3 Effective College Graduate Recruitment Strategies

Millennials 5 min read

The demand and competition for jobs have never been higher. The same goes for expectations, especially from today’s recent college graduates.

Salary alone will no longer attract and retain talent. College graduates want fair compensation and praise like everyone else. But strong candidates also thrive for authenticity, meaningful communication, recognition opportunities, work-life balance, and room for failure and growth.

In this article, we’ll dive into why you should hire college grads as well as 3 effective graduate recruiting strategies your company can put into practice.

Why Hire College Graduates?

"The recent college graduate offers fresh ideas, new technology perspectives, and project energy at a more affordable price." - Shawn Bohner, professor and director of software engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Millennials, and already Generation Alpha, have a strong level of comfort and comprehension of technology and social media.

The “it’s just the way we do things around here” mentality doesn’t cut it either. Instead, college graduates aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions.

They also seek innovation, synergy among teams, high-risk assignments, and roles in leadership.

3 Effective Graduate Recruiting Strategies

What makes a graduate recruiting strategy effective in the first place?

Well, it certainly requires thorough planning, training, and advertising. But it won’t begin to pay off until you are able to connect with the right candidates early, demonstrate your appeal as a company, and streamline your process through recruiting software.

Build Relationships Early Through Internships

Don’t wait until graduation day to start your recruiting efforts.

Plant your garden early by offering internships and career development programs during the school year. This will help build positive brand awareness, create strong relationships with students, and ideally keep your company at the forefront of their minds when it comes time to apply for jobs.

"I like to think of [internships] as a two-to-three month interview." - Liz Wessel, University of Pennsylvania graduate and CEO of WayUp

Internships offer companies more than a helping hand. They allow you to test new relationships before fully committing. They also save you time and money that would have been invested in on-campus recruiting.

Also, according to research conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, new college hires are more likely to work for an employer that they have already interned. Without question, developing an internship program suitable for your company and recruiting goals is indispensable.

Successful examples of internship-to-employment programs include Oracle’s Class Of Program, which puts a twist on the traditional internship model. After recruiting candidates from the recent graduate pool, the program focuses on developing skills across departments and disciplines to help new hires grow into careers at Oracle. In turn, they shape participants into successful assets to the company.

Structuring your internship program to offer enriching opportunities can help attract top talent and encourage professional investment in your company for long-standing careers.

"[New college grads] have this infectious enthusiasm, and I thought we should have the same thing at Oracle… When you’re around all that enthusiasm, it’s infectious to the whole company." - Mark Hurd, Baylor University graduate and CEO of Oracle

Create a Millennial-Friendly Workplace

When recruiting millennial employees, it’s important to consider their mindset and which workplace factors may appeal to them.

According to the Harvard Business Review, more than 50% of millennials find the opportunity to learn and grow, quality of manager, quality of management, and interest in the type of work to be extremely important when applying for a job.

This is largely because millennials have a strong sense of optimism and desire to make a positive impact in their communities. So, they want to get behind a company with a similar purpose and ideals.

At the same time, they recognize the importance of keeping a healthy lifestyle and balancing personal and social priorities with professional ones.

If you’re set on recruiting recent college grads, then start by creating a millennial-friendly workplace.

Career Development

New grads are eager to grow and learn as much as possible. Proper training and mentorship programs can motivate them to stick with your company long-term.

Also, schedule regular 1-on-1 meetings to check in on how they’re doing. This dedicated time will help build rapport, make them feel more appreciated, and allow you to field questions about their career in the company.


Millennials want work to be a part of their social lives, and that’s when they’re the happiest.

According to Forbes, more than 70% of millennials want their coworkers to function like a second family. Create a fun and welcoming work environment that encourages everyone across the company to connect with one another.

Break down walls among your staff by setting up blind coffee dates, where 2 or more coworkers spend an hour getting to know each other on company time. You can also arrange potlucks or ask icebreaker questions during team huddles to help establish these relationships.

Make sure to recap social events, team building activities, or other fun company highlights on social media. This will help build positive brand awareness and serve as a strong recruitment tool for candidates looking for a fun place to work.


Millennials are willing to take an unconventional approach to work - working from home, in cafes, outdoors - if that allows them to achieve a better work-life balance.

The traditional 9-5 is quickly becoming a thing of the past for innovative organizations. Flexible working times can give employees a sense of control over their day and greater satisfaction in their role.

Streamline Your Process with AI Recruiting Technology

Recruiting and hiring college grads differs from traditional recruiting because their experience is limited both in job history and in the application process.

Through AI recruiting technology, you can automate the internal screening process to move qualified candidates down the funnel. You can then use the insights gathered from machine learning to better understand your audience and the effectiveness of your job postings.

Also, instead of being quick to critique and gloss over applicants, this help eliminates recruiter bias that might have unconsciously played a role in past outreach efforts.

Recruit Talented College Graduates with Advanced Hiring System

Advanced Hiring System has been using AI recruiting technology since 2001, and has helped over 2,000 companies of all sizes across all industries recruit sales superstars. The New York Times, Disney, iHeartRadio, MetLife, and more.

Don’t lose money on another bad hire. With our proven 3-step process and graduate recruiting strategies, your company will have the foundation in place to successfully attract high achievers.

Alan Fendrich

This blog post was co-written by Maddie Davis, co-founder of Enlightened Digital and tech-obsessed female from the Big Apple. She lives by building and redesigning websites and reading anything and everything on the New York Times Best Seller list.

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