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Employers' 11 favorite recruiting strategies for hiring new college grads

This is part of a package on college graduates and the job market. Also check out this story: 10 job market trends college grads need to know.

Soon-to-be college grads, who are worried about their job prospects, are more likely to get hired if they know where employers are searching for workers.

A new report from Michigan State University gives college students a road map on how to connect with employers. The survey, which was completed by roughly 3,300 employers across the country, clearly indicates that internships are the No. 1 recruiting strategy.

While most employers use eight to 10 recruiting methods when searching for new talent, internship programs were favored by 66% of workplaces, while career fairs came in second among job recruiters looking for new hires.

Favorite Recruiting Strategies

-- Campus-oriented internships 66%
-- Career fairs 62%
-- National job aggregator 50%
-- Alumni working for company 49%
-- Campus information visits 48%
-- Employee referral 44%
-- Faculty 44%
-- Interviews 40%
-- Social media 36%
-- Advertisements 28%
-- Local and state job boards 26%

Internships have been steadily growing in popularity for the past decade. In fact, according to Michigan State's Collegiate Employment Research Institute, three quarters of the 10 million students attending four-year colleges will work as interns at least once before graduating. By using internships to scout for top talent, employers are essentially cherry picking the best candidates before they reach the competitive job market.

The growing popularity of internships is controversial because many are unpaid. According to Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy, American companies save $2 billion annually by not paying interns minimum wage.

Career fairs are becoming most popular for companies trying to quickly regain their presence in the college labor market, according to Michigan State University's Recruiting Trends 2011-2012.

In terms of job placement, the report also noted that the biggest asset that schools possess is their alumni. Companies are using their alumni, the report noted, to "target, court, and mentor talent." Few schools, however, seriously coordinate activities between alumni associations and campus career services, the report observes. Campuses need to welcome alumni to assist and mentor current students.

The Michigan State report also observed that social media is rapidly becoming a key recruiting tool. Social media allows recruiters to reach more students and stay in contact with them.

Bottom Line: The key to finding a job after college is to make connections whether through internships, alumni, career fairs or anywhere else where you can meet employers.

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