Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
Formal university relations and recruiting (URR) at Equifax began a little more than three years ago. In 2017, Equifax hired roughly 191 full-time college graduates and 180 interns globally, and it expects those numbers to continue to increase.
“In these three years, we have evolved and the interest in university hiring has continued to grow,” explains Kelly Wise, an Equifax university relations specialist. “We are always making adjustments to our strategy and approach based on the needs of our business [units] in order to truly be strong partners in acquiring talent for them.”
While Equifax’s dedicated global URR team has just seven full-time staff members, it also has a team that supports all full-time hiring in the 24 countries in which the company is located. Equifax recruits from more than 110 colleges globally.
“Of those schools, we have developed a strong presence at 45 campuses throughout the world,” Wise notes. “Equifax continues to expand our list as our business needs change and evolve through organic and inorganic growth.
She says that to win in the college recruiting space, Equifax has to be visible to students in a variety of ways. Not only do students need to able to learn about the company’s open positions through its university career sites and career fairs, they’re also looking to actively engage with Equifax in their careers centers and classrooms, and through projects and student organizations.
“It can be challenging to accomplish all of this successfully with a small university recruiting team,” Wise says. “Our focus and partnerships need to be more strategic in nature and aligned not just to our hiring goals, but to those of the universities as well. We look to build long-term, strategic partnerships and provide a great experience for our hires.”
She says that despite Equifax’s relatively small university recruiting team, the most formidable resource it has in recruiting at the university level is its employee base of more than 10,000 across 24 countries.
“They help support our efforts and ensure we continue to provide a strong brand at each of our targeted universities,” Wise points out. “Regardless of the area of our business, our employees understand the importance of building a strong pipeline of future leaders directly from universities. We continue to see our interns and college hires have outstanding success throughout our company and drive our culture of innovation. As a result of this, our increase in hiring at the college level brings about an increase in our supportive employee base.”
She says Equifax’s URR program has also been able to overcome this challenge in several ways, including through:
- Strong support from senior leaders who are eager to be involved.
- Creation of an ambassador program of employees who are passionate and excited about engaging with students on campus. Equifax ambassadors reconnect with their alma maters, present to student organizations and classes, and stay in contact with past professors and university contacts who are excited about its business.
- An understanding of the importance of engaging on campus in ways that have high impact with a great return. For example, Equifax leverages social media to expand its reach to universities and students across the globe that are not close to its locations.
“We focus our engagement efforts on universities and programs that have proven to have strong candidates who fit the needs of our business,” Wise adds. “Equifax is looking to build a strategic program that aligns with where we want to go as a business, as well as helps identify a diverse talent pool with candidates who can bring a diversity of thought, have a more customer-centric focus, and are passionate for our work. As this area continues to evolve, we will look to expand our program.”
Equifax uses a tiered approach to university recruiting, allowing it to make a large impact at universities where it has realized a high return on its investment. Equifax is heavily engaged at its top target campuses through student organization sponsorships, program sponsorships, student projects, professor projects, classroom presentations, alumni involvement, career services sponsorships, and strong relationships with stakeholders on campus.
“We stay cognizant to show a consistent and positive brand to all students from a hiring and business-wide perspective,” Wise says. “Our greatest success comes from the strong relationships we have built on-campus through alumni and university stakeholders.”
Wise says that for small and growing URR programs, tapping into the organization’s employee base and leadership for support is critical.
“Use the energy of your employees who are interested in hiring at the collegiate level,” Wise suggests. “University hiring cannot be pushed onto your business. The need and want from the business must be there in order to be successful. Identify the right people to bring your brand to campus and ensure they are trained properly to relay a strong and positive company brand to all students.”