Fewer Employers Using On-Campus Recruiting to Hire Students, Graduates

Posted November 16, 2011 by

On-campus recruiting used to be widely regarded as the most effective, efficient way for employers to hire college students for internships and recent graduates for entry-level jobs but then this thing called the Internet came along and changed all of that. There’s no doubt that on-campus recruiting is still the best way for many employers to hire students and grads, but it no longer has a near monopoly on that and more and more employers are supplementing or even replacing their on-campus efforts with job posting ads, targeted email campaigns, targeted cell phone text messaging campaigns, and other tools.

National Association of Colleges and Employers logoToday, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reported that “there is a slow, but steady, move away from using on-campus interviews in the recruiting process. Results of NACE’s 2011 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey show that 77.4 percent of responding organizations use on-campus interviews. That’s down just slightly from 77.7 percent in the 2010 survey, but a far cry from 2004 survey results, when nearly 90 percent of organizations included on-campus interviews in their recruiting efforts. In fact, from 2004 through 2007, the percent of organizations using on-campus interviews declined just slightly, albeit steadily; in 2008, however, there was a substantial decrease, and that drop off has been reinforced in subsequent surveys.”

I regard on-campus recruiting as a key tool for most employers who want to hire college students and recent graduates, but it is no longer THE tool for many and perhaps most of those employers. Gone are the days when campus recruiting needed to be conducted in-person, face-to-face, or even school-by-school. Today, employers can reach and engage candidates remotely in a manner that is far more environmentally friendly (green), efficient, and effective using a combination of media tools, virtual interviewing, etc. But few employers are completely abandoning on-campus hiring and I believe they’re correct. They’ve done the math and figured out which schools deliver a positive return on investment and have minimized or even eliminated visits to schools where they recruit few and perhaps no one. And even at the schools they continue to target, more and more employers supplement those efforts with media campaigns to help ensure a large and highly qualified turnout.

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