Hiring New Grads? Invest in Your Recruiters

Recruiters can make or break your organization's campus recruiting strategy.
By: | August 7, 2018 • 4 min read

Today’s college students are your company’s future leaders, obviously. So it’s worth asking yourself: Are you empowering your recruiters with strategies to attract tomorrow’s workforce? If not, you will miss out on top student talent. The 2018 Yello Recruiting Study confirms what leading employers already know—the role of the individual recruiter is crucial in attracting recent grads.

The study found that recruiters who interact with college-age job candidates play a major role in their decisions to accept or reject a job: 70 percent of college students and recent grads said the recruiter they worked with impacted their decision to accept a role. Just as interesting: 20 percent noted that the recruiter they worked with was the reason they turned down a job. When it comes to hiring new grads, the first step to recruiting top student talent is to invest in the success of your recruiters. Top employers teach their recruiting teams how to create a personalized candidate experience for students. Your recruiters should be armed with a recruiting platform or tools to communicate with candidates through personalized messaging, which can help them  envision a career with your company and provide a differentiated  candidate journey. The consequence of a negative candidate experience will be lost talent, lost referrals and, potentially, lost future customers.


Graduates in the class of 2018 are among the tail end of the millennial generation, which now outnumbers Gen X and baby boomers to make up 35 percent of the workforce. As the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, talent acquisition teams need to understand what this generation is looking for—both throughout the job search process and as new employees.

On top of having significant sway in the workforce, the survey found nearly half of students and recent grads receive multiple offers during the job search. The stakes are high for recruiters engaging with campus candidates.

What steps can your company take to help recruiters attract millennial job seekers? Train your team to use these tactics.

Build connections: Successful campus recruiters convince candidates to choose their company, even when the student is exploring multiple career options. What’s the key to securing these accepted offers? Building strong connections with candidates. Coach your campus recruiters to understand that their goal is not only to fill a position, but to establish a connection. They should provide every student an engaging experience by learning about their interests, career goals and educational background to begin building relationships. Even if a career match isn’t available, each candidate should leave the career booth or hang up the phone with a positive impression of your company.

Become a brand advocate: The role of the campus recruiter expands beyond assessing talent—they must be an advocate for your company’s employer brand. Train recruiters on communication skills, both face-to-face and email/text, to encourage communication that reflects, and even elevates, your company’s brand and values. Craft messages that convey passion for the organization and demonstrate your company’s unique employee value proposition in a way that stands out.

Be a candidate resource: Regardless of whether the student is the right fit for a position, every conversation is an opportunity to be a resource for candidates and raise awareness for your company. When a candidate lacks the right skills or qualifications for a role, recruiters shouldn’t abruptly end the conversation. Instead, they can point to an improvement the student might make to their resume or a helpful tip to refine their interview skills. Being a resource for candidates will go a long way as students share these positive experiences with their peers.

Develop networks: Establishing connections and developing a network of student talent is essential. But to be successful, recruiters need to create relationships with faculty, career services and student organizations, too. These are the individuals and organizations who will influence a candidate’s decision to join the company. Provide recruiters with the necessary support to collaborate with faculty and establish partnerships with on-campus organizations, and teach them to cultivate relationships with a wide network of campus resources.

Nurture relationships: Growing and maintaining candidate relationships over several years is essential for a successful campus recruiting program. Recruiters may meet strong candidates in their freshman year, creating relationships that need to be nurtured over the course of their college career until the student is ready for a full-time role. Prepare recruiters to invest in and cultivate candidate relationships, to guide students through the candidate journey from freshman year to full-time hire.


Companies that hope to recruit top emerging talent need to invest in the success of their recruiters. That means educating them about what matters to today’s young employees and empowering them to build the relationships that will serve as the foundation for your company’s next generation of leaders. With the right training and resources, you can develop a campus recruiting program that attracts and engages top student talent from any university.

Jason Weingarten is the CEO and co-founder of Yello.