7 Cost Effective Initiatives to engage with Top Talent on Campus

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The competition for graduate talent rages on. With the biggest challenge for recruiters seen to be candidate drop out due to simultaneous applications to multiple organisations (AGR Jan 2011), the need to build meaningful relationships with undergraduate talent is more important than ever.

With this in mind & following a very popular event with the AGR on this topic, that I chaired, I wanted to share the ideas generated with and by graduate employers.

  1. Work with Careers Services from your target Universities – not just posting ads on their website but taking part in Employability Awards they run (such as the very successful one at Birmingham); Insight to Management Events like at Loughborough & Leicester’s Tomorrow’s Managers; inviting them to your offices to really understand your business and who you want to target.
  2. Recruit more interns and placement students. It is the best ‘interview’ you will ever do and then ‘convert’ them into graduates.
  3. Work with Academic Departments – from strategic activities such as sponsored degrees like Logica run at Winchester or the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP); to guest lectures; providing case studies; sponsoring awards and prizes.
  4. Employing Campus Brand Managers – with key objectives such as promoting your careers & skills events; running their own innovative events for you; spotting relevant talent (acting like headhunters); creating facebook groups to raise brand profile and awareness online
  5. Running Competitions – There are online & physical on campus Competitions. On campus examples include ones run over a short timescale such as ‘By how much can you grow £5 in 24 hours’; to The Apprentice / Dragon’s Den style events. Or ones run over a longer period of time like the IBM Business Challenge or Bright Futures ‘Business Champions’.
  6. Working with Clubs and Societies – from specialist ones such as the Engineering Society or Finance Society to larger ones with Societies at multiple Universities like AISEC or Bright Futures. Innovative events Societies run include: ‘Dinner with Industry’; Speed Networking; Insights to Internships; Mentoring programmes etc.
  7. Using your Graduate Alumni – Use your best people (obvious you might think!) when you go on campus, those who enthuse about what the company do & their roles AND can relate to the students experience / current career dilemmas.


Whatever you choose to do the message is clear if you want to successfully compete for the best:

–          Target talent early

–          Build face to face relationships

–          Or as one of the Bright Futures Presidents’ put it ‘get personal’.


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