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  • Corporate Showcase Strengthens Cerner’s Ties to Campus

    December 11, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    Branding & Marketing
    University professionals attend a corporate event.

    TAGS: best practices, branding and marketing, nace insights

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    With more than 25,000 associates across the globe, Cerner is focused on hiring bright-minded, entry-level talent. A large percentage of Cerner’s hires each year come from vital university relationships and the talent it is able to attract as a result. For nearly 10 years, Cerner's campus recruiting team has hosted its annual Corporate Showcase at its Kansas City, Missouri, headquarters to strengthen these ties to key stakeholders on campus.

    “This has proven to be a highly effective means of interacting with and educating university professionals from the schools we work closely with to those who have never heard about the work we do or the opportunities we have,” says Jessie Lamb, team lead and senior recruiting partner with Cerner.

    “Our Corporate Showcase has been a key strategy behind our ability to attract talent from across the nation to our early career positions in Kansas City.”

    Cerner’s target audience for its Corporate Showcase is university professionals, ranging from department heads to professors to career services professionals.

    “When looking at our recruiting strategy, we identified a gap in our outreach efforts,” Lamb says. “Students and potential applicants aren't the only groups on which employers should be focusing their branding and awareness efforts. We looked to focus on the audience with arguably a bigger reach—university professionals.”

    Lamb explains that Cerner started its showcase to not only inform, but also to effectively engage key university members in an industry and with opportunities that appeal to their students.

    “Our goal was to develop and execute an experience that left a lasting impression, while creating mutually beneficial partnerships between Cerner and these university partners,” she says. “We see our Corporate Showcase as an innovative way to impart information about the company. The idea revolves around inviting university relations professionals to our campus to get a hands-on experience through a well-crafted and thoughtful agenda. We also take the opportunity to educate them on our recruiting needs to take the information back to their campus and spheres of influence.”

    The event’s agenda is flexible and is developed according to Cerner’s goals for the year. It typically includes facets of:

    • Leadership interaction to tie in with the university professional’s field;
    • Alumni panels to hear directly from previous students;
    • Recruiting discussions to collaborate on ways to engage; and/or
    • Cerner campus and/or city tours to get a feel for the company culture.

    To gauge the effectiveness of its Corporate Showcase, Cerner's campus recruiting team evaluates both hard and soft points of measurement ranging from the commentary and dialogue throughout the sessions to formalized post-event surveys.

    “We consistently receive feedback that the event exceeded participants’ expectations and they came away knowing significantly more about Cerner and our careers,” says Maria Gibbs, manager and lead recruiting partner at Cerner.

    Gibbs recommends that others considering a similar event should spend time up front to truly understand their company’s selling points and how those align with the event’s goals. She explains that understanding where the organization wins with candidates and how that plugs into its recruiting needs will naturally shape the programs and attendees to target. This approach has benefitted Cerner and helps shape the program from year to year.

    “This program was one of the investments we made to inform university relations and get them excited to become an extension of our company on their campus and help tell our story to students,” Gibbs notes. “Over the past decade, we have evolved and refined the event to one that is considered first-class by our attendees. We've built solid partnerships with institutions that we now work with in capacities we had not previously, and we’ve seen continued success by developing and deepening new relationships.”

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