Though most colleges ended the school year in June, many recent grads who don’t go straight into investment banking, consulting or accounting don’t start actively looking for their first role until August or September. Beyond that, about 35-40% of recent college graduates are moving back in with their parents, largely due to staggering amounts of debt. Simultaneously, many tech startups claim to struggle with hiring entry-level sales talent. So where’s the middle ground? Sales Development Reps at high-growth SaaS companies can make over $80k in their first year out of school, but we still find that most SDRs are industry changers who “stumbled” into a sales role. Why? Because people aren’t aware of SaaS sales as a career option when they leave college. In the spirit of that, we’ve boiled down our top tips and tricks for attracting talent to your company and recruiting recent grads for sales.
1. A Physical Presence On Campus Is Crucial For Attracting The Next Generation Of Talent. As a hiring manager, you should send yourself or members of your team to on-campus events. Even better, target the career days of specific organizations. Many sales recruiters have tremendous success sourcing from athletic departments and Greek organizations in particular. These groups often have their own career days which gives you a fantastic opportunity to get facetime with a more targeted audience. To supplement your own on-campus efforts, be sure to tap your fellow employees’ alumni networks. Create a SPIFF internally for your team to reach out to their campus and alumni networks to host happy hours or meetups. The employee that gets the most candidates to a particular stage in the interview process from their Alma Mater can receive a prize or a bonus. By leveraging a physical presence with an alumni outreach effort, your pipeline of candidates will grow in volume and in quality.
2. Integration Into Online Job Portals Is Essential. A presence on Handshake or WayUp is crucial for sourcing the best talent from the top schools. However, posting on these recruitment portals is useless if your career page and job descriptions don’t sell potential candidates on your company. If you are interested in recruiting recent grads, specifically, make sure that it’s clear that industry experience is not imperative to qualify for the role. Think beyond the JD and remember that the entire careers page needs to be a sales pitch for why working at your company is incredible. Post pictures of your team together, make a video that describes the team’s culture and what it’s like to work there every day.
3. Students Are Looking For Indicators Of Company Culture. It is critical that your company website has interactive content (read: not just words) that give prospective employees an insider’s feel of what your company’s culture is like. Visually representing your company will make your company more memorable for prospective employees who will likely see hundreds of career pages as they carry out their job search. It goes without saying that your benefits should also be clear: 401k, healthcare, unlimited vacation, etc. but as these things become table stakes at high growth companies (pet friendly offices are no longer a differentiator), highlight the things that truly set you apart: leadership, culture, and growth opportunity.
4. Tell The Story Of Your Company Through Social Media. Related to interactive content, social media presence is also a resource that shouldn’t be overlooked. Don’t underestimate the importance of Twitter and Instagram. However, it is not enough to just simply have a media presence. Just like the interactive elements on your website, your company’s Instagram and Twitter presence must speak to the culture and brand of the firm. Celebrate promotions on the team, take pictures of sales reps ringing the gong, or a junior member of the organization presenting to executives. Most importantly, if hiring is a top priority for your company, make that clear on your social media accounts. Post clearly and often about available roles, take pictures of new employee desks on day 1, and emphasize the impact that new hires are making. We are fully immersed in the Experience Generation— so make it clear to future employees that they will make an impact by being at your company.
Recruiting Recent Grads is difficult, they aren’t just looking for a “job” out of school. Now more than ever, we’re seeing the importance of being part of a community and the ability to make an impact as top drivers when choosing the organizations they join. Your recruiting process needs to reflect that you’re also thinking about this. By being present on campus, showing your culture on your career page (and not just telling via a laundry list of benefits at the bottom of a job description) and marketing your company on the channels of your target audience, you significantly increase your top of the funnel candidate pool.
If you liked “Helpful Tips for Recruiting Recent Grads” and want to read more content from the Bowery Capital Team, check out other relevant posts from the Bowery Capital Blog. Special thanks to Max Cutler for his contribution and work on this post.