HR’s Guide to Recruiting Recent College Graduates in 2019

April 9, 2019 by Verified First

How to Recruit Recent College Graduates 2019

It’s almost graduation season! Which means HR is busy recruiting fresh entry-level talent. Recent college grads are hard working, quick learners, and possess some of the most up-to-date information in their field. We talked with Verified First’s HR Director, Zach Townsend, who has experience both as a college professor and recruiting college students for Verified First. Here are his tips on how your company can recruit and appeal to recent college graduates.

How to connect with college students

If your idea of connecting with college students is using hashtags and wearing skinny jeans, you’re on the wrong track. College students might seem young and inexperienced, but they want people to treat them like the young professionals they are. The best way to connect with college students is by treating them like you would any candidate. Be there to answer questions, and get them excited about working for your company.

"College students might seem shy and they tend to avoid eye contact with you. But remember that the fact that they're at a job fair means that they're looking for an opportunity, and you're there to introduce them to that opportunity,” said Zach.

Which companies hire the most graduating seniors

College students grew up in a world surrounded by tech, so it’s not surprising that many are heading straight into tech jobs right after graduation. According to LinkedIn, the top three companies that college graduates are going to are Amazon, EY and Oracle. The most popular job positions for college graduates are Software Engineer (which makes a whopping entry level salary of $95,000), Administrative Assistant, Account Executive, and interestingly, Recruiter. You might end up hiring your coworker!

How to identify standout students

According to Ron McGowan in a ZipRecruiter article, even though a recent grad might not have tons of work experience, there are still several ways to assess their potential as an entry-level candidate. McGowan suggests screening for the following:

  1. Does the grad indicate that they’ve looked at the employer’s web site and know something about them and the sector they’re in?
  2. Do they show that they’ve carefully thought about the employer’s needs and believe they can meet them?
  3. Do they give any specific examples of how their background and education can benefit the employer?
  4. Do their responses target and answer the key points spelled out in ad, or are they all over the place?
  5. Do they want to work in your industry? Or does it suggest that they’re responding to anything and everything? Have they any summer/part-time experience in it?
  6. Are they flexible and willing to roll up their sleeves? Or do they come across as someone looking for a stable, predictable environment?
  7. Does the grad come across as entrepreneurial or as someone looking for a traditional job?

The best place to recruit college graduates

A great way to meet college students from all disciplines is at job fairs, which take place throughout the school year.

"College job fairs are about way more than free bowls of candy and swag, although I'll be honest, that helps. They're about connecting with talented and skillful students and connecting them with an ideal first job at your company," said Zach.

When there are dozens of other employer displays, it can be hard to catch college student’s attention. Having free things helps, but they don’t necessarily guarantee meaningful connections. That’s up to you.

"My favorite way to start conversations with students is by finding a conversation piece that's not related to work. The more questions you can ask, the better. I once saw a student with a donut, and asked him about where he got it. It was an easy conversation starter that didn't feel like a sales pitch. And, I knew where to find the donuts!" said Zach.

Regardless of whether you're hiring for an entry-level position or the C-suite, use a qualified background screening provider to make the best decision.


About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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