How University Recruiting Can Play in Your Recruiting Program

Discover how the power of university recruiting can enhance your recruiting program and provide a predictable source of high quality candidates for your company’s most important positions.

TA experts Eddie Stewart, Steven Rosenblum, Michelle Marquand, and Krystan Silva spoke with Harver about their recruiting methods and how they’ve established a successful and fruitful candidate pipeline through a funnel of well-qualified students from national universities and trade schools. Read their tips below to find out effective ways to build up your talent pool!

Our panelists:


Does your organization need a large budget to start a university recruiting program? Not necessarily. Big and small companies alike can enjoy a larger slate of high caliber candidates through connections to universities and vocational schools.

  • Start a recruiting program by contacting the career services department at the desired school(s). 
  • Cultivate a relationship with a university or vocational school with a specialization in your industry.
  • Offer project-based internships to fulfill educational requirements.
  • Present a management training program for last year students or recent graduates.
  • Participate in campus career fairs-a perfect way to meet and interview prime candidates.
  • Volunteer employees or company leaders to guest lecture about your industry and establish valuable relationships with professors and students.
  • Any size company can network and connect with schools and their students for little or no financial investment. Universities and other schools want their students to succeed and to place them on a rewarding career path.

How do you refine your recruiting program and narrow your search for the top universities or trade schools to target? 

  • Ask the right questions. What do the schools specialize in? Where are the industry opportunities or areas of study?
  • Find out how schools are ranked and why. U.S. News & World Report has a thorough list they release annually.
  • Google is your “friend.” Search and cross-reference types of schools and desired geographical locations of recent graduates to determine if there are local or virtual opportunities to connect.
  • Look at current employees’ resumes and reverse engineer where they went to school-find more ideal candidates through a trusted employee’s alma mater.
  • Don’t overlook adding trade schools to your recruiting program-much of their marketing is dependent upon career placement.

What are the best ways to optimize an existing university recruiting program? 

  • Sponsor career fairs or other scholastic events and ensure your company’s name is highly visible (banners, collateral, swag etc.).
  • Form relationships with targeted university career services departments and ultimately with professors and qualified students.
  • Continue year-round touch points with chosen schools; they want to place students in careers as part of their offering.
  • Leverage your organization’s alumni for introductions to professors and board members and to showcase your company’s value proposition and brand.
  • Utilize networking tools like “Handshake” that work with your ATS to build a reliable pipeline of talented candidates who fit your company’s niche.
  • Analyze cost-per-hire, time-to-hire, attrition/retention rates and other metrics. Determine if the university/vocational schools you’ve chosen are generating real value for your recruiting program.

The key to building out your company’s university recruiting program is establishing, nurturing, and expanding relationships within the institution(s), whether they are with board members, professors, on-campus organizers, or professional/affinity groups. Creating visibility in order to attract premium talent is a win-win for both the school’s reputation and your company.

Will your university recruiting program benefit from a more virtual presence and approach? Some concepts to consider include: 

  • Save time, money, and resources for both hiring managers and recruiters by conducting remote video interviews.
  • College students have successfully embraced pivoting to an all-remote education and lifestyle-they will be well-prepared for remote internships and careers next year.
  • Elevate teleconferencing meetings by using “break out room” features on Zoom and other platforms.
  • Hold a virtual “reception” prior to  a career fair to help students participate and get their questions answered quickly and accurately. This can help develop a more focused and audience-driven agenda before a larger event.
  • Expand the reach of your current recruiting program across the country-there are no geographical limitations right now. The talent pool has widened greatly as a result of conducting business remotely.

Even as campus and corporate life have had to evolve and reinvent themselves over these past months, your university recruiting program and candidate pipeline can thrive with some creative thinking, planning, and networking.

Check references to get the full-picture on your university recruits.

Once you’ve created a solid pipeline of quality graduate candidates, be sure to check references to get an idea for what kind of hire they’ll make. Even if students don’t have a lengthy corporate resume to offer, teachers, co-students or other personal references can help provide valuable input on how the candidate may fare at your organization.

Harver Reference is a digital tool that can help you check references in just 2 minutes of recruiter time. Students love using Harver Reference as they find it easy to request references via text or email. Schedule a demo to learn more about streamlining your reference checking workflow while increasing candidate satisfaction.

Harver Team

Harver Team

Posted on:
July 17, 2023

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