“Why would an education company be working to support corporate recruiting?”
Recently, I’ve gotten variations of that question dozens of times while launching EAB’s Talent Marketing Services initiative. It’s true that on its face, our Talent Marketing project might seem to stray from EAB’s core focus as an organization.
But our team sees it differently.
We know that the pathway from college to employment is imperfect at best. Despite the best efforts of career centers and academic leaders, many students approach graduation unprepared for the job search process, unsure of their alternatives, and under-matched to available opportunities. What’s more, access to employment opportunities is not equitably distributed among colleges; some schools have a significantly harder time connecting their students to available roles.
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EAB’s best practice research teams have been tackling these issues from the perspective of the higher education community for many years, and our website features a wealth of content and advice on how to strengthen the college-to-careers pipeline. Just one example: this research roadmap on how to create the infrastructure to support employer partnerships.
Through conversations with leaders in the corporate world, we realized that there is another way for EAB to improve the link between higher education and meaningful careers: applying our best-in-class skills at engaging Generation Z students in the college decision process, honed over our 25-year history in Enrollment Services, to help employers find talented college students to fill early-career hiring needs.
Pandemic accelerates virtualization
Across 2020, our Talent Marketing team has been working with a handful of large employers—GE, Spectrum Communications, and Discover Financial Services among them—to pilot and refine our work in the talent marketing space. We knew there would be plenty of learning as we adapt our student engagement approaches to the corporate recruiting environment. What we did not anticipate, though, was how quickly employers would need help virtualizing their recruitment process, due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19.
We had already planned to use multichannel marketing and a journey-based approach to student engagement in our talent marketing work, to introduce scalable tactics to drive recruitment success and complement the work of our partners’ campus recruiting teams.
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Part of a larger trend
Even without the pandemic, however, companies had an imperative to expand their arsenal of strategies for attracting early-career talent. Even the companies who were best, year after year, at campus-centric hiring have relied heavily on in-person models for building relationships and attracting candidates. Those “ambassador” and “campus representative” models can be highly effective, but as competition for top talent intensifies and diversity becomes a more important objective, companies need to build affinity with candidates sooner and expand their reach beyond the campuses they traditionally visit.
Ultimately, the tools of modern marketing—the same ones that have been transforming college enrollment—are promising ways to help strengthen the college-to-careers link as well, and our EAB Talent Marketing team is excited to apply known practices and innovations to this set of challenges.
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