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How to hire PhD students through on-campus recruiting

Posted January 14, 2020 by

It is a good idea to partner with a university’s career service office, professors, and others to reach Ph.D. students when they are physically on-campus or otherwise engaged with their school. But it seems pretty clear to me that there are many other ways of reaching these same people.

For most of us, the equivalent to being a student is being an employee. We might spend eight hours, five days a week working, so roughly 40-hours a week. If you figure that the average person sleeps eight hours a night, that means we spend about 40 of 112 waking hours at work. Deduct holidays and vacation days and we’re now talking close to one-quarter of our waking hours are spent working, which means that about three-quarters of our time are spent away from work. 

It seems logical to me that employers trying to reach Ph.D. (or any other student) should recognize that only marketing to those students when they’re on-campus or otherwise engaged with the school means that they’re missing three-quarters of the opportunities to engage with those students. Yes, you can reach a student while they’re on campus, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only way to reach them. For many employers, the real question is really about how to reach these students during the three-quarters of the time when they’re not on-campus or engaged with their school. That’s where target marketing comes into play.

Think about it from your perspective. When any organization wants to market their products, services, or other opportunities to you, do they only do it when you’re at work? Or do they use media such as TV, radio, print, billboards, Internet, email, and other marketing channels? The more targeted the audience you want to reach, the more targeted the media must be that you use.

For an employer who only wants to reach Ph.D. students (and perhaps just those who attend certain schools and majors), then untargeted media such as TV, radio, billboards, etc. are poor choices as the vast majority of your ads will be seen by the wrong people. Instead, you need highly targeted media. One example of this would be permission-based (opt-in) email lists. A good list will allow you to target by any combination of fields including school, major, year of graduation, degree (i.e., Ph.D.), geography, diversity, languages, and even citizenship for roles where that is a legitimate requirement.

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Posted in Advice for Employers, Employers, Grad School, Online recruitment, Recruiter Articles, Recruitment marketing, Recruitment Strategies, Targeted Emails | Tagged