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The Future of Talent: University Recruiting

We all know that finding top talent is a challenge. That’s why we do things like read the Greenhouse Blog, right? (#shamelessplug) In order to remain competitive, many companies have realized that they need to begin building relationships with prospective candidates early. So early, in fact, that one particular type of candidate hasn’t even officially entered the job market yet!

University recruiting has enormous potential as a recruiting strategy: It allows you to build relationships with candidates, give them crucial work experience through meaningful internships, and create a positive impression of your company—all before they’ve even graduated.

General Assembly and Greenhouse recently teamed up for “The Future of Talent,” an event series that explores how San Francisco’s top tech companies are redefining and building success.

Panelists discussed how to build university recruiting programs, the cost of hiring interns and new grads, the importance of investing in young talent, how to create visibility among college students, and much more.

The “Future of Talent: University Recruiting” edition event panelists included:

Here are some of the major themes they covered during their discussion.

Executive buy-in

The panelists agreed that executive buy-in is key to a successful university recruiting program. In fact, many of the panelists said that their university internship programs were spearheaded by their executives to begin with.

Measuring success

There are two primary ways companies measure the success of their programs: from the intern’s perspective and from the company’s perspective. Intern experience is often measured with surveys and professional check-ins with their mentors. And while there are a number of ways to measure the success of your program, some companies track the rates of interns who opt to return as full-time employees.

Mentorship

Since this is the first real-world work experience for many interns, it’s not enough to simply create a job for interns—they need strong mentorship in order to be successful. Jessica Harada shared that at Dropbox, interns are matched up with mentors who have similar personal and professional interests. This type of matching helps interns build rapport with a more experienced professional and increases their likelihood of improving the specific skills they’re hoping to gain.

Several panelists mentioned that mentorship also involved giving feedback to interns about their performance. Some companies hold regular weekly check-ins with the mentor and some conduct more formal performance evaluations on a monthly cadence or at the end of the internship.

Looking beyond the Ivies

Several panelists mentioned that they’re committed to creating diverse and inclusive university recruiting programs. This means looking beyond the Ivies to a broader range of schools as well as making use of tools that can help mitigate bias in the sourcing process. Some companies opt to remove the school name from interns’ résumés before evaluating their candidacy and others use sourcing tools that allow them to assess candidates’ skills (rather than personal details that aren’t as relevant to the job they’ll be performing).

We hope to see you at the next “The Future of Talent” event. Sign up for The Modern Recruiter newsletter and we’ll keep you in the loop about all our in-person happenings! 

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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