campus event recruiting

Campus Recruiting: How To Engage The Next Generation

Campus Recruiting: How To Engage The Next Generation

In a former life, I produced and marketed career events throughout the Mid-Atlantic region for a multimedia company. The events were held in places like Major League ballparks and cultural centers, and typically lured thousands of candidates who lined up at the door hours in advance for their best shot at landing a job. Nearly every exhibitor had their pick of candidates and these events were able to build talent pipelines with relative ease. But that was a decade ago.

Fast-forward to today, and the scene is quite different. With the unemployment rate at its lowest since the 1960s, competition for candidates is at an all-time high and in an increasingly digital world, recruiters must employ smarter tactics to attract the best and brightest at campus recruiting events.


The first step to successful campus recruiting is to put yourself in the mind of the grad and attract them with messaging that resonates and is true to your employer brand.

  • To start, build a dedicated landing page or microsite that is specific to student recruiting and your company’s opportunities.
  • Keep those web pages “clean”—steer clear of lengthy copy and use real (not stock) photos.
  • For the Gen Z audience that craves authenticity and values work culture, share videos of your office space, company functions, team members, community and charitable events.
  • Include stories of both recent hires and seasoned employees to demonstrate internal mobility.
  • Make the entire experience mobile. Mobile devices are favored and used 15.4 hours per week by this demographic.
  • The apply process needs to be quick and easy to navigate. Be sure to also offer an alternative way for them to communicate through a chat bot and stay connected by delivering engaging content through a Talent CRM once you have their email address.


Speaking of engaging content, create an event strategy that focuses on pre-and post-event communications. Building relationships with key prospects can help you get ahead of the competition before the event and keep the conversation going for as long as you need to well into the future. Above all, make it personal and think of these two tips:

  • Speak about subjects that are important to Generation Z—social responsibility, diversity & inclusion, and purpose-driven work.
  • Include content in nurture emails that will be beneficial for any new college graduate—and it doesn’t have to be about your company at all! For example, a monthly expense calculator for first time apartment renters, or an e-book that features tips on getting a dream job.


A candidate’s experience isn’t defined by a one-day campus recruiting event. From the first encounter a potential candidate has with your brand, you are creating an experience that will determine whether the best candidates will consider joining your company.

Take note that there are things, both big and small, that you can do to make it a GR8 experience for all. For example:

  • Use recruiting tools that allow for self-scheduling of interviews—a positive, tech-forward impression is a must. (We know all about that here at GR8 People!)
  • Remember, you are not just engaging with candidates, you are engaging with real people who have their own daily responsibilities and dreams. Be responsive to their needs and questions. Provide them with an overview of the hiring process. And don’t leave them hanging on a final decision. Every applicant deserves closure, good or bad.

Generation Z is the next in line to join the ranks of your organization. Recruiting the top graduates from the class of 2019 has teams rethinking about this generation’s unique perspective. A fresh approach to campus event recruiting is just what Gen Z requires and what a technology-forward company needs to implement for success.

Get more GR8 insights and strategies to help you connect and engage with Gen Z on campus. Download our Campus Hiring 101 E-Book today.

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