This piece is the second in our "Campus Recruiting 101" series, about how recruiters can make the most of their campus recruiting efforts this year.
"Be open to the idea that great candidates can come from different backgrounds and bring something valuable to your company," says Adrianna De Battista, Tech Recruiting Lead at Lyft—I couldn't agree more and there's plenty of research to back her up.
The business value of having people with different backgrounds and perspectives on a team points to the fact that promoting diversity isn't just about "being fair"—it's strategic. In order for recruiters to create a diverse and durable talent pipeline, it's important to be diverse in your approach to find talent. With campus recruiting you start at the beginning: on campus, where students first consider and pursue their careers.
Below are four tactics to promote inclusivity when executing your on-campus recruiting strategy.
1) Make Diversity Part of Your Brand
Today's college students expect their future employers to create a space for all potential employees. From the job description to your homepage, your recruiting materials should be transparent; illustrating your culture and reflecting your diverse and inclusive environment. In addition to these basic elements, these materials should include what offerings you have to embrace your diversity, from teams and groups, to training and benefits. Add video testimonials from a blend of employees inclusive of underrepresented employees, a message from your Employee Resource Group and a statement from your CEO authentically supporting this message.
Internally, build and maintain a culturally conscious workforce by investing in training and educational resources. These conscientious employees will not only promote workplace inclusivity, but also attract diverse talent during those campus visits, whether at info sessions or during interviews.
2) Look for Talent in the Right Places
Next, whether at an HBCU, HSI or other university, partner with student groups that represent their campuses' diverse communities, such as women’s groups or LGBTQIA organizations, to host on-campus events and market open positions. Finally, back in the office, don’t restrict your referral program but embrace the variety that you receive. You can even boost your program to reward employees who bring in diverse talent from their networks. Make diversity the norm, not the anomaly.
And remember that these three channels, although effective individually, will yield the most talent when leveraged in concert.
3) Participate in a Virtual Career Fair
For your messaging to reach the majority of a student body, you need to master alternative communication platforms. Virtual career fairs—whether they target veterans, people with disabilities, or another community—connect you with otherwise hard-to-reach groups and give you an opportunity to promote your company's diversity and inclusivity programs.
4) Create Formal Programs for Underrepresented Students
Formal internships and fellowship programs for underrepresented student groups attract high-caliber students at the start of their careers.
PwC, for example, identifies top talent through its one-day Explore program, and develops that talent through Start, an internship program for high-performing underrepresented students. By investing in your diversity efforts early, you identify talent before competitors do, develop a reputation as an inclusive employer and build a sustainable talent pipeline. If you do offer such internships or programs, ask former participants to act as "campus ambassadors" for the program to recruit students for the next year.
Think of the formal internship program as the culmination of your entire campus diversity recruiting strategy. With the right branding, a targeted approach to campus visits, an embrace of all available communication platforms and career-boosting opportunities that supports all team members, you'll find the perfect students to thrive in your inaugural program, and have a tested process to improve upon for next year.