When I arrived at Education at Work, a nonprofit outsourced contact center that helps college students pay for their tuition, I found a medley of 200 students working as customer care representatives. The hustle and bustle of the company was faster than the speed of light – the company received new business and the number of student employees were expected to double (this was my job).

What my team and I quickly learned about the workforce was although students were willing and capable to work, most were not taking advantage of the tuition assistance provided. To address this issue, we realized that we have to change our strategy by focusing on recruiting millennials from four-year accredited institutions who are fully invested in our mission and would seize the opportunity to pay for school through tuition assistance.

Here are a few of the ways we reached them:

1. Show millennials you care – every time

Millennials want to know the company they are working for cares for them. To do this we brought Education at Work to them. We engaged students in front of classes, organizations, and student unions. More importantly we held on-campus interviews, letting students know that we understand they are students. By bringing interviews to students for their convenience, it allowed us to broaden our candidate pool. Eventually, we even learned that specific student-demographics fit job profiles. For example, we found students who loved to problem solvers in university psychology clubs, which was a perfect match for one of our retail programs.

2. Socialize through channels millennials enjoy

We realized the power and reach of social media would allow us to reach millennials from a different capacity. Two strategies were created for social media: Twitter Takeover and Pandora ads. The Twitter Takeover gave new candidates a student perspective of working at Education at Work while balancing a class load. The student tweeters rotated on a monthly basis to allow different perspectives and personalities to be represented on the account. Pandora allowed us to create sassy, fun and upbeat ads that millennials could enjoy and relate to. This social channel became a top priority for us as we learned that streaming music is a pass time for students who are studying or hanging out with friends.

3. Promote transparency to millennials

Most millennials want to know about the highs and lows of a job before beginning to work. It has been proven that if millennials don’t like the work they are doing or the company culture, they will leave regardless of pay, benefits, or having another job lined up. We are transparent – we are a contact center and the nature of the work can be fun or sad some days.

Results are in

Due to our recruiting efforts, we managed to grow our student workforce from 200 employees in May 2014 to more 600 in January 2015. I feel proud about the impact we have made for students in the Greater Cincinnati area. As Education at Work grows, I hope that we continue to make a difference beyond the tri-state and solve student debt – one millennial at a time.


Article by Alicia Yannalfo – for original link: