Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals, September 14, 2011
Student ambassadors are valuable to employers looking for a presence on campus. Most of Altria’s student ambassadors are seniors who have completed a 10- to 12-week summer internship program within the Altria family of companies.
“Other students on campus sometimes find [student ambassadors] more approachable and easier to connect with because they are their peers,” says Katherine Sieben, talent acquisition associate specialist. “Student ambassadors are able to share personal stories about their internship experiences with their peers on campus.”
What are the keys to building a successful student ambassador program? According to Sieben, Altria’s recruiting teams:
- Establish clear objectives for student ambassadors so they understand what is expected of them—Talent acquisition, in partnership with several campus teams, has built a training module for student ambassadors to provide them with the information that they need to be successful in their role.
- Stay connected to student ambassadors when they return to campus—Altria encourages its teams to check in with their student ambassadors on a consistent basis.
- Leverage the knowledge of their student ambassadors—The students may be aware of upcoming campus events and shed light on which events may present the company with the opportunity to connect with diverse talent. Ambassadors also help Altria’s recruiting teams connect with faculty members, diversity student organizations, clubs, and athletic teams.
- Have a single point of contact for each student ambassador—Many Altria recruiting teams find it helpful to have a recent full-time hire and former student ambassador supervise their campus ambassador programs. These ambassador mentors contact the current student ambassadors on a regular basis to give them advice based on their own experiences as ambassadors and to address their questions. When the current student ambassadors transition to full-time employees upon graduating, they already have a close relationship with the recent hire who supervised the ambassador program. This eases the transition process from student ambassador to full-time employee.
- Invite student ambassadors to participate in their general business or recruiting meetings—This enables the student ambassadors to understand Altria’s business needs, stay abreast of industry and business updates, understand the recruiting team’s goals and objectives, and stay connected with members of the recruiting team.