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Looking to Hire College Students? Recruit Star Talent with a Solid LinkedIn Strategy

By collegemktgrp | April 1, 2021 | Student Employers

As a student employer, you have to consistently communicate how working for your business will be a fulfilling experience for Gen Z candidates.

Some of this comes easy. After all, you believe in what you do, and other student employees have had good experiences working for you. Shouldn’t those things speak for themselves?

In a way, yes. Word of mouth is a huge part of successful recruiting. But what will you do to take recruitment a step further?

One of the most important and challenging parts of recruiting college students is staying relevant to Gen Z.

College students want to work somewhere fulfilling. They also want to work somewhere where they can form authentic relationships with leaders who understand them.

That’s where social media comes in. With social media, you don’t have to wait and see who comes to you. You can meet students right at their desks, and show them why working for your company is appealing.

But where do you start? Which social media platforms are college students using most — particularly those who are seeking employment? And which ones are a waste of time for recruiters?

Gen Z is on just about every social media platform. But to find dedicated college students who are itching to get started on their professional careers, a LinkedIn marketing strategy is a great place to start.

Why LinkedIn is Helpful for Recruiting Student Employees

Around 16% of LinkedIn users are college age. While that may not seem like much at first, it’s a huge opportunity when you consider that LinkedIn has almost 700 million users.

That’s over twice the population of the entire United States!

On LinkedIn, there’s no need to keep up with new TikTok dances (not yet, anyway) or stay under your character limit for Tweets.

LinkedIn was designed so you can get straight to business. College students on LinkedIn are likely using the platform to specifically find career opportunities.

Marketing to college students on LinkedIn is much more than simply creating a business profile and adding a few relevant connections. You’ll still need to stand out from competitors by showing off what makes your company ideal for college students.

From optimizing your profile to using LinkedIn’s recruitment tools, here’s how you can get the attention of all-star college student talent. Start with the steps below, and watch your potential employee list grow!

Be Sure Your LinkedIn Profile is Optimized Before Recruiting

Having an incomplete or underwhelming LinkedIn profile is a quick way to turn away interested talent.

Before you do anything else, it’s important to make sure you’ve checked all the boxes LinkedIn recommends for company pages:

About Us Section

  • A compelling “about us” section that digs below the surface.
  • What ethos does your company have? What inspires you? What are your company’s goals?
  • Give readers plenty of ways to feel like they can relate to your brand.
  • Include relevant keywords, as LinkedIn search will be more likely to direct traffic to your page. LinkedIn uses the “about us” section for searches, so if they’re searching for keywords relevant to your business, your page is more likely to appear.

Career Page

  • Build a career page linked to your company profile so job seekers can easily find your open positions.

Study Competitors

  • Monitor your competitors to see what seems to be working for them on their profiles.

How to Resonate with Gen Z on LinkedIn

Once you’ve updated the basics of your company profile page, it’s time to make sure your messaging and brand image appeals specifically to the needs and desires of potential Gen Z employees.

Like generations before it, Gen Z has some specific qualities they seek in the workplace.

These include:

A Living Wage

  • Housing, food, and student loans are hard to keep up with. For the many students paying their way through these things with little to no help, an unpaid internship simply won’t cut it.
  • Acknowledge these struggles in your posts and company information, and how your brand takes steps to address them.

New Experiences

  • An out-of-date profile communicates to potential student employees that a company hasn’t been active on the site. That may push students toward a competitor that appears more active and responsive.

Meaningful Connection

  • Gen Z seeks connection with future employers and colleagues.
  • Show off your team mentality and all the opportunities they’ll have to make new friends.
  • You can do this in your imagery, as well by providing behind-the-scenes updates of company life — like social outings and employee highlights.

Strong Visuals

  • Gen Z is drawn to striking visuals when it comes to brand attraction.
  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile and cover images are simple yet eye-catching.
  • Post and use image-rich content like videos and infographics.

By being thorough and letting Gen Z know their voices will be heard at your company, you’ll take big steps toward attracting new talent.

List Jobs Using LinkedIn Recruiter

LinkedIn Recruiter is a tool that truly sets LinkedIn apart from other hiring sites. This handy tool allows you to seek out and manage applicants, like a mini CRM for recruiting!

The search feature on LinkedIn Recruiter is the real star of the show. Once you set your preferences, LinkedIn shows you a list of possible candidates to reach out to.

Start by simply typing in the role you’re seeking to fill, and in what area. LinkedIn will then show you a list of possible candidates.

From there, your options can be specific to your needs. For example, you can choose to search only for candidates actively seeking jobs, those most likely to respond in a timely manner, or people with connections to your company.

As you continue your search, the tool gets smarter. Over time, it will serve you candidate suggestions with more and more relevance.

Once you’ve chosen some solid college student candidates, you can save them and track their position in the recruiting process. LinkedIn shows you whether they’ve replied, applied, and more.

When you’re ready to reach out, you can send a letter to all your candidates at once. And If you really nail it, you can save your letter as a template for future recruiting.

As relationships develop, you can add any other interviewers involved to the project.  Here, they can add any notes they have on each candidate — such as questions they’d like to ask, their rankings in preference, and more.

Utilize Your Current Network

No one knows why college students would want to work for your company more than your current student employees. There are a few different ways to leverage your current network on LinkedIn.

Begin with your profile. Now that your company profile has eye-catching imagery and messaging that helps potential employees connect with your brand, it’s time to share employee stories.

Ask a few employees (past or present), staff members who work in collaboration with your department, or promotional partners to write a brief endorsement on your company profile.

In exchange, you can write an endorsement for them. This can serve as a great way to build and maintain authentic relationships with your past and current employees.

Create the Job Listing

Once your profile has plenty of endorsements, you can focus on the job listing.

When creating a job listing, check-in with your employees to get their insight on whether there are any appealing aspects to the job description you’re missing.

Encourage your employees, partners, and other connections to help spread the exciting news by sharing the listing with their network. This can be done on LinkedIn, as well as other social platforms such as email, Facebook, and Twitter.

Lastly, make sure your employees have your company listed and linked to your company page. Viewing profiles on LinkedIn is the most common form of traffic on the platform. This small detail adds yet another path to potential employees finding their way to you.

Supplement Your Strategy with Other Platforms

While LinkedIn is a great source for finding college student employees, it certainly isn’t the only way!

The best social media recruitment strategy is one that incorporates multiple platforms. Now that you have LinkedIn under your belt, try your hand at connecting to students through Facebook.

While Gen Z posts less on Facebook, they’re still actively engaging in searches and interactions. And they might be searching for companies to apply to.

Learn how to use Facebook to up your college student recruitment game >


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