student talks to employer at job fair

Cardinal Job Fair

Number 6: Offer them jobs during their senior year well before their graduation.

You can’t start with number six. If you do, it will be too late. However, if you have done 1-5 during their college years this will be a natural step for them and for you. But universities have job fairs in September and your competitors will be handing out offers. So, be sure that students know you want them before they commit to a different opportunity.   

These six steps are all about relationship building and helping the next generation to know that they are valued and that they are the key to the future of our communities. They want to make an impact. They desire to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. Be sure that they know that opportunity exists in your region of the state.  And tell them to bring their friends!  

*This post is part of the series featuring 6 simple ways to start attracting your future leaders today. You can read the previous posts here 

When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago. If I had done that, I could be sitting in the shade today enjoying the home-grown fruit. The principle can also be applied to the work of communities to recruit talent. But what if your community didn’t plant the seeds years ago? You can do the future of your community a huge favor by dropping a seed in the ground today!   

Nearly every March and April employers reach out to universities in the hope of recruiting students who will be graduating in May. Of course, universities will do all that they can to help. However, most students will have been offered a job prior to this time through their internship experience, networking, or at the Spring or Fall job fair.  

Throughout this series I have suggested 6 things that any community or region can do today to help attract the talent we all need.   

The final of my 6 suggestions is to offer students a job well before their graduation. You are in competition with every other community around the globe. Students are making employment decisions based on factors beyond simply salary. Communities that create relationally strong networks for students, where they know that they can make a positive impact, and they know that they are wanted will have a distinct advantage.  However, if you put off making a timely offer you will have forfeited your most desirable candidates to someone else.  

Author Katharine Brooks said, “When we take what we learn in one sphere of our life and apply it to another, our knowledge and understanding increase substantially and we open the door for creative thinking and brilliant new insights and ideas.”   

In this case, what I have learned is that I need to get to Jack’s Donuts early if I want to guarantee that I get a Chocolate Iced Bavarian Cream before they’re all gone. I’m simply applying this critical information to our current workforce challenges.  

I hope these 6 things have given you some prompts to consider how your region, community, or company can be intentional and forward-thinking in attracting talent.   


*The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) suggests that employers should be able to convert at least half of their interns into full-time employees. This NACE article discusses job offers to interns and acceptance deadlines.  

If your community has additional strategies for this challenge, email us and let us know. We’d love to share your story. 

Jeff Eads is the Director for Industry Engagement at Ball State University.