• Best Practices: Evaluating Your Program’s Campus Relationships

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    January 23, 2013

    The news that less than half of employers (45.9 percent) conduct regular evaluations of their campus relationships is surprising. After all, the foundation of a successful college recruiting program is the relationships it establishes and nurtures.

    In fact, in the same report from NACE’s 2012 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey, employers identified building relationships with faculty as the highest-rated branding technique in terms of effectiveness. Furthermore, when asked about the on-campus groups they work with for recruiting, respondents nearly universally cited the college career center as a useful recruiting resource, while 83 percent recognized student organizations and 76 percent faculty as resources beneficial to their recruiting efforts.

    Among the responding organizations that do perform regular evaluations of their campus relationships, two-thirds do so once a year, and 16 percent evaluate each semester. (See Figure 1.)

    Figure 1: Timeframe for conducting evaluations of
    on-campus relationships



    % of Responses

     Each semester



     Once a year



     Once every three years



     Once every five years



     Other timeline







    The majority of these respondents rely on dialogues with both campus officials (presumably career center contacts and key faculty) and their own campus representatives to “measure” their performance on campus and get a sense of how well the campus relationship is performing. (See Figure 2.)

    A relatively small percentage employ actual metrics, either in the form of survey results or performance indicators (conversion rates, retention rates, and more), to determine if their campus relationships are effective and producing the desired results.

    Figure 2: Methods used to conduct campus evaluations



    % of Respondents




     Focus group



     Dialogue with campus officials



     Interview firm's campus representatives







    How can your college recruiting program become more adept at assessing its campus relationships? First, commit to regularly assessing your efforts in this area. You’ll see the gains and gaps that develop in your ongoing efforts. Then, establish the criteria that you deem most important to measure. For example, consider your program based on the following 10 statements:

    1. College relations and recruiting staff understand the organizational structure and services offered at each college and university from which they recruit.
    2. College relations and recruiting staff have established relationships with the directors and/or employer relations coordinators at each college and university from which they recruit.
    3. All college relations and recruiting staff are knowledgeable about the following information as it pertains to each college and university from which they recruit:
      • Services offered by the career center.
      • Majors offered at each college and university.
      • Student demographics.
      • Faculty contacts and student organization leaders in key areas.
      • The career center’s process for on-campus interviews.
      • Dates of upcoming career fairs and other recruitment events.
      • Procedures for obtaining transcripts and resumes, and for posting jobs.
      • Opportunities to support the career center (e.g., donations, participation in mock interviews).
      • The career center’s website, particularly the employer section.
    4. The college relations and recruiting manager shares information on a consistent basis with appropriate career center staff about the organization, its top recruitment issues, its opportunities for students and alumni, its hiring profile, and what sets the organization apart from other employers.
    5. College relations and recruiting staff members understand the top issues facing each career center at each college and university from which they recruit.
    6. There is consistent communication with the university’s career centers, faculty, and staff about hiring results, retention rates, starting salaries, and so forth, and college relations and recruiting staff take part in career center surveys, events, and other opportunities to chart progress and identify ways to help each other meet challenges.
    7. A faculty relations program is in place that employs a variety of ways to build relationships with faculty.
    8. Relationships with key college or university administrators, such as deans, corporate, or government staff, and so forth, are established to enhance recruitment efforts.
    9. Relationships with key student organizations, such as professional fraternities, honor societies, recognition societies, and national and professional societies, are established to enhance recruitment efforts.
    10. The organization has a process in place to ensure the continuity of its program in the event the college relations manager exits the organization.

    The results of your assessment can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your efforts and prioritize actionable items to strengthen your organization’s campus relationships.

    NACE’s 2012 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey was conducted June 15 through August 15, 2012; 242 employer-member organizations took part. A report based on the survey will be available in February. 

Best Practices: Evaluating Your Program’s Campus Relationships