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Everything you need to know about campus recruiting in 2024

4 mins  |  02.04.2024

Methods of early talent acquisition are where innovation meets ambition, yet campus recruiting often remains an overlooked strategy. At Wiser, we're all about exploring different avenues of recruitment to obtain the best people, that is how the Wiser Academy was born. The Wiser Academy is our multi-award-winning network of student ambassadors, trained to represent the biggest and best graduate employers at universities across the UK and Ireland, promoting their opportunities and events to their networks and beyond. The students act as brand ambassadors and offer authentic peer-to-peer promotion which helps discover the top-tier talent. 

Campus recruiting isn't just an activity; it's an art and a science, it blends strategy with genuine connection to tap into early talent pools, bubbling with fresh knowledge at universities. So, why should you care about campus recruiting? Let's unravel this together.

The Essence of campus recruiting

Campus recruiting is the strategic approach to identifying, engaging, and hiring young talent directly from their academic environments. It's about exposing your company where the future leaders, thinkers, and innovators are still sculpting their skills and visions for the future. With three out of four students expecting to meet employers in person on campus (High Fliers 2023), your presence is already expected, so you want to be showing up in style to impress the top-tier students. This recruitment mechanism  is also about building relationships, fostering brand awareness, and engaging with potential candidates long before they've donned their graduation caps. It builds that rapport with individuals which will make a long lasting impression on them and their networks. 

With recruitment in this space, your company isn't just a name on a job listing but a familiar face on campus, a mentor in workshops, and a guide in career fairs. That's campus recruiting at its best – an immersive experience that gives students a taste of your culture, values, and opportunities, making your company not simply an option, but a destination.

Why it's a game-changer for your talent strategy

A pipeline of fresh talent

In the relentless pursuit of innovation, the fresh perspectives, skills, and energies of young talent are catalysts of creativity and growth. Graduate recruitment on campus allows you to tap into this reservoir of potential early talent, building a pipeline that can drive your company forward. It's not just about filling vacancies, it's about infusing your teams with the latest academic insights to spur diversity of thought. According to High Fliers research (2023), employers have increased the number of universities that they’ve actively marketed their graduate vacancies at during the 2022-2023 recruitment season, to an average of 27 universities. This increase in exposure is important to note; to stay competitive in the market you will need to follow suit and increase your reach, but in a way that’ll make your brand stand out from the crowd. 

Enhanced brand awareness 

Your presence on campus goes beyond filling immediate hiring needs, it plants the seeds for long-term brand building. When you engage effectively with students, you're promoting your company as a great place to work and also embedding your brand in the minds of tomorrow's workforce. This awareness can turn into an industry advantage, swaying talent from your competitors and attracting them to you as they enter the working world. 

Cultivating a culture of innovation & learning

Engaging with the academic world keeps your organisation ahead of the curve. By interacting with students, faculties, and campus organisations, you're continuously exposed to the latest trends, research, and thinking. This engagement can inspire innovation within your own teams, encouraging a culture that values learning and adaptation. It's a symbiotic relationship where both sides learn and grow together.

Diversity and Inclusion

On-campus events and activations are great ways to attract students from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. By interacting with students on campus - between lectures, on a break, at lunch - it opens the door to a diverse pool of candidates, each bringing their own unique backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas. This diversity is key to building a resilient and dynamic workplace. By reaching out to various student groups and faculties, you ensure that your talent pool mirrors the world around us, rich in experiences and viewpoints.

How to nail campus recruiting

Campus recruiting is more than just showing up at job fairs. It's about crafting an experience that resonates with students and showcases your company as a place where careers are made. Here are a few strategies to make your campus recruiting efforts stand out:

Build genuine relationships

High Fliers research found that feedback about on-campus presentations, skills events, and in-person careers fairs was particularly positive, with up to two-fifths of employers who participated in them describing the events as ‘very successful’. So, engagement is key. Host workshops, sponsor student events, and offer mentorship programmes. The people who represent your company are also important parts of the puzzle. At Wiser, our Wiser Academy Ambassadors are university students themselves, who promote and advocate for our clients on campus for that authentic peer-to-peer promotion which evokes trust, loyalty, and sincerity. The brand ambassadors are trained on the available opportunities, values, and culture of clients who are being promoted, so they know all the ins and outs and are equipped to answer any questions. The goal is to build genuine relationships between brand ambassadors and potential early talent, giving them a real insight into your company's culture and values.

Leverage technology

In today's digital age, your campus recruiting strategy needs to be tech-savvy. Social media, virtual career fairs, and interactive online platforms are increasingly being used to connect with students. These methods broaden your reach and appeal to the tech-native generation. Social media is a tool which helps spread the word prior to the on-campus event, and also write the legacy of the event on platforms, since photographs and LinkedIn posts remain as evidence in the digital sphere long after the event has passed. 

Offer internships and work experience 

Provide students with the opportunity to experience your company firsthand through internships and spring-week programs. These experiences are invaluable, offering both sides a "try before you buy" period that can lead to permanent positions. This gives students a positive impression of your company which can have a ripple effect into their network, as they share their experiences with their peers.

Showcase your EVP

Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) should be front and center in all your campus recruiting efforts. Highlight what makes your company unique and why it's an amazing place to start and grow a career. Remember, you're not just offering a job, you're offering a journey. If possible, allow students to get insights from your own people who have excelled in the company, insights are an authentic way to advocate for your brand. 

Why you should care now more than ever

Staying ahead means being proactive, not reactive. On-campus recruiting offers you the chance to be exactly that. It's an investment in the future, ensuring that your company remains vibrant, innovative, and competitive. By engaging with early talent, you're shaping the future of your organisation.

At Wiser, we understand the power of potential. On-campus recruiting via pop ups, activations, and events, is more than a strategy, it's a commitment to growth, diversity, and innovation. So, why should you care? Because the future of your company depends on the talent you adopt and nurture today. Let's embrace this journey together, creating pathways for the next generation of changemakers. Welcome to the future. Welcome to Wiser.

Hear from one of our ambassadors

“Being in the Wiser Academy has been an amazing experience. It’s given me the chance to work with so many amazing people, the Wiser team, other students, and the clients. Being a Wiser Academy ambassador has helped me to expand my professional network, and secure a summer internship and since, a grad job with one of the Academy clients!”

Amelia Whittaker, Team UCL 

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