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With vast experience recruiting for both full-time and intern positions on campus, CBIZ Somerset has a carefully crafted college recruiting strategy. In 2022, the firm connected with 400 students at over 50 recruiting events.

But it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Until a few years ago, the team struggled with several inefficiencies, from a heavily manual process to a lack of visibility. After a thorough RFP process, the firm teamed up with Avature to digitize campus recruiting, centralize data capture and feedback and engage university talent in a much more personalized manner.

About CBIZ Somerset

The fifth-largest accounting firm in Indianapolis, CBIZ Somerset provides advisory, audit and assurance, tax, financial planning and technology services. Formerly known as Somerset CPAs and Advisors, the firm was acquired by CBIZ in February 2023. CBIZ is a publicly traded organization serving more than 82,000 clients in the United States.

The Challenge

One of the firm’s most significant pain points before implementing Avature was lacking an effective way to record and track who they’d met and talked to, an issue compounded by the high-volume nature of campus recruiting. They relied on spreadsheets, paper resumes and interview evaluation sheets, which had to be scanned into folders on the computer. This manual process was extremely time-consuming and error-prone.

Even worse, it didn’t ensure timely visibility across the team, who had to search through countless folders and emails to find the information they needed. Often, this prevented them from sending personalized communications on time or even caused recruiters to request data from students they had already shared.

But the inconveniences went beyond on-campus tasks and interactions. The accounting sector is highly competitive and CBIZ Somerset recruits up to two years in advance. Because of this, the team needed to be able to store the students’ information for the future and quickly resurface it to start or resume engagement. But not having a centralized database made this task incredibly difficult.

On top of the visibility issues, there weren’t any well-defined, consistent processes. This meant that every time someone left the team, their way of doing things left with them.

To reach and connect with the best students while improving the team’s efficiency, CBIZ Somerset searched for a tech solution. After comparing three vendors and evaluating the possibility of developing a system in-house, Avature stood out as the best option due to its overall capabilities, reporting features, user-friendliness and cost.

Assess and Improve the Critical Areas of Your Strategy

Before implementing Avature, CBIZ Somerset’s campus recruiting team took a hard look at the way they performed tasks. They also analyzed the experiences of different stakeholders, from recruiters and campus ambassadors to candidates.

Based on the areas of improvement they identified, they tailored the Avature system to support their objectives and deliver against their requirements.

“Having that implementation person from Avature was key in helping guide us through the process and making it successful. She was able to give us input on what the system did and how it could help.”

Karli Azar
National Campus Recruiter at CBIZ Somerset

End-to-End Process Definition

Since the recruiting team didn’t have concrete processes, they discussed and agreed on a common language moving forward. The newly defined processes were brought to life in Avature by:

  • Assigning specific roles to different team members based on how they needed to use the system
  • Configuring dedicated workflows for those roles
  • Creating checklists with tasks to complete before and after an event

Scalability and Visibility

Leaving behind the days of “papers flying everywhere,” CBIZ Somerset now leverages Avature to record candidate data digitally. This has enabled the team to seamlessly manage high volumes of student information while ensuring every team member has visibility into the same data in real time.

On-site specifically, recruiters and campus ambassadors use Avature’s events management mobile app to collect students’ information as it comes up during conversations. Then, team members can continue to track and evaluate the candidates within the app.

CBIZ Somerset also uses the app for on-campus and in-office interviews, but they have adapted the evaluation part to match the interview process. This allows them to collect all feedback directly in Avature, making it visible and accessible for everyone, including those team members who are not on-site.

“What we’ve liked the most is using the iPad ourselves and having it be part of the conversation. We don’t want it to seem like we just go through a list when talking to students. We never want to allow technology to cause us to forget that recruiting is all about building relationships.”

Karli Azar
National Campus Recruiter at CBIZ Somerset


Competition for students’ attention at career fairs is huge, which is why organizations need to strike while the iron is hot to make a long-lasting impression. To achieve this, CBIZ Somerset taps into Avature’s automation and email templates to send a “thank you” email to every student they’ve met within 24 hours of an event.

But because automated emails can sometimes feel impersonal, the firm’s team has taken the time to bake personalization into the templates by incorporating circumstance-specific messages. For example, to invite students to another related event or a follow-up interview or to let them know they won’t progress in the process.

Informal Events

From Taco Tuesdays to Jeopardy to “lunch and learns,” CBIZ Somerset constantly seeks creative ways to build deeper relationships with students and show them the firm’s culture.

Instead of having handwritten sign-in sheets, the team builds dedicated landing pages with Avature’s Content Management System (CMS). These landing pages allow them to be more strategic in the data they gather from students. For example, they are now tracking if they’re interested in internships or full-time opportunities.

With this data, CBIZ Somerset’s team members can further enrich each student’s profile, making it easier to engage with them in a meaningful way in the future.

Tailor Your Approach to Engage Gen Z

As Gen Z becomes an increasingly significant wedge of CBIZ Somerset’s workforce, the firm has tailored its engagement approach to truly resonate with this generation on campus. Recognizing key traits of Gen Z, such as that they are the first digital-native generation, value security, need to be catered to and care about social impact, the firm has implemented the following tactics:

  • Providing career path clarity so candidates are aware of the professional opportunities in the firm.
  • Developing a mobile-first communication approach enabled by Avature. Similar to what they do with email templates, they have text message templates that they send shortly after meeting students or as reminders before an event or interview to maximize engagement.
  • Being authentic and When creating email or text templates, they focus on sounding professional but not automated.
  • Being active on social media by sharing employee testimonials, especially from new hires or Gen Zers within the firm’s ranks. CBIZ Somerset also posts videos with relatable content to promote upcoming events, including bloopers!
  • Reevaluating the firm’s social impact and being vocal about its commitment to the community on the website or social media.

Adapt to Changing Circumstances

Leveraging Avature, CBIZ Somerset was able to adapt during the pandemic when most recruiting events moved from in-person to virtual.

Before a virtual event, the firm would receive resume books from universities, which the campus recruiting team would seamlessly parse into Avature to grow their candidate pools. Using the platform’s segmentation capabilities, they would identify the most qualified candidates and proactively push out advertisements and invitations to maximize their chances of engaging with them.

“We are living in a rapidly changing environment in recruiting. The fight for talent intensifies, so it’s important to continue adapting and improving our strategy.”

Karli Azar
National Campus Recruiter at CBIZ Somerset

Keep an Eye Out for Improvement Opportunities

What started as a “let’s build a database for years to come” project has evolved into an Avature-driven campus recruiting strategy that grows with CBIZ Somerset. Now, the firm is looking to continue leveraging Avature’s capabilities to achieve three objectives:

Gather Analytics

Challenged by leadership, the team has expanded its custom data model and created additional fields in Avature to gather more details about “successful hires.” The goal is to analyze this information and predict who could be a “rockstar candidate” in the future.

Though this project will require collecting information for a few more years, CBIZ Somerset’s campus recruiting team has already analyzed data to improve the program’s efficiency. By incorporating a score in interviewer evaluations, for example, the team can identify patterns in the quality of the interviewers’ hires. Armed with those results, the firm can mix interview pairs to encourage learning or reinforce training if needed.

Improve Communication With Candidates

Another of the team’s goals is to optimize its communication strategy. Lately, they’ve been struggling to receive timely information from students via email. However, they’ve noticed that candidates respond faster when contacted via SMS.

Since the team is already leveraging Avature’s texting capabilities, they’re now looking to migrate other touchpoints, such as additional information requests, to SMS as well. This would allow them to capitalize on the significant amount of time students spend on their phones.

Partner With the Experienced Hires Team

Even though two separate teams take care of CBIZ Somerset’s campus and experienced hire recruiting, the firm wants to use Avature as a shared database. This approach will potentially unearth an interesting new source of candidates for the experienced hires team, who can assess whether candidates that rejected CBIZ Somerset in the past might now be interested in a career change.

To Conclude…

From overhauling its event recruiting operations to supporting virtual events, CBIZ Somerset has built a well-rounded campus recruiting strategy. The firm’s tactics to connect with newer generations and ambitions to use predictive analytics to enhance future hiring strategies highlight its appetite for continuous improvement.

By pairing a constant innovation mindset with a configurable platform such as Avature, CBIZ Somerset remains agile to continue securing the campus talent the firm needs to drive its business objectives.

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