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The Importance of Diversity Recruiting in This New Era of College Recruiting

A look at inclusion, diversity, and data in your recruiting strategy

September 17, 2020 by Haley Yamane Melhart

As more companies adopt a hybrid work structure, the landscape of what a “traditional” work environment looks like is changing. These changes can attract or deter incoming employees, depending on how employers market themselves and recruit to upcoming talent. College students are a huge source of talent that employers should recruit, especially when securing talent these days feels like such an impossible task. 

The flood of “help wanted” signs outside business doors tells us that employers are desperate and people have a whole slew of employment options to choose from (especially for entry-level positions), making it a job-seekers market. This market puts the power in the hands of upcoming talent, like college grads. 

So how can employers appeal to this young, diverse talent pool through their college recruiting? Well, we suggest starting with using diversity data to know where to look for the right people, and leveraging today’s hybrid work model.

Looking at the diversity of occupations for your college recruiting

Let’s say you work in HR and your company is desperate to hire customer service reps. You’re based out of Denver, Colorado, but the positions you’re hiring for are remote. You want to seek out female candidates as well as people of diverse, ethnic backgrounds—but these days finding any talent, let alone diverse talent, is increasingly difficult. What do you do?

This is where the data comes in. Occupation diversity data helps you understand where diverse populations for a specific occupation group are located. In this case, there’s a high population of female customer service reps in Texas, Florida, and California. Since you have the ability to hire remotely, you can focus your recruiting efforts there and lean into existing relationships (or start creating new ones) in those areas.

map of the US showing the concentration of female customer service reps by area

This data can also be customized and filtered along with other diversity metrics such as age or ethnicity. Filter the data you want to see (and nix the data you don’t) to get the clearest picture of where to look to fulfill those hiring goals, beyond your own backyard.

chart of female racial diversity amongst customer service reps by state

Not only can you search for talent by geographic region, you can also search by college.

The top skills for customer service reps are sales, customer service, and communication. Many new graduates from degrees such as business and marketing are looking for entry-level experience in these very fields.  Focusing your recruiting efforts on these students would be worth your while.  

Once you know which majors to target, you can determine which colleges can help you reach your diversity-based hiring goals. And to determine which colleges are best to pursue, you need an accurate picture of the diversity at specific colleges. Emsi’s Diversity Snapshot provides just that. With this tool, you can compare graduate diversity in target schools to similar schools at the program level.

Today’s hybrid work model impacts college recruiting

What do recent college educations and employers have in common? They’ve both gone from in-person to at least partly remote—suddenly and unexpectedly. Since college grads are a direct recruitment pipeline for employers, this commonality is worth looking at further. 

If we look at the current workforce, hybrid environments are taking over. Between the overall decline in population, the lack of people returning to the workforce, and the increase in resignations, employers are hurting—badly. 

As we mentioned, our current market favors jobseekers, which includes college graduates. For many colleges, “blended learning” strategies that include physical and digital teaching methods are also likely to stick around. So, upcoming graduates entering the workforce and long-time employees who had to work remotely during the pandemic will each have experience with the hybrid approach, and many will prioritize that structure in their employers. 

The good news is that the hybrid work model allows employers to source talent from more diverse schools and regions that weren’t as accessible before.  

Now, employers can go find talented and diverse individuals where they are, rather than being forced to scrounge around in areas where talent and/or diversity are low.

But even with all the technological accommodations the world has adopted, employers should still seek out opportunities to get in front of students. It’s equally important to pursue both virtual and in-person college recruiting opportunities such as networking with instructors, seeking out speaking engagements, job fairs, offering internships, etc. 

Employers should also keep in mind that, even though schools are reopening, hybrid educational experiences are still prominent. This means that students who continue to get any form of hybrid learning may expect or even demand that their next employer provides a flexible working environment. If you’re an employer who does, you should consider leveraging that in your recruiting efforts.

College recruiting is more than just getting people through the door 

When it comes to recruiting college grads, transparency is the best policy. They want to know your mission, your vision, and why diversity is crucial to your organization’s success. Labor market data is a great way to get familiar with which students you should recruit and help you reach diversity-based goals

But remember, hiring diverse talent isn’t the end goal. Company leaders need to have processes in place that allow for employees to excel long after they’re hired. If all components of DEI&B are not considered, you’ll lose that talent, and be right back to where you started—searching and struggling to fill a role.

If you’d like to find out how your business can use our data to drive recruitment, fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch! 

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