Attracting Millennial Talent: Campus Recruiting

This post was written by guest contributor Seth Barnett. For more information on this and other millennial engagement topics, plan to attend the Expo education session “How to Attract, Engage and Retain Millennial Talent” on Monday, January 11 at 1:20pm in Lagoon H. 

Attracting millennial talent is a daunting task for many in business today, but it is simpler than most hiring managers realize. A great and widely untapped place to start this sort of recruitment is on a college campus.

Attraction of new talent on a college campus is surprisingly easy if you or your company is willing to take the time to be present. I graduated from college a few months after the worst economic downturn in history. I was among thousands of eager college graduates willing to take any job if someone had said “Hey, you need a job? We have one for you." The year I graduated there were no career fairs to attend as there were no jobs available in any market. Today that has all changed and career fairs are again a staple on college campuses. There is a bit more competition in the marketplace today for those that do college recruiting, but this service is still widely underutilized. College career fairs are sparsely populated by companies with the ability to hire and retain young talent, yet there is a nearly endless pool of talented individuals in numerous disciplines located conveniently together on a college campus.

I recently sat down with an automotive distribution company of about 1,000 employees that is based in Texas. They operate in all major markets throughout the state. The company does 65 percent of its hiring at college career fairs. This has helped them obtain a talent pool that is second to none within their industry. They are also able to boast about their unusually high retention rate from the pool of professionals they obtain. The company now finds it hard to believe there is anyone out there that does not start their search for new talent on a college campus.

The truth about campus recruiting is that not all college students attend job fairs. Typically only about 1 in 3 students will show up.  Those that do not attend career fairs either already have a post-graduation job established or are of the mindset that upon graduation they will be graced with a perfect job simply for obtaining a degree, and best of luck to them. This means that those who actually attend the fairs are the real untapped talent on that campu and are most likely the individuals that are willing to work hard to build a successful career.

In post-recession America, getting into a career fair can be as simple as contacting the local university. Most universities have someone who handles setting up career fairs and can provide information to local businesses. When connecting, as for the Center for Career & Professional Development. Tney may even have an online database and a contact list that is easy to search.

We work in an exceptional industry that sells itself through the products we supply and distribute.  We have a need to attend hiring events side by side with those that use our products to connect with future leaders. We can no longer avoid opportunities that allow us to connect with and engage a new workforce. I encourage those that are looking to hire new professionals with fresh ideas to look at participating in a local collegiate career fair.

For more information on this and other millennial engagement topics, I encourage you to attend the Expo education session “How to Attract, Engage and Retain Millennial Talent” on Monday, January 11 at 1:20pm in Lagoon H. I will be joined in this session by PromoKitchen Chef Jessica Hutwelker, MAS and we will be looking at ways businesses in our industry can meet the growing engagement demand created by the generational divide.