The first semester of university is about to start and now is the perfect time to think about the type of graduates that you would like to hire for your next intake. Yes, it is still a long time before you will be doing any graduate hiring but a little bit of thought now will make it a lot easier when the time comes. It is hard to plan so far in advance, however if you know of any projects on the horizon or skills that are currently difficult to find then it is time to start creating a profile for your ideal candidates. Build a presence at your university of choice now and stand out from those companies that will be madly rushing to do this at the end of the semester. This not only ensures that you are well known but also gives students the opportunity to acquire the qualities that you are looking for.
How many times have you started hiring for a role only to be disappointed with the quality of the applicants? A skill or technique that you thought would be common turned out to be very rare indeed. This is probably because it is not part of a university course and you must rely on finding hobbyists who learned the skill in their own time. It is highly likely that there are eager students who are feeling just as disappointed as you are when they realise that their chance of working for your company has been ruined by the fact that they spent their weekends learning .NET when they should have been learning PHP. Now is the best time to make your requirements known as it will give students a chance to build those skills before it is too late!
Getting an early start on the competition will also increase your chances of becoming an employer of choice during graduate hiring season. If students know who you are and the benefits of becoming part of your team, it will be much easier to stand out from the other brands. A word of warning, there is a fine line between becoming a familiar face and a regular annoyance. University students do not take kindly to being accosted on their way to class or loud displays that disrupt their quiet study time. Find out the university’s schedule and pick your moments when students are not busy with tests, assignments and exams. Jump at the chance to get involved with different clubs or host your own events that students will be interested in. A little bit of effort now will reduce the stress when it is actually time to hire!