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Tips for Agencies Recruiting College Students/Graduates

Young people out of college and graduate students represent a vast pool of talent available to work in the addictions field. However, it is important for employers and recruiters to understand that these emerging professionals bring something different to a job than more seasoned workers.

First, they should be evaluated by what they have the potential to do, not by what they have already done. Second, students have a different mindset than experienced workers. They are learning and acquiring knowledge/experience, which makes them flexible, adaptable, curious and productive. 4

  • Don’t just recruit seniors. Find sophomores and juniors who would make good candidates and approach them regularly through e-mail, phone calls, job fairs, and site visits. 4

  • Offer short-term jobs or shadowing experiences to students over holidays or part-time during the school year. Let the students visit and get to know your employees. Relationships often lead to successful employment later. 4

  • Establish internal policies that let your hiring team make offers quickly. Students are often in high demand and may have multiple offers. Tell your agency’s representatives that if it takes longer than four days to extend an offer after interviews, they may loose their candidate. 5

  • Encourage your agency to use treatment practitioners rather than HR staff to conduct interviews at campus job fairs. Frontline staff will be more versed about treatment jobs and will be more prepared to answer students’ questions. 2

  • Use interns to serve as recruiting representatives. They can give future hires first-hand experience about a job and an agency. 2, 5

  • Make contact with professors in relevant departments. While NEVER send out spam to everyone in a department, pick and choose professors who are involved with the undergraduate or graduate classes, and ask them for help in locating potential hires. Ask them who in their classes stand out, either academically or in other career-enhancing ways? See if they can provide you with contacts to get in touch with the graduating class.2

  • Develop a first class Web site and make sure you have a section dedicated to recruitment. This is a fantastic way to build relationships with students. Students today are Internet-savvy, electronic relationship-focused, and ready to chat and interview online. Make sure your site is designed to appeal to a student audience. Utilize a focus group to determine what things students want to know about your agency. 2

  • Don’t just select a few “premier” schools from which to recruit.  Innovative organizations know that state and regional schools turn out superb students. “The performance on the job of college grads from the so-called second- and third-tier schools is virtually indistinguishable from that of first-tier grads. Most of us did not go to a first-tier school ourselves, and yet we are productive contributors who would have been good choices right out of school. Not recruiting from these schools is self-limiting and keeps you chasing a limited resource pool. There are many advantages of working with smaller schools. They are more flexible and open to experiments; they know their student better and can help you assess them; and they often will allow and even encourage an email/web relationship between students and potential employers.” 2


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