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How to Mobilize Your College Employees to Recruit More Students

By collegemktgrp | July 15, 2019 | Employers

Remember what you used to have to do to get a job in college? You’d dress up in your best business attire and hit the pavement, guided by the classifieds section in your local paper. Recruitment was a face-to-face process, where hiring services and word-of-mouth marketing was as good a strategy as any to land a job.

Recruiting college students is a different ballgame now, where students do most of their job hunting online. But even though students are more likely to get recruited through Facebook than they are through Uncle Fred’s neighbor’s brother — ya know, the one who owns that local paint company — word-of-mouth referrals are still an effective way to hire new students.

Good employees tend to refer good prospects. And who’s better suited for bringing in new college student employees than the students already working for your company?

If you’ve got a great company culture that college students love, you can rest assured your employees will happily spread the word about working for you. Reinforcing those conversations with branded merchandise that your college student employees and their friends will actually use can help you seal the deal.

And when we say word-of-mouth referrals, we aren’t just speaking literally (although we will dive into the effectiveness of referral bonuses). College student employees can help cast a wide net for snagging future prospects by sharing your job openings on their social media platforms, too.

Keep reading to discover 4 ways employers can mobilize their college student employees to recruit more students.

1. Create an Attractive Workplace Culture

First things first: if you want to inspire your college student employees to encourage their peers to apply at your company, they’ve got to love working for you.

Gen Z employees aren’t just comfortable with technology, they live and breathe it. Your office needs to foster a digital environment that doesn’t slow down processes or hinder new ideas.

Which leads us to our next Gen Z workplace fact: these employees are also fiercely independent and have a competitive streak. They’re looking for ways to advance, and to go head-to-head with other employees.

Before you start an in-office fight-club, look for ways for Gen Zers to collaboratively work out that competitive spirit. For example, there’s more and more gamification software programs that can turn trainings into games that offers badges & awards. And be sure to offer ways for employees to advance and learn new skills — otherwise that boredom might leave them eyeing your competitors.

If your company is having issues retaining college student employees, it’s probably time to evaluate your workplace culture and make sure it aligns with the values and desires of the millennial crowd. Consider sending out an anonymous survey that employees can fill out to get a better feel for where there may be gaps and room for improvement.

2. Get Social Media Savvy

If there’s one thing that’s certain about college student employees, it’s that they spend a good chunk of every day surfing social media. Ideally not while they’re on the clock at your company…unless they’re your social media manager, of course.

College students are no strangers to using social media for all of life’s most important goings-ons — socializing, shopping, and even finding jobs. Rather than dressing up in their mom’s old pantsuit or dad’s old blazer and hitting the pavement with a stack of resumes underarm, college students are sifting through Facebook, LinkedIn, and more for job opportunities.

Your current college student employees can act as beacons by sharing your job posting across their social media channels. Ask them to like or follow your company’s profiles or handles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc., and to invite their friends to like your company’s profile, too.

Another advantage to accessing your current college student employees’ social networks to recruit new prospects is that they can act as filters by vouching for (or warning you about) anyone in their network who applies for a position at your company. And remember, good employees tend to refer other good prospects.

3. Make Sick Merch

Word-of-mouth marketing can still be an effective way to recruit new employees in this digital age. But when you give your college student employees rad branded merchandise to give to their friends, they can get a positive first impression of your company.

What kind of merch are college students likely to enjoy when it’s coming from a company they’re not familiar with yet? Skip things like hats and hoodies — these are prime for brand evangelists. Go for things like branded pop sockets, smartphone chargers, mini magnetic eraser boards for their dorm fridge, etc.

The bottom line is, if you’re going to put the work into making merchandise to recruit college student employees, don’t waste time and money on everyday items that leave a mundane first impression. (Like pens. No one needs more branded pens.)

4. Referral Bonuses

Remember what we said before about word-of-mouth being a positive recruitment strategy? Kick that method up a notch with a referral bonus program.

If you can remember college, then you probably remember aligning with most college students in your love for discounts. Discount programs have been proven to boost ongoing brand loyalty and enthusiasm amongst college students.

Your company can take advantage of this buying behavior by offering a referral bonus to your college student employees who bring in qualified candidates for open job positions.

There’s no specific way to structure referral bonuses. Your company’s hiring needs, industry, and the type of positions that needs to be filled should help guide the structure of referral bonuses.

For example, some companies might give entry-level college student employees a flat $300 bonus when their referred recruit gets hired and stays with the company for three months. But for higher level positions, the bonus may be higher. You can offer your referral bonus in cash, or as other perks like gift cards.

In the digital age, new ways of doing things don’t stay new for long. For employers of college students, this means staying ahead of online recruitment trends so you can find the best and the brightest to fill open positions.

Learn more about how College Marketing Group can help you reach college students on Facebook and beyond »


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