Imagine for a moment that you’re a current college junior. Your life is a whirlwind of mid-terms and lab reports and lectures (and maybe a party or two). But underneath all that activity, you have a growing sense of guilt. You know you have to start thinking about what you’re going to do after you graduate, but how are you going to manage to find a spare minute to do anything else? You flop down on your bed in a moment of desperation and want to cry, but you hold back the tears for a moment and take a deep breath.
That’s all you need to get just a little moment of clarity. The answer is right in your pocket! You pull out your smartphone and do a quick search for “entry-level jobs.” What do the results look like? A long list of job boards with hundreds of job openings on each site.
Does this scenario sound far-fetched? It shouldn’t, because this is exactly how students told us they approach the job search. In the 2014 AfterCollege Career Insights Survey, current students and recent grads said that searching online job boards was their top-rated job search technique.
So it’s clear that students and recent grad job-seekers are already well aware of these job boards. But as we’ve discussed here before, there’s a difference between consumer brand and employer brand, and even if students know your company’s name, they might not know about the opportunities to work for you. This is one of the challenges that Indeed faces when it comes to university recruiting, but they’re taking it in stride. We caught up with Lauren Pascoa, University Relations Manager at Indeed to learn about why this job site has committed to recruiting on campus, how they’re establishing their brand among college students, and what that looks like on a practical level.
Can you give us a brief overview of Indeed and the role of the University Relations team?
As the world’s #1 job site, with over 140 million unique visitors every month from over 50 different countries, Indeed has become the catalyst for putting the world to work. Indeed is intensely passionate about delivering the right fit for every hire. Indeed helps companies of all sizes hire the best talent and offers the best opportunity for job-seekers to get hired.
We have offices all over the globe, including: Tokyo, Sydney, Dublin, London, Stamford, New York, San Mateo, Austin, and Toronto, with over 1,000 employees worldwide.
In University Relations, we partner with our target schools to not only ensure students are aware of the intern/entry-level opportunities at Indeed, but also to educate them on how to use indeed.com in their intern or job search, how to write effective résumés, and how to promote their experience on Indeed Resume.
What is your role and how do you divide your duties with other University Relations team members?
I work as Manager of University Relations in North America, partnering with target schools to identify top intern and entry-level talent for our Sales and Client Services departments.
My colleague, Caroline Brown, focuses on campus recruiting at the top technology schools across North America, for our engineering and technology roles, primarily based in our Austin, Texas office.
We are currently developing our UR program to support the increasing need for interns and entry-level hires to help with Indeed’s continued aggressive growth. Indeed has witnessed tremendous success with employees who have come through our internship program; yielding top performers, leaders, and high employee retention.
Can you tell us about the Indeed internship program?
Overall, our intern program is targeted at mainly juniors and seniors, however, for specific departments (e.g. Engineering), we are even open to high school students. We aim to hire whenever we identify talent, the end goal being that we’d like students to interview for full-time opportunities upon graduation.
By providing them with similar training (1 week +) to our full-time hires and ongoing opportunities to train/develop throughout their time here, we are giving these students a huge advantage over other external candidates who interview upon graduation.
Where we’re hiring: we are hiring for the following roles/corresponding locations across our North American offices:
New York City, NY: Account Executive Trainees, Client Services, Interns
Stamford, CT: Account Executive Trainees, Client Services, Interns
North Austin, TX: Engineering Interns
Downtown Austin, TX: Account Executive Trainees, Client Services, Interns
San Mateo, CA: Account Executive Trainees, Client Services, Interns
Toronto, ON (Canada): Account Executive Trainees
From intern to full-time, we have an offer extension rate of 60%, an acceptance rate of 65%, and retention rate of 70%. Across our three business sectors, Engineering, Sales, and Client Services, we hire roughly 150+ interns per year.
What types of recruiting activities do you participate in?
- Info sessions, tech talks, and coding contests
- Career fair prep forums and career fairs
- Athletic events: we participate in various athletic events to engage with the athlete population as they have proven to be highly successful in our Account Executive Trainee program.
- Job Squad & ‘How to Use Indeed’ events: we have a dedicated group of Indeed employees who act as ambassadors on using Indeed and spread the word to organizations, including schools outside of University Relations’s target bandwidth.
- Career expeditions: we invite a group of students to come into our office to meet with various alumni from their school to learn about their path to Indeed, what they do, and partake in a networking lunch!
- Shadowing: we invite students who are unable to intern with us on an individual basis for a full-day of training on Indeed as an organization, our products, and shadow Indeed’s different teams. We also take them out to a yummy lunch!
You have a new Senior Vice President of HR who is making university recruiting a priority. What does this look like? How will it affect your work?
We are steadily building out our University Relations team to reflect the intern/entry-level hiring needs of our Sales, Client Services, and Technology teams.
By committing to visit more campuses, we are spending more and more time out of the office and making real connections with students and spreading awareness to Career Service Centers on how they can easily educate students on how to use indeed.com in their job search.
Our goal is to increase general brand awareness through heavy on-campus brand integration, to help make Indeed’s employer brand more easily recognizable to students. In turn, we are hoping this will make us more accessible when we’re spending the time on campus to connect with prospective hires.
What advice do you have for recruiters at other organizations where senior management might not be making university recruiting a priority? How can they make the case for its importance?
It’s important to track, track, and track some more. At Indeed, we are extremely metrics-driven, not only with our product offerings, but when it comes to internal processes and functions. So by looking at the hiring/source data across the company, it’s plain to see that we need to establish a foothold in campuses that deliver top interns and graduates.
Additionally, if you are an organization that values homegrown talent and promoting from within, there is no better place to start than building out an intern and University Relations program. This will ultimately allow for both the student and the employer to ‘try before you buy’—only increasing the chances for longevity with the organization, if that intern does get hired full-time.
What a lot of employers fail to recognize is that even if you don’t have programs in place like a campus ambassadorship, most students who have a positive experience at your organization are that much more likely to be a positive voice for your organization on-campus, long after their internship is over.
Where do you see Indeed’s university relations department going in the future?
As University Relations has become such an influential driving force behind growing out our teams, we are aiming to start by re-branding our on-campus employer brand. In addition, we are going to roll out several initiatives to build up Indeed’s on-campus brand recognition, including a campus ambassador program and social media strategy.
The next step: Lauren gives a few reasons why companies should invest in university recruiting. If you haven’t already, start keeping track of these points so you can continue to make the case to upper management at your organization. If you need a few more ideas, we cover some in this post, Is University Recruiting Right for You? 3 Ways to Tell.