M&T Bank’s Talent Acquisition Ambassadors Strategic Part of College Recruiting Efforts

May 16, 2022 | By Kevin Gray

A group of students discuss recruiting efforts at M&T Bank.

TAGS: best practices, nace insights, operations, partnerships, talent acquisition,

The M&T Bank talent acquisition unit’s partnerships with employee resource groups (ERGs) has yielded a range of benefits, such as helping to identify internal talent, providing training opportunities, improving engagement across the organization, and boosting retention.

“In addition, talent acquisition identified an opportunity to provide additional support and structure to these eager volunteers by developing our Talent Acquisition Ambassador [TAA] Program,” says Jessica Vicario, M&T Bank campus recruiter.

“From a campus recruiting perspective, we leverage the talents of TAAs to support students, who want to speak to representatives at all levels of the interview process. Ultimately, our goal is participation and pipelining more diverse talent across the bank and our footprint.

See Vicario at NACE22

Jessica Vicario will present “Empowering Partnerships: Students, Resource Groups, and the Campus Recruiting Experience” at the NACE 2022 Conference & Expo in Portland, Oregon.

“Beyond that, our voluntary program keeps employees engaged, helps with retention rates, determines promotional and branding opportunities within the footprint, and identifies diverse talent across the bank’s footprint.”

Currently, M&T Bank has 14 chartered ERGs. They are voluntary, employee-driven groups organized around a particular shared interest or characteristic, such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, family status, sexual orientation, or nationality.

M&T Bank’s ERG members are welcome to participate in college recruiting efforts, but those involved in the TAA Program receive training to act as an extension of talent acquisition and can promote opportunities at career fairs, as well as assist in the fall recruiting cycle by conducting campus interviews.

This provides a positive candidate experience by giving the student an opportunity to have a candid conversation with a representative and see themselves reflected in the interview process, Vicario points out.

“They’re great ambassadors for the bank as they are involved with the community, they’re eager to tell their story in an authentic way, and they are able to speak about the different ways that the organization has helped them to meet their own personal or professional goals,” she says.

“That story is meaningful to college students who are looking to learn about different corporate cultures and how [M&T Bank’s culture] can welcome them as they continue their career search.”

In addition to campus recruiting efforts, TAAs are crucial to the support and success of corporate events. They have volunteered to assist in corporate career fairs, internal recruiting events, and candidate connections (another opportunity to connect with candidates during the corporate interview process). They also provide support to networking events within M&T Bank’s footprint.

“This TAA partnership is a component of our overall diversity recruiting strategy, and we were able to invest in our employees by providing them the tools to engage talent at all levels,” Vicario notes.

Vicario says there are several key elements that have led to an effective partnership between M&T Bank’s talent acquisition unit and the ERGs. First, TAA is a volunteer program and transparency between both groups is important.

“From an HR perspective, we recommend that their professional commitments come first,” she stresses.

“We’re flexible about what our TAAs can commit to; there may be weeks or months when a volunteer doesn’t engage with different events. When they are able to participate, we have events for them to do so. More importantly, we listen and take feedback around the types of engagement they want to be a part of. This partnership works when it allows for flexibility and an even exchange of communication.”

Vicario reports that M&T Bank saw an increase in candidates advancing to the home office stage during the fall recruiting cycle because ERG members were able to take ownership over a handful of fall on-campus interviewing schedules.

“We received general feedback from our TAA members that they enjoy being able to tell their story to campus talent and act as that first point of contact for students as they begin their recruiting process with the bank,” she adds.

“To measure overall effectiveness in the TAA Program, we send out surveys to document the hours of volunteer time and to capture feedback on events. Our TAA Program manager also hosts one-on-one sessions, which is a great way to collect additional feedback and identify new ways to support them.”

Vicario identifies several key elements for the success of the TAA Program. Keeping it volunteer-focused was a “huge win” for talent acquisition, she says, adding that transparency is also important.

“We can provide them opportunities to engage in the recruiting process, but we need to listen to their feedback and take action on their recommendations,” she says.

“Putting in the investment in training has also been crucial to our success with this program. We provided robust training around various recruiting policies to ensure compliance. Offering the opportunity to be trained and to understand our recruiting process has really paid off.”

The TAA Program has become an important component of M&T Bank’s college recruiting operations.

“Since we’ve implemented this program, our team believes that we can’t go back to a time without it,” Vicario says.

“While the ROI isn’t immediate, the overall impact to the candidate experience and employee engagement is so important. It’s worth more than any negatives we have come across.”