When you’re looking to recruit directly from universities, limiting yourself to the students that show up at the career center or job fair can leave you missing a lot of great potential candidates. Just like in the rest of the labor market, there are active college candidates (the ones that show up with freshly minted business cards on career day) and there are passive candidates. Though they might not actively be seeking work, these students are far from unrecruitable.
According to Dr John Sullivan, thinking of college students like most “passive” candidates is somewhat of a misnomer. He suggests “not-actively-looking” as a more accurate descriptor of their mindset. Many of these students are still very much focused on their academic career and may not have given a thought to anything outside of the research that they’ve been doing. One of Dr. Sullivan’s best insights in the article was suggesting recruiting efforts targeted toward the student population that is considering graduate school. These students might not have considered that an employer would be interested in someone from their field without a graduate degree and be highly flattered by the offer. Even if they do end up going to graduate school, you’ve made a connection that can last until when they graduate and are looking for work more actively.