Students and recent graduates are eager to form connections with potential employers. As a campus recruiter, you’re the face of the employer brand; student relationships start with you.

Gen Y is looking to engage with campus recruiters who are personable, connected, involved, passionate, and above all else, interested in their potential.

Here’s why:

They want to get to know you

As the saying goes, personality is key. It’s one of the first things students and recent grads look for in a campus recruiter.

Campus recruiters are formal brand ambassadors, so professionalism is always top of mind. However, being able to strike a balance between your employer brand and your own unique voice is equally important when engaging Gen Y. Students and recent grads crave authenticity–they want to interact with real people, and notice campus recruiters who seamlessly blend their own character into their work.

“It stands out to me when recruiters relate to students and balance the fun and professionalism in what they do. It makes them more approachable to students on campus!”
-Communications student, Simon Fraser University

“Personality is a top skill for campus recruiters to have, and it’s something that can’t be taught!”
-Business student, University of Victoria

Market yourself as someone to know by incorporating personality into the interactions you have online and off. Tell a few “fun facts” about yourself during your employer info session, or share cool photos of your work life with your online followers. The end goal is to help students and recent grads feel comfortable enough to reach out and approach you.

They want you to be accessible

Today, being accessible isn’t just possible, it’s expected. For students and recent grads who have grown up with the internet, connecting online is a part of everyday life.

Crafting a dynamic online presence can greatly expand the influence and reach you have as a recruiter. Online participation lets you scale in-person engagement across the country, meaning you can connect Gen Y with unrestricted access to the information, resources and opportunities you represent.

“Connecting with us online is an excellent way of maintaining meaningful conversations that can benefit both recruiter and candidate.”
Science student, McMaster University

“I really like how campus recruiters interact with students in real-time through social media – this allows students to ask questions directly and get the best possible response back.”
-Sociology student, York University

If you haven’t already, utilize social media profiles to engage with the students and recent grads living online. Create a personal account affiliated with your employer brand and start connecting! Be sure to share your respective handles with the students and recent grads you meet throughout the year.

They want you to inspire them

When considering a candidate for an open position, you undoubtedly look at their extracurricular activities. Students and recent grads look at your level of involvement in much the same way. Gen Y is interested in learning about who you are and what you value. Doing so helps them relate back to you (and your employer brand) and develops an overall sense of familiarity and trust.

“Campus recruiters exceeded the expectations of students by taking on initiatives like external panels and conferences outside the workplace.”
-Business student, York University

“A passion for various initiatives is impressive and effective. As students, we appreciate learning about the outside-work activities that recruiters are part of.”
-Business student, University of Victoria

If you sit on advisory committees, participate in work-related social activities, organize diversity programs or advocate for charitable causes, students and recent grads want to know about it. Being involved in your professional community is seen as a huge accomplishment, and your involvements can inspire Gen Y to get involved in similar activities if hired.

They want to know that you care

If you ask a Gen Yer why they chose their field of interest, they’ll likely talk about passion. Passion is the driving force behind the goals what we set out to accomplish, and loving your work is the ultimate career objective for many students and recent grads.

To do something well, you have to wholeheartedly believe in the work you do. Campus recruiters who exemplify this notion are the kind of campus recruiters students and recent grads want to talk to–passionate employees are a pretty good indication of an exceptional employer brand.

“Being passionate and loving your job can help you stand out amongst other recruiters.”
-Business student, Wilfrid Laurier University

“When someone is super excited about their job I immediately want to know every detail about their place of work!”
-English student, Dalhousie University  

Passion is contagious: if you want to target, attract and recruit top Gen Y talent, be enthusiastic, committed, and genuine about everything you do.

They want your guidance

Students and recent grads are always looking for career advice that can help them grow into young professionals. When advice comes from an expert (that’s you) it’s even more valuable.

“Feedback is such a beneficial part of the recruitment process because many students might not know what is expected or how to do certain things. Recruiters who help candidates by giving advice are really extraordinary.”
-Engineering student, University of Waterloo

“Getting advice from a recruiter is great because students will be motivated to improve their resumes/skill set and come back the following year ready for the recruitment process!”
-Business student, Wilfrid Laurier University

You can offer Gen Y professional guidance in many different ways. By sharing a mix of employer-specific and career-related content with your followers you can expand their industry knowledge while informing them of the things you look for in a candidate. Providing constructive personal feedback to applicants who make it past a certain recruitment stage can better direct their efforts next time they apply to your organization.

Discussion: What other attributes would you add to this list?