How to track

  • Conversations

  • Student Pipeline

  • Ambassador Resources

  • Ambassador Tasks

  • Campus Connections

Company X tries to create a campus ambassador program. Company X has great intentions, finds the right people to head it, and finds incredible ambassadors. 6 months later - company X defunds their campus ambassador program. What went wrong?

They couldn't prove the ROI. Small and large companies are just as guilty here when it comes to proving that their campus ambassador program actually drove tangible business value.

So how do you not just build a campus ambassador program, but build one that will have sufficient data behind it, so that when upper management asks for the results, you are able to point precisely to the ROI?

The goal of this piece is to give you ideas for what you might want to track when launching your own ambassador program and how to track it. At the end of the day, we can’t help companies build campus ambassador programs if the decision makers can’t see the ROI. Our goal here is to provide you with the framework for tracking yours.

If you really tried, you could probably figure out how to do a lot of these things on your own, or you might even find a way to make this work better for your organization. A good tracker is just one of the many parts of a successful ambassador program so we provide you with this for you to take and make your own.

We looked at solutions on the market and realized that GoogleDrive or OneDrive could be sufficient to build out a platform that allows all parties to collaboratively track their goals, initiatives, and progress. After talking with many companies looking to implement robust ambassador programs, we narrowed down the key functions of such a tracker as follows:

  1. Allow the campus manager to see realtime the students being

  2. Allow the campus manager to queue tasks for the ambassador and receive feedback on those tasks

  3. Allow the ambassador with an easy way to keep track of the conversations they’re having on campus with students and the pipeline they’re building without needing to add students directly to an ATS

  4. Allow the ambassadors to maintain a list of connections on campus that include professors, career services, and organizations

  5. Allow the ambassadors to have access to a place for resources such as FAQ documents, slides for classroom presentations, and other resources a program manager might consistently share with ambassadors

Realtime Ambassador Tracking

We included the following metrics on our campus manager dashboard

  • Pipeline Activity by Week

  • Candidates By Major

  • Candidates Per School

  • Candidates Per Ambassador

  • Tasks in Queue

  • Candidates By Graduation - To help distinguish between students that

One example of a reporting dashboard

Pipeline Tracking

Student VS Candidate: A student is someone who an ambassador has identified as a possible fit for the organization

We needed a way to track students and candidates separately so we created separate tabs. Students are added by the ambassador and candidates are self reported via a google form.

Student Tracking

The idea here is that when an ambassador identifies a student that might be a good fit, either from an in person meeting, or outreach via LinkedIn or some other virtual platform, they can track that contact. In the same way companies track touch points with prospects, we've found that this is an extremely useful thing to track for the ambassadors as well. It helps them stay consistent and to go deep with their outreach. We include columns that cover the usual information, along with date of each touch, comments related to the student, and whether or not they're moving forward.

Student Tracking

Once a student is interested in going deeper with the organization by applying, they fill out a Google form that the ambassador shares with them (As pictured below). This way the student shows real intent in being a part of the ambassadors pipeline. This stage is usually done in coordination with the filling out of a company application. The Google Form is connected directly to the Candidates Tab so that the information is automatically populated.

Candidate Pipeline Tracking

This information is provided by the filling out of the form above. The only thing to add here is that 2 columns are added (but cut out of the below photo) that include comments and a column for an ambassador to designate whether or not a candidate is preferred. They are trained on how to determine if a candidate is preferred during the inPerson Ambassador Training.

Candidate Pipeline Tracking

Tasking Queuing

Sometimes there are tasks that a campus manager might want to assign to a campus ambassador. This is why we included a tasking queue in our tracker. On one end, the manager is able to assign tasks. When assigning a task, the task appears on the ambassadors dashboard, alerting them of the new assignment. This assignment could be for meeting with a student for coffee, hosting some sort of event, partnering with a specific organization, or some other administrative item that needs to be taken care of.

Task Queueing

Campus Relationships

Time and time again we'd hear that one of the biggest issues with an ambassador program is that the relationships that get built on campus semester after semester get lost. Ambassador's graduate, people change jobs, organizations elect new's difficult to have a living place for all of these contacts to be maintained.

That's where we have the columns; Entity Name, Contact Info, Type, Ambassador last in contact, notes, and last touchpoint. Including ambassador last in contact allows for the passing of the information of who had the connection. This way, with the passing off to a new ambassador, a quick introduction can be made to the important university contacts. We included last touchpoint and notes as well to help explain the relationship/how recent the relationship has been held.

Campus Relationships

Ambassador Resources

Another uplift we heard this tool could provide, is the aggregation of all ambassador related campus resources. This includes things like classroom slides, FAQ documents, and anything else that would ordinarily be emailed back and forth between the manager and the ambassador. This saves the time of needing to find these resources, allows for the most recent versions to always be presented, and directly links to the resources, hosted on the platform. We use a Google form for this as well so that the files are all put into the same place virtually.

Campus Resources

Extra: Keeping things simple and intuitive for everyone

We included this help page because sometimes everyone needs a little help. We prefer video format for campus managers/campus ambassadors to refer back to from time to time.

Extra Help

In conclusion:

Since we now have a list of all candidates that have applied after coming into contact with an ambassador, this list can be referenced quickly against an ATS so an organization knows the exact students that came from it. This is as opposed to a program that relies on filling through hundreds of emails to find the needed names to cross-reference a small introduction made by an ambassador. Immediate pipeline is not the only things that's valuable to prove the ROI of an ambassador program. The best programs cultivate future talent 4 years out. If you're not utilizing your ambassador program to build long term relationships with top talent then you're missing the point. It's important to track the presence you've built on campus, not just to continue utilizing them but to also show these numbers to the executive team.

Overall key metrics to track (relevant to upper management) are:

  • Candidate pipeline

  • Students contacted by ambassadors

  • Relationships built on campus

So there you have it - the quick guide for ensuring that you ambassador program doesn't get defunded due to a lack of data to point to when assessing the ROI

Yo - have you heard about this story of Mark Cuban during his early days of starting his Consulting Company?

He didn't want to be exposed as someone who's not knowledgable so read almost everything he could to sound credible Found a quote where he talked about this experience ”I expected them to say: “Oh yeah, I read that too in such-and-such.”

That’s not what happened. They hadn’t read it then, and they still haven’t started reading it. Most people won’t put in the time.” (Talk about fake it til you make it...)

Now, I'm talking to most campus recruiters who are hiring for complex roles Most of them have never done the job so the conversation can feel off-balance

Now, not only have they not done that job, but they haven't even taken the time to read articles, blogs or even have a surface level understanding of the role they're hiring for

Just because they're students doesn't mean you have the upper hand

If you're expected to bring top-tier candidates into your pipeline, do you have a top-tier process that will help you get there?

In April Peth, Esq.'s world, you have to become a trusted advisor Because her roles are complicated and require multiple experiences, but listen to her advice as she breaks down how you can become an advisor too

Rishav Khanal 0:02

Boom. And I think she's chimed in, I've got the record sign on there. So everybody, welcome back to recruiting you. And we're super excited to have our guest on, but I know, I know, you're probably wondering, alright, Rishav what is the fun fact? What's the trivia question lay it on me. And we've gone on a streak now where people have known the answer. And I, you know, my goal for this is for our audience and our guest to not know the answer. So I can feel a little bit smarter about myself. But anyways, Alexis April.


What is the name of the company that Elan musk currently runs? That is currently digging tunnels into the ground?

April Peth 0:53

The only company I think might be his other than Tesla's, this is SpaceX or whatever his space one is? I don't know any.

Rishav Khanal 1:02

Yeah, you've got two of them. And he's got Solar City that's like the cheapest, like solar that you can put on your tiles. But he's also got the boring company. So the idea is you dig tunnels into the ground. And then that way, you can avoid traffic because your car would go and you'd go into the tunnel, and he would just drop?

Yes, it's the boring company. Lot. Lots of smart people working on that. But for us here, a lot of smart people coming on just like a bro and we're excited to have her curious, you know, thinking about you all the colleagues that you probably talked to any fun facts, I guess you or your colleagues necessarily wouldn't know about you? The first time they meet you.

Elon is using a boring machine from a sewer project in Sunnydale, California

April Peth 1:50

My colleagues wouldn't know about me. Exactly. Um, I'm the oldest of five kids. So that's

Rishav Khanal 2:01

what's the what's the fondest memory growing up in that household was Thanksgiving or any other big holiday? Like?

April Peth 2:07

I'm crazy, but very fun. We used to have our own family newspaper, family weekly time. So it was?

Rishav Khanal 2:21

Well, I know I think for people that are super used to coming to the show for a little bit. I've watched the episodes. They're like, hey, Rishav, did you just steal Alexis Thunder? Because she always chimes in with a question. We are unfortunately, so sad to see her leave. I think this is going to be the second to last podcast that she does with us before she goes back to her awesome time at Virginia Tech is a rising senior. So we're just passing off the baton expertise and everything like that. But, April, let's dive into it. We're short, sweet, straight to the point. And listeners know, hey, we go get into this fictitious scenario and play out this hypothetical. And I'm a campus recruiter right now who is really struggling, close candidates, right? I'm talking to a lot of students who are juggling multiple offers. And I just feel like there's something off, and I can't sell them on why they should come work for us. Now I know, you're not a campus recruiter by you know, by day 24. Seven, you work in a different division. You're talking to legal folks like people that are super smart people that are probably juggling a lot of other offers, who know their worth. And somehow you have to work with them to solve them on wherever you're going to be placing them however you work. So I'm curious, like, have you come across a situation? And if so what would your advice be to me to make sure that it doesn't happen moving forward?

April Peth 3:37

Definitely. Well, thank you for having me. So I would think the first thing I would say is you have to almost think of your position, even though you're recruiting or on campus, recruiting is a sales position, you are pretty much having to sell candidates. I mean, even in this market, the unemployment rate for people who are qualified and presentable and articulate is still very low. So I think you really need to go into it thinking of your position as a sales position. I know when we have a job, the first thing we identify is kind of what we would call the selling points or perks. So know what's you know, separates or differentiates the position you're working on versus others that the candidates are applying for. So you probably I mean, you guys are recruiting for a variety of positions. So the selling points will be different, but one thing you need to do is be I would say knowledgeable about the market if you're recruiting for positions, for instance, for communications majors right out of college, I would want to know if I were you what other jobs are these people applying for? What's the target salary range? If you're looking for other targets, salary range information, a lot of recruiting agencies such as mine, to put out a brochure That's, you know, by region throughout the country. So I think something like that is great. Or when you're talking to candidates may be asking, Hey, you know, I know you're interviewing for other positions, what's the salary range, you're those roles are offering on just to be really knowledgeable so you can know what differentiates your company and position in their jobs. Other selling points, I think especially now are opportunity to work remote, you know, after this is all over, if you have great health benefits on, some firms have or companies have every other Friday off, I've noticed or half days on Fridays, things like that. Think of what you would entice you for a role. Um, so I think going into it knowing the selling points. I think also, when you're starting to talk to someone, I would definitely know it sounds like you're aware shop when they have multiple offers or other interviews, which is good. But I would make sure you're staying on top of that, and just kind of conversing with them, you know, Oh, I know. you're interviewing for another position on how's that going? How far along? Are you in the interview process? What excites you about that job? Do you mind if I ask, you know, where your interest is leaning? So you can, you don't want to be shocked at the end? If they don't accept your position. You want to know, early on, hey, they're leaning to this role. Because of this, I need to try to get them a couple thousand more if I can, I need to figure out what what a driving force is. So knowing that I'm being able to talk about their other options. And then I think when you do have an offer for a candidate, you do have to really sell it to them. So I'm not sure to be honest. How from a campus recruiting or an in house company perspective, if you guys are the ones presenting the offer to candidate

Rishav Khanal 6:51

typically. Yep,

April Peth 6:53

typically. Okay, perfect. Yeah. So I think, you know, one of the issues we see, and you guys probably see this a lot too, then is candidates, oh, I'm really interested, I have another interview at the end of the week, I want to see how that goes. And then we'll get back to you know, I think that's, you know, you never want to leave that option open. If you have any chance, I think that is great for a candidate perspective, because if they have multiple offers, they're going to go to the other interview, I need to get out, you know, a decision from you today, I actually have this other offer for 60,000. And I mean, there for sure going to beat you out. So I think you need to whenever you're presenting an offer, you need to have a quick deadline. Um, I think you want to flatter the person or the candidate somewhat, you know, because you want them to feel like they're a good fit for your company. But you also don't want to make them feel as if they're not amazing. And the only one so when you're giving them a deadline, I would almost say something like, you know, we did have several other great candidates interview this position. One, maybe one hiring manager, you would say, in particular was really fond of another candidate, we want to get an offer out to them quickly, if this isn't the right fit for you. I understand. So you want to sell it to them, you know, there, they are not probably the only candidate out there, especially if you're working with recent college graduates. So I would just I always like them to think that there's competition for them too. And you know, they need to they need to work for it. It is competitive on both ends on


Rishav Khanal 8:32

what's yours. I mean, especially in your field, right? it's legal. Like, yeah, and I mean,

April Peth 8:37

to be honest, we usually do only have one or two good candidates for our positions, because we're looking usually for people in the three to five year experience range for most of our roles. So those people don't want to move or they want to move to go into company like your own. So it is hard persuading them. And we usually don't have that many candidates. But if we allow them to think they're, you know, one in a million, they're gonna want everything. And so I think just, yeah, you're, I'm sure the companies you're working for great places to work to. So I would just make sure that going into it. You're excited about the job, you're excited about the perks, you know, the salary you can offer, and you think it's a sweet deal. If you don't think it is, you know, the candidates probably aren't going to. So I think with us, we have to communicate with our clients when no one's going to be interested in that position, quite frankly. So you guys, when you're talking to a hiring manager, about a position within your company, I would think you would just need to be clear with them. sure if this is what you're looking for, this is the salary range you want us to offer. That's great, but based on me talking to undergraduates last year, they're getting offered this so just really making sure everyone's knowledgeable you the hiring manager because you're probably the one actually talking to the candidates first. So you have kind of more information there. And I think they appreciate that. Well, seriously. I mean, I think

Rishav Khanal 10:13

in this hypothetical scenario, I'm at fault of that where I am more of a generalist, not a specialist. Yeah, I think, you know, everyone talks about, hey, recruiters need to be trusted advisors, right? You're like, whether it's your company or somewhere else, they need to almost know that you're going to make the best decision alongside with them, based on their knowledge, their expertise of their market. I'm curious, Alexis, because I know that wasn't the case for me talking to cam scooters. But like, as you're going through the thick of internships, knowing that you're a marketing major, did you have instances of recruiters that knew like, Hey, I know you're applying to other jobs. I know what marketing people are making? Like, do they have that level of trust and credibility with you? It wasn't more of a generalist thing. I'm just curious, like, if that's still the case, from 2018 to 2020.

April Peth 11:03

Yeah, that's a good question. Especially because now everything's changing, right? Everything. Um, so I'm trying to think last year, or I guess, yeah, last this past spring. I feel like the recruiters they were very, they were very open. Like they want the candidates to be able to talk with them about everything that they're going through just like April saying, like being able to be open and just talking. So yes, they were very Oh, they're like, hey, like, how is everything going for you? Like are you find other places? So I did actually experience like, they wanted before we dive, like dove into any interviews, they were having that conversation like, hey, how is your applying process going for? internship? So yeah, definitely.

Rishav Khanal 11:44

I got you know, cuz that's, I mean, like, at least for me, I feel like I don't hear that often. Right in in April. And let me know like, because I, I sort of want to wrap a bow on this. Like I said, short, sweet, straight to the point. And let me know if I missed anything from the notes that we're taking here. It seems like hey, first, before anything, it's just identifying those selling points and that perks for the role. Right? And if I am that in house, campus recruiter a, am I even excited about the company in the benefits that I get? Because if I'm not, I'm it's almost disingenuous at that point, trying to sell somebody something hard. Oh, yeah. I mean, talk about cognitive dissonance, like internally, I don't feel it. So how is my behavior going to showcase that. And then the second thing is, I don't think a lot of campus recruiters, at least the conversations I've had, they don't think like salespeople and recruiting yourselves are one to one, where you have to be knowledgeable about the market, you have to have a good policy, you have to kind of understand your competitive landscape to feel like, okay, I can take somebody from here to here and walk them through that journey. And the third thing, what I gathered from you is always positioning and kind of this fine balancing act of make the candidate feel good, but also get firm decisions from them, because you don't want them to hang you in limbo of Oh, maybe? What about this? What about that, then it just increases that time to fail. Um, so those were kind of the three big things that I took away as far as Hey, what is, quote unquote, closing a candidate look like? How do you sell them on these points and offers anything else that you think I might have missed? Or anything you'd add on to that? Before I go out and execute on these scenarios, which I deeply need to do?

April Peth 13:22

No, I would say, that's great. And yeah, just staying in communication with the person I think I've no, I believe in house or recruiting for those type of roles sometimes may take longer, because you have quite a few processes. So I would be in contact with the person, you know, if more than a few days goes by, hey, we're so excited about your application. I'm trying to connect you with this person, I think that might set you guys apart, rather than kind of in that also, but probably build a better rapport. So you are able to ask them those questions more about their other interview process, because they might think you care. You're keeping them in the loop, you obviously know what's going on. It's not just another random candidate that, you know, you'll forget about it

Rishav Khanal 14:08

Real quick. How do you keep this organizational information organized? I mean, you view and even in house, you're talking to lots of people? How do you make sure that people just aren't a number at the end of the day? And I actually can pull up whatever to use any systems or tools that

April Peth 14:24

Yeah, so I'm not sure so we have a database obviously. So we log in can look up candidates by their information. We have another thing I think this might be like a Microsoft or something type program so people could have access to it. Um, we have one Note, but I'm sure there are a lot of other options like almost binder folder system. So I might have candidates in the interview stage candidates, you know, second round candidates to consider if this role comes up again. So just kind of I don't know, I actually did have a actual paper file. system for a while with folders, but now I'm working from home. So I'd say any similar file, notebook type system, you could just drag you know, resume PDFs or Word documents and stick into and then write a few notes. I think that's a good idea.

Rishav Khanal 15:16

Yeah, I can barely read my chicken scratch. So to sort of just like whether it be Google Drive, OneNote just having it on there. I know, I can read it. It's legible. Right? It's gonna come out the same, but I think we've got lots of work to do. We've identified those signing points, understand how to be knowledgeable about the market and build a good rapport with the candidate. So you can ask them the tough questions of Hey, what other opportunities are you looking at? What excites you about that opportunity? Why now why them really getting them to understand their candidate journey so that way, you can sort of be an advocate for them, not just with the candidate, but also the hiring manager. And then I don't think I'm missing anything else as far as staying organized. Keep up that filing system if your paper if you don't have chicken scratch like me, kudos to you. But keep it all organized. And thank you again for coming on board. Like I said, the listeners are gonna be listening on. We've got lots of work to do.

April Peth 16:06

Appreciate it, guys. Best of luck with everything and keep in touch and reach out if you have any questions that I can help with or both. Yeah,

Rishav Khanal 16:15

seriously. Yeah.

Campus recruiting is such a “feelings” industry sometimes

Recruiters doing what they “feel” is right, or what they were told to do, almost always without a lot of data points

They’ll say “this campus is better.

That’s why we go here”, without the data

They’ll say “oh, we created an event”, without the data

They’ll say “oh, we spoke to accounting students” without the data

I’m all for gut instinct, but at a certain point, you have to measure and assess the impact of your activities

Look, I’ll always be an advocate for campus recruiters because frankly, you all do A LOT It’s not an easy job

But if every fall feels like Groundhog Day and a stressful nightmare, then something must change

Appreciate Kristin (Talent Acquisition Manager) for breaking this down for us and getting tactical about the things we need to measure so that we can all… Know. Our. Numbers.

Rishav Khanal 0:02

Cool. All right. Well, she just chimed in the big dreaded zoom announcement that it is recording. Welcome back with nervous everybody here. And I think every time we start the show people get really excited. I'll tell you why. Because we love, love, love starting these shows with irrelevant Dumb fun facts. So I heard. Yes, you heard so other people I know a little bit of a whiz with these things. And I don't Google them 30 minutes prior to recording, just like the tabloids say, but I'm not sure if you knew this, Alexis and Kristen, but clearly people are not traveling as much they may not be as relevant. But when you have visited sites like Travelocity, Orbitz,, hotwire trivago, cheap tickets, ebookers. All of them is actually owned by Expedia. Really,


Kristin Ethridge 0:59

I did not know that?

Rishav Khanal 1:03

That was the reaction I was hoping for. My jaw dropping I do want when I saw that, I was like, really? Because I thought, Oh, interesting. Competing.

Kristin Ethridge 1:15

I wonder what this strategy is behind that.

Rishav Khanal 1:18

Gobble up all the people using it as much as possible and make make money problem.

Kristin Ethridge 1:24

anybody's strategy, right?

Rishav Khanal 1:26

Yeah, there's

Alexis Cheatham 1:27

so so Kristin. So I guess I'm curious. What's the fun facts that maybe your colleagues don't know about you?

Kristin Ethridge 1:35

yet? So um, I always have to think about this because I'm not good at fun facts. And so I think one thing that my colleagues don't know about me is that so I got both of my degrees are in business, but I actually started my college career out studying music education. So it was going to be like a chorus teachers, I studied voice and decided that I didn't want to teach for a living and I didn't want to perform for living, which are the only things you can do with a music education degree. So I ended up doing a total 180 and switching to business but a lot of people don't know that about me, because I don't I don't share that very often.

Rishav Khanal 2:15

Wow. Okay, so it's a company that there is a karaoke machine there. And the person behind the booth is Kristin Etheridge. Upon the last you barely game, what's your go to karaoke song as you approach that individual who's gonna pop it on?

Kristin Ethridge 2:39

Oh, gosh, I don't know what my go to karaoke song. I feel like it would be something from like Greece, the movie, I love anything. Um, Greece, hopelessly devoted, I feel like is a really good song. It's not like a you know, you get the crowd going. But it's a good it's a good ballad. I feel like that would be probably my go to. I would also probably avoid the karaoke machine. So it's a it's a low chance that I'd be up there anyway. That's all

Rishav Khanal 3:06

right. In this hypothetical scenario is everyone is doing That's right. their comfort zone?

Kristin Ethridge 3:11

That's right.

Rishav Khanal 3:12

You know, we are not singers. Trust me, I think. Soon as people start to hear my vocals, they will end this episode. So the meat potatoes of this episode, right and playing out this hypothetical scenario, which right now is relevant more than ever. And I'm going to now put on my fictitious HR executive hat, where I'm that HR executive at my midsize accounting firm. And right now, it really seems like we're losing top talent to bigger firms during the campus recruiting season. And my recruiters tell me that it's always difficult to get partners who are full time staff who aren't recruiters to engage with students in a meaningful way. And besides the info sessions that we do with Beta Alpha Psi, I'm wondering what should I be doing in order to attract students to my firm? Where do I?

Kristin Ethridge 4:07

Yeah, well, I think this is a really it's a very relevant question. And I think as the market for talent within public accounting has gotten more and more competitive, it's really important. And, you know, we as regional firms don't have the brand recognition nationally that the big four or some of the larger firms do. And so it is a really important question to figure out how you can maintain a good brand presence and engage with talented students in a meaningful way. And also have your people invested in doing that because what we at Bennett Thrasher have determined is that is our most successful pipeline are the students that we recruit on campus, and then end up staying with us for a large amount of time. And so I think there's a couple of different things. things that are important when you're asking yourself this question if you are a recruiter or director of talent, and whatever your title is, at a regional firm, there's a couple of different things that you'll want to do when you're asking yourself this question. The first, the first thing that I would suggest is, understand your market, right? So understand which schools are working for you and why they're working for you, and then understand which schools aren't, and why they aren't working for you. And, and the latter may be a little bit more difficult, right, I think it's easier to understand why something is working than than why it isn't working. And so figure out kind of which schools do best for you and why that may be. And, for example, with Bennett Thrasher, we're located in the Atlanta vinings area, and one of our most successful schools for us in terms of pipeline is less than 15 miles away. And a lot of that is because they know who we are, they're very close to our firm. And so we're immediately recognized when we step on campus, whereas another school that may be farther away, may not be as successful for us. And so we have to understand that and until we understand that we really can't develop strategies at those schools that we don't do as well at because we have no idea why we're not doing well at those schools. So that's one of the first things that I would say, is important to take a step back and do some sort of high level analysis of what schools work for your firm and what schools don't at this time. Um, the next thing that I would say is understand that the recruiting market right now is year round. So it used to be when I started in this field a little over six years ago, it used to be that the fall was everything, you went to the fall recruiting fairs, and then you got your interns for the next year. And you were done until next fall. And that was and you may go on campus a couple times more than that, but it really wasn't part of the strategy. And about three to four years ago, I would say there was a big shift in regional and smaller firms understanding kind of what I call the Big Four model, which is talk to the students early, recruit them all year long, and then NAB them for the following years internships. And so understanding that your strategy can't just be for the fall, it has to be year round, and you have to plan for the fall. But you also have to plan for spring recruiting, you have to plan for summer leadership conferences, and then really take advantage of the summer leadership conference so that when you get to the fall, you've already made offers for the following year, and you can start to focus more on the next year's conference in the fall, if you have to kind of be like a year in advance on this, which is a little bit crazy, honestly. Um, and so that's one other thing that I would say is important. Once you've understood kind of what works for you on campus and what doesn't work for you on campus.

Rishav Khanal 8:05

I'm so real glad to dive into that right, going back to understanding your market. So you talked about identify, hey, which schools work for you and why. And the second thing is which schools don't work, and why are there any common metrics that you look at to assess, hey, these, these should be my driving forces, this truenorth besides just a number of hires, that told me a good health check on whether or not campus is working?

Kristin Ethridge 8:31

Yeah. So I would say don't even look at number of hires, I would say look at number of offers, because that's the metric that we use to determine whether or not a school is worth it. Because when we make an offer, that means each student, we think that you would be a good fit for bt, and we think that you would be successful, whether or not they accept is completely out of our hands. In fact, a lot of times it's factors that we have no control over like they're from a different state, and they end up moving back there, and we don't have an office location, or they end up going into a service line that we don't offer. And so there's only so much we can do to get them to accept. And so what I would encourage for firms to do, which is what we have done, is take the last three years and look at break it out into school, and then how many students at each school you gave an offer to. And then the other piece that we looked at is how much we spend financially at each each school, and then how much we spend in time, which can always be a little bit iffy, but it's at least a good kind of foundational measurement, which we use billable rate as that kind of metric. And then we break it out into cost, quote, unquote, per offer. And what we found is at some schools, our cost per offer is like $20,000, because we've only offered three or four students in the past three or four years. And then we have schools that cut the cost per offers $1,000, which we're willing to invest that in students that are do really well. And so I think that'll help firms kind of just get a high level view of where am I investing my time? And how am I determining that these students are worth our, our offers. And if we're getting a lot of offers out of a certain school, that cost per offer is going to go down. And it's likely that that'll help you figure out why you're successful at certain schools, and maybe not successful at other schools. It kind of helps you it jumpstarts that that question?


Rishav Khanal 10:34

Yeah. Because I mean, you're right, the number of hires that can be so deceiving almost, and it takes a long time to actually get the data, first of all, right, and then have that data tell you a story versus the offers that's more in line with your timeline, and then you're not waiting on the candidate. And you can sort of kind of play with the metrics there. I love that. I think we got a little bit of a soundbite, just as like, okay, don't do this, do that instead.

Kristin Ethridge 11:00

Right. Right. And

Rishav Khanal 11:01

the idea of recruiting like sort of this market is year round now. And you talked about a talking to the students early. And it's this idea where you're nurturing the candidates, right? For partners that I bring down, unnecessarily aren't 24, seven recruiters are, you know, they're given this task of I need juniors going into their senior year who are CPA eligible, five year program, what and they'll go to the checklist, so they're meeting the freshman sophomore, that's like, all right. Talk to me later next year.

Kristin Ethridge 11:35

Great. Great.

Rishav Khanal 11:36

What would be your advice there? And as far as if you are dealing with a full time, you know, colleague that was like that? How would you coach them? Well, yeah, to students that may not be eligible right then and there about the opportunities that your firm has.

Kristin Ethridge 11:50

Right. And I think that's, I think that's very, very common. Because it is our job as the talent acquisition team to know that stuff, just like it's the partner's job to understand tax and audit, people don't come to me for taxes, they come to them. And people come to me for recruiting stuff. And so I think it is important to do a couple of things. One is identify people in your firm who are actually interested in recruiting, I think it's really tempting to just pull alumni into events. And those alumni may be great in terms of talking to the students about their experience. But they honestly might not be interested in the talent acquisition process as a whole, right? They, they're good for one happy hour, but ask them to interview and they're like, Oh, no, I'm not going to do that. And so identify who is actually interested in participating on recruiting events, and secondly, meet with those people ahead of time. So don't get to the career fair and say, All right, guys, we have five minutes before the fair starts. Here's everything you need to know about the recruiting process, the interns what we're looking for some early, that's too much. There's way, way, way too much. And so I understand that you probably need to meet with them beforehand. And then we also make a one page, cheat sheets, about just important things to know not only about what we're looking for, but also facts about the firm. And the number one question I get from our people, because we're growing so much is how many people do we actually have at our firm? Because and you think like, oh, wow, what how could you not know that. But if they're in a 150 person, tax department, and you're asking them to speak about the entire firm, that's just something that they don't know, day to day. And so it's important to not assume that they know everything about the firm, but also about the recruiting process, and informing them beforehand is really important. And the last thing I'll say to that is, we actually have what we call a campus champion program. And we started this, I believe, three years ago. And that is where we established partners for each of the 12 schools that we go to, who are our campus champions, and most of them are alumni of those schools, but some of them are not some of them have kids there, or they just have a tie to the school outside of that. And their job as the campus champion is to help us maintain a good presence on campus, maintain a consistent presence on campus, so they kind of know what's going on, and also help us staff those events. So they, they partner with the recruiting team to help own the campus recruiting process. And so it's not just an HR driven initiative,

Rishav Khanal 14:36

that I hope the individuals listening I mean, even for me, I'm in this hypothetical role, but I almost was an HR executive. So I can bring that initiative to my firm, because I'm just thinking about somebody who has kids at that university and the investment features that they have to get excited when you send an email now and I'm a full time worker, but I see Hey, Rishav, we're going down to Virginia Tech again. And I'm perked up, I'm ready to go, I'm talking to you, I'm giving you my time, you have to get that as my campus, I own that there's like, a part of my DNA is attached to that literally, but also within the firm, I'm championing that. So that's incredible. I'm sure you all have seen great returns from that. And I know you're about to kind of go through your list I did before I sort of dove in here. But anything else as far as understanding your market and identify and the recruiting market is year round, and identifying the people who are interested in recruiting anything else that we may have kind of missed on or glossed over?

Kristin Ethridge 15:36

No, I don't think so. I mean, I think the only thing I would say to that is that this is a continuous analysis. So you may do that this year, but don't throw it to the wayside in the next year. And this is something that will continue to allow firms to get ahead, because we don't have the staffing options that some of the larger firms do. I mean, some of these larger firms have one person that's solely dedicated to one school, and we don't have the luxury of that. And at bt, it's myself, and then I have a talent acquisition coordinator who helps me as well. But we're spread across 12 to 14 schools at any given year. And so it's important to keep that high level analysis at the forefront, because otherwise, you don't know why you're not successful at certain schools, or why one year was bad. And the next year was really good.

Rishav Khanal 16:26

I think you're spot on. And actually, I wanted to revisit one point. And, you know, we're going to be sad, unfortunately, when Alexis eventually has to go back to Virginia Tech and live out her senior year. But, Alexis, I'm curious, right, as a rising senior, you're engaging with a lot of employers and probably will be doing so when you go back to school. And in that mix, you'll probably be talking to full time executives, people that aren't recruiters. How did you feel whenever you come into a scenario, and they just don't really know their numbers? They don't really know how many people work at the firm. They don't like when you ask like, Hey, can you tell me a day in the life of what you do? Like, oh, I've got my team, and it's not dense, like, how does that make you as a student when hearing that message?

Kristin Ethridge 17:15

Yeah no, that's a good question. Because I think, as students, we prep so much for these like fairs, or for certain, like sessions of questions. And when we show all three of those questions, and they're like, Oh, they can't give in detail that kind of it does kind of like, Okay, well, and then just kind of like asking for more asking for more. And so that's where it gets a little confusing for the students like, well, we were prepared. So yes, I can definitely see where coming prepared with the facts and prepping partners or prepping whoever the recruiters to come in for the students. how important that is. Because I think, yeah, it's putting up that prepared, and just ready, ready face ready to go to talk to students with the prepared information. So yeah, definitely important.

Rishav Khanal 18:01

I love it. And I think, you know, at recruiting you we'd like to keep things really short, sweet, straight to the point. And because, frankly, if you're a firm that's feeling this, you have a lot of work to do. But there's a good game plan out there right now. And Kristin, I'll quickly summarize it all, but you let me know if I missed anything really quickly. So the first step I've got, it's really understanding your market. And I think there's a two prong approach here. What I heard from you is identify which schools work and why, but also which schools didn't work, and why they did. And some of the metrics that drive that isn't necessarily the number of hires. But looking at the number of offers that were given how much money you spent at that school, also the time so that way, you're able to get a metric known as cost per offer, not for hire. Then the second part is understanding that recruiting, especially now with this war for talent, it's a year round, right? You have to really nurture the freshmen and the sophomores, people that may not be eligible yet. When they are, they're ready to go. They know who you are. And then the third thing is when bringing on other colleagues or full time executives to talk to students. It's as simple as identifying people first who are interested in doing that, right? Do they want to do that? And making sure that I'm meeting with them ahead of time is what I've got. I give them a one page cheat sheet. So that way, we're not assuming that they know it all. And Alexa said, I think you brought up a great point, Alexis, you're spending so much time prepping and you have a list of 20 questions to make that conversation really fruitful. And if they can't even answer the first few, then it's just a bad candidate experience. Mm hmm. And then the third bucket Kristin This was pretty awesome. And we haven't heard this is the campus champion program is identifying individuals that may not have even gone to that school but have some other vested interest to be that boots on the ground type of liaison for you, when you have opportunities to recruit from that campus. And then that fourth thing is, all these things don't happen overnight, in order to really refine and make this process as perfect as we can be, it's a continuous analysis to get ahead. So really, I would say a four part approach, you laid it out, it's dense, it's a lot of work, but it's needed because you're really helping students make one of the biggest decisions of their lives, at least at the stage that they're at anything else that I might have glossed over or missed. Anything I might have missed in the summary from your end?

Kristin Ethridge 20:35

No, I don't think so. And you know, the only thing I would add to that is, you know, this is, it's really important, because within public accounting firms, we have a term that's called billable or non billable. And in the recruiting team, we are non billable. And I think it's really important for us to be able to have these type of analyses that we can look at and say, all right, managing partner, or CEO or partner group, this is why we're valuable. And for people who are part of firms who are struggling to get partners on board, this is the way to get partners on board, because you're able to present costs and numbers and data, which is the language that they speak. And so, to your point, I love that you said this is not going to happen overnight. These type of analyses took us about a year and a half to really do. And so, you know, give yourself some grace. And that, you know, you can't turn around tomorrow and do it all. But my guess is a lot of firms already have this data. And so it will be relatively easy to kind of kick it off.

Rishav Khanal 21:39

Yeah, especially I think even looking at cost per offers. And going back three years or so that's probably something whether it's somebody that manages your systems, or if you're tweaking around your ATS, you should probably have that data readily available. Right? Yeah, but either way, I mean, I'm looking at a page worth of notes if you're on me because of the background. Just though in my hypothetical midsize accounting firm, they're getting an earful. And we're gonna hit the round ground running when it comes to recruiting. Thank you so much for coming on board. I think this was hands down, you know, one of the more tactical like, here's the 123 step. I'm a procedural learner. I think a lot of individuals are and we just need to kind of take it one step at a time. And so Kristin, thank you again.

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