With college graduations right around the corner, recruiters will soon see an influx of new candidates ready to enter the workforce. With critical positions often going unfilled because of skill deficiencies, how can your staffing firm attract these newly minted professionals and with luck, begin a career-long relationship?

Getting on their radar fast can give you a distinct competitive advantage. With demand for talent at an all-time high, competition is hot for both experienced professionals and new grads. Here’s how you can set yourself apart from the pack: Give graduates an amazing candidate experience.

Make it easy to work with you

Offer graduates guidance on polishing their resumes, how to impress employers in an interview, and how to decide amongst multiple offers by weighing the benefits of each.

Make the application simple

Too many staffing firms and employers make the mistake of requiring candidates to complete a long application. This is often the first impression candidates get of your company. Since we all know that application drop off is a real problem, why increase the likeness of it happening to your firm with unneeded questions in the application process? We get it – you want to populate your ATS with as much information as possible, but those details can be collected later, once the applicant is more invested. The initial application process should be stripped down and able to be completed from a mobile device.

Act quickly and stay in touch.

When candidates hit submit on your application, they should get an immediate response, acknowledging receipt of their information and telling them what to expect next, whether that be through a candidate portal, or email and text notifications. Candidates that are not expected to move on based on responses from knock-out questions should receive a prompt email to that effect with reasons, if possible, in case it’s something they can quickly rectify. Those you do want in your pipeline should receive a response, ideally within 48 hours to either further screen them, set up an in-person meeting, or approve them for work. Timely communication is critical throughout the entire hiring process. If they have doubts as to where they stand, they are likely to focus their attention on another employer or firm.

Make it easy to onboard.

Too often there are dozens of forms to fill out while onboarding – background check, federal and state forms, company-specific forms, etc. The list goes on. Look for opportunities to streamline the process. Anything you can do to remove obstacles will improve candidate engagement and increase your chances they will not only appreciate the streamlined process but also refer their fellow graduates. If there are any opportunities to consolidate aspects of your onboarding program, do your best to take advantage of them.

By putting yourself in the shoes of recent grads, you are better able to see the obstacles they are facing to finding jobs in their field. When you remove those obstacles, you show you are invested in their well-being. You can then build a relationship that will (hopefully) last until they are doing the hiring themselves and need help from a trusted staffing firm.