4 Tips to Recruit Beyond Your Target School List

Recruiting early talent involves more than creating an ideal target school list. Today, employers are looking for candidates that are diverse, have transferable skills, and are ready for long-term employment. While defining a target school list helps your recruiting strategy maintain focus, it also limits your approach to finding the best-fit talent. 

Here are 4 tips for recruiting beyond your target school list.

Look at Your Recruiting Data: Where Do You Have the Most Success?

Writer Bram Stroker said, "we learn from failure, not from success!” Take that wisdom and look at previous recruiting seasons and figure out what worked and what didn’t work. Chances are that, despite having a recruiting strategy in place, you’re still falling short in some areas by limiting engagement with a previously-set target school list. For recruiters, keeping tabs on their recruiting metrics adds value to their search and helps optimize the recruiting process. 

This is something that our Recruit Analytics module can help you with. When you use our Recruit Analytics module, you can see which schools you have the best engagement with. Moreover, you will get recommendations on other schools to connect with based on your engagement results with the schools you already interact with for recruiting. 

Focus on Transferable Skills

It’s normal to want to build the ideal candidate based on specific majors or focused areas of study. Yet, with this strategy, you might be overlooking great candidates with relevant experience.  More and more students are finding ways to get real-world experience through boot camps, micro-credentialing programs, or experiential learning programs at their schools. Multiple schools across the United States, such as Georgia Tech and Florida State University, are making sure experiential learning is part of their curriculum. This ensures that students have the relevant skills they need for the positions they’re applying to and make it easier for employers to use the student's performance in experiential learning as a better indicator of their ability to succeed in a role than their area of study.  

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

While it’s true that recruiting from nearby schools helps you stick to your recruiting budget, it also limits the types of candidates you engage with. This is especially important for recruiters that want to place a stronger emphasis on their DEI initiatives.

Research shows that the most diverse companies on the market are 1.7x more likely to be innovation leaders. By targeting schools outside your immediate location, you’re increasing your chances of engaging underrepresented minorities and first-generation college students. This is because by expanding your search to other colleges throughout the country during your recruiting season, you can target sources where diverse early-talent congregates. This can help boost your company’s DEI initiatives and create more inclusive working spaces. 

Target Non-Traditional Students at Vocational and Trade Schools

Taking a different learning path shouldn’t automatically disqualify entry-level talent from entering your recruiting pipeline. By definition, a trade school or vocational school is a post-secondary institution in which students focus on particular skills for specific jobs. If you have hard-to-fill positions, sometimes expanding your search to include trade or vocational schools may do the trick. Non-traditional students that attend vocational schools have more focused expertise and hands-on experience required for some of the positions you may be looking for. Moreover, recruiting from vocational schools will better help you assess skills based on real-time performance and interaction with peers. 

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Final Takeaway

Having a recruiting strategy in place will always be beneficial during recruiting season. But don’t let that define your entire approach. Thinking outside the box and having flexible boundaries helps you extend your reach to candidates that you wouldn’t normally consider. There’s plenty of early talent available and ready to commit to long-term positions. The trick is looking in uncommon places. 

If you want to enhance your recruiting strategy, consider using Recruit to engage with multiple schools under one platform. Access our curated network of more than 600 higher-ed institutions to find the ideal candidate. Our early talent recruiting platform connects you to motivated students with relevant backgrounds. Connect with our reps to schedule a demo

Recruiting, Student Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion, Employer Engagement, Virtual Recruiting, Passive Candidates, Symplicity Recruit, Growth Acquisition, virtual recruiting strategy, Talent Acquisition, Quality Candidates, Jobseekers

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