How do I initiate a campus recruitment program?

College campus recruitment can be an excellent resource for locating highly educated and motivated new entrants into the workforce. Companies in the public accounting, investment banking, and management consulting fields have historically relied upon college campus recruitment for entry-level professionals. Of course, those same organizations will also recruit from MBA programs or law schools to attract newly minted candidates.

However, campus recruiting is no longer reserved for those prestigious Fortune 500 corporations looking only for the top 5 percent of graduating classes to join their ranks. Today companies of all sizes and shapes look to recent college grads to staff positions. In fact, any organization that has the flexibility to train and to allow new hires a generous learning curve could benefit from college campus recruiting.

You have to be prepared for higher-than-average turnover when dealing with young adults who are trying to find their niche in the world. Still, with tight employment markets expected for some time to come, this resource could provide you with a substantial source of recruitment bench strength. After all, few segments of our society are as motivated as new grads to set the world on fire and prove their mettle.

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There's typically no fee for recruiting on college campuses. Among the criteria that many universities and colleges use in deciding whether to allow companies to recruit on campus are these:

- Recruiters should be honest and respectful of the institution, its employees, and the student applicants.

- Job positions and proposals for remuneration and benefits must be factual and fairly current.

- Corporate recruiters should be prepared to invite local finalists to their companies for in-person visits with hiring managers and also be prepared to discuss the training programs and performance expectations before extending an offer of employment.

Copies of annual reports, benefits information, job descriptions, employment applications, and information regarding your company's Web site will be necessary in advance. After all, you'll want to provide the school with that information up front so that candidates will have enough information to choose your organization as a target employer and to ask informed interview questions during your meeting.

Your goal in college campus interviewing is to meet a fairly large number of candidates in a rather short period of time. The college coordinator will forward you resumes of interested candidates in advance. You can then notify the coordinator of the candidates that you'd like to meet. Most employers set up meetings on the half-hour and eventually invite finalists into the office for more in-depth interviews.

On the day of the interview, be prepared to ask the following questions to all candidates:

- Why did you choose this college? How did you pick your major?

- What kinds of career alternatives are you considering right now?

- What qualifications do you have beyond academics that will help you make a successful transition into business?

- Is your grade point average a good indicator of your ability to excel in business?

- After having researched our company, why do you believe you'd want to work with us?

Graduating seniors are looking to use their majors in the world of business. They want to be proud to tell their parents that they're doing exciting and meaningful work. And they want the chance to be creative and to reinvent the business world around them. Your job probably won't offer them any of those things! And that's okay.

Part of the maturation process for recent grads involves learning that work is hard and that it's not always creative and fulfilling and that they won't be the next Bill Gates.

Still, they've got to start somewhere. If their expectations are realistic and they show signs of promise, then your bet that you'll recoup your investment in training them will probably pay off. And who knows—you just might find a superstar who makes a long-term contribution to your company even though it's her first job out of school.

For more information, contact the directors of local or nationwide university career centers. The College Placement Council is the umbrella organization for all campus recruitment. Learn more at the National Association of Colleges and Employers Web site at naceweb.org.

How could a recruitment brochure help me market my company to prospective new hires?

With the time restrictions that hiring managers face in high-volume recruiting environments, it's too easy to forget to mention all the ''little details'' that could influence a candidate's decision to accept a position with your company. If candidates, for example, don't realize that your organization offers a 50 percent tuition reimbursement program, a $.25 match on the 401(k) dollar, or public transportation reimbursement, they may consider only the base salary as the ultimate swing factor in deciding whether to join your company.

Unfortunately, it's all too often the case that job candidates accept or reject jobs solely on their perception of the position and the base pay. The total compensation package can't be considered because most new hires don't find out the details until after they come aboard.

A recruitment brochure may be your answer. Such brochures function as sales and informational tools that can be attached to blank employment applications for candidates to read while they are sitting in your lobby applying for a job. They can communicate your organization's hiring practices and help sell the company's value. Brochures are easily and inexpensively produced as mini newsletters that can be modified to address your changing practices as an employer. In addition, they enhance your interviews because job candidates will formulate better questions and come to more informed career decisions about joining your firm.

Informed candidates make for better hires with fewer surprises. And think about the deterrent factor: If a candidate realized he couldn't pass a criminal background check or drug test, he could leave right away without proceeding any further in the selection process.

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Appendix C contains a suggested format and sample language to build a recruitment brochure for your company.

Other information found in a recruitment brochure might include:

- Annual holiday schedule and floating holidays

- Vacation grant (x weeks per year)

- Mandatory versus voluntary union membership, one-time union membership fees, and monthly dues

- Parking costs and parking lot locations

- Operating hours and shifts

- Employee services (gymnasium, childcare facility, entertainment discounts, and ''ride share'' public transportation subsidies)

- Casual dress on Fridays

Some organizations even list the monthly medical and dental premiums associated with their various healthcare plans so that candidates can conduct a comparison of benefits costs against their current employers' programs.

By sharing that you're a caring employer willing to help job candidates come to the most informed career decision possible, your good faith efforts demonstrate your corporate culture and values. By outlining the hiring process, you pace individuals through the hiring process so that each step (reference checks, background checks, employee physicals, and the like) doesn't appear to be a new hurdle aimed at screening out candidates. Most important, you'll get the opportunity to ''wow 'em'' by selling the full value of your company and by marketing its uniqueness—truly the best way to make a good first impression.

 
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