8 Ways to Reinvent Your Employer Information Session
Are your on-campus employer information sessions losing their luster? Use these techniques to change your approach to hosting information sessions and boost student attendance.
That is, of course, if students choose to take advantage of such an event. After all, your company isn’t only fighting with your competitors for students’ attention: it’s battling against a student’s class schedule, extracurricular activities and on-campus jobs. A presentation and a few snacks may not be worth the cross-campus trek for top students.
To boost attendance and student interest in information sessions, the National Association of Colleges and Employers community hosted a discussion to explore new and engaging ways to re-think employer information sessions.
Here are some of the top ideas discussed for getting the most out of your campus information sessions:
1. Rename the “information session”
If you consistently experience low attendance at employer information sessions, it could be due to the perception that the events aren’t particularly exciting or engaging. Drive attendance by re-marketing these events with names that better reflect the content of the event.
Sessions with a specific focus, like “How to Succeed in a Technical Interview,” tells a student exactly what they can expect from the event. If alumni are present to support the session, consider offering students an inside look at their career experience or invite students to “A Day in the Life at XYX Company” and attract students by offering insight into your corporate culture and how they can apply their major to your open roles.
2. Make your presentations interactive
Whether you’re in the classroom or the boardroom, it’s easy to zone out of a passive PowerPoint presentation. Even though a presentation might be peppered with valuable information about your employer brand, advancing a series of slides isn’t always the most engaging method of communication.
Adding interactive elements to a classroom presentation can encourage students to actively participate — especially near the middle or end of a session, when attention can start to wane. Quizzes and polls, hosted by free services like Kahoot and Poll Everywhere, allow attendees to answer quick trivia questions using their phones. Keep the questions simple, and focus on the information you most want students to retain. Questions like “What’s the date of our next career fair?” or “What full-time positions are we currently hiring for?” are easy to answer and are a good reminder of key takeaways. Feel free to offer candy or prizes for top participants — a small reward for their continued interest.
3. Host a roundtable
Students can be deterred by information sessions that seem like a college lecture. Combat this perception by making information sessions interactive, with networking opportunities and conversations with recruiters and university alumni.
Turning your information session into a roundtable event is one of the easiest ways to better engage students. Place your organization’s representatives at different tables throughout the room for short sessions with small groups of students. After 10 to 15 minutes, students can rotate around the room to meet as many recruiters and other company representatives as possible. Rather than waiting for a meet-and-greet at the end of a long presentation, small roundtables give students a chance to learn about career opportunities at your organization while making more meaningful connections with company representatives.
4. Partner with on-campus organizations
Are you holding on-campus recruitment events because you’re trying to hire for specific roles? Connect with the talent you’re trying to attract by reaching out to the on-campus clubs and student organizations. If you’re recruiting engineers, for example, you’re likely to find top candidates in a campus engineering club or society.
Tap the career development center to access a list of specialized clubs and organizations on campus. Co-sponsoring an event with a club can also lend additional credibility to your organization, boosting attendance by showing members your session is relevant to their interests and career goals.
5. Go digital with a virtual event
If you’re worried about attendance or want to reach as many students as possible, another popular option is to host an information session online. Webinars and virtual information sessions are cost-effective ways to encourage candidates to engage with your company without leaving their dorm room.
Unlike in-person events that recruiters and students need to be present for, virtual information sessions can also be archived and accessed at any time, ensuring candidates who missed a live event can still learn about your company’s hiring process for internship opportunities and full-time positions.
Ask the career services center to promote your virtual recruiting event with students who might be interested in learning more about your company.
6. Host a small group resume assessment
Gen Z job seekers rank their relationship with recruiters as the most important factor when deciding whether to accept a new role. That means they’re looking for meaningful relationships trusted advisors who can offer career development opportunities and professional advice.
Host resume assessment workshops on campus to show potential candidates that you’re invested in their professional development. Among small groups, assign a job description and distribute four resumes of varying quality. Allow students to assess each candidate and determine whose resume is best suited for the job. Providing a chance for students to work together and think from a recruiter’s perspective helps them understand the aspects of a quality resume without fear of personal critique.
7. Perfect the elevator pitch
A student’s personal elevator pitch — a concise, engaging summary about their goals, values, and skills — requires practice and thought. Why not practice one at the source? Take students to an elevator bank and have them pitch to a staff member as the elevator travels two floors. It’s a simple activity that demonstrates the truly limited timeframe of an elevator pitch that also engages attendees outside of the classroom.
8. Recycle swag
Distributing swag can be a fun way to boost brand recognition on campus, but when recruiting events wrap up, campus recruiters are often left with boxes worth of extra lip balm, stress toys, and pop sockets.
Use these extra giveaways to your advantage in student sessions by passing them out throughout the presentation. As a reward for a correct answer or participating in an activity, allow students to reach into a grab bag of swag to pull out a branded tchotchke of their choice. It’s a fun, albeit random way to liven up a discussion while spreading the name and logo of a company across campus.