7 Ways to Make Undergraduates Hate Your Campus Recruitment Event

It’s that time of year again when recruiters descend on colleges and universities to host their campus recruitment events and do their best to convince the next generation of talent that THEIR employer is the best place to work since Google started installing slides in their offices.

However, as much as students love to hang out with recruiters, they’re not foolish enough to take everything at face value. They’re watching every move you make and absorbing every detail of your event. If your campus bash is lacking in some way, you can guarantee they’ll notice. 

And judge you harshly. 

And tell their friends online.

And create memes about you on TikTok.

Here are the 7 campus recruitment event blunders you’ll definitely want to avoid this year…

1. Too much talking, not enough doing

Students spend much of their academic life sitting in a classroom and listening to lectures. The last thing you want is to make your campus recruitment event a replica of the very thing that students were hoping to take a break from.

Yes, you have exciting things to share with them and there’s a lot to talk about, but unless you want your students to mentally check out when you’ve barely begun, you need to find a way to liven up your act.

Show them some video of their prospective future workplace, host a quiz about your business, get into the Q&A early, find a reason to get the students on their feet and move around. 

2. Be vague about what their job will be

We get it. The internship you’re pitching might not sound like the most thrilling opportunity on paper. So there’s a temptation to leave it to the students to imagine they’ll be signing up to something more exciting than it actually is. This is short-term thinking.

Never forget that the best and the brightest are going to get a lot of offers. Unless your company can win people over with an ultra-powerful brand name, students are going to want to know, with complete transparency, what their day-to-day work life is going to look like.

And it’s also not going to help if a student takes a role and it turns out to be far less than their expectations. That’s not a strategy for strong employee retention.

Be plain about what the role is going to be and make sure every student leaves with a clear understanding of what they will be doing, on a practical level, every day. If possible, use your campus recruitment event to create a mini simulation of the type of work they’ll be doing so they can actually try it out and get a feel for what the experience is going to be.

3. Send too few representatives

Send just two reps to speak to 50 students and make them queue up to ask even the most basic of questions, and you send the message that you don’t respect their time.

When a student is genuinely interested and maybe even excited about your offering, the last thing you want is to have them standing around, waiting to talk to someone. It’s frustrating for them, and creates the impression that you don’t care enough about the attendees to send a reasonable number of people to talk to them.

4. Claim diversity, but don’t demonstrate it in your representatives

This is a sensitive issue but it’s too important, especially to the generation you’re speaking with, not to address it.

It’s one thing to claim that you’re a diverse organization and that you welcome all nationalities, genders, and ethnicities, but if the representatives at your campus recruitment event are themselves lacking in diversity, it will look like you’re “all talk.”

It’s more than just how it appears. If you want to improve your diversity recruiting (and you should), you’re more likely to do so if you have business representatives that look like the people attending your event.

Put simply, if you want to attract more female applicants, you’re not doing yourself any favors if all your representatives are men.

As far as reasonably possible, make sure your representatives offer a reasonable level of diversity in seniority, age, gender, and ethnicity.

5. Make attendees jump through hoops

Face-to-face events are, probably, the ideal. So, it’s understandable that a lot of focus gets put on live, networking-style campus recruitment events.

If you force students to travel long distances to attend or, worse, make it impossible for them to attend, you risk missing out on some of the best talent. You also send the message that, as an organization, you’re not flexible in how you treat your employees.

You don’t have to make every event cater for everyone – that isn’t a reasonable goal – but it makes sense to put on multiple events that, as a whole, provide options for everyone. This might include virtual events, educational events, networking-style events, breakfast meets, lunch meets, evening meets, off-campus events, and coffee chats.

6. Make your business look dull

We’re not suggesting that campus recruitment events are a contest to see who can be the most entertaining and give away the best freebies (hopefully). However, your event should at least be a good reflection of the culture and atmosphere of your business.

If your workplace is fun, collegial, and team-oriented, it will go in your favor to highlight this through the way in which you present your event.

Your budget may not extend far enough to take everyone bowling, but if you can create a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere and inject a little bit of frivolity into the proceedings this will go a long way. 

The best and brightest students aren’t going to make their career decisions based on who gives out the best candy, but they will want to work with people they take a liking to and who make them feel wanted.

7. Get students to sign in with paper and pen 

Are you still asking attendees to sign in on a piece of paper attached to a clipboard?

Or, worse, are you asking them to bring a paper resume that you have to scan into a database, or giving them a paper application to fill out?

Unless you want to look outdated, you must give students the ability to sign in using their phone, and complete an application online, still using their phone. This process is better for you as well because it’s faster and easier to gather information and track everyone’s progress. 

This is arguably even more important at your kiosks at recruitment fairs where long queues to register can be off-putting. A simple QR code they can scan, taking them to an online form to complete, is simple to implement but will make life a lot easier for you and the students.

Any recruitment software worth its salt will give you this facility. If it doesn’t… maybe it’s time to switch to something less archaic.

Campus Recruitment season goes by in a flash. Sometimes it can feel like just getting the event set up and managing the day without collapsing is a win. It’s hard to find time to adjust and improve your set up when you’re running, maybe, dozens of events every year.

Which is why we encourage campus recruiters to make full use of the technology that’s out there. 

It’s not just about improving the end results and your return on investment (which it does), or that your attendees expect to see you embracing online tech (which they do), it’s about making your job easier.

We would argue that, if you’re running multiple events – whether it be virtual, in-person or a combination of the two – trying to keep on top of everything, while also tracking every student interaction and their journey through your funnel, is impossible without solid recruitment tech in your corner.

Oleeo is the only Campus Recruiting Software on the market with a specific campus recruitment module for managing and tracking your activity, and it can even be customized to your precise specifications. 

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