Campus recruiting is still a regular occurrence at post-secondary institutions across the country, and recruiting events remain a big source of job prospects for students. However, the playing field has changed in recent years. The advent of online job hunting and the struggling world economy have combined to complicate the nature of campus recruiting.
Forming professional relationships online rather than in person
One of the biggest changes to the landscape of campus recruiting is that today’s students and recent graduates turn to online resources for their job searches. Professional networking hubs like LinkedIn and business directories like Jigsaw make it much easier for job applicants to get in touch with industry professionals. If students have a chance to land an entry-level job through a service like LinkedIn, why would they bother with attending an event?
At least that’s the logic of some students looking to break into an industry. While there’s an undeniable benefit to meeting a professional face-to-face at a campus recruiting session, there are also many benefits to the online method. Students can take their time assembling their professional profiles; they can go to painstaking detail to ensure everything looks right in a message or on a cover letter prior to submitting it. At a recruiting session, students have to think on their feet and respond to questions instantly; with online services they have more time to shape their response.
Recruiting during times of economic strife
Recruiters can’t paint a picture as rosy as they could a decade ago. While the economy appears to be recovering oh-so-slightly, still more improvement is needed before post-secondary grads can approach the job market with confidence. While it’s true that some companies are hiring more than in previous years, the overall state of the job market isn’t anything to boast about just yet.
We live in a time where students have to compete with unemployed industry veterans for the same entry-level job. While that fact doesn’t change the nature of campus recruiting sessions, it certainly might change the tone. Students would do well to find out exactly what the employment situation is like for recruiting companies prior to signing up for anything.
A system geared more towards corporate careers
Finally, there’s the matter of campus recruiting sessions that only cater to certain career paths. A recent article from The Daily Pennsylvanian explains how most campus recruiting events are catered towards job openings in corporate arenas like marketing, engineering and finance. While this is beneficial for students majoring in those subjects, it creates a problem for students in other programs. In particular, students that study liberals arts may not find as many career options at campus recruiting sessions, which may encourage them to pursue alternate means of finding an entry-level job. These are most likely the students that will use LinkedIn to find a job, or just try to “make connections” in their industry the old-fashioned way.
What do you think about the current state of campus recruiting and the process in general? I’d love to hear your feedback!