On or Off-Campus and Early Career Recruiting: What's the Difference

By Jeanette Maister

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As we near the first round of the college and early careers recruitment season. Soon, students graduating will be looking for a place to go once they’re done with school. What are you doing to prepare for the recruiting events coming up?  

Do you know what you need for the events you’re attending? How are they different? Similar? And how are you going to make them successful? Whether you’re recruiting on-campus or off-campus, you’re going to need to be prepared for the surplus of students of all ages coming your way.

On-campus Recruiting

Like the name says, on-campus recruiting is going straight to the source of the new talent. You’re going to a college campus for a career fair, graduation event or professional development day to get a look at the who will be graduating and what they have to bring to your business.

On-campus recruiting events give you the opportunity to establish or reinforce why your organization is a great employer. The challenge with on-campus recruiting events is it’s often difficult to create a unique and tailored experience when you’re screening a large number of candidates all at once.

Off-campus Recruiting

Off-campus recruiting events can be anything from an open house event to attending hackathons. These events allow you to do two crucial things: bring in candidates who are interested in your industry and develop your reputation and employer branding to nurture promising talent.

Unlike on-campus recruiting, going off-campus gives you a little wiggle room. Going to different events means you can try different tactics for each type. For instance, going to a professional networking event is going to require a different strategy and different tools than hosting an open house at your company headquarters. One allows you to be a little more relaxed and give you the opportunity to show off your subject matter experts (SMEs) while the other lets you scope out passive candidates and make valuable connections with other brands.


In both categories of recruiting events, you have the opportunity to show off the best parts of your company. Whether you’re attending a campus career fair or bringing candidates to your office, recruiters should be promoting why they love working there and why the candidates will too.

It doesn’t matter what type event you’re going to, all high-volume recruiting events are going to get you a large number of candidates passing by your booth or going through your doors. Keeping track and managing relationships can be difficult, but it’s vital to have a successful event.

Finally, both off and on-campus recruiting is going to be a great way to get you the right diverse candidates for your company, but it’s important to be specific about which events you go to. Going to an on-campus recruiting event that hosts a lot of IT students is, obviously, going to bring you more tech-savvy candidates. While going to an event featuring seasoned professionals is going to bring in a more experienced group of candidates.

How to Succeed at Both

Build trust that lasts

For a lot of candidates, recruiting events are the first step to starting a career. For businesses, these events introduce your employer brand to a wide audience. But, for both groups involved, high-volume events are opportunities to build relationships that could last for years. The candidates you talk to at events might not accept a position on the spot, so it’s up to you to find a way to build trust and create a relationship that lasts.

Technology is your friend

With the right technology and tools, you can build a recruitment event strategy to build a long-term hiring process. Mobile apps and candidate registrations sites make it easy to keep track of how the event is laid out and can save information about what happened, who was there and what goals you achieved.

Utilize all parts of the event

The event starts before anyone shows up. Research to find out who’s going to be at the event. Whether you’re bringing people into the office or going to a hackathon, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. During the event, make sure to engage with and keep track of who is coming to your table. Having a system to keep track of resumes and who you’re going to talk to after the event is key. Keep the conversation going after everyone has gone home. Talk to the people you want at your organization and direct those who might not fit to come back later when there may be more open positions.

High-volume recruiting comes in all shapes and forms, and it takes time to master every event. No matter the event, being prepared and tracking interactions is important to succeeding at both on and off-campus recruiting. Leap ahead of the competition at your next hiring event with by keeping up with the latest trends.

A version of this article was originally published on the Oleeo Blog

About Jeanette Maister:

Global talent acquisition technology leader with extensive experience in global talent acquisition, applicant tracking systems & recruiting technology, recruiting metrics and process. Deep insight into all aspects of campus recruiting strategy. Recognized for driving growth and helping clients transform their recruiting efforts.

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