It goes without saying that as our world becomes more and more technologically based the competition for a limited number STEM candidates becomes more intense. Companies have increasingly aggressive talent acquisition strategies that can rival the NFL draft. Go Forth and Recruit!
While you are gauging the talent pool, you need to keep in mind that the talent pool is in turn assessing you and your company. After all, there are a lot of tech companies out there. In order to compete with a Google or a SpaceX, recruiters also need to put their best foot forward. Some informal feedback from a number of new hires has provided me some strategies beyond free food and swag that can go a long way in make recruiting a more profitable and pleasant experience for both parties.
A strategy meeting ahead of the event is necessary to know what technical strengths your fellow recruiters bring. Candidates want assurance that you understand the technical significance of their internship or their Capstone project. If they feel that you don't properly appreciate all their hard work, they may not feel confident that your company will properly appreciate them.
Get out from behind the table. Candidates may stand in line for a long time waiting for their 15 minutes of face time. Being confronted by a barrier like a display table can put off a candidate. I have often heard statements such as "I got to the table and I felt like was back in high school or at the DMV". If the venue is loud, you can find yourself shouting over that table.
Be prepared to speak to how salary increases and promotions are handled in your company. Gone are the days when all that was hush-hush. Candidates have big life and financial plans and will want to know how your company is going to help them achieve those goals.
It is extremely important that you know how Human Resources at your company responds to candidate submissions and when candidates can reasonably expect feedback or "touches". The number one complaint I hear from candidates is that they submitted their resume and then they heard nothing. Even candidates who are not being considered for employment deserve an email thanking them for their consideration of your company because candidates share their experiences with each other. A poor experience can negatively impact your company's reputation across a campus.
Finally, be aware that you represent your company from the time you step onto a campus or into a career fair until the time you leave. You may be approached in the restroom, the food court (when your mouth full) and at the end of a very long day when walking to your car. So be prepared to handle these out-of-the blue, sometimes awkward moments gracefully.
Good luck and good hunting.
SWE Outreach Member