Building an Unconventional Campus Recruiting Strategy: A Q&A with Vincent Bond
STRIVE may have been cancelled this year, but that’s not stopping us from learning a thing or two from the recruiting leaders who were set to speak! We caught up with Synchrony’s Vincent Bond to learn more about his team’s early talent recruiting strategy, learn how he’s expanding the company’s recruiting efforts, and more.
Tell us a bit about Synchrony.
Synchrony is a premier consumer financial services company delivering customized financing programs across key industries including retail, health, auto, travel and home, along with award-winning consumer banking products. With more than $140 billion in sales financed and 80.3 million active accounts, Synchrony brings deep industry expertise, actionable data insights, innovative solutions and differentiated digital experiences to improve the success of every business we serve and the quality of each life we touch.
How did you get started in early talent recruitment? What interests you most about it?
Like most kids, I didn’t think I would be a recruiter when I grew up, and sort of fell into a role early in my career. I was in a Leadership Development program out of college, and fell in love with university recruiting when I went back to campus and supported our recruiting team. I made the switch and never looked back. My passion at work is watching careers begin, and enabling and empowering early talent to start their journeys and find the right fit.
I am most interested in the challenges that these roles have presented me. This space is ever-changing, and each semester brings new challenges and new ways of attacking our strategy. I also love that each role I have been in with different companies brings a new way of looking at the challenge of recruiting. Each company recruits just a little bit differently and it’s a great thing as a leader in the space to be able to share best practices, continually learn and iterate on how we go to market and recruit.
In the past year, what professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
This has been a very busy year for my team as we are celebrating our 5-year anniversary as a leadership and recruiting program! One thing that we are very excited about is the launch of our ADVANCE scholarship program. It’s a scholarship for college sophomores, and was born through a partnership with our diversity networks. The scholarship includes both a grant and a 6-month mentorship to support sophomores through what is usually a very turbulent time for most college students. We had eight students in our initial cohort, and we had so much interest that I am excited to see where this program will go!
What’s the most innovative thing your recruiting team has done this year?
With a small team of three, innovation and creativity can sometimes take the backseat, but in 2019 we were able to do so much to grow our program. One focus area was diversity recruiting, finding new ways to tell our diversity story on campus. To do that, we implemented a “business-led” diversity initiative that partnered a senior leader in our organization with each of our core campuses. These leaders ensure we have the right partnership, build representative recruiting teams, and that our interviews represent the type of diversity of thought and background that Synchrony is proud to be building.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing early talent recruiting teams?
I believe the biggest challenge that will face early talent teams is the shift away from a traditional 4-year education. It seems that each year, jobs become more and more tech- and data-driven, and there is such a strong trend to focus on STEM as early as elementary school. I believe that some of the best talent will continue to bypass traditional college degrees in favor of tech training programs, and we as recruiters will need to shift to a skills-based recruiting model to find this talent in new ways. In my opinion, this change will cause ripples in many recruiting programs, and is something my team is always innovating towards.
In your opinion, how has early talent recruitment changed over the past 5-10 years?
In the past 6 years that I have been in the recruiting space, there has been SO much change. One of the best parts of being in this role is the constant need to be agile and iterate on your strategy. One thing that stands out is the need to shift from the “traditional” model of going to a career fair, hosting info sessions, and having on-campus interviews. While that might have been a leading strategy a few years ago, it barely scratches the surface when it comes to meeting Gen Z’s job search preferences. The need to curate your strategy and tell more unique stories during the candidate journey has been such a refreshing and also challenging project for my team over the past few years.
Describe what it’s like to partner with Yello.
Yello has helped power our pipeline over the past 4 years. With a constant need to meet, engage, and activate each and every relationship we cultivate on campus, Yello allows us the tools to stay ahead of these connections. With a small and mighty team of three, Yello is the extra set of hands, the late-night email warrior, and event planner that I would have to hire a team member for. The tool has so many features that, when used to its full ability, can truly power possibilities for recruiting teams of any size.
Also, the team at Yello is a true partner that helps innovate, support, and troubleshoot any issues that we have. As the tool has evolved, the team has evolved with it to help us innovate, create, and champion changes throughout our journey!