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So you’ve grown your book of business, and have decided that it’s time to start hiring the millennial generation of recent college grads. Congratulations!

But, you don’t know where to start, or how to create a presence or name for yourself on campus. Not to worry, it’s easier than you think. First, define your strategy. Your initial thought would probably take you down the path of attending upcoming career fairs, but let me tell you, you won’t get the most bang for your buck there.

Yes, you will meet nice, well-dressed students.

Yes, they will ideally come prepared looking for a job. But you will be standing there next to about another 60 companies competing for attention. What you really need is what comes even before the career fair, and that is relationships.

College recruiting these days is all about the relationships you have with the universities, career services centers and most importantly the professors. The stronger relationships you have with the actual individuals working with students daily, the more likely you are to get that one-on-one face time with students.

What is most valuable for a small or even medium size organization searching for talent are the interactions where you aren’t competing with the big names like Caterpillar or BrightView for attention. It’s where you are able to really shine and share why these millennials should ignore the big brands and come work for you.

Not only are you able to present how great it is to work for your organization, but you are showing support for the program as a whole. You are there supporting the students, the universities and the professors, stressing the importance of agriculture and horticulture programs. As we’ve sees enrollment rates into these programs decrease dramatically over the years, the more industry support we can provide, the better. We also know from recent data that students are not attending career fairs so the more you can get on campuses, the better.

Not only are you forming personal relationships with the university staff, but you are also becoming a familiar face to the students.

Say, for example, you become involved with Brigham Young University’s Horticulture Club, and you attend a club meeting and meet a freshman just beginning to explore what the horticulture industry has to offer.

If you continue to maintain your relationship with that horticulture club, it is very likely that you will see that same freshman year after year. Ideally, you’ll even stay in touch with her three years down the line, when she is searching for a full-time job. And who do you think she will look at first for a job? The company that she knows nothing about or the company that has supported her club programs year after year and someone she knows like a friend. You got it, you!

You might be thinking to yourself, well, all of this sounds great, but I don’t have time to go to events at every single school I hire from. This is where your strategy comes in. Rely on your strategy. Keep your relationships strong. I promise, the more you give, the more you will receive. And not just in money, but in brand recognition, recommendations and retention of top qualified individuals.

Best of luck in your recruiting and remember, it’s all about relationships.

The author was National College Recruiter for ValleyCrest Companies and Brickman Group in Calabasas, California. 

Hire Power is a monthly column designed to help you recruit, hire and retain the best talent for your company. We’ve got a rotating panel of columnists ready to give you practical, tactical advice on solving your labor problems. Email Chuck Bowen at cbowen@gie.net with topic ideas.