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In the face of today’s unprecedented pace of innovation and the monumental changes taking hold in the business world, sourcing, engaging, hiring and retaining next-generation talent is fundamental for organizations that are serious about long-term success. After all, candidates from younger generations can bring highly demanded skills, enthusiasm and fresh perspectives to your organization, helping you keep up with today’s dynamic landscape.

At the same time, the job market is undergoing a profound transformation of its own, and candidates expect the recruiting process and their employee experiences to be more agile and personalized. In this candidate-driven market, organizations need to up their campus recruiting game if they’re to secure next-generation talent ahead of the competition.

How can you put a successful campus recruiting program in place? We’ve collected best practices gained from supporting customers in this endeavor for over a decade. Read on for valuable insights!

Get To Know Next-Generation Talent

Recruiting is becoming more and more like marketing. The best talent acquisition teams have long said so. Therefore, it makes sense to approach different talent segments as you would different target audiences, striving to understand their expectations and tailoring your approach to better resonate with them.

Not long ago, organizations adapted their hiring practices to recruit millennials, a generation that has consolidated its position in the workplace, occupying important leadership positions in many cases. But times have changed. Gen Z started joining the workforce during the pandemic, representing the next-generation talent you’re looking to recruit.

Although these two groups have several characteristics in common, Gen Z expects to be engaged differently. What makes Gen Z unique? These are some of their defining traits:

  • They’re the first digital-native generation and thrive when working in environments that demand interaction with technology and automation.
  • They embrace change and value flexibility because they’ve witnessed more than their fair share of major political, environmental and economic changes in the world during their lifetime.
  • They spend a lot of time online and on their phones. Social media is a big part of their lives, but studies show they actually value in-person interactions in the workplace.
  • They care about working in an inclusive and supportive culture and value authenticity and growth opportunities.

With these characteristics in mind, leading organizations are bringing to life strategies that incorporate social media networks popular among Gen Z, such as Instagram and TikTok, to meet candidates where they are. They’re also making their processes mobile-friendly and striving to deliver as much personalization as possible, something CBIZ Somerset has done with great success.

Heighten Next-generation Talent Engagement Before, During and After Your Events

Campus events, whether in person or virtual, are a unique opportunity for organizations to connect with next-generation talent and show them their brand. Making the most out of each event goes far beyond setting up your booth; it requires a holistic strategy that starts before the event and continues after it’s over.

Before the Event

Considering that next-generation talent values authenticity and looks for real people to talk to, many of the companies we talk to highlight the importance of building a relationship with students before meeting them at an event. The only significant way to do that is through early and ongoing engagement.

To start building these relationships, it’s a good idea to build out your student database before arriving at the career fair. In this sense, many of our customers develop relationships with schools, universities and alumni networks to get students’ resumes and grow their talent pools ahead of an event.

Some of the most successful recruiting teams have also started building dedicated landing pages to showcase their company values, deliver targeted messages, promote events and drive registrations. Using social media or dedicated invites, organizations can direct students to these fully branded and mobile-optimized pages for them to submit their information. With Avature’s CMS toolkit, you can easily create these pages and email campaigns to use them for the promotion of an event and the building and enriching of talent pipelines.

Unfortunately, even if you create the most personalized and attractive invite, it can still get lost in the inboxes of students. So, to maximize the chances of attendance, many of the teams we talk to send periodic reminders via email but also via SMS. They also use these opportunities to share more details or relevant information about the event and to convert students by meeting them on mobile, where they spend significant time.

The most strategic campus hiring teams segment their registrants in advance. This allows them to gain an overview of the students they’ll likely meet during the event and identify the most interesting profiles, to which they can reach out with tailored messages or even interview invites.

Powerful search functionality should enable you to segment and select the best candidates you want to engage with. Interview scheduling technology, ideally integrated into the Campus Recruiting Solution you’re using, can facilitate self-scheduling for candidates via a portal where they can pick a slot that best suits them to meet your on-site team.

During the Event

In today’s digitized world, going paperless is no longer a possibility but a necessity when it comes to recruiting next-generation talent. Storing information on manual spreadsheets or bringing back piles of paper resumes from each event won’t give you centralized access or visibility over information and crafting a consistent process for every stakeholder is almost impossible, especially when dealing with the high volume of candidates involved in campus recruiting. Not offering a digital experience will also impact your employer brand. Remember, today’s talent expects slick and modern processes.

If you’ve deployed several of the initiatives we covered regarding pre-event preparations, chances are you will already know many of the attendees that you’ll meet during the event and have on-site meetings and interviews organized in advance. Mobile devices can help you to maintain the momentum with these candidates.

Best-in-class solutions offer apps for checking people in, parsing paper resumes, recording feedback and even ranking candidates electronically on the fly. This information can then be seen and accessed by the rest of your recruiting team and hiring managers back at the office, in real time. WiFi issues are no problem with Avature’s app, as you can continue to collect student details and capture resumes offline, as the data is stored and then uploaded automatically once you’re back online.

A digital approach can also help you handle new candidates. Today’s generation won’t wait in line for information, and you don’t want to see them walk away from your booth without leaving their contact details. So why not facilitate a digital way of doing so that enhances their view of your employer brand? Leverage mobile devices where they can add their data without having to wait for a busy recruiter. You could also display QR codes that attendees can scan to register.

After the Event

From a simple thank-you email to a great-to-meet-you note to a brief survey about their on-site experience with the team, these post-event communications will help you leave a positive first impression on next-generation talent and make it easier for you to resume contact if needed in the future.

For those students you had an interview with, it’s important to keep them in the loop at all times through timely communications. Make sure to provide feedback and let them know of next steps within acceptable timeframes. You’re competing for students’ attention, so delivering a high-touch experience that’s mindful of their time can help your organization stand out from the crowd.

The more personalized your communication is, the better chances you have of making a good impression on graduates who will also be on your competitors’ radar.

Keep Talent Warm

Realistically, not every graduate will choose your organization. But this doesn’t mean that your engagement initiatives should end. Of course, you’ll likely need to reduce the frequency of your communications, but you shouldn’t stop them.

Maybe in six months, one year, or even three years down the road you have a great opportunity to offer or they are ready for a career change. As we stated at the beginning of this article, the world and the business landscape change rapidly and you never know when you will need a particular set of skills or experience. That person you connected with years ago at an event might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Use long-term communications as an opportunity to help the students you met at an event get to know your organization and what you stand for even further. You can even leverage what you learned about them and target your communications to their interests and desires, by inviting them to other events that are relevant, organizational information days or online webinars. You can even send them targeted job openings, first-hand stories of employees who also started their professional path in your organization or even invite them to a one-to-one session with previous graduate hires with a similar profile.

Integrate, Integrate, Integrate

Securing next-generation talent on campus these days demands two distinct worlds to come together: events management and recruitment marketing, even more so if you want to put in place a successful engagement strategy. Yet, these two areas have very different tasks.

Currently, many organizations manage both aspects with their applicant tracking systems and consequently fail. Traditional ATSs were not designed to support these types of processes as they are not flexible enough to do so, and they lack the communication tools necessary to engage top graduate talent.

On the other hand, conventional recruitment marketing systems are not powerful enough to support the entire events management process, nor are they able to manage core-recruiting aspects like internships or track rotational programs, for example, all in one system.

At Avature, we believe that this disconnection is simply due to software limitations. Organizations that are dedicated to recruiting next-generation talent need to use cutting-edge technology that is fit for purpose, that marries these two seemingly disconnected worlds with real-time collaboration tools and that ultimately gives them the power to flex their processes to specific market needs, or address critical talent segments.


We hope this article inspired you to take a look at your campus recruiting strategy with a fresh pair of eyes. There may be a lot to consider, but small changes can go a long way in terms of boosting your results in attracting, engaging and hiring next-generation talent.

Ultimately, success depends on an audience-specific strategy, equipped with the right processes and technology that empower your people to deliver, and we at Avature set out to build solutions that do just that.



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