Posted July 03, 2019 by

Are You a Recruiting Early Bird?

Are You a Recruiting Early Bird?

It’s such a familiar quote that it’s almost cliché, but only because it’s true: The early bird really does get the worm. It also gets the best college graduates and interns.

If your recruiting efforts tend to focus only on the most recent batch of candidates, you may have noticed that your hires often don’t quite match up with your vision of the ideal employee. And yet, year after year you see other companies boasting about their own lineups, which reliably consist of the best and the brightest graduates and interns—the ones you would have sold your soul to have working for you.

How do they do it? Do they have an inside track? Are their starting salaries that good? Do they offer a free trip around the world with each internship?

Or…could it be that these companies know that the best way to get their candidates of choice is to be the early bird? 

Getting the Grads

According to the results of a survey by recruitment process outsourcing firm Futurestep/Korn Ferry, 64% of the business executives surveyed believe the best time to start recruitment for graduates is before their graduation—more precisely, at the start of their senior year. And 21% start looking for their future talent during junior year. Is it any wonder that by the time they graduate, students have already had a chance to vet their future employers?

“In our experience, students who know what they want to do and are driven to pursue their career goals while still in school make the strongest employees,” says Futurestep’s Adam Blumberg, vice president, Key Accounts. “Solid recruiting programs start early and focus on securing the most qualified talent months before they actually graduate.”

Which makes sense when you think about it: There are only so many students who will graduate in any given year. The law of averages dictates that a limited number will be considered superstars. And of those superstars, only a certain percentage will have the right degree and experience for your company.

Especially in a job seeker’s market, when candidates have the luxury of choice, if you’re not there when their focus turns to their future employment options other companies will be—and your dream candidates will have offers in hand before you even step foot on campus.

Getting the Interns

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 65% of bachelor’s degree candidates participate in internship or co-op education. Summer is traditionally the most popular season for internships, but companies actually bring interns on board any time during the year for assignments that range from special projects to extra help in a busy-season crunch.

Given the absence of milestones that mark a graduate’s availability, is there a best time to recruit interns? Yes, there is. Once again, back-to-school time is considered the best time to introduce your internship offerings to students, whether you’re looking for summer or year-round interns.

That’s because the cycle is similar: companies post summer internship opportunities in the late fall/early winter time frame, students consider their options, and by May the top students have made their choices, been chosen by a company and are ready to start their internship once school lets out.

As you can see, when it comes to recruiting your graduates and students of choice, it’s all about the timing. It’s vital to be top of mind when a senior’s thoughts turn to their post-college employment prospects—or when the talented, motivated and hardest-working students start wondering where they can get their internship experience. Adjusting your recruiting schedule to include a September kickoff will not only give students a chance to take a long look at you. It will give you the chance to take a good look at them and see how well they fit into your vision for the future of your company.

Sources:

https://www.kornferry.com/press/the-early-bird-gets-the-best-college-graduates-korn-ferry-survey-shows-best-time-to-recruit-grads-is-the-autumn-of-the-candidates-senior-year

https://www.naceweb.org/job-market/internships/exploring-the-implications-of-unpaid-internships/

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