Campus Recruiting: Authentic Story Telling

Updated: Oct 5

😂😂😂 --- I'm laughing because a couple of years ago, I LOVED to SPRINKLE buzzwords whenever I could - "maximize, operationalize"

Recruiters, marketers, and just about a lot of employees describe their employer brand & company culture like this:

"We operationalize and consult with clients in a disruptive way and we exemplify this in our own culture by being an agile organization with lots of innovative ideas"

.......Huh......People don't talk like this.....

Do you know what your candidates are doing when they hear you describe your company this way? Especially if you're talking to students on campus?!?

They're nodding, but probably have NO CLUE as to what you're talking about 😵😵😵

So what do you do? How do you share the story of who you are to students?

The simple yet effective formula according to Cam Bohorquez to build, communicate, and share your employer brand is simple:

-- leverage stories from your veteran employees as well employees that left and came back by asking why

-- listen to what students are saying about your internships & events on campus

-- ask your new hires about their experience so far

So instead of sounding like a broken robot, you can look and sound like the awesome human you are by sharing stories 😎

Cam Bohorquez 0:00

I just wanted to give a disclaimer that I'm here representing myself and everything that I mentioned today are my own thoughts and opinions and don't necessarily reflect the current firm that I work for. But just wanted to give that mention, just so everyone knows, but if you have any questions that you want to follow up with me and kind of my overall thoughts and theories on campus recruiting, I'd be more than happy to answer those. So thanks a lot.

Rishav Khanal 0:06

Alright, so everybody welcome back to recruiting you where we're really getting strategic about campus recruiting. Now, before we get into, you know, the intros, the good stuff, the meat of the conversation, I really love starting off these podcasts with a really dumb, irrelevant Fun fact. So Cam I'm not sure if you're aware of but if you were to write out every single number, like one through 999, in like English letters, the letter A wouldn't exist until you get to 1000. So little tidbit little factoid.

Cam Bohorquez 0:42

Wow. I like that. I like that actually think just the brain going.

Rishav Khanal 0:47

Exactly. So while our listeners are kind of pondering on that, why don't you go ahead and give us a little bit of background about you who you are? And what really, you know, gets your gears tu rning back into recruiting?

Cam Bohorquez 1:00

Yeah, definitely. Thank you so much, I appreciate it. So I've always really been passionate about relationship building and communication. I've taken a very nonlinear path throughout my career.

In case you were wondering what the top majors were for college recruiters

So studied, psychology and undergrad, went and did a few different types of jobs in different industries, including sales operations, also started a media company doing photography, filmmaking. So throughout that process, I just got a lot of experience working with a lot of different types of leaders and a lot of different types of teams. And so that was kind of my prerequisite, like, start to really understanding what HR was what talent acquisition was. So when I returned back to grad school, I really got interested in learning more about talent acquisition, I was going through that process myself recruiting. So I worked at the Career Center at my school at the University of Illinois and I was a mock interview, volunteer first got promoted to be a, the manager of the mock interview program. And that's where I truly gain a passion for working with students, helping to develop them, whether it's little little tips and tricks for nailing that interview, making that resume a little bit better, or just really understanding what are your personal values? And how does that reflect? How can you find a company that aligns with those so that was kind of the the preview of that I knew I wanted to go on campus recruiting after that worked out in California for two years for a great company in the tech sector. So got my got to understand what a campus strategy was all about to do the project management and program management for an internship program and student events. And then also just do the full cycle recruiting. So fell in love with that move back to Chicago. And now I'm doing it kind of more on a high level manager level for a consulting firm, and I get to continue to bring some of the things that I've learned there and adjusted to a new industry, which is consulting, but recruiting a lot of the same kind of STEM students, business students. So I really love it. And then the biggest passion for me out of anything is just building those relationships, those authentic relationships with students, and not really being like a salesman, like taking that kind of aspect out of recruiting, but more so being like a coach or consultant to these students, where they can gain a lot of knowledge not just about our firm, but about other firms with a hiring process in general. So then they can take it back and, and, you know, get an amazing job, whether it's with us or another company.

Rishav Khanal 3:45

makes a ton of sense. If I were to do this, this is probably be to follow your career path. And probably sharing that with students too. I'm sure they relate to you, right, because oftentimes, people going into that college to career transition, they don't really know themselves, I really didn't know I mean, graduated in 2018. So when you tell me all these interesting things to how you got here today, you being on the other side, that's on a salesy approach whatsoever. There's a really authentic relationship that's being built Um, so with that being said, I think that's a great segue to really set the stage and get into the the workshop piece of it if you will, at recruitingU. So all our listeners I'm sure you guys are already familiar, but for those who are just tuning in for the first time, we set the stage we let Cam really steer the ship and then we go through the workshop and and get into the nitty gritty details. So Cam I am coming to you as a green hide fresh campus recruiter. My boss has just told me Hey, Rishav, I want more early level talent students coming in. You really are going to be responsible for creating an employer brand on campus. I was like yeah, sure, boss. I got it. I turned around. I have no idea what I'm doing. So please help me out. I don't know where to start. What am I supposed to do? How do I even begin to find answers to that problem?

Cam Bohorquez 5:09

So I think the first step to that, that's a great question is, you have to use your resources, first and foremost, and what is what resources do you have closest to you, then your own firm your own company, so did you have to go internally first, and build those strong relationships, whether it's with your hiring managers, with your leadership team, with your, your recruiting team that's already in place, and really get a sense for what they're looking for what everyone's strategy is overall, because without that, it's hard for you to go on campus and know what the messaging is, or what, what exactly is the purpose of what you're looking for. So that's my first recommendation is build strong relationships from day one, with all of the stakeholders that are involved with the campus process, which should be everyone really, I mean, everyone in within the firm, as a recruiter should be involved in one way or another, whether they're an ambassador getting referrals on a board, or, you know, alumni from student organization. So I think that's number one. And then once you have those relationships built, and you ask them targeted questions, and really understand what the firm is looking for, and what the culture is like, and really what that value proposition is that we want to put out, then that's when you can start to build those relationships externally. So I really recommend, there's kind of three different tiers is, definitely, you're looking for the student, that's the most important. So you want to build strong relationships with student organizations, different clubs, things like that. And you know, you can go go to campus, actually, for different student events. So whether it's career fairs, panels, development events, things like that. And that's an excellent way to engage with those types of organizations and build those strong networks of students. And then you also want to work really hand in hand closely with the administration. So making close ties with different programs within different universities, is really important to understand what they what they're offering to you what different services they have, but then in terms of what you have to offer their students. And then I think the third one, which is a little bit tougher to get to, is building relationships with faculty, and that can be done through alumni, you know, different professors, if you can get in front of students in a classroom setting, once and kind of helping them develop. That's a really great way of putting your brand on campus, not just that this is a firm that's looking for students looking for talent, but also looking to develop students to to coach them through this process. So I think that's kind of like the biggest, the most general kind of big picture way of looking at things. And then once you kind of have that all in place, then it's more of the tactical work that takes place from there, from there on.

Rishav Khanal 8:16

Makes ton of sense. And I just want to make sure I heard you correctly, because I don't want to miss anything. I'm taking notes here. So we've kind of got a what it seems like a three tiered approach, or the first one is obviously making sure that everybody that is involved, and it should be everybody, when it comes to recruiting is aligned. So get all those stakeholders agreed on something, whatever that true north is. And then you've got the students piece, right, when you're actually going on campus, you're there physically. And then the third one, and you'd mentioned that this is a little bit of a of a harder nugget to crack is that faculty, one way to get after them could be utilizing alumni or different channels to get them involved in the process as well. So going back to that first one, getting everybody aligned. I mean, when I hear other recruiters talk about employer brand, everybody talks about this one, it seems like a buzzword to me, you know, employer value proposition and asking people those questions. How do I try to like come up with it? Like, I don't know what our value proposition is yet. So like any tips or advice on that?

Cam Bohorquez 9:24

Yeah. So I think the first thing you have to do is really ask what what are those values? What what defines the firm? So what you have to ask the people, the people that work at the firm, you start with, from different levels, people that have been there for 16 years, maybe people that left the company came back, why did you come back, things like that those stories, start to build that kind of idea of what the culture is like what the values are instilled within the firm, and then really using a lot of data collected from from campus. So from student events From your internship from your new hires, that are able to kind of tell the story back and confirm like, yes, this, this is what I'm experiencing what I was told on campus, it's like, and that goes back to the point of like being very authentic on campus. And you can't be authentic, until you really, truly know yourself as a company. And you're able to be transparent. And, you know, the challenges that you might face, starting at this, in this new role, but also all these amazing benefits of working for a firm like this. So you really have to go to your people to find that out, there's really, you're going to, you're going to find some things online, you're going to find some, you know, everyone has their four or five values, core values, that mission statement, but you have to hear that from the people to see if that's truly what is being put out.

Rishav Khanal 10:53

makes a ton of sense. And let me know if you know, this idea is what you're going for, is I would gather all the stakeholders that are involved, maybe all the way from executives to people that recently transitioned into my company. And you're saying just go ahead and ask them, like, what they love about it, what they feel like those values are that they really align themselves to, is that what you're kind of getting at?

Cam Bohorquez 11:22

Yeah, I think that's a really important part if you ask the people and then you start to put together some themes that are coming up some reoccurring themes, and that's going to be the basis of kind of that proposition. Of course, that's the internal piece of it. There's also a lot of research that needs to be done externally. So you can stay competitive, you can kind of benchmark off other people. But to really understand yourself, it's got to be from the people that have been there and that are experiencing it on a daily basis.

Rishav Khanal 11:51

Makes sense? Okay, so I got the internal peace, um, requires a little bit of like, work right here, because, um, but no, I like that, because now it's positioning me to kind of think like a marketer almost, because I feel like I hear brands really talk about, okay, who are we? What's our identity? Let's go talk to your customers. Like they're the best salespeople are the people that you've got, same sort of principle I feel like you're working with actually. So then the students, my worry, and my concern right now is, you know, when we go on campus, no one's really heard of us. I mean, I'll go to the career fairs, but sometimes I may not have a say in who sits next to me on the booth. And it can be a really good company, and they've got lines out the door. And meanwhile, I've got three students coming up to me saying, Who are you and what you do? So anyway, to like, get in front of that, like, what would be some proactive strategies that that you can help me out with in terms of employer brand on campus?

Cam Bohorquez 12:52

Yeah, I think it's being creative. I think that's a big roadblock that companies face, especially startups or lesser known brands on campus, you have the bigger, you know, the big tech companies, the bigger consulting firms, with the line out the door, like you said, Now, how do you compete against that? Well, being creative being innovative, I think one of the first things that you can do is offer, once again, going back to kind of the development piece is offering like resume workshops, offering panels, like different types of events, which other firms are also doing, but having a very targeted approach to it. So like I said, making relationships with student organizations is very key. Because when you go on campus to a career fair, you're right, it's like you're fishing, there's a big pool of candidates. Whereas if you're more targeted, and you know, okay, I'm looking for STEM students or business students, then you can then go to those organizations at particular schools, and build those in there, build those relationships, and they're always looking to bring on new firms, they all could they, they're thinking about the interests of the students, and giving them a diversity of options. So I think that's, that's the key thing is building those relationships with different clubs, student organizations, and then through them, you can host certain events that kind of take you out of the career fair lineup where you might not be seen as much, but actually hosting very innovative, creative type of events that are going to catch people's eyes, and they're going to remember your brand, not just oh, this person tried to sell me a job or something this position, but this person taught me how to edit my resume or this person taught me networking skills or different skills that I can now use for this whole recruiting process, whether or not I pursue this particular company. So I think it's a lot about being creative innovator and using what you have and a lot of those things are very cost effective, but especially if you have a low budget, those events, you know in the sponsorships with those clubs are relatively inexpensive compared to the cost, you know, to fully hire someone without having those relationships built.

Rishav Khanal 15:11

Makes ton of sense. I think that theme of what I'm attracting here is what you alluded to earlier, you talked about this idea of like, like a salesperson or people being kind of a little bit defensive to that. But instead, it seems like the creative ideas that you're presenting, almost makes you the recruiter seem like a trusted advance, not somebody that's going to say, oh, sell me on this job. Right. Okay. Now I it's got my gears turning to so then that last nugget, right. I mean, advisors, literally in the college setting, we've got advisors, faculty, I mean, why is that a hard nugget to crack? Is it just, you know, professors? Or do you think they may be a little bit sort of guarded about, Hey, this is my classroom, I have a certain way of doing things, or is it just, there's different visions? Like, why isn't that relationship a lot stronger than it should be?

Cam Bohorquez 16:08

Yeah, so that's a really great question. I think it goes back to competition. I mean, a lot of the times, some professors have kind of their companies that they, they work with that they heavily promote. I mean, it depends on the industry, of course, but it's kind of just getting through them, but like coming out as like a campus recruiter, and like, Hey, I'm so and so I would love to present in your class, it's probably not going to land so well. But having an alumni come up and say, you know, someone that had a really strong relationship with this professor and say, Hey, now I work at so and so company, I would love to, I remember, we had some presenters come in and teach this and that, I've now become a subject matter expert. In this topic, I would love to come in with a panel and be able to present this for the students from actual practitioners, because you know, one thing is learning from the book running your own professor. But when someone comes in and actually presents to a class that's actually doing the work and being able to teach you a little bit more about the real life of a consultant or an accountant or this or that, it's a lot more meaningful.

Some of our favorite campus events

So I think it's just really like cracking it, it's all about once again, the network that you have, and that's built early on from, you know, early identification problem across programs, when we have these students that you're developing freshmen, sophomore year, through the all the way that now they're full time employees, and they're able to come back, they had such a great experience and have something to give back to the firm with these different connections, I think that's such a great part. So it's not impossible, it's just that it's just really dependent on the industry, the types of class their classes are, but I see increasingly, universities have a lot more classes in place that are meant for these type of things that were meant for development early on, specifically on the side of learning, you know, how to prepare yourself for recruiting for getting a job early on. So

Rishav Khanal 18:10

love it. So I, you know, we want to come away with this. Pre tactical, and I think you've given me some good advice here to go back to, and mate, let me make sure I haven't missed anything. So I've got the first bucket is internal, right, those are the, that's the, the the single source of truth, if you will, is our own internal people getting them aligned and asking them really what they love about the company. I'm that qualitative feedback, then I def digest that mix it to create my value proposition. And then for the students, as opposed to saying, Hey, you know, I wear my T shirt with my logo and expecting them to come to me develop those relationships. So that way I create events where they're learning something so that they view me as a trusted adviser. And then for the faculty is to then if I've got those internal people in the beginning, if I did a really good job, big out alumni or figured out people that can come into those classrooms to provide a real hands on learning experience, and then build a relationship with the professor that way, so kind of a three prong approach. Anything else to add to that before we start to wrap up here?

Cam Bohorquez 19:21

Yeah, so I wouldn't, I wouldn't even include the faculty part in like the second prong, the second bucket and then the third, the third bucket kind of being actually like the tactical things that you're going to do like once you have those relationships built with both, how are you going to be innovative? Like what kind of presentations are you going to be? Are you just going to be one of the companies that goes in and does like an info session where you talk at the students for an hour, or you're going to do a workshop where you can actually engage with them so much more. So I think that like the third bucket, I would say, What are you actually going to be doing with now that information knowledge that you have, and relationships that you have on both sides? What are the actual means that you're going to take. And the last thing that I've kind of mentioned is, you have to think about it, like, be human, you know, like you, you have to be like, not robotic, like be a person, not just be a campus recruiter be someone that they can that can build credibility that can build trust with the students, and put yourself in their shoes also, because you have to be thinking, from their perspective of, you know, they're busy with school, they're busy with all these different events, different things. So how are you going to attract their attention, but also, how are you going to give back to them in a way that you would have wanted, when you were a student when you were doing that.

And finally, like I said,

Don't be a salesman, like a big, big part of it, be a coach to them be like a trusted adviser, so they can see you as that. And that's how you're going to stand out against a lot of the competition, especially if you're starting out early on. They're gonna remember you for that more than a company that has a big name that just like, you know, sell, sell, sell all the time. So those, those are the main things that that I would say, are very important to think about. Starting off. Of course, there's a lot more to think about after that. But just on the very beginning, I think those are the key things to remember.


Also be prepared to talk with them about your ability to own your time as Gen Z prefers more ownership over the work they do and how they do it

Rishav Khanal 21:16

Sweet. Yeah, I mean, it's a campus recruiting, I feel like is a big behemoth in and of itself. And we kind of want to make sure we're, we're biting that elephant one piece at a time. So with that being said, I mean, I think we walked away with some great things, we try to be pretty quick here, you get tactically implemented, go back to your meetings, and really start brainstorming on how we can be that coach and that trusted advisors, to a lot of students, because I'm sure that's something that they need now, more so than ever, with the current climate. So thank you cam for coming on recruiting you getting pretty strategic about games recruiting. Thanks for acting it out with us with this fictitious scenario, but it was a ton of fun having you on.

Cam Bohorquez

Yeah, thanks so much for having me. It's been a pleasure and keep on doing the good work that you're doing. I really love what you're putting out there. And I think it's gonna be really valuable for a lot of different firms to help them kind of go to campus and learn a few things. So thanks again for having me on. Appreciate it.