RecruitingU: The Campus Recruiting Strategy That's Silently Killing your Employer Brand

It's the campus recruiting strategy that's silently killing your brand ..... Know what I'm referring to?


Before our world was turned upside down weeks ago, you were probably copying that ONE template that's been shared throughout the company and spraying and praying that students respond in a timely/excitable manner


..... & based on your brand, it may have worked...? But have you thought about what the next few months will look like if you keep doing this?


Almost every company will be transitioning to a digital strategy (nice use of the buzzword, eh?) Anyway, what I'm saying is that everyone will be messaging the same candidates with the same generic templates


If this ALREADY doesn't bother you - Imagine the feeling of walking down a touristy city where you're bombarded by aggressive street vendors - do you engage with all of them? or do you keep your head down, walk away as fast as you can to get to your destination?


Point being: how do you expect to WOW top students if your messaging is impersonal and stale as that street vendor who approaches you without any context?


So now - you as the recruiter HAVE to communicate a value proposition to job candidates in the same way marketers do to customers - here is our transcribed conversation:


*Conversation transcribed and presented to you raw via Otter.ai"


Rishav Khanal 0:04

Welcome back to recruiting, you got a little bit of an upgrade with the fancy studio there. low grade, but you know what we're gonna make it work. So really, I mean, as you guys know, you're probably already familiar by now we want to get strategic about campus recruiting. And before we go ahead and introduce our awesome guests we love to start out with irrelevant Dumb fun facts. So Shawn, I don't know if you know this, but the king of hearts is the only card I believe was the only king in a deck of cards without a mustache. Little tidbit for you. But as our listeners are kind of pondering on that, as am I, give us a little bit of background, a little bit about yourself and what excites you about campus recruiting?


Shawn Crowley 0:50

Sure, sure. Well, much like anybody that kind of comes into recruiting I fell into it. It certainly wasn't something that you know, growing up, I was like, I want to be a recruiter, when I grew up. I actually wanted to be a weatherman. But that didn't work out too well because of all the math that was involved. So wound up settling on recruiting after doing a customer service in a call center environment, wearing a headset, much like I am today for eight hours a day being tethered to a line. I knew that wasn't for me. But I knew I was really good at talking to people, I knew I was really good about being able to make those connections and being able to sell something. So I think I thought kind of what better next step in my career to potentially look into recruiting worked for Geico, which is a company that's really known for promoting from within. So I was able to go ahead and obtain top numbers and my current job which allowed me to transfer into recruiting, and kind of hit the ground running from there, you know, you really can run your show the way you want to and recruiting, you know, it's a very self motivated profession. So I was able to, you know, make a name of myself at Geico, which opened up some new opportunities to work on some more short term contracts, which I'm currently doing, helping companies achieve their recruiting goals and kind of this early talent acquisition space.


Rishav Khanal 2:00

I love it. Yeah, I feel like not one person that we've spoken to and I think that trend is gonna continue where their career path specifically how they got into recruiting has ever been linear. Like it's just it never really happens. But we'll see maybe somebody is out there that will surprises so let's get into it right and I've got some questions for you. I know you've got lots of insights for for for us and I want to dive into it. So the scenario here today it's kind of simple. My boss just came to me, said, Rishav. I need early level talent folks. I need them to come in. They're the you know, the they drive our business forward. I want to stick around for the next 10 years. I want my business to stick around for the next 10 years but you are going to be responsible for finding them. And right now I said yes. You know, like sure, boss. I'll do it without a clue to figure out how do I find them? Coronavirus going on I can't really go to campuses, right? Especially in the summer, too. So what do I do? Shawn, I'm kind of just coming to you and I and I'm hoping you got all the answers here.


Shawn Crowley 3:09

Sure. Well, you started with the right response. If your boss asks you to do something, I think yes is always three spots you got to go with. But yeah, you know, you really, really up ahead, up ahead to a new challenge. You know, the first thing I think you should know about University recruiting is everybody's on your side everybody's rooting for you to do well. There's so many aspects of recruiting that are really cutthroat like I've dabbled with some like technical recruiting where everybody's kind of against each other looking for that senior level you know, IT talent and things like that, you know, university recruiting while that is there, and that is present. You know, once you as a recruiter fill your numbers, you're definitely more than happy to help out others and you're seeing that right now, especially with the Coronavirus and everything. So, you know, as you're first starting out, the first place you need to go is direct to the institutions, the institution Want to fill the roles, the institutions want to see folks that are graduating, getting into jobs, earning income, and eventually hopefully donating back to the school, right? So they are going to be a very valuable resource. There's two different types of career service centers that you need to be aware of as you're kind of looking through and trying to fill your roles. Some are going to be centralized Career Service Centers within each college. What that means is there's one Career Center for the entire institution, whether it be the College of Natural Sciences, whether it be the College of Business, whether it be the College of Humanities, liberal arts, all of them are under one roof. That is by far the easier one that I found as a entry level recruiter to navigate because it's one stop and you can go ahead and get your rec filled through there. However, more and more schools are starting to decentralize their career services, or have maybe one centralized Career Service for like employer relations, but then they get specialized within each college to be able to To provide more targeted career advice, which is great for a student, because that means their career counselor, for example, for computer science, all they do all day is help computer science people get jobs, that really helps to make sure you get a targeted resume. But for you, as a recruiter, it adds a whole nother level as you're trying to reach out to them and get your job posted. Because you have to realize, alright, I might have one computer science, but data science might wind up being in the College of mathematics. So I might have someone in the computer science, you know, pathway that is not going to be able to communicate my data science opening, if that makes sense. So you really got to try to navigate that and figure that out. And all that does is it just takes research. You know, there's kind of two sides to posting jobs, right. You can do the spray and pray which is you get it out on every single job board you can and you just kind of keep your fingers crossed. And that can work for one year first recruiting your first roles. But if you're really trying to go ahead and make a name for yourself and get some top talent, you got to be more targeted. I think Say you spend about 80% of your time looking for where to post your job. And only about 20% of your time actually posting those jobs and actually reaching out to candidates really is going to make a more targeted approach, if that makes sense.


Rishav Khanal 6:14

No, I like that breakdown, that 8020. So where do I go? Like, obviously right now, you know, colleges aren't opening their doors at the moment. So I've got all these job boards. I've heard of handshake, do I start there? And I just kind of hope that students come to me.


Shawn Crowley 6:36

Absolutely. So you know, start start with looking at what your institution has done in the past or what similar institutions have done. You're really trying to identify what best practices so you know, you asked like, where to go in Should I go to handshake. The first thing you need to identify is which schools Am I going to recruit at? Because while handshake is a great tool and handshake now has the ability for any student to join their network. It is still primarily a captive audience where each individualized institution chooses whether or not they participate in that platform, right. So the bulk of them are starting to be on that kind of platform or a similar platform through like another company and things like that. So you definitely want to start by registering yourself with those job boards. That would certainly be the first logical place to go if you need to hire a lot of entry level early talent quickly, right. But then from there, you really need to go ahead and look at kind of which schools make sense for you which ones you know your alumni have come in from and things like that, um, you want to make sure that you're fishing in the right pond because otherwise you're just gonna have your rod out for eight hours and you're not going to get anything and that's not going to be any fun.


Rishav Khanal 7:49

I mean, that's a good point. I think something that you're making me realize is got to have the foundation pieces first before I even start Okay, just saying Oh, we got recs out there cuz that's Seems like it's only a small portion of the battle, or I got to do a lot of work in the beginning. Um, so I hear I don't know if it's horror stories from recruiters. And I've heard you know, the phrase spray and pray sometimes even applied to the handshake where students just don't respond. I mean, I'm looking for. It's not like I'm looking for a very specific role. I'm looking for those IIT students, business students finance it, and it's like any anybody that is willing to put in the work, but he has never get back to me because they've never heard of us. So how do I fight that uphill battle?


Shawn Crowley 8:36

Sure, sure. So I guess we can start doing a deeper dive into handshake and the different ways you can utilize the platform at this point is probably the best way to answer the question. So handshake, the bulk of employers are going to use it to post jobs. Again, we're referring kind of to that spray and pray mentality of just throwing it out there and hoping people respond and hopefully by the time you review their application, they're still interested in you. That works and it will fill roles, but you're gonna spend a lot more effort than you maybe need to kind of accomplish that goal. And you're leaving a lot to chance through that. So the other side of the platform that, you know, will really help you to realize the results that you need and to really kind of make it so that people are more likely to respond is actually reaching out directly to the candidates. So much like every recruiter kind of knows LinkedIn and knows that it's available. And it's an opportunity to go ahead and connect with folks and things like that, much like LinkedIn can be used in that way handshake can be used in a similar way, even perhaps more targeted. So each student can go ahead and create an account within handshake that their university has set up and actually customize it. They can add in their resume. They can add in all of their clubs and organizations they were involved in, they can add in their relevant skills. They can add all of that together and make that public and searchable for recruiters. Now, those students that do that are typically Got to be the best talent because they're the ones that are the most proactive. They're the ones that are most knowledgeable. They've been working really closely with their career service teams, or potentially have listened to a recruiter that's come to school and explained how this platform worked. So they're going to be the most knowledgeable and they're going to be the most highly motivated folks in terms of looking for jobs to they're going to be warm talent. So I always recommend using that search candidates tool. If you haven't taken a moment, try to watch like a five minute long video and what's called Boolean search. It's super lame. It's something that like librarians do and things like that. However, it's so relevant to recruiting and if you haven't had a chance to review that, just those simple modifiers of and or not, if you know how to use those and you know how to use quotation marks, you're going to see a you're going to see a much better selection pool than you otherwise would. Which is really great. Now that's great. You can reach out to these candidates. But the other thing We really need to discuss is how do we craft that message so that they do respond, right. And we really need to think about that like how a marketer crafts something, you are really trying to sell a product at this point. And the key for me is really customizing and tailoring the message. Again, going back to that spray and pray analogy, you can go ahead and have one template that you send out to everybody explaining why your company is awesome why this role is amazing why it pays so much more than the other roles. And you can send it out to them, but nothing specialized. A lot of recruiters are going to be looking at this digital platform right now to try to fill these roles. So they could be getting bombarded with emails right now. So you really need to look at how you can make it unique. It can be as simple and as basic as just customizing the subject line. Ideally, you're going to want to go ahead and have a template but then be able to modify it and explain. Explain that you actually read their profile basically is what you're looking at. It can be as simple as you saying, Hey, we went to the same school Or hey, you know, one of our alumni, you know was successful in the program or even customizing it and adding in Hey, blank major would be a great fit. Like even that adds a little bit more credibility to your response than just, hi, I get this internship, please let me let me have you to apply for it.


Rishav Khanal 12:20

That's, I love that because especially the fact that I need to start thinking like a marketer. You're right, you're ultimately that's what you're doing. Like you're you are that that person that personifies that employer brand for your company, especially to college students. And you want to put the best sort of face out there, or the best representation of you. So just to kind of wrap everything up that we kind of talked about, let me know if I missed any gaps because it seems like I've got lots of work to do is first identifying what schools do I really need to recruit from and that comes from internally like kind of getting all my stakeholders together. Looking at where I have all my alumni connections, doing a lot of that work up front, and then figuring out, okay, what job board Do I need to be at? And that seems like that's kind of that 80% of my time as opposed to 20%. Okay, just send it out there. And then once I'm there, you're right, there's a really good point because a lot of companies are probably going to go a lot more digital. So that means students are going to be bombarded with messages. So I need to start thinking of whatever I send to students, as if I were a marketer and personalize those outreaches. So that way, they feel inclined to kind of give me a respond and start the conversation from there. Anything that I missed from the three prongs that we talked about today?


Shawn Crowley 13:45

No, no, I think you've got a really solid overview to be able to, you know, take your goal and crush it. The last thing I'll leave you with is definitely make sure to remember that there are so many students that are in a similar situation. To you, where they are also scrambling at the last minute right now to find something else. It's a very uneasy time, a lot of people that add offers no longer have offers. So the last tip of the tray that I'll give you is you can always filter by that too, you can look at people that have updated their resume within the last 24 hours, 48 hours, just like you just had this role thrust upon you with the last minute with 24 48 hours notice, there are many of students that are in the similar situation. And your best way to find a partnership is going to be to go ahead and filter that out and find those that are in a similar situation to you.


Rishav Khanal 14:35

makes a ton of sense. You know what you're doing, I'm sure. Throughout it all, as I have more questions, our listeners might have some questions as well. We'll be sure to probably circle back to this conversation and take a take a deeper dive to see what the state of campus recruiting probably looks like in the next three to six months with everything going on. But seriously, Sean, thanks so much for coming on. Like I said, We'd like to kind of keep things Quick, straight to the point go to the workshop, because it seems like you know, like we nailed down. I've got lots of work to do. So thank you again, for coming on board. It was a pleasure.


Shawn Crowley 15:08

Of course likewise Have a great day. All right.