We’re inching closer to graduation day for another class of incoming job seekers, who will be looking for new positions to start their carreers. But how can you recruit them? From tailoring your benefits to what graduates prefer to letting your company culture shine, here are tips and tricks from executives on the best ways to attract and recruit new graduates.

Reconsider Your Benefits

Your normal benefits package is likely less exciting to new graduates than to your more seasoned employees. If you want to successfully recruit fresh graduates, rethink the benefits you’re offering.

They’re often more interested in flexibility, values and giving back than they are in salaries or great health insurance. It doesn’t take much, but a few benefits specific to the younger generation will go a long way.

Logan Mallory
Vice President of Marketing, Motivosity

Make Relationships With Universities

Recruiters interested in recruiting recent graduates should create relationships with universities. Many universities have career departments that can help connect companies with recent graduates.

Partnering with universities can help recruiters reach a pool of qualified candidates. The relationships that recruiters build with universities can lead to participating in on-campus recruiting events, such as career fairs.

Bryor Mosley
Career Coach, Southern New Hampshire University

Emphasize Mentorship, Advancement and Development

Fresh graduates understand they’re going to be entering the workforce at the entry-level, but they don’t want to stay there forever. If you make it known that you’re a company where they can learn new skills, take on more responsibility and grow their career, you’re not only going to attract more recent graduates for your team, but you’ll also better target the top talent among them.

The graduates who will find advancement, mentorship and other ongoing development most enticing are the exact people you want to hire: those who are passionate about their careers and invested in ongoing learning and growth.

In many cases, these kinds of benefits will be more enticing for recent graduates than a role with a slightly higher salary or other workplace perks, because smart job seekers see how mentorship and skill building will lead to roles with a higher salary range in the future.

Matt Erhard
Managing Partner, Summit Search Group

Don’t Be Exploitive

Businesses have a bad habit of preying on those new to the field. We’ve all heard stories of terrible internships, paid or unpaid, and entry-level jobs that count on a person’s desperation to begin work in their field. Do not be a source of these practices.

New graduates, especially in current times, don’t have nearly as much luxury for gaining experience versus necessary compensation. Expecting someone to take a mediocre job with terrible benefits because they’re fresh to the field will be viewed poorly by graduates.

Even if they do take your job, you can be certain that they will split their attention due to needing to find other methods to make ends meet. If you want to attract recent graduates, offer opportunities that any worker would be interested in taking. When graduates are treated with respect rather than as opportunities for companies, they’ll be much more receptive to recruiting efforts.

Max Ade
CEO, Pickleheads

Use the Academic Calendar

Most senior college students are not likely to be job-hunting during midterms‌! To maximize the effectiveness of your recruitment campaigns, you must time them well.

Using firm funds to recruit recent graduates during test time is probably not a wise investment. Consider starting your recruitment campaign as the school year nears its conclusion. Not too late that all the other major businesses have beaten you to the top fresh graduates, and not too early that students have not yet considered their post-university employment options.

Strive for the sweet spot that will provide you access to recent graduates at the optimal time. If you are unsure of when to target recent graduates, your network of university and college career services departments can be helpful.

Alexandru Contes
Co-Founder, ReviewGrower

Participate in Career Fairs and Campus Events

Participate in career fairs and campus events to connect with potential candidates and build relationships with universities. This could include discussing the company culture and values, offering internships or entry-level positions and highlighting opportunities for growth and development within the company.

It’s important to be authentic and genuine in your interactions to build trust and a positive impression of the company. Additionally, utilizing social media and online job boards can help reach a wider pool of candidates.

Sam Chan
Founder, PiPiADS

Take a Holistic Look at Each Candidate

No matter the role, it is important to take a holistic look at each candidate to find out if they have the drive to excel and the soft skills to fit within the culture.

Recruiters should consider a few elements key to their strategy:

Identify opportunities to engage. Many campuses organize job fairs or on-campus recruiting. These events are great opportunities to connect with many candidates at once before they graduate.

Consider an internship program. A robust internship program is an ideal avenue to pre-train candidates, plus interns learn if the company culture is the right fit before they become a full-time hire.

Prioritize candidates who want to learn. New grads need to be brought up to speed quickly, and enthusiasm for learning helps them succeed.

Understand core competencies. The necessary skills for a new hire depend on a business’s talent needs. In some industries, candidates may need to have completed specific courses to succeed. In others, soft skills may be more important.

Jill Chapman
Director, Early Talent Programs, Insperity

Showcase Your Company Culture and Values

Recent graduates are often looking for a company that aligns with their values and offers opportunities for growth and development. By showcasing your company culture and values, you can attract fresh graduates who are looking for a company that aligns with their own beliefs and aspirations.

Brendan Bray
Team Manager at EC1 Partners