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How LinkedIn is Transforming College Recruiting

LinkedIn connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful and transforms the way companies hire, market, and sell. Its vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce, through the development of the world’s first Economic Graph. To achieve this vision, LinkedIn invests in the company culture to ensure the best and brightest individuals are part of our workforce.

Business challenge

Talent Acquisition, which is responsible for building the workforce, hires over 600 people each year for intern and entry-level talent positions in a six-month season. The traditional approach to recruiting, during this six-month window, is to build a strong on-campus presence, school-by-school, and job fair by job fair, resulting in an average of about 60 college visits.

LinkedIn took a step back and asked the team to imagine identifying all early-in-career talent by never going to another campus again in the traditional sense.  

One of the strategies that came from that is Accelerate U.


Accelerate U is LinkedIn’s strategy to unlock talent across the globe. LinkedIn targets areas populated with diverse students and schools and hosts events focused on building skills needed to land a job.

The strategy is simple: expand recruiting efforts and broaden the reach by bringing multiple universities together at one location, while providing students with an experience to learn, connect, and engage with Linkedin. The core focus was to equally value “skills vs. schools,” and opening doors to untapped talent, skills, and perspectives that were not easily discovered when visiting schools traditionally.

LinkedIn selected locations based on the number of schools in the area, the percentage of graduates in the areas for R&D and Business for new grads, and the percentage of undergrads in the areas for R&D and Business for Interns. The data helps the team understand the total addressable opportunity and align to the business priorities.

The program was launched in 2016 and quickly gained momentum from LinkedIn’s senior leaders. The idea was bold, new, and disruptive to regular practices, but underlined the vision of LinkedIn and served as a vehicle to attract and hire talent. The first Accelerate U was launched in six weeks and built a solid framework for future cities.


LinkedIn reached 150 students from 22 schools in one afternoon at a fraction of the cost it would have taken to visit each school in the traditional way. The second Accelerate U event reached 125 students from 13 schools. This strategy has been a huge change from past years, and is helping LinkedIn broaden its total accessible market by including more schools, connecting with more students, and strengthening its brand.


Accelerate U delivered a new channel of recruiting for LinkedIn and the team is continuing to refine its solution to deliver the best content, communicate to more schools, and drive hiring.

Erik Samdahl
Erik is the head of marketing at i4cp, and has nearly 20 years in the market research and human capital research industry.