June 15, 2021
Hiring 13 March 2019
How to Recruit Smart Students: Think as Students Think
Jacob Dillon

The recruiting process for finding a reliable workforce that also generates fruitful results for your company is always a challenging task. As an HR manager, recruiter, or founder who’s looking for fresh professional employees, considering the millennial generation is a risky yet potentially highly rewarding approach. 

Students, to be exact, are the most challenging types of employees, mostly because they lack life experience, patience, and sometimes consistency. Nevertheless, the students who commit and take their job seriously can bring positive and significant results for your company. 

"Due to their high levels of energy, motivation, and out-of-the-box thinking, students should be able to outperform most of the ‘old school’ employees.” – Mark Howard, HR at an online academic writing help service .

As for the students’ recruitment strategy, your approach has to be different than any other. To recruit a smart student, you need to think and feel the same way the student does. For that reason, in today’s post, I’m sharing several ways to improve your student recruitment strategy to discover and then hire the best youth talent for your company.

Targeted Recruitment

If you go with a "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" approach, you're gonna end up with a lot of unqualified candidates and wasted effort. Instead, it's much better to adjust your recruitment strategy to target students based on what your company role requires. Matthew Kosinski, Managing Editor at Recruiter.com says,

One of the biggest mistakes I often see recruiters and employers make is not being targeted enough in their approaches to recruiting college students. There's nothing wrong with recruiting from a prestigious university or your own alma mater, but those should not be determining conditions. Instead, you have to target schools based on which ones are likely to produce the kind of talent you need. 

Because each school attracts different kinds of students, and some schools have stronger programs in certain areas than others, Matthew goes on to recommend that you ask yourself questions like: "What schools are known to produce particularly strong marketers? What schools have renowned programs in PR and adjacent fields?" If the answer just so happens to be your alma mater, then that puts you in an even better position to tap that talent pool.

By focusing on your company needs, and then going on to target your recruitment efforts toward schools and programs that meet those needs, you will be able to find much more qualified students to fill those roles.

Personalize the Communication

Students are highly accustomed to data. Many millennials grew up in an environment that favored technology, so there are a lot of students who are already used to personalized Facebook ads, single sign-on features for apps and sites, and automatically synced forms and billing forms on eCommerce websites. 

Honestly, many students expect their employers to know who they are and what they prefer instead of putting them all in one basket.

A personalized communication approach should be present in all your communications. Whether it’s your advertisements, content, or direct communication, make sure you make the student feel your offer’s relevancy.

Here are some few ideas of personalized communication:

  • If you own an email list of prospective young employees, you can regularly send them content based on their interests. Let’s say a student signs-up for your newsletter and reads your “Law Major” page only. You can create an automated response that sends him a few articles and resources that provide relevant information concerning this field.

  • When you create Facebook ads, make sure you take into consideration the geographical targeting as well as the interests targeting. For example, if you’re looking for students who currently live in New York, add specific calls-to-action that draw the locals’ attention. For example, “Are you a LAW student, who lives in NY, and is jobless? Sign-up now to discover our perfect career opportunity…”

  • If you find an interesting student on a social media platform like LinkedIn, you can generate a conversation by using the direct messaging feature. Most social channels allow you to send a message to a stranger, so you can leverage this opportunity to hold a personalized discussion based on the research you’ve done on the student who is approached.

Use Digital Communication Channels

To reach millennial students, you’ll need to “hang around” where they hang around. Considering that 56% of today’s millennials have used a mobile device to discover and apply to U.S. universities and colleges, all your recruitment campaigns should be effectuated on digital communication channels.There are two things you should especially pay attention to:

1. Your website’s design, UX, content, and copy must be mobile-friendly, otherwise, you’re losing half of your leads.

2. Most students will seek to communicate through digital channels rather than by phone or physical letters.

Considering that today’s colleges and universities are already getting their students accustomed to e-mail and social media communication, your communication approach should not be different at all.

Here are a few ideas on how to use digital communication to recruit talented students:

  • Using web analytics tools, track and measure your traffic’s behavior. The students who have started an application but left it undone, send them an email reminder that includes the benefits of your job, the links back to the form, and obviously, the critical deadline.

  • Use your social media networks to consistently share curated content relevant to your target audience. For example, if you’re in the medical industry, share what you believe that your prospective student employees enjoy. You can also communicate deadlines, news, and changes in policies.

  • Use both your social channels and your website to gather an email database. Offer your website visitors an incentive to register to your email list and promise privacy and relevancy. Once they sign-up, you’ll be able to reach them instantly whenever you like.

Give Students a Chance to Show-Off

To increase the enthusiasm of your student’s recruitment campaign, you can organize a contest that allows students to compete with each other and prove their knowledge and skills. Highly-competitive students are often very talented, passionate, and committed. By holding a contest, you can attract some of the most competitive young spirits.  

At ProSky, we've found that one of the best ways to evaluate candidates to see if they have the skills required to succeed in the role is through Projects. Projects are 3-5 week commitments designed by your company to help solve a specific problem and accomplish something for the company.  They can consist of whatever you want them to and be designed how you want them to. 

For example, if you want your candidates to show skills required for email marketing, you may start a project to find people willing to help promote your product. Set a deadline to see how many influencers are found, what positions they hold, and what plan your candidates have for how to email them. If you’re hiring coding experts, ask your prospects to program a solution to a difficult issue.

Evaluating your candidates for technical and behavioral skills using Projects can improve hiring and reduce turnover!

Performance-based evaluation through projects is by far the best way to gauge a candidate's skill level and ability to fulfill the responsibilities of the position in question. They will be able to prove to you their proficiency (or lack thereof) in a spectacular fashion. You are also given the chance to engage potential future employees by introducing them to hands-on projects, teamwork, and allowing them to see the entire process of their future job.

Write and Publish Relevant Articles for Students

One of the best ways to improve your authority as an employer involves showing off your expertise. Many students will appreciate educational resources that help them fill dots and become better at what they’re planning to do in the future.

Therefore, you can create a content marketing strategy that involves blogging. You should publish your articles first on your blog, then on third-party content distribution platforms like Medium.

You can become influential on Quora or Yahoo Answers by getting involved in the right discussions, the ones in which your target students are involved. 

Obviously, as an HR manager, employer, or recruiter, you may not have enough time, knowledge, or skills to create and perform a content marketing campaign. In the past, I’ve leveraged academic writing services because their writers are mostly accustomed to the students’ “style” and preferences. Even though these companies offer academic writing, you can personalize your requests with the assigned writer. 


Discovering young millennials who have recently graduated or happen to still be in college is easy. However, you don’t want any millennial, any student, any employee. You want the best because your company’s performance depends on it. The better your pick the better the future of your organization will look like.

Therefore, take your time to understand the young generation and do your best to get into their skin. Find out where they hang, what they like, and how you can motivate them to fully commit to your job. Be smart and you’ll make it!

Jacob Dillon is a professional writer and distinctive journalist from Sydney. Being passionate about what he does, Jacob likes to discuss stirring events as well as express his opinion about technological advancements and evolution of society. Find Jacob on Twitter and Facebook.