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This piece is the third in our "Campus Recruiting 101" series, about how recruiters can make the most of their campus recruiting efforts this year.

As industries shift and demand for multi-skilled workers skyrockets, companies are looking for young and dynamic talent to join their ranks. A study from Bentley University found that 71 percent of in-demand skills are required across two or more job categories—meaning cross-disciplinary talent is in high-demand.

Colleges are a great place to locate potential employees trained to excel in multiple areas, but as an HR professional, it can feel as though there are as many competitors to beat out as students to recruit.

We caught up with Jill Ripper, Director of Talent Acquisition at Informatica, to get her take on how a company can set itself apart both during and outside the school year.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Number one is keeping up with the ever-changing ways to recruit talent in general. The demand for talent continues to rise, especially in the tech space. Informatica's not a household name, so we have to do a lot of extra work to brand ourselves on campus—a lot more work than, say, your Googles, your Facebooks—names that students know.

How do we compete in that space successfully when there's such high demand for talent, and when we don't have the same brand recognition as some of our peers in the industry?

Sometimes, thinking outside the box and doing outlandish things gets students' attention. Don't be afraid to try something. Oftentimes you find that it works, and you're surprised by that.

What current initiative or past project are you most excited about?

When I worked at eBay, I had the great fortune of helping launch a new grad induction program in Europe. We'd piloted the program for about a year in San Jose, where eBay is based, and then we launched a version of it in India and then a version in Europe.

I built out the entire European program. For a week, we ran new college grads—22 of them—through various workshops: how to build your personal brand, how to acclimate from campus to the workplace, how to manage up and how to communicate. We brought in senior leaders from the organization to teach the grads about the different parts of the business.

Lastly, we had a professional facilitator lead a workshop on how to build and organize around a project plan, because the grads' ultimate deliverable at the end of the week was to present to a panel of judges—senior leaders at our company—on a product or technology that eBay was not using, but should have been, to attract the millennial generation. Many, many patents came out of those projects, so the induction program had a huge business value.

How does Informatica distinguish itself on campus?

In Bangalore, India, we are teaching our products and technology in the university classroom. We're partnering with certain IIT (Indian Institutes of Technology) schools to put Informatica products in the classroom so that we have a direct connection with not only the professors, but also the students who are learning our technology. Those students are ripe for the picking when it comes to recruiting, because they come out of these programs understanding the company and our technology, and wanting to learn more once they graduate.

How can companies improve their campus recruiting?

For a company that has no program and wants to start one, my advice is to start small. Build a solid foundation and build the structure of the program—identify a couple of schools to target, identify what roles you're going to invest in hiring for and build a scalable model. I often see companies get very excited about recruiting, and they come out of the gate trying to do too much, too fast. They don't build a sustainable structure, so it comes crashing down. So: Start small, build a foundation and scale.

For companies with an existing program looking for ways to improve, my advice is to get in the classroom, build those relationships with professors in order to have a connection with the top students, and look at more innovative and creative ways to brand yourself on campus.

Photo: Creative Commons