Contradictory to the popular culture of technology – the physical approach to recruitment is one of the planets biggest methods of sourcing talent.
For many years companies have been talent scouting at various college and university campuses, an ongoing trend that has presented a number of positive results! FirstStep.me discusses this first phase of recruitment with Karen Mudaly of EY (South Africa).
Why is the presence of a company at a University or College career day so important and why is it still a positive process? It is an opportunity to meet hundreds of students from a large pool of individuals whom attend with an open invitation. Presenting an excellent marketing and branding strategy for firms, allowing for a sharing of knowledge and a number of service offerings that students are unaware of. Hence, it is a direct point of contact, for an immediate recruitment action - an excellent source of attracting some of the best talent.
Further it is also a case of expressing some of the company ‘culture’ through engaging, answering questions and living (in this case) our EY values. This alone can indicate whether the student wants to work at EY or whether EY wants to hire these students.
Therefore the key it seems is about being informed. Are students proactively seeking information and does the physical presence at a campus add to easier source of information? Yes it does. Most students are becoming more aware and mature in their approach to the job-market.
How much information is provided at a careers day/exhibition and how do you recognize talented individuals? The quantity of information is dependent on the area we are recruiting for. For general career fairs – we have a larger audience, and hence- we cater for all areas within the business. In the example of Advisory services, it is specialised recruitment i.e. Information Technology, Internal Auditing, Post-graduates in Business/Economics etc. In such cases, I usually design a brochure specifically catered for that area and invite a representative to talk about the business from a technical perspective.
We can initially recognise talented individuals simply by engaging with them - you can tell a lot by initial conversations and asking the right/basic questions. It certainly does work both ways – students should make the effort to represent themselves in opportunities like this.
Can South Africa set the stage for different global trends - in terms of on campus interactions with students and future talent acquisition? We certainly can, provided there is a creative, excellent and powerful support structure behind it.
Will Career Days and exhibitions be here to stay...? Definitely. I think they are extremely effective.