Hi Rally Community! My name is Lisa Kramer, Head of Recruitment Marketing Strategy, Enterprise Campus Recruiting & Student Experience Programs at BMO.
If you’re familiar with on-campus recruitment, you likely know that it relies heavily on in-person events. As you can imagine, last year we were faced with new challenges and opportunities in the wake of the pandemic.
Our primary objective was to ensure that we offered all students a tailored and personalized experience to help them “transport all that they have learned at school into exciting opportunities” at BMO.
This led us to launch our school bus-themed tour with virtual “stops” at various campuses across the country, which proved to be a huge success. Wanting to build on the success, this year we upgraded our bus to a train, “The BMO Career Track” tour. We are “on the road” now visiting 160 schools across North America from September 9th to October 5th. It is our biggest campus recruitment tour yet!
On top of this, we continue to maintain ongoing recruitment events throughout the year — a feat that simply wouldn’t be possible without the coordinated effort of Student Influencers. That is why I wanted to provide insights into how exactly we work with our Influencers here at BMO, including:
- What our Influencers do
- How we choose, train and continuously support them
- How we incentivize our Influencers to stay engaged
I want to share how you can develop a Student Influencer Program at your company to produce more turnout and an increased talent pool at your own campus recruiting events — virtual or otherwise. Let’s take a look!
BMO Career Track — How it works
First, let’s break down how our biggest campus recruitment tour actually works.
At each virtual “stop”, we start off with introductions to members of Team BMO to help students know who to network with. This is followed by a highlight of the roles we recruit for including internship, co-op and new graduate opportunities.
After this overview, students are invited into breakout rooms dedicated to the different lines of business within BMO. Here, students learn about career opportunities across the Bank including: Technology and Operations, Commercial Banking, Personal and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Corporate Areas. These breakout rooms enable students to acquire a better sense of how their skills, capabilities and education align to the opportunities within BMO.
Finally, once these sessions are finished, students are brought back together for a fun game of BMO-trivia. The Trivia Winner is rewarded with a 1-on-1 coffee chat with a member of the Campus Recruitment team.
Now, onto how Student Influencers helped us promote our tour and other recruitment events throughout the year.
How we choose, train and incentivize our Influencers to stay engaged
All of the Student Influencers we work with are current students and former interns who are returning for their next internship term. This authentic approach offers students an opportunity to hear from people who are or have been in the roles they are interested in.
Rally note: To learn how to better connect with student and early careers talent, check out our article 6 Research-Backed Recruiting Tips to Help You Engage with Gen Z.
The first thing we do is send out an application to all former intern students gauging their involvement in BMO activities, and within their own campus and communities.
This could look like participation in clubs and associations, residence life, working on campus, academics (e.g. peer mentorship and tutoring), and even athletics and recreation! The more active they are during events and activities on campus through their club and associations, the more opportunity there is to have this involvement reflected in their online presence.
Next, we want to make sure that we have a diverse representation of Student Influencers based on school, program, culture, interests and more! In order to connect with as many students as possible, we choose one Student Influencer from each school in the regions we visit, sometimes two.
Once we have selected our new Student Influencers, they are then invited to participate in a boot camp to bring them up to speed on what is expected of them and how they will participate during their term as Influencers.
We then keep in touch throughout the term to see how they are doing, offer support and ensure that they are continuing to stay engaged. Some Influencers come back for a second term, but we try to make sure there are always fresh faces and perspectives representing the BMO brand on campus.
To ensure our Influencers are engaged and sharing throughout the year, we provide incentives, such as:
- BMO swag they can use and post about
- The opportunity to connect with our Student Experience team, where they are invited to participate in panel discussions, events and activities helpful for networking and the building of thought-leadership
- The opportunity to join the Social Squad, which is a group that plans fun social activities for interns throughout the term
While we try to support them as much as possible, we also emphasize to our Influencers that they will get from the experience what they put into it. There are plenty of opportunities for them to meet people, educate themselves about the business and lay the foundation for a full-time position in the future. It is ultimately up to them to step up.
How our Influencers help promote our campus recruitment events
For each of our virtual stops, we have Student Influencers who help with promotion, both leading up to and during the event. On the day of, this promotion mainly takes place on the @bmo_on_campus Instagram channel and has Influencers conducting takeovers, giving a behind-the-scenes look at their life with BMO and answering questions like:
- How would you describe BMO’s culture?
- What was the student experience program like?
- What was the student conference like?
Leading up to these events, we rely on our Influencers to consistently share content pointing students where to go, detailing how to sign up and painting an overall picture of what it’s like to work with BMO to their personal social channels. We help with this process by creating graphics and promotion materials, such as Bitmoji profile pictures and background banners for LinkedIn, as well as our ticker-tape schedule that moves to announce the different dates of our BMO Career Track tour.
The ticker-tape schedule that we give to our Influencers to share across their personal networks. Similarly, we provide customized promo material to the schools we visit for them to post on their career center, co-op center and other sites.
Instead of having to create their own content from scratch every time they want to post, they can simply pull a piece of pre-made content from our library, fill in the blanks with their own words and post it. If they are struggling with what to say, there are suggested wording they can leverage to tweak to reflect their own perspective and remain authentic to their voice.
An example of the kind of templated content we provide influencers (and leaders) to share on their own social channels. Our “How it started… How it’s going” campaign proved to be one of our most successful employer branding accomplishments this year, especially among early-career and student talent.
Another benefit to this approach is that all content is guaranteed to fit within BMO’s brand guidelines and standards.
We have had a lot of success in connecting with students on Instagram, and LinkedIn, where students share content and participate in support groups. Influencers are also invited to recruitment events and activities through Microsoft Teams throughout the year. For example, Authentic Me sessions take place periodically throughout the year on Microsoft Teams, and are scheduled in partnership with diversity, equity, and inclusion clubs on campus.
By partnering with engaging student influencers on platforms where fellow students are hanging out, being clear about what’s expected of them and prioritizing engaging conversation with students at all our recruitment events, we have managed to improve not just event turnout, but also the number of diverse candidates eager to pursue career opportunities at BMO.
As we close out this year and enter the new one, I hope that you can take some of what we have implemented at our company and use it to improve your own campus and early career recruitment strategy!