Modern University Recruiting

A Brief History

In the 90's, university recruiting was all about showing up on campus. Those with the resources to travel the country and stand at a career fair were rewarded with top talent. As competition between companies heated up, however, it wasn't enough to just show up anymore. Students needed to have heard of your brand if they were going to swing by your table. Soon, “swag” entered the lexicon, and companies started pouring money into employer brand campaigns.

Fast forward to the 2000's and brand no longer carries the weight it once did. Competition for top talent continues to increase, and companies have evolved. Keeping up with Silicon Valley trends, the pitch has shifted to company culture and perks. After all, who doesn't want to work for a company like Google where co-founder Sergey Brin famously once said, "No one should be more than 200 feet away from food."

Today, the war for great talent continues, but the strategy for winning has radically changed. The battlefield is no longer the career fair.

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Meanwhile, recruiting methods for experienced candidates have also evolved and become more targeted over time. Ads placed in newspapers have turned into online job posting sites like Monster and Indeed, which have in turn been surpassed by more effective online sourcing tools like LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn, 75% of recruiters have seen more success with their Recruiter sourcing product by allowing them to directly search for ideal candidates. 

Comparatively, university recruiting has been stuck in the dark ages. Many companies are still relying on career fairs and university job boards, hoping the right talent will come to them. This approach limits recruiters to a relatively small audience of students, and often the best candidates don’t respond until way too late in the hiring window. Others have tried leveraging student resume databases, but that model is also ineffective - it’s hard to get a breadth of students to submit their resume, let alone update their information throughout the years. The emerging talent market has been historically hard to capture.

However, Piazza Careers has changed the game by making it possible to source actual student data. Fueled by the highly successful online classroom discussion platform Piazza Q&A, and a passion for connecting students with opportunities, Piazza Careers has all the information recruiters need on emerging talent across the country and abroad. How is this possible? Well, because over 2 million technical students, including 98% of CS majors at the top 50 schools, spend 3 hours a night on Piazza.

What is the common thread in these companies’ ability to convert top talent?

Today, the war for great talent continues, but the strategy for winning has radically changed. The battlefield is no longer the career fair. A few examples:

  • Last year, a Fortune 200 finance giant proactively sourced 40% of their university hires online

  • A clever, privately-owned SaaS company hired the top CS students at a top 5 ranked university without ever stepping foot on campus

  • One of Silicon Valley's largest companies uses classroom intelligence to identify and start building relationships with select top students as early as second semester freshman year

What is the common thread in these companies’ ability to convert top talent? They leverage intelligence to identify students, send personalized messaging relevant to the students’ strengths, and inspire them to rise to the challenges their company is solving.

In the old paradigm, companies would go on campus blind to have cold conversations with students who had no emotional connection to their brand. In today's world, the best companies are proactively building pipeline by leveraging intelligence to identify key candidate populations. They are building brand and mindshare year round so that when they go on campus, they are having warm conversations exclusively with qualified talent.