The strategies for student recruitment and student preferences in employers have changed significantly compared to previous generations. If you don't appeal to students in the right way, on the right platforms, with the right offerings, your student recruitment will be challenging. Through our close work with students, we have learned a thing or two that we would like to share with you. That's why we created this guide to help companies stay informed about what appeals to the latest generation and important things to keep in mind.
What is Student Recruitment?
Student recruitment has a dual meaning and is used in both educational and work contexts. This article will solely focus on student recruitment in a work context, but we include both definitions here for your understanding:
Universities recruiting students for programs and courses: Many universities, if not all, actively recruit students to fill their programs and courses and establish a qualified, diverse, and engaged student body.
Businesses recruiting students for jobs: Companies, likewise universities, also recruit students, but for internships, trainee programs, full-time positions, thesis projects, and so on.
Trends in student recruitment
Student recruitment is facing a significant transformation driven by technological advancements and changing expectations among students. Below are some of the most prominent trends expected to shape the future of student recruitment.
Digital and virtual recruitment
The pandemic has not only accelerated the shift to digital recruitment, but it has also transformed it. Virtual career fairs and interviews now enable interactive experiences to complement or completely replace physical ones. For example, some companies today offer their candidates a virtual reality experience to provide a realistic image of the workplace and its culture. This opens up opportunities for global recruitment and allows for a more inclusive selection process.
Data analysis and forecasting
By analysing job market trends, student behaviours, and academic results, companies can not only identify future competency needs but also forecast where the best talents are located. This represents a transition from a reactive to a proactive recruitment strategy, where companies can build talent pools long before needs arise.
Focus on soft skills
In addition to emphasising technical skills, it is becoming increasingly important to identify and evaluate soft skills such as creativity, adaptability, and communication. This may involve using new assessment methods like behaviour-based interviews and realistic work samples to better understand a candidate's personal qualities and potential.
Sustainability and social responsibility
Sustainability and social responsibility are becoming increasingly important factors in student recruitment, particularly when it comes to attracting Generation Z. This generation, known for their commitment to environmental issues and social justice, they are seeking employers who not only express these values but also actively integrate them into their business and company culture.
To meet these expectations, companies should not only focus on creating environmentally friendly office environments but also develop and implement sustainable business strategies. This may include reducing carbon emissions, using sustainable materials and resources, and investing in renewable energy. Additionally, companies need to engage in social issues, such as supporting local charities, promoting gender equality and diversity, and contributing to educational initiatives.
Increased focus on employer branding
Building a strong employer brand is about more than just an attractive company culture; it's about creating an authentic story that engages potential employees. Showcasing the diversity within the company, its commitment to social issues, and the unique opportunities for employees to grow and develop within the company has never been more important than now.
What do today's students look for in an employer?
The priorities of today's students have changed significantly from previous generations. To attract candidates, it is crucial to highlight your company's uniqueness and offer a workplace and culture that appeals to them and aligns with their values:
Purpose: The younger generation seeks more than just a paycheck; they are looking for a job position with purpose. They are motivated by the impact they can have on the world.
Well-defined goals and expectations: Millennials and Generation Z value clear communication, especially when it comes to job expectations and performance metrics. Knowing exactly what is expected helps them stand out and contributes to better overall business results.
Work-life balance: Unlike baby boomers, the younger generation highly values work-life balance. They are looking for workplaces that prioritise mental and emotional well-being, where they can thrive.
Inclusivity and diversity: Having grown up in an increasingly diverse environment, younger generations place great importance on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). These are not just buzzwords for them; they are non-negotiable variables that are integrated into their identity and worldview.
Fair compensation: They are more concerned about receiving compensation that reflects their skills and contributions. They are well aware of their worth and will expect fair compensation.
Get started with your student recruitment with Orbi
Orbi offers your company the opportunity to communicate and interact with talents of the future, taking your student recruitment to new heights. With over 145,000 students using our app, your company can strengthen your employer brand, attract top talent, and position yourself as an attractive employer. Learn more about how Orbi works or book a demo today.