How to generate quality applications, not volumes – part 1 (of 5)

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In this series of 5 fortnightly blogs I will be looking specifically at how to generate quality applications as in this post recession world the volume of applications has gone up dramatically but has not been matched with quality. I will address how organisations can generate fewer, better applications – a mantra for us here at Bright Futures!

Part 1 – On Campus Events

There has been a growing focus on getting back on campus again to generate quality applications – driven primarily by a desire to both attract more of the right type of applications through better and more direct communication of the brand and roles available, plus to directly spot the best suited talent. But what to do on campus?

Employer presentations & Skills workshops have been around for many years and they still work but what is needed is some innovation in this area. Hence the rise of new initiatives like competitions such as our ‘Business Heroes’  ‘Apprentice-style challenges’; online games; joint industry events… the list goes on.

What seems to be driving a move back on campus?

1. The huge rise in volume of applications not being matched by a rise in quality, if anything there is a decrease in the quality. 2. Career focused students want to meet employers, and have the time to ask lots of questions (which there rarely is at careers fairs) to help them decide if that organisation or role is the right option for them as well as learn how to stand out through the selection process. 3. Websites are generally too ‘corporate’  and students want to know the ‘real story’ 4. There is so much ‘noise’ on campus from employers now you need to be different and stand out. For example just recently we ran ‘Blitz days’ at a number of Universities for a client. We booked a stand in a high foot fall area, had lots of product to give away, spoke to students as they walked past, we did not wait for them to approach us. We even went into the Starbucks on campus and spoke to them there. Then what made the real difference was that those we felt may be right we offered an interview with us that day (we had also booked an interview room). Those that passed at interview left with an invite to an assessment day. And did the students respond well to this?  We had one example where one student in the 40 minutes between meeting us and their interview got changed, reworked their CV and was still early for their interview! The whole event was immediate and now and the students loved it. Importantly did it work? Each event we attended we saw at least 50 and as many as 300 students and from each event we left with students booked onto assessment days.

How to ensure value from being on campus. But what is still missing too often is the link between on campus events and then targeting those met to then apply (unless you run a Blitz day type event as described above) When you spot great talent, check to see if they have applied, encourage them to apply and when they do ensure they are responded too quickly. After all meeting people face to face will always tell you more than their Cv or application form will so use what you have learnt and save yourself huge amounts of time wading through lots of unsuitable application forms and CVs!

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