Spotlight Online for Employment and Recruiting Professionals, December 8, 2010
When it comes to college recruiting, smaller employers may have certain limitations compared to larger organizations. But as Mark Sithi, manager at Triage Consulting Group, says, “Whether a company is big or small, college recruiting is about relationships.”
At Triage, a firm of 350 employees with offices in San Francisco and Atlanta, 90 percent of new hires come from the college recruiting program. Triage recruits on 13 campuses—eight on the west coast and five in the east. Triage, which offers financial consulting services to hospitals, is looking to hire approximately 90 new college graduates from the Class of 2011. But even with such lofty recruiting goals, Triage has no dedicated human resources department that handles college recruiting.
Meanwhile, Roux Associates, an environmental consulting firm with 240 employees, hires up to three new college graduates a year in each of the company’s four offices— Islandia, New York; West Deptford, New Jersey; Burlington, Massachusetts; and Oak Brook, Illinois. The firm primarily seeks environmental, civil, and chemical engineering majors, as well as geology and earth science majors.
“We don’t cast our net widely,” says Brian Woods, Roux’s recruiting director. “We stay with what we know best, which is recruiting at schools from which we have hired in the past and where we have established relationships.”
Both firms approach college recruiting by emphasizing their strengths and by being creative to meet their college hiring needs. Following are several strategies Triage and Roux use to compete for candidates:
- Emphasize reputation to candidates—Roux stresses that new college hires can grow a career there. Furthermore, it highlights its employees, who are strong technically, and emphasizes its strong relationships with Fortune 500 clients, which provides opportunities to work with large and diverse clients on challenging environmental problems.
- Consider connections and location when targeting schools—Roux targets the schools near its offices that offer the majors it seeks, and focuses its on-campus and career fair efforts at schools from which current staff members have graduated. Triage, too, is strategic about the schools at which it recruits. Triage mitigates name recognition issues by targeting campuses near client sites, whenever possible, so their name is known locally.
- Be consistent with relationships—Each of Triage’s campuses has one campus lead who is an alumnus of the school and is a senior associate—someone who has been with Triage for more than two years. Leads go to every campus recruiting event and network with the career center, administration, faculty, students, and student organizations.
- Ask employees who they know—At the beginning of every semester, Triage’s leads ask all employees who are alumni of the 13 target campuses for their campus contacts. Triage then e-mails all campus contacts to let them know when its recruiters will be visiting the school.
- Make use of career center systems and software—Triage uses career center systems through which students can RSVP for information sessions. During career fairs, recruiters tell students to RSVP for information sessions. This gives Triage an accurate headcount and allows recruiters to make name tags for the students so recruiters can address the students by their name during the event and put a face with a name later.
- Engage employees at the home office—Once Triage’s recruiters return from a campus event, all employee alumni from that campus take part in a resume review to determine the best candidates. This not only helps employees who do not go to campus feel invested in the process, but it saves the recruiters’ time.
- Remain in contact with campus contacts during breaks and over the summer—Over the summer, Triage lets career center directors know the results of its recruiting efforts at their schools. Sithi says many directors appreciate the information. “It’s an extra touch point that lets the career center know that they are doing a good job and we are hiring their students,” he says. “It’s a small thing, but as a smaller employer, it’s very valuable to our efforts.”