Off-Campus

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The top investment banks and consulting firms go to a couple of the best colleges, get 400 resumes, interview 8 candidates, and hire 2 seniors for their entry-level position or development program. These companies are employment brand giants at the campuses they visit. Often they skip most campuses, rarely accept resumes outside of the on-campus resume submission process, and reject over 99% of applicants.

One of my friends who is a Senior at an Ivy League school went to a lunch with representatives from a top consulting firm yesterday. One of the other students at the lunch asked about internships, and one of the recruiters responded that they were not actively recruiting interns at this school. The student then asked how one would go about applying and the recruiter basically said don’t bother.

These companies are throwing away hundreds, if not thousands of great candidates every year. They don’t need them, but your company does. It’s almost impossible to compete with these on-campus recruiting juggernauts, so how do companies who are smaller or have a weaker employment brand respond?

Here are a few tips to improve your college recruiting efforts:

  • Do your recruiting after the big guys. Applicants focus on their first few choices. Once the big guys are out of the picture, you have a much better chance of being a candidate’s top choice. Avoid early Fall and early Spring.
  • Go where they aren’t. Some of the companies with the strongest employment brands limit their recruiting to a hand full of campuses. That leaves you hundreds of campuses with really great students who will make great employees.
  • Leverage the internet. Many students are online almost as much as they’re on-campus. You can hit every campus you want, without the travel costs and time commitments of a cross-country trip.

On-campus recruiting is a really expensive commitment to make, and it’s ineffective for many of the employers who take part. They get overlooked by students who are awe-struck by big name investment banks and consulting firms. If your booth is next to Goldman Sachs’ and your information session is at the same time as Deloitte’s, you’re going to miss out on a lot of applicants who might be interested in you after they get rejected by the big guys. It kind of sucks to be a second or third choice, but you need to do everything you can for your company to take advantage of the talent opportunities that present themselves.

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