Campus recruitment refers to any effort made by prospective employers to recruit students from their college campuses, usually prior to graduation. Employers use campus recruitment to attract and screen students for a variety of different positions, both as interns and as full-time employees. In some cases, recruitment takes the form of small events sponsored by one or a few industry representatives. In other cases, the school and industry collaborate to arrange campus-wide job fairs that attract many potential employers. Businesses are typically the most active recruiters, but the government, graduate schools, and non-profit organizations also engage in campus recruiting.
Graduates in certain fields, especially technical fields, are in short supply in 2011. Potential employers use this type of recruiting to attract the best and brightest. Students at schools with excellent reputations in certain fields are in particularly high demand, and recruiting efforts at these schools are frequently very intense.
Recruiters target students who are about to graduate, but they are also interested in connecting with advanced undergraduates and graduate students who have at least one year of school remaining, as these students are often sought after as interns. Internships are useful for students because they provide experience in the real world and useful contacts. They benefit employers too, providing both inexpensive skilled labor and offering insight into which students to recruit for permanent employment.
The tactics employed in campus recruitment vary from field to field. They usually mix advertising and screening. Representatives from industry throw parties, provide snacks and dinners, put on shows to pique student curiosity, and distribute swag, all in an attempt to attract student interest. Job fairs bring together many students and many recruiters. In good years, recruiters vie for the attention of promising candidates. In lean years, the opposite is true, and recruiters select only the most promising of candidates.
Campus recruitment culminates in a formal interview process, and schools often have facilities where employers can interview students. Students may well undergo the entire interview and hiring process before receiving their diplomas, particularly in years where the demand for new graduates outpaces supply, and fortunate students will even have job offers before graduation.