The Great Hunt for Talent: 5 Strategies for Recruiting Top College Grads

January 22, 2014

5 Strategies for Recruiting Top College Grads

It’s 2014 — And the War for Talent is Still Being Waged

All across the U.S., recruiting season has been underway at major university campuses since last fall. But this year — similar to years in the recent past — many companies are experiencing a degree of hiring trepidation due to economic uncertainty. As such, some are choosing to increase internship opportunities while scaling back the hiring of full-time employees. This tactic not only controls costs, it also provides companies with an added filter and additional time to identify top talent from a very large pool of new grads.

That said, in the tech sector at least, the war for talent is still very much on. Companies continue to find themselves in highly competitive recruiting situations, especially for roles like engineering where there is a persistent shortage of skilled talent. As such, many are continuing to explore new ways of differentiating their brand, culture, and offerings — all in the hopes of getting a leg up on their competitors by hiring the best talent available.

5 Strategies for Recruiting Top College Grads

In order to help you improve your own odds of recruiting your next up-and-coming rock star, I’ve outlined five strategies you should consider employing to obtain a competitive advantage and increase your likelihood of securing some of the best graduates in the market. Let’s explore these strategies in some detail.

1) Offer New Hires a Challenging Environment and More Responsibility

Most graduates are keen to take on difficult tasks upon graduation and apply the knowledge and skills they have obtained in an academic setting to solve real world problems. Companies that create challenging employment opportunities for new grads that also involve higher levels of responsibility will be a welcome change for new grads and a key differentiator when it comes time to choose between offers.

2) Encourage Creativity and Put it to Work

More graduates are interested in exploring work environments and roles that afford opportunities for creative expression and a chance to take their ideas from the drawing board to production (and eventually to a customer). Companies that can efficiently harness the passion and commitment of new grads stand to benefit not only financially but also in attracting many more recruits to their workforce.

3) Offer Competitive Compensation

Compensation is an important factor in employment decision-making for all segments of the workforce. With this age group, however, social comparison is often an important element of decision making. Therefore, it can be even more important to offer a salary that’s at least comparable to their peers.

4) Emphasize Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Unlike the generations before them, Millennials express a deep commitment and aspiration for work-life balance. Companies that demonstrate a commitment to this value not only by stating it, but ultimately proving it through the sentiments shared by current employees and the reputation of the employer, will go a long way in attracting new grads to the organization.

5) Showcase Your Workplace Community and Access to Smart Mentors

Intellectual stimulation fused with an affable and community-oriented employee culture can go a long way in drawing in grads who are often new to the workforce. Some grads look for a transitional environment that helps them ease into work life from an academic setting. Companies that help young people navigate into new roles through mentorship programs and other social initiatives may be more attractive to this segment.

Have you or your company experienced any particular challenges in attracting new grads to your company? Are there any particular initiatives that you have recently employed to make your workplace or a particular position more appealing to a younger segment?

Head of People Operations

Salima Ladha is the Head of People Operations at <a href="">Signpost</a>, a cloud-based marketing software that gives local businesses the power to effortlessly build and manage customer relationships. She previously recruited top talent to to OpenView and our Portfolio Companies.