College Recruiting Strategies: A Guide to Hiring Recent College Graduates


Recruiting college students for jobs that your company is looking to fill can be tricky. There’s a ton of competition to hire young talent. In fact, a recent survey found that 74% of companies planned to hire recent college graduates in 2017. On top of that, you have to be able to identify smart, high potential students in a very short amount of time while still making your company seem as attractive to job seekers as possible.

College student graduating from college.

These are the college recruiting hurdles that companies have been dealing with for decades. Now there’s a whole new set of challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Colleges and Universities around the nation have closed their doors to students and employers alike. That means most on-campus career fairs in 2020 will be canceled. That doesn’t mean that they’re gone altogether though. Companies like vFairs are making it possible to host career fairs online, so you can still get face time with prospective employees.

How to Make Your Company Seem Attractive to College Students

Making your business and job openings seem desirable to outgoing college students sounds easy on paper. After all, they need a job you’re hiring. At some point, you need to separate your company from the competition though and it takes more than a competitive salary and benefits package. Recent graduates setting out to start their careers with companies that are a great culture fit too. Here are some tips to improve your brand image and recognition with early-career candidates.

College grads looking for jobs

Improve Your Social Media Presence

To really connect with students you have to go where they spend their time. A recent study found that current college students spend between 1-2 hours on social media each day, making it by far the most accessible method of connecting and communicating with students. Having an active social media presence doesn’t just build awareness about your company though. It also gives your brand a personality and encourages engagement, which in turn builds brand loyalty.

Connect Your Brand with Charitable and Environmental Causes

College students are more aware of social and environmental issues than ever before. These socially conscious and sustainable attitudes are reflected by the food they eat, the products they purchase, and the companies that they want to work for. A recent survey showed that 65% of college students look for a clear agenda of corporate social responsibility in a future employer.

Sending the message that your company is sustainable and altruistic connects your company’s organizational values to the personal values of collegiate job seekers. If your company isn’t doing anything yet, consider implementing a give-back program, hosting volunteer events, or partnering with organizations to support charitable or environmental causes. Check out GoFundMe’s list of the Best Charities to Partner With in 2020 for some ideas!

Get Involved with Student Clubs and Organizations

Want to make sure that students know your company before they graduate? One of the best ways to do this is to get involved with student organizations that are looking to partner with real companies for projects and learning opportunities. Reach out to Universities in your area to see if organizations like Business Clubs, Marketing Clubs, and Entrepreneurship Clubs are looking for businesses like yours to partner with!

Adopt a Mobile Recruiting Strategy

The age of mobile hiring is here to stay. In a 2019 study, Glassdoor found that 58% of their users were looking for new jobs on their phones. That number is likely to increase even more for students with the temporary closure of on-campus libraries due to the coronavirus outbreak. That means that if you don’t have a mobile-friendly application process you’re losing out on a lot of great potential job candidates. You can easily make your application process mobile-friendly by posting your job openings on apps like JobFlare and LinkedIn.

Dominate the College Job Fair

The on-campus career fair is the traditional battleground for young talent. College recruitment fairs represent huge pools of untapped talent. Here’s a checklist to make sure you’re ready for your next career fair:

  • Prepare a list of job openings that you’re currently looking to fill.
  • Bring a large supply of informational material and business cards.
  • Choose a high-traffic booth location.
  • Set up a visually appealing booth with branded signage.
  • Stand up! You’re less approachable when you’re seated at your booth.
  • Offer free promotional giveaways with your company logo.
  • Provide an option for attendees to digitally apply right at your booth.

How to Identify High-Potential Early-Career Job Candidates

There’s one thing that just about all recent college graduates have in common – a lack of on-job experience. Sure, some students have had a little exposure to the business world through internships, but experience should never be the deciding factor for hiring early-career candidates. Education is an important factor but isn’t as useful when you’re comparing recent graduates to other recent graduates. The prestige of the University you attended can only get you so far. The most significant factor in your hiring decision should actually be the cognitive aptitude of your job candidates.

Identifying high potential college graduates for jobs.

Unlock the Cognitive Aptitude of Your Job Candidates

It’s no secret that smart employees tend to outperform less intelligent employees. However, it may come as a surprise that cognitive aptitude is the #1 predictor of job performance based on decades of psychological research. In fact, cognitive ability is twice as predictive as interviews, three times as predictive as experience, and four times as predictive as education.

Review Candidate Aptitude

Cognitive aptitude measures a wide range of critical brain functions like problem-solving, attention to detail, memory, vocabulary, numerical reasoning and more. But how can you measure cognitive aptitude in your candidates? The best way to accomplish this is with the use of pre-employment assessments and aptitude tests. The only problem is that job seekers aren’t exactly lining up to take tests, especially job seekers fresh off final exams. That’s why JobFlare gamified these aptitude tests into fun brain games. Job seekers get a better user experience and employers get access to a userbase of pre-evaluated candidates that have the brainpower it takes to be top employees. Everyone wins!