Crushing Campus Recruiting Starts With Mindset

One of the most overlooked aspects of campus recruiting is cultivating the right mindset in your campus recruiting team – especially those who have been doing it for several years.  However, that’s where winning begins.  What follows are seven best practices that will differentiate both you from the competition.

1.     Keep the main thing the main thing

The objective of campus recruiting is to hire the best candidates.   Period.  Stress that it’s a highly competitive environment, and the organization’s objective is to win.  Rally the team behind this single objective, and repeat it often.

2.     Get them on-message

The message must be thoughtful, simple and consistent.   Most organizations are weak in this area.  Challenge yourselves with this question: “Why would a college senior with job offers from more than one potential employer choose you?”

If you can’t answer that question in one sentence, you have cause for concern.  If each member of your campus interview team can’t answer that question consistently – using the same language – you have cause for concern.  Repetition is a powerful thing.  It will stick in the mind of candidates and impress them with your culture.

3.     Give them a healthy swagger

Reinforce the significance of being chosen to represent your business.   It is both an honor and an important responsibility.  Take a moment privately with each member; congratulate him or her and explain why he or she has been chosen. Remind them that the success of the enterprise depends on hiring more individuals like them.  You’ll not only get them totally pumped for the task at hand, you’ll create an impactful moment that will pay amazing dividends going forward.

4.     Create the proper perspective

Ask each member of the team to mentally go back in time and recall his or her own on-campus interview season.  Have them reconnect with their feelings of excitement and apprehension.  Then bring them forward – point out that they have crossed over.  Recognize the difference in perspective.   They are now the ones with the cool jobs.

5.     Remember who’s in charge

Firms don’t ultimately control who gets the most talented people.  The most talented people always have options.  Reality is, the most talented people are not chosen; they choose the organization they will work for.   If you give them a reason to go somewhere else, they will do so.

6.     Understand this is about an experience

People make decisions emotionally and justify them logically.  The decision to accept one’s first job post-graduation involves a myriad of complex dynamics, and emotions are at the forefront.

The most successful organizations understand that every interaction – no matter how big or how small – is an experience with their brand.  Experience evokes emotion.  It is this accumulation of experiences (emotions) that drives decision-making.

Each member of the interview team is a Brand Ambassador for his or her organization.  Explain to your team that the best way to create a memorable experience for a prospective recruit is to make interactions about them – not in an overt, patronizing way – but in a sincere, genuine, servant-leadership manner.

 7.     Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.

Cover these points repeatedly.  Before each meet and greet.  At every career fair.  As you prepare for a full day of sitting in a tiny room interviewing dozens of candidates.  Prior to office visits.  When fatigue sets in and you don’t think you can put on a smiley face for one more prospect.

It starts with the right mindset.  Impeccable execution of fundamentals and details like these will bring you superior results.


© 2013 Kent Burns and Simply Driven Executive Search