5 Surefire Ways to Attract College Talent

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Looking for a new talent pool to tap into? Consider recruiting the class of 2015. 

A new study by Michigan State University found that 97 percent of the almost 5,700 companies surveyed plan to hire at least one new college graduate next year. 

Startups should hire college graduates because of their tenacity and ability to be easily trained. Accenture’s 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey discovered that, if employers want to recruit the best talent, they should hire college graduates based on their potential and not on their ability to fill every qualification. This way the new employees can learn and grow with their company.

College graduates can be great candidates to hire because they are eager to prove their ability to succeed in a startup environment and also are extremely coachable. Here are some ways to grab their attention and hire them immediately:

Related: Getting the Most From Your Interns -- and Giving Back in Return

1. Target industry-related colleges and universities.

To attract new college graduates, have a targeted recruiting process.

Focus on a group of schools recognized for their industry-related programs and build relationships with them by recruiting students for internships and jobs and hosting workshops. Stage a presence at career fairs and offer events for students.

For example, let’s say a startup wants to hire a software engineer. The company could sponsor a hackathon or a professional-development camp for software engineering students.

2. Get an early start and don’t stop recruiting talent.

The recruitment process should be an ongoing process at startups. Don’t wait until the spring when college students are searching for jobs and accepting offers. Instead, recruit talent all year.

Startups need to grab students’ attention early and fast. InternMatch's website suggests that the most competitive Fortune 500 companies recruit in January and even in the fall.

Offer competitive wages. By creating a competitive recruiting process, startups can land talent fast.

3. Create a strong employer brand.

A recent CareerBuilder survey found that 53 percent of the college graduates surveyed wanted to work for a company that’s established and growing.

For most startups, this presents a challenge. If a startup was launched only six months ago, it can be difficult to hire employees who will want to stay onboard, considering all the risks of a new business.

To overcome this challenge, startups must create a strong employer brand. This can be done by creating a blog, building a presence on social media, providing learning opportunities for students and creating a presence on college campuses.

Related: Why College Students Need to Be Entrepreneurial With Their Careers

4. Promise opportunities for long-term growth.

At first, it might seem like a startup may not provide employees enough opportunities for growth, which could deter many college students from applying. But startups that hire young talent often keep the same team for years to come.

When recruiting college students, focus on clarifying the career path and earning potential that candidates can expect once hired. This will intrigue college students and pique their interest in career opportunities.

5. Show them the money.

According to CareerBuilder, half of the college students surveyed said they believe “making a lot of money” is more important than working for a company where they have the opportunity to make a difference.

Unfortunately, not every startup can offer competitive salaries. But it is possible to grab the attention of college graduates by offering competitive perks. Startups could provide professional-development opportunities, skills training and classes, flexible work schedules and generous paid vacations.  

How are you trying attract college graduates to your startup?

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