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CPA Ontario’s Success with Campus and Student Engagement

The team at CPA Ontario are made up of the brightest educators, thought leaders, regulators, advocates and providers. They go the extra mile and often take measures to protect the public interest by ensuring their CPA members meet the highest standards of integrity and expertise. Additionally, CPA Ontario provides pathways to the profession for aspiring accountants from around the world, and engage in their community as responsible corporate citizens.

However, when it comes to the accounting profession and specifically the CPA designation with regards to the kinds of careers it can lead to, there are still many misconceptions regarding the industry. CPA Ontario has many resources that dispel these myths about CPAs working with excel all day or being stuck in a cubicle, and host their biweekly information sessions where students can learn more about how the CPA can lead to a successful career in business.

Anyone can register here: https://www.cpaontario.ca/become-a-cpa/post-secondary-student/events to attend an information session and learn more about the future of accounting, finance, general business, and how the CPA can help anyone reach for their dreams.

Keep reading to learn more about how CPA Ontario solidifies their initiatives in campus engagement, diversity, equity and inclusivity, and how they successfully navigate connecting with students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CPA Ontario’s Support for Student Community Engagement

At CPA Ontario, they hold a lot of pride in their Post-Secondary Ambassador Program (PSAP) and Board of Ambassadors Program, especially regarding the strong community of students they have fostered. The CPA Ontario community has explored careers in business, built relevant skills that employers are looking for in successful candidates, and have connected with key employer stakeholders.

Their Post-Secondary Ambassador Program and Board of Ambassador Program have been successful ways for us to engage student voices in their space. Additionally, their Board of Ambassador representatives act as an advocacy and advisory group for their recruitment team, which ensures they keep their pulse on student needs. In terms of creative ways to get CPA Ontario’s message out, they try to meet students where they are at; whether it’s through a new series of Instagram lives and takeovers, or by hosting their Live @ the Drive-In movie night (with lots of popcorn of course). As CPA Ontario moves towards a hybrid of in-person and virtual, some of these tactics may change, and so now CPA Ontario is asking themselves new sets of questions on how to continue to support student career paths.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives in the Accounting Industry

At any organization, DEI and related initiatives should mean that all people should have a seat at a table, and that their voices are heard. It was important to the CPA Ontario team last year that their online programming continued to drive inclusivity, making their events accessible to wider audiences geographically and representationally.

At CPA Ontario, events are frequently hosted throughout the year. To name a few initiatives, they partner with agencies to reach new audiences, hold events specific to niche groups, and ensure all their participants are made aware that accommodations will be supported.

3 Key Insights Into Campus Recruitment and Student Engagement with CPA Ontario

Trend 1: Students have no shortage of aspiration, for themselves or for the world. Yet, they are easily discouraged by the realities and threats of post-academic life.

So, they ensure that they don’t ever shy away from the tough conversations whether it be in a recruiter’s presentation or panel discussion with CPAs. The CPA Ontario team addresses the fears students’ have about the future of AI, work-life balance, and others in open discussions, so students feel equipped when they begin their careers.

Trend 2: The next generation of students will be going to be looking for more flexibility and the ability to have influence/make an impact in their future careers.

So, they highlight the many diverse career paths that their current CPAs are in so students can envision themselves in similar paths. Through their programming, they also share how CPAs reimagined their careers to create their own unique paths, to inspire students who aspire to do the same. They also provide forums of discussions and facilitate opportunities for students to connect with these professionals to form their own relationships.

Trend 3: Employers are finding there are human skills gaps when hiring new grads.

So, they provide training in important human skills like leadership, responsibility, personal management, and emotional intelligence to name a few. As CPA Ontario is also a regulator, it is important to the recruitment team that they are equipping future CPAs to be valuable leaders, employees, and entrepreneurs.

The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Effect on Campus Engagement

The pandemic resulted in the CPA Ontario team doing things differently. They had to reimagine their offerings to provide enhanced online experiences. For example, their Employment Connections Career Fair which was once limited because it was held in Toronto and in-person, can now have any number of students across Ontario attend.

The most rewarding aspect has been the feedback from their post-secondary students who have thanked us for the online community of students they built, during a time that many of them felt very isolated at home. The CPA Ontario team gave students a space to connect with each other, gain new skills, and meet CPAs, all while having fun!

The most challenging aspect was probably at the beginning of the pandemic when the team would ask each other how they would do all that:

  • What platforms would they use?
  • What would the tone and cadence of their virtual spaces look like?

They had a lot more questions than they did answers, but they were quick to not get stuck in their questions and begin making moves. It was trial by fire, but the CPA Ontario team strongly believes they have come out victorious on the other side!

Doing Good Never Looked So Great: Why Your Employer Brand Needs CSR

In recent years the prominence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has grown to become a core activity of most businesses, but why is it so important for you as an HR professional? CSR initiatives helps build your company image within your community, but it also improves your employer brand and helps to attract and retain top young talent. Showcasing your CSR initiatives as part of your employer brand is more important now than ever, as a growing number of students, new grads and early-career professionals actively seek out a caring culture in potential employers.

In our 2019 TalentEgg Survey, an astounding 90% of post-secondary students ranked social responsibility as important to very important, for a company to be involved in, and that’s 15% more than last year! You may be thinking: “Egg-cellent, my company has several CSR initiatives.” But it’s not just about participating in CSR initiatives. It’s critical that you effectively communicate your involvement to your target demographic and help them connect the dots between your commitment to community and your commitment to employees.

TalentEgg’s blog, “The Incubator”, provides various career-related articles to help students, new grads and early-career professionals navigate their way from school to work. Our range of topics cover everything from the importance of volunteering to different companies’ involvement in their communities.

We also work with employers to write custom editorials and produce videos to showcase their CSR initiatives to help them reach our audience of young and passionate job seekers. In 2018, we worked with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services to create a custom video about their changing corporate culture with a focus on collaboration and community work. The video follows employees spending the afternoon at their local food bank. Cindy Voskuil, an HR Business Partner at Mercedes-Benz says: “It gives you a sense of pride to see that your work actually wants you to go out and take you away from work to spend your time giving back to your community.”

Providing these volunteer opportunities for employees is also a vital part of engaging and retaining your talent. Our survey found that 81% of high school students, 75% of post-secondary students and 64% of early career professionals volunteer. An additional 65% of total survey respondents currently don’t volunteer but want to, they just don’t have the time or don’t know where to start. Providing your employees with these volunteer opportunities as a part of their work shows your commitment to not only your company values, but also your employees’ values and their development. 37% of survey respondents state that having an employer whose values match theirs is an important factor in choosing a potential employer.

“I think it’s awesome to give employees volunteering days (that are also paid). You sometimes forget to volunteer because it’s usually unpaid work and some people can’t afford to do this, but the fact that companies specifically want their employees to volunteer is awesome.”
Mallory Thompson, Western University, 2019

Are you searching for opportunities to get your employees involved but aren’t sure how or where to start? TalentEgg has various partnerships to specifically guide and encourage students, new grads and early-career professionals to volunteer. Our sister company CharityVillage is Canada’s most popular career resource for the nonprofit sector. We work with CharityVillage to curate our volunteer opportunities directly from their site and tailor them for our audience. We also work with our sister company Bmeaningful, that features purposeful jobs in the social good sector and provides helpful resources to help people connect purpose with their paycheque.

This year we partnered with World Wildlife Fund to encourage students to become Living Planet Leaders @ Campus. The certification provides students with an opportunity to make a difference on campus and in their communities while teaching them teamwork and leadership skills.

We have also partnered with Students Offering Support to help students make a real impact while gaining real-world experience. Through this program students are able to gain leadership skills and vital volunteer experience by leading campus workshops and helping their peers excel in their studies.

It’s eggs-treamly clear that CSR is a must for employers to attract, engage, and retain top young talent. With our customized content and partnerships, we’ve made it easier than ever to connect with students, new grads and early career professionals all through one platform. Reach out to us to find the best way to promote your giving back initiatives and amplify your employer brand!

Partner Landing Page: WWF

How Your Recruitment Efforts Can Be Everywhere, All At Once (Yes, It’s Possible)

When dealing with digital natives, it’s only natural they would have a preference for online content. However, in the case of recruitment, post-secondary students highly value face-to-face interaction with potential employers as well, although increasingly in unconventional ways!

In our survey, we found that more students have attended Career Development events, such as workshops, information sessions and keynote speaker presentations compared to Career Recruitment events like career fairs. That being said, the survey results still support the importance of connecting with students on-campus, regardless of the nature of the experience. 60% of students attended 1-5 career development events versus 54% of students who attended 1-5 career recruitment events. This means with the high costs of travel and accommodation for your recruitment team, your time on campus should be wisely spent! With TalentEgg’s hard-to-miss, large format murals, your company can still maintain a brand presence on campus even after your recruiters leave and reinforce your EVP to more students in high-traffic areas.

Students who do attend recruiting events on campus still prefer Career Fairs as their number one choice, followed closely by networking events and information sessions. Make your time on campus meaningful by ensuring your booth stands out from the crowd. With TalentEgg’s in-house design team, we can create custom retractable banners and other event materials for your team to bring with you on campus.

“I think the on campus interview strategy is definitely very good. Sourcing talent from the spot is great and definitely helps relieve some of the anxiety around interviews (That I’ve definitely had) I like this idea.” – Mallory Thompson, Western University, 2019

Now, how about connecting with students on campus without physically being there? You can combine the best of both strategies with TalentEgg’s geo-targeted mobile marketing campaigns. Depending on your recruitment needs, we are able to geo-fence specific campuses, schools, and even academic departments and deliver to them engaging and compelling employer branding ads. Whether you’re looking for the best engineering students at McMaster University or the brightest communication students at Carleton University, we are able to reach your ideal candidate. With more than twice the industry standard in CTR (click through rate) we can measure how much the targeted candidates engage with your job opportunities and employer brand. We can even retarget them across devices after they leave the geo-targeted location for up to 90 days, to remind them on their mobile phone, their laptop and their tablet about your jobs and EVP. Using keyword search capabilities we can drill down to those who have demonstrated their interest in your industry or company as they search the web. It’s a perfect way to reach busy Gen Y and Z job seekers wherever they are and to reinforce your employer brand to the right candidates for your opportunities.

“I love the idea of strategically hiring at campus fairs. Truthfully, I hate going to a campus fair to be handed a sheet of paper telling me to apply online” – Sarah Pointer, Mount Royal University, 2020

Make the best use of your strategies on and off campus to reach your future talent pool. By utilizing all or a combination of the tactics above, you’ll be sure to communicate to students exactly the way they want to be reached! Strengthen your presence and stand out as an employer of choice with TalentEgg’s cutting edge digital marketing tools and on-campus services!

Why BMO Financial is Investing in Students and Early Talent Through Authentic Student Experiences That Leave a Lasting Impression 

Professional skills and soft skills are vital for new talent to have when entering the workforce. But what does that truly look like for students who are making their first school-to-work transition? Are they set up for success before getting their first full-time job, or do they still have more learning to do?

As Lisa Kramer, Director of Enterprise Campus Recruitment & Early Talent Programs at BMO Financial says, “In the years that I’ve been in the campus recruiting space I would say there is still a gap between what students are learning in their academic programs and the skills and capabilities necessary to work in a corporate environment. That’s why I think it’s important for us as employers to provide those types of experiences and learning opportunities to students when they’re coming in”. This is one of the reasons why BMO launched their new BMO Student Experience this past year. It focuses on investing in the future workforce, recognizing and providing opportunities for development to increase hiring conversions and foster a culture of authenticity, growth and development.

We had the chance to speak with Lisa to learn more about the BMO Student Experience and how BMO is positioning themselves as an employer of choice on campus and beyond.

A Return on Student Investment

Lisa started with BMO a year ago to transform the recruitment strategy for students and early talent and highlight what it’s actually like to work for BMO. “We’re trying to drive higher conversion rates – “recruit once, hire twice” type of mentality, so when we get students in the door, we show them how awesome it is to work here in hopes that they return for subsequent work terms or join us upon graduation”, Lisa says. Historically, BMO has had good programs and hired many students, but their team identified the need to offer more than just work experience and training. This is where the idea of the BMO Student Experience was developed. 

From TalentEgg’s most recent survey, 71% of post-secondary students and grads said that the most important thing they’re looking for in a career is gaining job experience, building their future career paths and development. So it’s important for organizations to showcase how they can offer these requirements to students as well as provide real, authentic examples. This is something that BMO has done very well through their presence not only on campus but online as well. 

“One of the big things for us was utilizing social media and making sure we could connect with students in a more authentic and engaging way. Moving away from the reliance of the “corporate speak” on the web page and start to tell stories about what it’s really like to work here”, Lisa comments. The BMO campus team has focused on telling real stories about students who work at BMO, as well as letting students and their recruitment team takeover the BMO Campus Recruitment Instagram account and host Instagram Live sessions where students across North America have access to their team. 

New Campus Influencer Program

One of the key components of the new strategy was introducing BMO’s Campus Influencer Program. While many organizations have an ambassador program, the BMO team wanted to do something different, something that would resonate with students and how they’re currently engaging with content, branding and goods. Enter: Influencers — the biggest wave of marketing to take over the laptop and cellphone screens of Gen Z and Millenials. “We’re seeing a lot of students and early talent that are heavily influenced by individuals on YouTube and Instagram, so it’s really a play on that. We took students who worked for us over the course of last summer and who were returning to campus to help us amplify our message”, Lisa says. BMO’s Student Influencers are communicating through their own personal social media accounts and using their own networks to spread the word about BMO. 

The benefits? BMO amplifies their employer brand through students who can authentically share their experiences with the company, point interested candidates to the right connection and provide feedback and invaluable information back to the BMO recruitment team about what students are interested in and how they want to connect with BMO as an employer. 

“It’s been fantastic to have that intel because obviously in a perfect world we’d love to be on campus every day, every campus, every program connecting with students but that’s not possible. So the influencer program has been a really great extension of our campus recruiting team.”

What Students can Expect

To continue investing in student development, a part of BMO’s strategy includes a Student Leadership Summit that will be held for returning students this year. Students will have the opportunity to spend three days at the BMO Institute for Learning with their peers to network, build leadership skills, hear from BMO leadership and more. “By investing in them and their skills, it’s our hope that this is just the start of a very successful career with BMO that will continue in the years to come”. 

Throughout their time with BMO, students are given the opportunity to gain professional skills through networking within the business and connecting with other students outside of work through the BMO Social Squad. They also learn practical nuanced skills such as using Excel or PowerPoint. In addition to what the campus team has created, all students have access to BMO U which is an online learning tool where students can complete thousands of courses for free during their work term. “We hope that by providing that experience they will, in turn, have a great work term and will want to come back and work for us again. This obviously helps drive conversion and it’s really our investment in our future workforce. We need to invest now to help identify the talent that we need in the long term.”

Final Advice for Students and Fellow Employers

Lisa provided some final pieces of advice to both students and fellow employers. For students, it’s so important to make connections. Of course, students should do their research and come out to see BMO when they’re on campus, but they should come prepared and reach out to recruiters. “We had a BMO Hangout at one school where the recruiter met with 10 students and hired 8 of them!”, Lisa highlights. As an example, Lisa suggests instead of saying “Hey, here’s my resume, do you have a job for me?”, students should come with personal and focused outcomes, like “Hey Lisa, I saw BMO on campus at this particular event, I heard [name] speak about XYZ and that’s an area I’m really interested in and was wondering if you could tell me more”. “Making that personal connection is key if you want to stand out”, she says. 

For fellow employers, Lisa comments on the importance of playing a key role in the development of future leaders. 

“Some schools and programs are certainly invested in the development of soft skills and we do certainly see in our campus recruiting efforts that students are better prepared. However, I think it’s important, if we’re truly looking for a diverse workforce, that we’re helping. We [as employers] play a part in this development and shouldn’t just rely on our school partners to prep students. It’s our role to help drive that forward. I do think it needs to be a partnership between employers and educators in terms of getting our early talent and future workforce ready for the roles of the future.”

“Once students have that first job, in order to truly build [their] career, it’s the soft skills and professional development that we really need to help students with. Things like how to write a proper email, how do you present to different levels within the organization, what level of detail do you provide in those communications? Those are all nuances that are important for students who are coming into organizations to learn, and it’s our role as an employer to help that with that.” 

Students entering the workforce value the opportunities to continue learning and developing skills that will help them in their career journey. 88% believe they need additional training to launch their career, according to our most recent Survey. Lisa and the BMO campus team are focused on doing just that. To learn more about BMO’s Reimagined Student Experience, see their student-focused article on TalentEgg here.


Lisa’s a disrupter…currently transforming the Enterprise Campus Recruitment and Early Talent Program at BMO!  Lisa began her career in student recruitment right after university, developing her talents at three universities (Laurier, Waterloo, and Ryerson), before taking her expertise to the corporate world, where she has taken student recruitment practices to a higher level. ATI Technologies, CGI, Siemens, Accenture, and RBC have all benefitted from Lisa’s expertise. Lisa was the inaugural winner of Talent Egg’s Campus Recruiter of the Year Award in 2013.  Lisa is known as an accomplished and flexible leader who leverages strong interpersonal skills and teamwork to achieve business objectives. By defining and implementing a shared vision, she’s driving results and excellence across her team. When she’s not at the office, she can most likely be found in an arena with mobile phone in hand, watching her two daughters and balancing life as a busy working hockey mom!

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