Tag Archives: recruitment strategy

The Process of Building Your Recruitment Brand

I presented the 16 Tools to Build Your Brand and Recruit the Very Best at the NACE National Conference last week. Before we begin discussing each of the points from that presentation, I wanted to give an overview on our strategic process to recruiting so you have a frame of reference.

Campus Media has an internal philosophy about the process needed to be successful with recruitment marketing and advertising. Below is a diagram of the process, but let me explain each of these parts for you.

Campus Media's Strategic ProcessWe see a great deal of companies who look at the college market and start their marketing play with “we want to do ‘x’ or ‘y,'” but haven’t thought through what effect it will have on your organization. Many approach their brand building by doing the same things year after year. With how quickly things are changing these days, it’s  important to be conscious of each step and determine what the net effect is going to be before you start and execute your recruitment plan. Then start the process all over again for your next initiative. This process can be used annually or semi-annual depending on your budget and planning cycles. More often is better than not due to how fast the student mind-sets are changing these days. The economy is having a strong effect on this too. Two years ago a recruitment brand strategy was very different than it is today.

Let’s break apart each step:

1. Company – This is what you more than likely already have in place. It’s what your business, department, etc. has defined as who you are, why you do what you do as a company, what you want your consumers to think of your brand, your key competitive advantages and products.

2. Customer – In a recruitment context the customer is the student you are looking to influence/hire. You need to define what your consumer think of you. Most of the time your brand view doesn’t align with what the public thinks your brand is. This is where research comes in to play. What does the customer think your competitive advantages are? Why do they buy or want to work from you? What do you offer that others don’t? What’s your brand mean versus your competition? If your “Company” elements above don’t align with the “Customer’s” way of thinking and what’s important to them, then your campaign will not likely achieve the goals set out for the program that’s being developed.

3. Planning and Strategy – This stage is where the 16 tools start to come together and your ROI is developed. What message will you use? Where will the message be located? Do you need to make changes to how your teams are dressed or what they talk about when interacting with the students? When does your marketing happen? How does it help effect the disconnect that likely exists between stages 1 and 2 above? Do you need to make changes to your website or Facebook page or YouTube channel or handouts or booth design or videos or…or…or…? Run through everything to ensure each tool you use is on message and in the right places to cause the shift needed in your consumer’s mindset about your brand/company.

4. Execution – This is the “get it done” stage. Execute on the brand message, website strategies, on campus events, speaking, career fairs, social media, etc.

5. 20/20 – In this stage, take a look at what went well… or poorly. Do your follow up consumer research to see if your goals/objectives outlined in the planning and strategy stage occurred. What did you learn? Did you hire the students you expected to hire? Why or why not? In essence, you should be able to define if you hit the ROI elements you outlined in phase 3.

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Students optimistic about career outlook despite unemployment rate

Photo Credit: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Photo Credit: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Despite a struggling economy and unemployment nearing 10%, college students remain optimistic about their career prospects. In fact, nearly two out of three (64%) are confident that they will be able to start their careers in whatever area they choose. In contrast, only one in four (25%) believe that the economy is in such bad shape that it doesn’t make sense to start their careers now. This is according to data collected in February 2008 by SurveyU and youth marketing agency Campus Media Group of 1,000 college students ages 17-26.

When it comes to looking for and securing summer internships and jobs, students enrolled in a business major are more proactive. While more than half of college students (57%) started looking for their summer internships and jobs by March, nearly half (44%) of business majors had already secured their summer jobs and internships by March, compared to less than one in three (29%) non-business majors.

“With the inherent competitiveness of finding jobs in their chosen field, business majors seem to be more focused on their job outlook than other majors,” says Jason Bakker, Director of Marketing for Campus Media Group.

The research pointed to direct communications and career fairs as the dominant means of recruiting college students for jobs and internships. In fact, students were three times more likely to indicate career fair exhibits and direct opt-in e-mails from the company rather than advertising, websites and campus poster campaigns as the best way to reach them.

“This generation is relatively numb to most forms of advertising,” says Bakker. “Though general branding of your company is very important in staying top-of-mind among students, one-to-one interactions are really what students are hungry for in today’s economic climate.”

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Developing a recruitment pipeline

I was reading through an article by Pedro Silva about recruitment and why companies that want to come out of the recession strong should keep recruiting now. It’s a great story about why companies in this space cannot give up on their position of communicating with potential new hires. It gives 5 reasons why companies should keep their pipeline full:

  1. Pipeline development is part of their growth strategy. You don’t wait until it snows to gather firewood, and these companies don’t wait until they need a new hire to start identifying candidates who are equipped to be a part of the company’s success.
  2. They know that long-term hiring success requires a process. It is a lot easier to keep a fire going than it is to start one, so these companies will have an ongoing dialogue with candidates with the intention of making an offer when the time is right.
  3. A developed candidate pipeline removes major competition from the equation. When the time to hire arrives, these companies either have their offer prepared or they are at the top of the candidate’s mind. This reduces the chances of a salary war.
  4. Having qualified candidates on hand minimizes delays in production. Sometimes, unforeseen events can cause the ball to be dropped. A developed and managed candidate pipeline allows these companies to rebound quickly and efficiently.
  5. A company that is actively recruiting is considered a strong company. By continuing to engage prospective candidates, these companies strengthen their own company brand among others in their industry and remain aware of other trends within their market segment.

After reading this, I cannot help but think how many companies that recruit college students each year might miss out on the opportunity to increase their campus position as we come out of the recession. Now is the time to be making some noise, beating the drum, connecting with your consumers or future employees. It’s never been quieter on campus, and students are stuck with a pile of resumes and no place to send them. Let them know you care.

We are recommending to our clients to push more now than at any other time. As we begin hearing stories about the economy turning around, you don’t want to miss out on a chance to talk directly to your audience without having your competitors screaming for their attention at the same time. Strike up the band. It’s time to make some noise and fill the pipeline.

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