Implementing campus recruiting – 5 important tips for companies

About employer branding, change, management and attracting young talent

In this article, you will learn what exactly campus recruiting is, why you should start today at the latest and which initial steps you need to take. The tips come from my practical experience as an international campus recruiter and employer branding manager.

For many companies, it is more important than ever to attract young talent as future employees. In addition, the expansion of campus recruiting is a very smart business move in view of demographic change.

What is campus recruiting?

Campus recruiting is the recruitment of students and graduates at colleges and universities. As a rule, employers visit universities to hold or attend job fairs, information events and job interviews. Many companies use this measure to establish their employer brand while they are still studying, thus at an early stage, and to secure their young talent. In Germany, the term university marketing is often used for campus recruiting, but the term is ambiguous because it also describes the marketing activities of the universities themselves. It is therefore recommended to use the term Campus Recruiting. The activities at universities in the context of HR marketing have their origins in the USA.

Why campus recruiting is so important right now?

A change in the population structure, a so-called generational change, can be observed. The currently strongly represented middle generation will retire. At the same time, the birth rate remains low. While in 2013 there were about 4.4 million 80-year-olds living in Germany – which corresponds to about 5 % of the population – in 2060 there will be about 40 % more over 80-year-olds. It is therefore important for companies to ensure the timely transfer of knowledge from the older to the younger generation. Campus recruiting is one of the most effective methods to find and attract these young people to a company.

In doing so, campus recruiting offers many advantages to both employers and students. For employers, campus recruiting offers the opportunity to reach a large pool of potential and future employees in a short period of time. For students, campus recruiting offers the opportunity to get to know different companies and their career paths. It is also a good opportunity to make contact with professionals in their favourite field.

Implementing campus recruiting – 5 tips from practice

When introducing & implementing campus recruiting in your company, it is important to set the right course. Here you will find five measures that you should definitely consider and read when introducing campus recruiting.

1. Internal stakeholder management

First of all, make sure that the management and the respective department support your plans. This is usually a much-discussed internal issue. Offering a job to young people without a broad range of expertise involves work and therefore discourages departments from implementing it. Most of the time, this means a considerable additional effort for the department in the context of induction.

It is also possible that the departments are faced with the challenge of having to burden their own cost centre or that of the client with the student’s working hours. It is therefore advisable to create an internal cost centre for young talents to which the work of the young people can be charged. In order to save further training time, a trainee programme can be set up, for example, in which the young talents rotate through the various departments and are trained in the new department by their predecessor.

2. Launch a pilot project

If it is still challenging to convince the department to accept young talent, a pilot project is advisable. Find a department that is willing to offer young people a position. As soon as the new colleague has been trained and clear added value can be seen, you can use the findings for implementation in other departments. The respective department management should share the success story about the cooperation with the young talent in the management meeting. You can be sure that other departments will also want to experience this success.

3. Define goals

It is important to define the goals for recruiting on campus. What should be achieved? Do you want to fill entry-level positions or internships? Do you mainly want to increase awareness of the employer brand on campus? Answering these questions will help you make the best use of resources. For example, if the goal is to fill entry-level positions, you could focus activities on job fairs. If you want to increase awareness, information events or sponsoring might be a better choice. A tip that seems logical but is important to point out again:

Before taking action at a university, define the open positions and make sure that the department is actually ready for a young talent, so that the activities are efficient in retrospect and costs match the output.

4. Create a campus recruiting mix

It is important that in strategic campus recruiting you are not only present once a year at a fair of the selected university. There are many activities you can use, such as lectures, projects with the students, publishing the job advertisement on the virtual noticeboard, and many more. Build a long-term relationship with university career centres

University career centres are a valuable resource for employers. They can help to make contact with potential applicants and promote the events they are planning. They can also provide information on the best time to recruit on campus. Building relationships with on-campus career centres is a very good way to get a permanent foot in the door of colleges and universities. To reach the widest possible audience, you should market campus recruiting activities, e.g. via social media, flyers and email campaigns. Make sure to use different marketing channels.

5. Evaluate results

After a campus recruiting event, it is important to take a step back and evaluate the results. How many candidates were reached? How many of those candidates were a good fit for the company? Evaluating the results will help fine-tune the strategy for future events. It is also advisable to conduct a review of the overall measures for each quarter. Were the set goals achieved? It is advisable to set fixed KPIs for this purpose. These can be used to monitor the development of campus recruiting over the next few years. If the set goals have not been achieved, it is necessary to analyse which optimisation measures need to be implemented internally as well as externally – in order to be more successful next year.

Of course, there are other aspects of strategic campus recruitment to consider. Feel free to check out the rest of my articles.

When will you start with strategic campus recruiting?



I am Johanna Ehses, I am an expert in employer branding. My focus is on supporting SMEs in attracting and retaining talent and strengthening the corporate culture. With my clients, mainly from IT and consulting, I work both internally on the development of the corporate culture and EVP - and externally on aspects such as the career site and social media. My approach is strategic and data-driven in order to use resources effectively and optimally. As I am passionate about Employer Branding, I also want to share my knowledge and promote the topic in Europe and beyond.

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