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Feb 13, 2017
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Talent is a long-term play. To build a brand and recruit for the future it’s important to invest in the talent pool of the future. While most Fortune 500 companies have a presence at career fairs across the nation, most of them have no idea what they’re doing. Big companies have small recruiting programs, and only a few like Enterprise, Disney, E&Y do it right. As difficult as it is in 2017 to recruit talent, recruiters need to start thinking 5-10 years down the road and start to build out a strategic roadmap on how to recruit for future needs. Enter college recruiting.

In order to fill vacant technical and non-technical positions with fresh talent, it’s essential that employers start looking at junior and seniors, if not earlier, to position themselves for a strong talent pool post-graduation. Offers are being made to sophomores and above from companies like Google and Facebook to protect their need for fresh talent. If your company doesn’t have a plan to start recruiting early, they’ll be left behind.

Students are the future leaders. Being able to recruit these leaders will not only help your company succeed technically, but branding also plays an important part in college recruiting. When students are surveyed and asked what companies they want to work for the companies that show up on those lists are the companies that are impacting them early and most likely in college. It’s the technology that they use on a day to day basis, and it’s these companies that are making the lasting impression.

College recruiting is helping shape the future of the aviation industry and Southwest Airlines is leading the charge. In the past couple years Southwest Airlines has been not only starting at the collegiate level but in middle/high schools. A new strategy implemented by a senior people manager is to go to schools and tell kids about the exciting horizons of the aviation field and get them excited about working as a pilot. Southwest knows that there is going to be a pilot shortage in the next 5-10 years and to find talent and make sure that future pilots pick Southwest the company is branding themselves as a choice airline while children are still learning at the most basic levels.

While this program is in its infancy, programs like that are ones that are revolutionizing the space of recruiting early and shares the story at how competition is starting earlier and earlier. College recruiting programs are gaining traction in some of largest Fortune 500 companies, and if done right the competition will not only be on the college level. Investments in public and private education will ideally grow when companies are looking to train early and then take talent right out of high school in technical degrees that aren’t taught during a traditional university education.

 What strategy is your company utilizing to start early and either recruit in college or those before graduation? Most kids are opting out of college to go into a technical field so before we know it high school recruiting is going to be essential. Are you staying ahead of the trends? Let us know in the comments field.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.