January 09, 2023
3 New Year’s Resolutions for University Recruiting Leaders
To close out our 2022 University Recruiting Council Annual Members Meeting in December, we looked at some of the key trends UR leaders need to keep in mind going into 2023. One key takeaway from last year: be willing and ready to shift. Here are three resolutions for the new year that every University Recruiting leader should have on their list.
1. Keep up with students’ priorities.
Student priorities have changed a lot since the pre-pandemic era. Since 2019, prestige has fallen to almost dead last in importance for students evaluating employers, while work-life balance has risen to be the second most influential employer attribute, only after compensation and benefits. With student priorities shifting drastically at times, understanding and highlighting your strengths in the employer attributes they want now will set you apart from competitors in an increasingly competitive labor market.
2. See students as empowered, not entitled.
While some recruiters may find students’ demands unreasonable, taking the time to explain your rationale or company policies rather than brushing them off can help make students feel seen and valued by you. In addition, try to understand their preferences and goals so you can both find a solution that works.
For example, our latest student pulse found that 30% of students expect to earn a starting salary in the top third of the posted range; while that might feel inordinate at first thought, many of the reasons students gave for expecting high salaries are logical. Many cite their internship experiences or highly-regarded degrees and institutions as grounds for higher salaries. That doesn’t mean you have to appease every candidate, but clarifying why you can’t consider salary negotiations, timeline extensions, or other requests can strengthen your relationship and help you win talent this year.
3. Get ahead of reneges.
It’s inevitable that students will change their minds about their career choices. In one of our student pulses, 88% of students responded that there’s at least a slight chance that they’d renege on an offer. Some reasons students reported for reneging on offers were better pay and career development opportunities. However, some students said they might not have reneged if they felt more connected to the employer they accepted an offer with. For example, one student reported that lack of communication played a role.
Creating a strong sense of belonging can make students think twice about reneging on offers. 54% of interns who feel a strong sense of belonging in their internship intend to stay at their first job for 5+ years, 2x the rate of students who don’t feel strong belonging. While reneges aren’t going away and planning for them in advance will remain critical, there are steps you can take to prevent some.
The University Recruiting landscape saw lots of change last year. Economic uncertainty shifted how students thought about potential employers. Stress and mental health challenges led students to engage less with the recruiting process. More students reported being willing to renege on an offer. While some aspects of the recruiting process are out of the hands of University Recruiting leaders, keeping up with students’ priorities in real time, strengthening your relationship with them, and anticipating students changing their minds can set you up for success in the new year.