Since 2010, Imagine Learning in Provo has filled 42 full-time positions with recent college graduates. They’ve filled another 42 full-time positions from their 102 part-time student employees or interns.
“To me, the most valuable thing is building relationships with the universities,” says Carol Nibley, vice president of human resources at Imagine Learning in Provo. “Students have risen to the occasion. And to many of them we’ve offered regular positions. Through the process, we’ve had very few experiences we regret. And it’s great for them to have this work experience.”
With two major universities in town, Utah Valley is a greenhouse for top talent. To take advantage of our home-taught talent, here are five cues for recruiting shared by JanaLee Carter, employer relations manager at UVU.
- Mind the calendar
Talent is always in season, but recruiting? Not so much. Because students usually aren’t looking for jobs during the summer and holidays, the best months for recruiting events are January, February, March, September and October. Employers should prepare during the months leading up to those events to get priority placement. “I love it when employers want to talk during the summers. I can get them all set up so they aren’t in a crunch during the school year,” Carter says.
Attend recruiting events
Students won’t apply if they don’t know your company exists. Change that by participating in a career fair. Show students what your company is all about. “We do everything we can to get students involved in coming to fairs and connecting with companies,” Carter says. When putting your booth together, create a display that will draw students to you. Instead of just handing out pens, have a couple swag options so students spend another minute at your booth. Collect contact information.
Plan a second event
Carter suggests organizing an information session or open house a week or two after you’ve attended the career fair. Use the email list you created at the career fair to personally invite those students to attend. At that information session, you can tell your company story and talk about opportunities for young professionals. Always include a Q&A. “Many of our students work while they’re in school, so it’s helpful to have open houses where they can pop in,” Carter says.
Build your pipeline
The economy in Utah is predicted to grow. A lot. “Because of that, there is competition for employees,” Carter says. “Employers need to think long-term — not short-term.” This means that having one booth at one career fair isn’t enough to build a robust pipeline connecting your company to university recruiters, involved professors and bright students. Become a regular at the career fairs. Let students know you want them.
From wifi to hiring, everything is about connection. A sub-step of building your pipeline is to build relationships with the people who can help you find the perfect fit in a new hire. So go to lunch with the department chair. Find the event organizer at the career fair and personally thank them. Send thank-you notes. Really, just be a friend. “I look at every connection as changing lives,” Carter says. “Because when young graduates and students find employment, it opens the door for them to provide for their families and send their children to college. And the cycle repeats.”
Be Open Minded
Just as the university encourages students to get more training in addition to their degree — preferably in technology — Carter also encourages employers to be open-minded with their applicants. You might think you want an applicant from a specific background, but you may find a student with a different major and the right qualifications who could become your ideal employee after some on-the-job training.
“We have awesome students who are excited about learning and growing,” Carter says. “They would jump at the opportunity to have more training.”