates, but shows you as an invaluable resource.

Adapting your recruiting strategy to accommodate to the needs of each generation as they enter the workforce is par for the course. Understanding those unique needs and establishing genuine relationships with talent, especially candidates that value the human side of recruiting, ensures top talent trusts you and your clients as they chart their career paths well into the future.

Transform Your Placement Process with Video Interviewing

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.