When it comes to creating a more representative workforce, there’s no bigger or more effective opportunity than early talent—that is, recent college graduates and university students. These are a company’s best bets for diversifying its workforce, and every growing company with fifty or more employees should have a comprehensive strategy in place to attract and promote them.

No, I’m not making a case for age discrimination here. Every age and professional level matters when it comes to creating a more diverse workforce. But early talent presents a special opportunity to capture young professionals who are just beginning to explore the workforce. They have yet to develop preconceived notions while working at other companies, and they’re very likely to tell their friends and families about your organization and its diverse and inclusive culture, leading to greater mindshare among and more referrals from diverse communities. And, most important, they’re an investment in the future of your business. By diversifying the employee pipeline at the entry point, companies set the stage for a more representative staff in the future.

To capture early talent, a company needs to start, well, early. In this case, that means building and investing in a campus recruiting program. When done well, a recruiting program can be a company’s best asset for creating a stable, reliable pipeline of talent—both diverse and otherwise. In fact, a 2015 study by the Human Capital Institute found that businesses that are confident in their talent pipeline recruit twice as many recent graduates as those that have little confidence in their pipeline. The study also found that, for businesses with active campus recruiting efforts, the following were the most effective sources for quality talent:

Training programs for recent graduates

Apprenticeships

Internships and co-ops

Having employees mentor students

I can personally attest that each of these offerings works—and works well. In fact, it was a campus recruiting program that led me to Goldman Sachs. While I was in college, I secured a summer internship there, and I came back for two more summer internships before being offered a job once I graduated. It made me feel invested in the company, and, perhaps more important, it made me feel as though they were investing in me, too. I knew that a company that was willing to give me three internships, along with the training and growth I received along the way, was one I wanted to launch my career with. It also made me a brand ambassador for the firm on campus. If someone wanted to know about the firm or about my internship experiences there, I was more than happy to tell them.

Of course, it’s not just Goldman Sachs that invests in campus recruiting. Every major bank and financial services firm does the same, and for good reason: they know it works.

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