Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
One of the keys of the Dell Campus Ambassador program’s success is the flexibility it provides participants to explore and discover opportunities to brand the company that extend beyond the standard career fair, information session, or technical talk.
Now in its third year, the goal of the program is to have recent interns creatively engage with top talent on campus and promote its summer internship. The Dell Campus Ambassador Program lasts through the late fall, when the majority of on-campus recruiting occurs.
“We’re looking for our ambassadors to find unique opportunities to brand Dell on campus, and talk with their peers in a very genuine and authentic way about their experience with Dell,” explains Megan Evangelista, college program manager in university relations with Dell’s Talent Acquisition team.
“These students have their ‘feet on the street’ and the pulse of the campus. They know the opportunities that are coming up better than I do. They have connections and insight that we just don’t. We tell them that if they hear or see something coming up that sounds exciting or they have an opportunity to partner with a student group, to do it. There isn’t a playbook to follow because every campus—and every campus ambassador—is different. I want to encourage each student to play to their strengths.”
Dell’s campus ambassadors are interns who just completed a summer internship with the company. During the summer internship program, Evangelista looks for potential ambassadors who are passionate about their time with Dell and who are eager to articulate that experience on campus.
“Our ambassadors should be able to expose their peers to the realm of job opportunities we offer, both in technical and non-technical fields,” Evangelista notes. “Another critical skill for these representatives is to have an awareness of student groups and clubs that may connect well with our opportunities. We need ambassadors to know how to tap into those resources”
Selection and training processes prepare the students for their return to campus, away from their work site. Evangelista provides additional support throughout the fall and has regular check-ins with each ambassador.
“I do my best to leverage Dell’s resources to establish strong brand ambassadors who also understand their resources on campus,” Evangelista says. “The goal is to have the entire team feel fully prepared and energized to return to campus and share their Dell story.”
Once ambassadors are trained and prepared for the fall, Evangelista’s focus turns toward communication cadence.
“I joke and tell ambassadors not to ‘ghost’ me,” Evangelista says. “Maintaining a regular communication flow is important—text, call, e-mail, whatever—so that if something pops up for either the student or my team, we can share the different initiatives that the ambassadors are taking advantage of.”
Evangelista offers the following tips for starting and managing a campus ambassador program:
- Define your ROI—Be very clear about what you’re asking of your ambassadors and the goal of establishing a program. Whether students need to host a certain number of events, collect a certain number of resumes, build the brand of the company, or provide support, the goals must be well defined to both the ambassadors and to those within your organization.
- Be flexible—Realize that students need flexibility in their schedules when creating and supporting events. It’s easy for students—especially when they’re planning out their fall schedule during the summer—to think they will be able to host an event every day and twice on Fridays. As program manager, you have to corral their expectations and make sure their goals are achievable. It’s a balance between accommodating the needs of the student’s schedule with ensuring that they meet expectations set by the program.
- Provide training and resources—Don’t leave your ambassadors alone without support! Provide them with the resources and tools they need to succeed. For example, an ambassador might not realize there’s a career resource center on campus that would be a great place to host a resume review workshop. Help them to broaden their understanding of the opportunities and support they have on campus, and brainstorm opportunities to connect with top talent.