When you’re in competition to recruit top student and grad talent, their decision may come down to what you have to offer outside of their day to day job.

Most companies today are involved with community initiatives in some way, shape, or form. However, most recruiters tend to focus on the benefits that are directly linked to the role when promoting their career opportunities to students and grads. It makes sense, because things like salary, benefits, and experience are all things at the top of a student or grad’s checklist.

However, these aspiring professionals are looking for an organization that is more than just a well-known brand. When it comes down to the wire, and your choice candidate is making a selection between two top companies, your company’s community involvement can go from being a small perk to your trump card.

Why they’re looking for more

They’re informed

Students and grads know that looking for the right employer isn’t just about making the highest salary or working with the biggest names. They are looking for a well-rounded package that can offer them a variety of experiences that will benefit them in the long run.

Every recruiter wants their candidates to do research on the company that they’re interviewing for. But it’s equally important that the information that they find will set you apart from the competition, and present your company as a unique and valuable place to work.

They’re passionate about their causes

It’s no secret that with the ever-growing presence of technology, millennials are more connected than ever. From smartphones to tablets, students and grads can access the latest information and create personalized news feeds at the push of a button. As a result, they are constantly forming and expressing their feelings and opinions.

Because of this heightened awareness, the majority of students and grads today have attached themselves to a social cause. They are more active in the community than ever, and they aim to use their qualities and skills to instigate change in the world.

Did you know: 43% of Gen-Yers said that they’ve helped out a non-profit organization to expand their skill-set for their professional careers.

They want to work for a company that reflects their values

Experienced campus recruiters know that workplace culture is one of the most common inquiries students and grads make during an interview. Millennials are all about personalizing – whether they’re tailoring their Pinterest boards or their coffee orders, they want every aspect of their lives to reflect their authenticity.

Selecting their careers and the organizations they work for is no different. Working for a company that doesn’t share their values will lessen the appeal for them.

“The community involvement component is excellent. Many students are attracted to the opportunity to give back to their communities, so the fact that you make it part of their experiences is great.”

    – Master’s student, University of Toronto

“A huge part of student motivation is making them feel like they’re making a difference.”

    – Third-year student, Bishop’s University

“Volunteer work is another great way to involve students in the work world so that they feel valued and excited to be a part of a team that gives back.”

    – Fourth-year student, McMaster University

How to appeal to these qualities

Any employer would want the above qualities in a new hire. The question is: how do you attract these graduates to your organization? Company culture is a huge factor when millennials evaluate their career options. Here are some simple things you can do to make your company stand out.

Ask them what their passions are

During the hiring process, it’s important to pay attention to who the candidate is outside of their professional experiences. If you make an effort to show that you’re not only interested in them for their degree and job experiences, you are more likely to create a stronger rapport with them.

Take a look at their application documents or LinkedIn profile, and get to know what they do in their spare time. Take a look at the causes that they’re involved in, and ask them about it during the interview. You’ll find that students and grads will respond passionately about their work, and appreciate the fact that you took the time to find out.

Showcase your company’s community efforts

Many students and grads will likely be pre-occupied with company information pertaining to the specific role and department that they’ll be applying to. Even though they’re not consciously looking for information about your company’s community efforts, it’s important to make sure they see it and remember it.

Be sure this information is accessible, and prominently shown on your company’s website. Bring these aspects up during a campus recruitment session or an interview when a candidate mentions their past volunteer roles or the causes they support.

Remember: millennials think of their careers as an extension of their identities – not just a way to bring home the bacon. Show them how the role they’ve applied for fits them beyond the job description, and the ones who accept the job will likely do so with a stronger commitment to the company.

Discussion: Do you believe that volunteer and community experience always makes for a better candidate?