Sometimes recruiting can feel more like a puzzle than a job. Take the topic of diversity, for example. Let’s say your organization has set a goal to hire a diverse class of recent college graduates. So far so good, right? Making diversity a priority is important, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle.
Things get a little complicated once you know that you need to be compliant with Equal Employment Opportunities Council (EEOC) and possibly Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) laws governing the way you recruit and evaluate candidates. So how can you find diverse students and recent graduates without breaking the law and discriminating against other types of applicants?
One easy way to solve this puzzle is by getting involved with diversity student groups at your target schools. Many student groups have both a professional and diversity focus, such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), and American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). Collaborating with these types of groups helps you to get your brand in front the specific students you’re hoping to hire while still adhering to EEOC and OFCCP guidelines.
Here are five steps that can help you build up your university recruiting program and achieve diversity hiring goals with the help of student groups.
1. Look at the big picture
Start by investigating your organization’s corporate diversity goals and how the university recruiting team’s goals fit in. Are you expected to hire a certain number or percentage of diverse students? Do you have specific goals for which departments and positions your diversity efforts should focus on? And is there already a team who handles diversity recruiting for experienced hires? If so, how can you collaborate and share resources?
2. Know your talent goals
What type of positions are you looking to fill? Do you have an über-specialized need, like cybersecurity engineers who graduated from Northeastern? Or something a little more general, like female scientists? If you can only find qualified individuals in certain programs at specific schools, then targeting diversity groups might not make a lot of sense for you.
One tool that might help you with this process is a report that you can purchase from a company like Job Search Intelligence. They have data reports that can provide details about students who graduated in a specific major by gender and race. This can help you identify the schools and departments that best align with your hiring needs.
But if you can find the type of student you’d like to hire at pretty much any school or in a broad range of departments, then you have a lot more options. The next thing you’ll need to do is take a look at your organization.
3. Identify your value proposition
What do you have to offer recent college graduates? Why would they want to work for you? If you have a robust budget to pay for relocation expenses and can travel to recruiting events all over the map, that’s great. It would make sense for you to approach national organizations and start there.
If you are working with limited resources and it’s not realistic for you to support recent grads’ moving expenses, it makes much more sense to approach local chapters of student organizations.
4. Decide where to go
Now that you have a clear idea of what you have to offer and where you can find students that fit in with your hiring goals, you can start to plan out which schools and which organizations you’d like to get involved with.
5. Begin building relationships
This is the part where you approach the specific groups you’re hoping to work with. Remember that you’re hoping to establish a long-term relationship that benefits the student group as much as it benefits you. One easy way to achieve this is to start by simply asking them what they need. One group might need financial support while another could be looking for mentors and industry professionals to give presentations to their members. And even the same group might shift its goals or focus on a yearly basis. So just remember to ask what they need and make a point of checking in regularly to make sure you’re both on the same page.
One other note about building relationships with student groups—the student members are likely to change on a yearly basis, which can make it hard to maintain continuity. One way to overcome this challenge is by finding and forging relationships with the faculty advisor who oversees the group. Faculty advisors tend to stay in the same role, so you won’t have to start from scratch every year. You may also find that faculty advisors can partner with you in other ways, such as helping you to arrange classroom talks, info sessions, or other opportunities to get your brand in front of students.
If this is all new to you, start small. Build a program at one chapter of a student group at one school. Once you find a formula that seems to be working, you can consider expanding to other chapters or other campuses.
The next step: Spend some time identifying your needs and investigating the student groups that would be the best match for you. Here is a quick guide to some of the groups that have national associations as well as local chapters at individual schools.
Diversity Student Groups
National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA)
National Society of Hispanic MBA (NSHMBA)
Asian MBA (AMBA)
National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA)