I was invited to participate at a Seven Sisters College career fair. The timing couldn’t have been better. Exciting new projects are shaping up. Extra hands are needed for summer internships and part-time work. However, recruiting college students and millennials (Gen Y, Gen Z, Hipsters) require a different approach than prospecting for seasoned professionals. A five-year career plan is probably the last thing on their minds. These youthful applicants’ amazing business skills can more than make up for their limited job experiences. I appreciate their love of meaningful work and entrepreneurship. In addition, this new generation is accustomed to diversity and technology, important strengths for my small business.
One LinkedIn study outlined how successful big companies proactively appealed to millennial goals of “good work/life balance, compensation/benefits, and strong career path.” For study details, click here. As a woman entrepreneur, I try to adapt big business ideas. I also listen to millennials themselves for guidance. For recruiting tips from a millennial, click here.
Here are my 8 tips for recruiting at college job fairs:
1. Meaningful work – Forget the mundane tedious data entry jobs for a millennial. They want to make a difference. Line up projects that demand a fresh and creative approach. Show photos of your company in action. Describe real client deliverables to illustrate real-time business challenges.
2. Branding – A college job fair is a good opportunity to refresh your own marketing materials such as banners, posters, and flyers with your company logo. Millennials pay attention to branding. So give yours a boost.
3. Communications – Printout hard copies of your job openings and descriptions to give away as handouts. College career development offices prepare their students for job fairs. Many of the students will arrive at your booth well prepared with a list of detailed questions. Be ready to communicate.
4. Digital Engagement/Network – Post your job opportunity on the college career development website and your own social media. Be ready to accept hand-delivered resumes and fully engage with prospects. Emphasize your connection to the host college, especially if you are an alum. Check your LinkedIn networks to find any connections to the host.
5. Creative Perks – Do offer and promote creative perks such as comp film tickets and coupons to local NYC eateries. Students love freebies. Opportunities to meet and interact with amazing people especially celebrities are fabulous perks too.
6. Focuses on Soft Skills – Soft skills should be your biggest focus at a college job fair. Pay attention to important business soft skills such as: people skills, teamwork, decision making, problem-solving, taking ownership of assignments, and time management. Do they have good follow-through? Can they meet deadlines? Can they multitask?
7. Value Volunteerism, School Projects – I have worked with some awesome Gen Y and Gen Z’ers who speak multiple languages, produce films, and run small farms as part of their class assignments or volunteer activities. These are valuable skills that they can bring to your business. Do inquire about their special talents and interests.
8. Value their tech skills – Millennials grow up with technology and multiple mobile devices. They know short cuts that can help your business in ways you would never think about. This youthful population segment knows a lot about survival in today’s tight economy. Those are skills worth your time and investment.