A Student’s View of Time

We’re all very busy these days and rarely does anyone get to everything on the daily “to do” list. However, we all know that in recruiting, time is a precious thing and candidates can be off the job market quickly. Although college students technically have longer to find and decide upon a job, they are receiving offers in shorter time frames. Their perception of time is also different. What is a short time for us, say 2 weeks, can seem like an eternity to a college student. This greatly impacts the timing of your communications with them. Understanding a Senior’s Priorities Although they are concerned about classes, finding a job consumes a large part of a senior’s time and attention until the process is finished. Even though they face one of the most promising job markets ever, many students are convinced that they will miss out on that dream job. With finding a job so high on the priority list, their perception of how long they have been waiting to hear from you is distorted. No matter how well you communicate the timing of your process, they will expect to hear some feedback very quickly. More organizations are catching onto this fact and responding with call backs or offered within a day or two of an interview.

How Their View of Time Affects Your Need to Communicate Their view of time and your competitors’ ability to respond to it create a need for you to adjust your communications. Although few college students accept the first offer that comes along without thinking about it, the first offer is the one against which others will be measured. Even if you can’t make a decision as quickly as other firms, you can still be in on the game very effectively. Keep the lines of communication open. A simple email update is enough. The student’s primary concern is that he or she is still in the running and that you consider them important enough to follow up on a regular basis. This whole process is about relationship building. The better your relationship is with the student, the more likely it is that your recruiting efforts will be successful. They want an answer fast, but also want time to think about it themselves. Here is where the whole process gets a little weird. Although you must respond quickly to these candidates, you’ll find that they want more time to consider your offer. This might seem a bit unfair, but not if you remember the people with whom you are dealing. These students are making their first big career decision and feel the pressure of parents, friends, professors, family and themselves weighing heavily. They have not had the experience of making a career choice that will impact them this greatly. Along with the magnitude of this decision comes the number of choices they have before them. Chances are great that your offer is not the only one the student is considering, and he or she might be waiting to hear back from another company. This is not to say you are the second choice, but students want to know all of their options before making a decision. The upside to this for you is that once the decision is made, the student will be that much more committed to it for having been given the time to decide. Students who are pressured into decisions will be less happy and might even renege on an acceptance later. Understanding how time is different on a college campus compared to a corporate office will help you avoid confusion, and will greatly increase the success of your college recruiting programs.

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Maggie Ruvoldt (mer@FutureCollegeGrads.com) runs FutureCollegeGrads.com, a website devoted to helping students and employers find each other and to maximizing the internship and entry-level job experience for both. Ms. Ruvoldt also consults for organizations developing college recruiting and internship programs. Ms. Ruvoldt is also working towards completing the Masters Program in Human Resource Management at the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations. More information about her work, consulting services, and job listings can be found at FutureCollegeGrads.com.


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