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  • Meetups Allow for Deeper First Connections With Students

    January 27, 2020 | By NACE Staff

    Best Practices
    A recruiter meets with an advanced degree student at a coffee shop.

    TAGS: best practices, recruiting methods, branding and marketing, recruiting, nace insights

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    At its very core, recruiting is a relationship business. To emphasize this focus, some organizations are tweaking the way that they interact with college students, in part, by eschewing traditional information sessions for meetups.

    “Meetups can be more effective because there is a stronger, more personal connection established between the student and the recruiter,” says Katherine Chartz, a university recruiter with Gap, Inc.

    “The goal is to exchange information with the student in a way that establishes that relationship. Through meetups, students become more invested in the company because they now have a connection there and a deeper understanding of the company in the areas they are interested in. The interaction can be tailored to the individual’s needs and questions, making it easier to follow up and continue the conversation later.”

    Chartz says that coffee chats, for one, are effective meetup formats.

    “They are the easiest form of meetup, but they are also intimate, and combine elements of information sessions and networking,” Chartz explains.

    “We are able to give more of ourselves and learn more about potential candidates during these interactions.”

    Other meetup formats that Chartz says can be valuable include holding a shorter information session—20 or 30 minutes—with the remaining time devoted to networking, and participating in interest-based meetups, which are organized by the university and are intended for students in certain majors.

    “Employers opt in and students get diverse information from companies in slightly different industries,” Chartz says.

    “It sounds like a mini career fair, but it is more about having topical, one-on-one conversations around their interest and our business that can be sparked by certain prompts.”

    To get the most out of their meetups, Chartz suggests that organizations:

    • Bring several recruiters—Shrink the ratio of students to recruiters by bringing enough staff to accommodate the number of students attending the meetup. For example, for a group of 30 students, Chartz says bringing five or six recruiters is ideal.   
    • Share information about the organization ahead of time—Doing so ensures there is familiarity with the organization coming into the meetup and allows the conversations to be less general and more about what the student wants to know.
    • Consider sign-ups—With limited time, assigning time slots to students for conversations can be helpful. Students also appreciate the structure, Chartz points out.
    • Make sure there is an action for students to complete after the meetup—Connecting the student with a relevant business partner after the meeting is a great way for them to stay connected and expand on their knowledge of the organization outside of the standard application and interview process.

    “Meetups aren’t the entire answer, but they are a way for us to use our resources more efficiently throughout the college recruiting process,” Chartz adds.

    “They are a more personal way for us to get information about our company to the students who may become candidates, and for us to start building strong relationships with them.”