Secrets from a Recruiter’s Best Clients: Entry-Level Talent is a Straight-Up Win

Get to know author Michael Keller, Senior DRS Recruiter with Objective Paradigm, as he brings staffing, resource planning, interviewing process redesign and campus recruiting insights to Chicago’s top tech businesses. Stay tuned to the OP News page for more ‘Secrets from a Recruiter’s Best Clients.’

After years of ignoring entry-level talent, I had built up a bias against anyone who didn’t have 10 years of experience in every technology my clients listedMy perception shifted, however, when I was tasked in placing a large number of developers at a rapidly-growing organization. When the experienced candidates we were looking at came up short, we decided to participate in a few campus job fairs and college recruiting events.

My mind was forever transformed after talking to one impressive student after another. Conversations covered many topics, but I was truly impressed by the discussions covering:

  • Building open-sourced applications on GitHub and StackOverflow
  • Extra-curricular hackathons
  • Robot battling activities

I was a Computer Science (CS) Minor in college, along with a group of my friends, we did it because we found it interesting. It was 2004, and while we knew it was a good career path, we didn’t fully understand the potential salaries that would come with a CS degree. The students I met were the same way, except now there is a stronger competition for the best jobs along with greater access to developing applicable skills before graduation making it an extremely competitive market for both future employees and employers. 

There is a pressure for students to get the best internships and do as many activities as possible so that they can win the coveted jobs at Google and Apple. (Both tables with lines so long they wrapped around the entire convention center.) There are many great candidates that do not get those jobs, but guess what? They are looking for a chance to apply their Google and Apple-minded skills at the next great company. 

As a result of our job fair and campus recruiting efforts, we found many qualified, personable candidates for direct hire. We were pleased to not only fill our intern list, but hire multiple candidates from that pool to meet additional hiring needs!

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Thinking about building out your entry-level hiring strategies? College recruits are:

  • Low cost
  • Eager to learn / entry-level employees are ready to grow
  • Open to career and development coaching
  • Desire to be a part of the company’s culture

That did it — I was sold on the importance of finding the best and brightest young talent. The amazing thing is that these results were achieved with minimal effort. The hiring managers were so impressed that they have become incredibly focused on improving the internship experience and building out a more targeted and prepared campus recruiting approach for the upcoming years.  

How do you start?

  • Market your company to target schools dedicated to grooming CS leaders
  • Build your internal brand to so that students target your table
  • Give them something to be excited about


MKeller OP RecruiterMichael Keller was drawn to the staffing industry through his interest in people — by both the excitement of helping someone find meaningful work and by helping businesses find that new addition that will help them achieve their organizational goals. Keller finds that every conversation can be an opportunity and the hard conversations are the ones that build the strongest relationships. 


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