Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
Rosetta created its Campus Ambassador Program in fall 2013 as a way to engage its interns as they return to campus, while simultaneously using the interns’ involvement to develop more meaningful relationships with students and organizations at targeted universities.
“Through the development of the campus ambassador program, Rosetta's campus reach was extended into organizations and classes that had previously been unaware of our brand,” explains Stephanie Taylor, recruiter for Rosetta.
“In addition, the selected campus ambassadors have been able to remain engaged with the organization, receive updates on the latest news with Rosetta, and be more heavily involved in their opportunity to return for additional internships or full-time employment.”
The company determined the need for a campus ambassador program after realizing that there were several recruiting opportunities at its targeted universities that it was unaware of or unable to attend.
“There were organizations and campus events that occurred outside of our scheduled campus visits that resulted in us missing out on top talent,” Taylor says. “Because Rosetta's top target universities are located several hours away, finding a way to reach these students and organizations, and be represented at campus events was crucial to further integrate our brand into the university population.”
The Campus Ambassador Program begins during the summer prior to the student's return to campus. Rosetta selects campus ambassadors based on interest in remaining involved with the organization. At the mid-point of the summer internship, all interns are invited to attend an informational meeting explaining the program.
“At this time, anyone interested can submit an application to be reviewed by the college recruiting team,” Taylor says. “College recruiting selects ambassadors based on university, degree program, and campus involvement as well as current performance as an intern.”
Prior to returning to school, Rosetta equips the interns with comprehensive training on the company's recruiting process and sell message. Rosetta also provides them with a “swag bag” filled with gear and giveaways to help in promoting the brand.
Rosetta expects its campus ambassadors to:
- Complete two informational sessions to different organizations or classes during the semester.
- Participate in Rosetta campus visits.
- Promote Rosetta job opportunities within their social networks.
- Provide referrals to the college recruiting team.
- Help Rosetta develop relationships with their campus contacts.
“Their activities are tracked through a Google Calendar and they are asked to submit a post-event evaluation with details of the event, including top candidates who the recruiting team should target,” Taylor says.
Rosetta’s ambassador program is completely voluntary; interns are apprised of this throughout the selection process.
“However,” Taylor adds, “we do recognize their efforts and like to reward them for their contributions. We send them off to campus with a ‘swag bag,’ but also send gift cards to keep them motivated throughout the semester. During Rosetta’s campus visit, the campus team takes the ambassadors out to dinner and spends some time catching up on the latest updates with the organization.”
Rosetta evaluates the success of the Campus Ambassador Program based on the participation of its ambassadors. In fall 2015, 26 percent of Rosetta’s summer intern class participated in the ambassador program.
“Our ambassadors represented Rosetta at five of our Tier 1 universities and two of our Tier 2 universities, where we strategically planned to further develop our brand,” Taylor explains. “Based on the expectation to complete two informational presentations, our campus ambassadors completed 92 percent of the expected campus presentations. This means that in fall 2015, Rosetta was able to have its brand represented at 41 percent more events by enlisting the help of ambassadors than we would have with just our traditional college recruiting approaches.”
She adds that in fall 2015, the schools where Rosetta had campus ambassador representation saw 7 percent more applicants than did the schools Rosetta attended without campus ambassador representation.
“In addition to the success that Rosetta saw in furthering our campus recognition, 75 percent of our campus ambassadors have either accepted an offer to return to Rosetta or are actively in process for a different role within the organization,” Taylor adds.
She offers several tips and strategies to her colleagues in URR colleagues for developing, implementing, and/or maintaining a campus ambassador program:
- Make sure your ambassadors are connected to your company—Some companies hire campus ambassadors who have not previously interned with the company. This is not as successful for the brand. Having previous interns serve as ambassadors allows for the most authentic representation of the organization. Previous interns can provide future candidates with real life accounts of the culture and the day-to-day work of interns, and answer more in-depth questions about their experience.
- Find what works for your organization—Over the past few years, Rosetta has added different elements to the program to find what is most effective. For example, Taylor highly recommends a formalized selection process because it has proven to yield the most engagement and involvement from the ambassadors.
- Remember that ambassadors are students—Their coursework is much more important than their ambassador responsibilities. While it’s great to have the campus ambassador resource available to your organization, it’s equally important to make sure the ambassadors know that their schoolwork comes first. You don’t want them stressing out about not completing their ambassador responsibilities and having a bad impression of their ambassador experience.
“I also think companies should keep in mind when developing an ambassador program to be flexible with both the development and implementation of the program,” Taylor says.
“As I mentioned, this is a voluntary role in our organization and we recognize the importance of being a student. If an ambassador would rather sit at an information table in the student union instead of holding a presentation—that’s okay with us. We work with ambassadors to make sure we’re respecting their schedule and being flexible with whatever they need from us.”