Full-Service HR

Plan Your Graduate Recruitment Strategy

Ella Baker
Plan Your Graduate Recruitment Strategy
Reading time 4 Mins
Published on Jan 14

The recruitment of new college graduates for positions within your company may seem like a game designed for larger companies. However, small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) have several distinct advantages when it comes to attracting young talent to join their ranks. Not only can SMBs respond more quickly and be more nimble in their response to applicants, but they can also offer greater flexibility than their Fortune 500 counterparts. Here are just a few of the ways that your SMB can use your size to your advantage in your graduate recruiting strategy.

Play up flexibility

For many students, the prospect of entering into a well-defined career right out of college is a scary one. Recent graduates are curious, willing to explore the roles that might best suit their interests, and looking for opportunities to get hands-on experience in a variety of positions. As an SMB, your company is ideally suited to offer that kind of flexibility.

Since SMBs don’t typically have a rigid organizational chart, they can shape job roles around the people who work for them, taking into account their individual capabilities, interests, and desires to grow. Additionally, employees have the chance to get more experience working with various team members, fill a variety of functions, and get a more well-rounded view of business operations.

Not only do SMBs offer employees the opportunity to develop their skills on the job, but they also encourage them to participate more fully in making decisions about their place and role within the company. For SMBs with an inclusive approach to business, playing up your flexibility could be an ideal approach to recruiting new talent.

Skip the career center

Most SMBs don’t have the resources or staff necessary to command the same presence as their larger competitors at college career events. Many large companies have well-established relationships with career centers at various colleges, especially larger universities and elite schools. SMBs can make their size work for them by connecting directly with the graduates they want to recruit and targeting schools that other companies often overlook.

Rather than getting lost in the shuffle with other businesses looking for graduates at the career center, SMBs should look to connect directly with the academic departments of the majors they’re interested in hiring. Students typically have closer relationships with their professors and advisors than they have with the staff at the career center. By going directly to the academic department, you’ll not only get your message directly in front of your target group of students, but you’ll also be establishing ties with key faculty that could help influence your future recruitment efforts.

It pays to be nimble

When larger companies participate in college fairs or post their job openings on a school’s job board, they probably receive hundreds or even thousands of applicants for the open positions. The representatives for those large businesses are often overwhelmed with applications and their response to applicants can be slow-moving. For SMBs who receive smaller batches of applicants, the ability to respond quickly and make hiring decisions faster can be the difference between landing a top graduate or having to settle for second best.

Since SMBs target smaller groups of students, the pool of applicants they receive is typically smaller than those of larger companies. Managers and supervisors at SMBs are able to review résumés, screen applicants, and make offers faster than their larger competitors. Since many students tend to accept the first offer they receive, this ability to be nimble can be a huge benefit for SMBs.

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