Because of the 21st Century "War For Talent" colleges and universities are inviting freshman and sophomores to college recruiting and networking events as early as their first day on campus. Of course colleges and universities emphasize the curriculum students will be learning. But providing connections to top companies from freshman year on helps attract better students. And these events help colleges, universities and employers place students in jobs that are more likely to meet their talents, interests and expectations.
New on Campus Recruiting Events
Senior recruiters from companies such as PwC, Blue Cross Blue Shield, BD (Becton Dickinson), PepsiCo and Bloomberg are sending senior recruiters to talk to students. The point is to get students thinking about their careers as they kick off their college years. College recruiting events used to be targeted at incoming MBA students; with the world moving faster and faster directors of programming at colleges and campus career centers are approaching students earlier than ever.
New Recruiting Strategies Bearing Fruit
In Japan recruiting students before their junior year was prohibited by government regulations until a few years ago when they began to see the benefits of early exposure to industries, companies and business people. In the United States there haven’t been any prohibitions against recruiting younger students but until recently most companies focused on juniors and seniors. Because of the hyper-competitive corporate recruiting market companies are always searching for ways to improve their results. These trends mirror those in collegiate athletics in the United States where every year younger and younger students, some in high school and middle school are offered scholarships by top athletics programs.
Introducing Employer Brands Early
According to The Balance Careers a list of typical college recruitment program includes:
- Campus Interviews - usually takes place at career center.
- On-Site Interviews: applicants are invited to a company’s office.
- Phone Interviews: helps to screen applicants.
- Video Interviews: usually used for long-distance interviews.
- Information Meetings: usually a campus event where information is distributed and questions are answered by company representatives.
- Campus Job and Career Fairs: employers meet with many applicants and students with many employers. Candidates usually have only a few minutes to talk to the company and provide their resume.
- Off-Campus Recruiting Programs: usually multi-employer off-campus events.
- Career Networking Programs: events are usually offered in career and alumni offices or off-campus and students engage with alumni to hear about career paths.
New Coffee Chats
Recently employers have found that in small group or individual coffee chats both the company and the student get to know each other better. Coffee chats are held at local cafés and restaurants. This new trend has developed due to the proliferation of impersonal job websites where face to face interviews are not a part of the equation. Major corporations are beginning to realize that in order to find ideal candidates face-to-face communication provides a better value.
Shiru Cafe, founded in 2013 in Kyoto Japan, has introduced a new model of recruiting that places face-to-face communication at the center of its programs. Shiru Cafe builds beautiful high-tech cafés at leading colleges around the world. Shiru Cafe offers students free coffee and tea with a nominal fee for pastries. Faculty and students are also welcome to spend time at Shiru Cafe.
Shiru Cafe is funded by sponsorship fees from over 150 companies including Microsoft, PwC, Panasonic, Nissan, Accenture and Softbank. Shiru Cafe collects about seven or eight data points including name, major, career interest, etc. and does not provide this information to its sponsors.
The only information provided to sponsors is aggregate data. If a company like Cisco, for example, would like to meet IT students for an event, the event is publicized in the Shiru Cafe app that students used to order drinks. Shiru Cafe may also send an email directly to IT students notifying them of an upcoming event. When students attend events they may be asked by an employer to provide personal information and at that point it’s up to them whether or not they want to provide personal data a potential employer.
Only as Strong as Your Network
With social networks being so integral to personal and business communication networking has become crucial to a successful career. The basic purpose, obviously, of networking events is to bring people together with those who can help them with their careers.
But all networking events aren’t created equal. At heavily attended job career events arriving early and having a good elevator pitch are crucial. Given what we know about personality types not everyone is comfortable in this environment. Clearly some prefer more casual events where company representatives and students can connect on a personal level. After all, when college graduates accept a job they usually have the expectation of staying for at least several years.
Additional sources of networking events include:
- Chamber of Commerce Groups
- Non-Career Events that provide an opportunity for students to meet alumni with common interests. These events can take place at galleries, museums, on tours, at sporting events, at lectures and during cocktail hours at local restaurants or bars.
- Community Service groups like the Rotary Club
- Women’s Groups
- Diversity Clubs based on gender, race and ethnicity
- Meetings, Workshops and Conferences at professional and trade events