Spring is synonymous with graduation, evoking images of gowned students tossing caps into the fresh May air as they clutch their well-earned diplomas. But commencement ceremonies aren’t strictly springtime affairs — at the conclusion of each fall semester, December grads are also bestowed honors and diplomas just in time for the new year. 

Leveraging the spring and winter commencement seasons to capture the attention of recent grads is essential for meeting year-round staffing needs. As commencement season approaches, executing a strategy to congratulate and connect with college grads can help boost your employer brand while promoting your company as a potential career destination. 

Follow these recruitment strategies to congratulate recent college graduates:

Send a congratulatory card

Considering Gen Z candidates rank their relationship with their recruiter as the most important factor when deciding whether to accept a job, it’s essential to forge positive relationships with candidates who have previously expressed interest in working with your company.

Mail a congratulation card to graduating seniors in your talent community, or candidates who were referred by other recent graduates at your company. Even if they haven’t accepted a role at your organization yet, expressing your support for their continued success and achievements can help build goodwill and keep your brand top-of-mind when they’re ready to find their next position.

Connect with past interns

Some of your best hires might be right under your nose. Graduating interns who currently or previously worked at your company already understand your company culture, have expressed a vested interest in your organization already, and are often some of the best advocates for your employer brand. 

Identify which interns are graduating and contact them with a congratulatory email or text message. (It’ll be even more meaningful if it comes from their hiring manager rather than the HR team!) On social media or in your company’s employer branding content, create posts highlighting and celebrating the achievements of your recently-graduated interns. Now that they’ve graduated, there’s a good chance they’re looking for a job — and hiring interns are among an employer’s best ways of bringing on high-quality talent.

Sponsor cap-and-gown pick-up

Graduating from college is a major milestone and deserves an appropriate celebration. Why not join in on the fun? On the NACE Community message board, one community member suggested forging a partnership with an on-campus store that distributes caps and gowns to provide refreshments and connect with graduating seniors. Organizations can meet grads-to-be as they stop by to pick up their graduation outfits, establishing a positive on-campus presence while creating an opportunity to fill talent pipelines.

Send a new-hire care package

Having a job lined up right out of college can be a great feeling for a new grad. Send incoming hires a care package before they arrive to demonstrate your company’s excitement in having them join your team. Consider including items to help with the college-to-work transition, like a guide to the city where they’ll be working, or a branded set of kitchen supplies. (No more dorm food!) 

An effective onboarding program is an essential element in retaining top talent, and creating positive first impressions — even before a new hire has begun — can impart positive feelings and an even greater excitement to get to work.  

Graduation is the perfect excuse to connect with student talent. Put together an easy candidate outreach plan that can be replicated each commencement season, and boost your recruitment marketing efforts on campus. Your next entry-level hire is closer than you might think!