Your Secret Weapon in Campus Recruiting

Applications from your non-target colleges are your secret weapon for quality and diversity in this upcoming campus recruiting season. Increasingly, employers are recognizing that their college recruiting strategy is the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Does the quality and diversity of your recruiting class depend on a handful of career fairs, information sessions, and resume drops? The idea that all the best-fit talent for your organization is graduating from your six to twelve target colleges is pretty absurd. Many campus recruiting teams are tapping a resource that’s hidden in plain view – applicants from non-target colleges.

“Our BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is to never go to campus again.” That’s LinkedIn’s vision according to Tey Scott, Head of Campus Recruiting. They’ve pursued regional skill-building events dubbed “Accelerate U” and targeted participants through the LinkedIn platform. They reduced their traditional on-campus presence by 73 percent – and seen their diversity hiring increase 23 percent.

Google analyzed their best fit hires and concluded they’d rather have a great hire from an average college than an average hire from a great college. They shared in a recent conference presentation that they’re now expanding their campus recruiting presence (in-person and virtual) to 1,000 campuses worldwide.

Several other major employers have successfully tapped into unexpected talent sources according to this analysis of 286,000 resumes of tech sector workers. For instance, the most common college among Cisco’s technical hires is San Jose State University. At Hewlett-Packard, the top college is Colorado State University.

It’s easier than ever for your campus recruiting efforts to cast a wider net to more schools with little to no additional costs. Handshake reaches 350 campuses with a single posting. LinkedIn now has over 52 million college students and early career professionals on their network – up from 5 million in 2011.

Casting a wider net sounds promising, but doesn’t it just compound the problem that we already receive too many applications to thoroughly review and consider? For instance, most corporate job postings receive 250 or more applications with top brand employers regularly receiving tens of thousands of applications from college students annually. To cast a wider net, we also need sharper tools.

Today, most large employers screen down their applicant pool based on where they went to college, their GPA, their major, or the keywords on their resume. In the process, they screen out innumerable potential top performers as well as a lot of diversity. As Google found, “GPA’s are worthless as a hiring criteria… we found that they don’t predict anything.” We have to move beyond the mostly arbitrary signals to objective ones that are both predictive of future success and not biased against candidates from diverse backgrounds.

At Koru, we help our partners “screen in” best-fit applicants they otherwise would have missed using more predictive signals. Specifically, we measure the Koru7 Impact Skills – Grit, Rigor, Impact, Teamwork, Curiosity, Ownership, and Polish – and match the pattern of applicants’ strengths to the pattern of successful hires from the past. Companies can quickly identify the best-fit candidates based on our “Fit Score” and accelerate them into the interview process.

Our benchmark data shows that non-target school candidates with high Fit Scores are over three times as likely to receive offers as candidates with low Fit Scores. Would you like to know which candidates are three times more likely than others to be a good fit at your company?

Armed with sharper tools, our partners can tap into high potential (and often diverse) talent that already exists in their non-target college pipeline and even broaden their outreach with confidence. Time is short until this college recruiting season heats up – will you be one of the companies that deploys this secret weapon or will you keep fighting over the average candidates at your target schools?

Josh Jarrett is Chief Product Officer and Co-founder of Koru, the leader in predictive hiring based on what really drives performance. Josh has spent his whole career using data to drive business outcomes at organizations as diverse as McKinsey & Company, the National Park Service, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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