Beginner’s Guide: From Campus to Career: A University-Specific Recruiting Marketing Strategy Q&A with Fonda Lang

In today’s competitive landscape, accounting firms face a critical need to attract and retain top talent. Recruiting marketing plays a crucial role in this endeavor, linking firms with prospective candidates. One recruiting marketing strategy that is on the rise involves college-specific webpages and other tailored marketing materials, with customized content to target students for internships, externships and entry-level positions.

Keiter CPAs is a Virginia-based accounting firm whose website features a robust Careers section, including custom college pages for six universities local to the firm. (You can check out those college pages here: Each college page features targeted images, terminology and team member testimonials specific to that university, as well as links to blog content that spotlights Keiter as a leading employer in the state of Virginia. The pages also feature direct links to separate pages on company culture, internship and externship info and starting an application.

At this year’s AAM Summit in Orlando, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Fonda Lang, Marketing & Practice Development Director at Keiter, to get her insights on how these college pages came to be, what kind of success Keiter is seeing from them and their best practices for maximizing university relationships for recruiting marketing.

How did you determine which universities to target with this strategy? Did you need permission from each university to set these pages up?

We selected universities where we already had well-established relationships with their accounting and/or career departments. So, we were already seeing success in recruiting from these universities and saw the potential to expand that success even further into the future.

We do not use any of the universities’ logos, so we did not need their explicit permission, per say. However, we do incorporate each university’s mascot and/or other terminology into many of our marketing materials (ex. – “Keiter’s Accounting Hokies” with Virginia Tech). Again, we did not require written permission to utilize that kind of terminology.

How successful has this strategy been in increasing internship/job applications from students attending these universities?

Last year, we had all our internship and externship positions filled well before the start of the year. We also have many interns who come to us through this campaign and return for repeat internship positions, which is great!

Beyond the webpages, do you have any other marketing campaigns to connect with students from these universities? Have they been successful?

We attend career fairs and host mock interviews with many of the universities. We also work closely with the professors to distribute college-specific newsletters out to the students with the same branding to match the university page on our website. Since they come to the students directly from their own professors, we have seen high open rates. We even have many students who sign up for our main newsletter from those emails to stay connected with us even further. So, we consider them to be very successful.

Do you get team members involved who are alumni from these universities? In what ways?

We invite our team members to wear their college gear to the office and take pictures by university, which we feature on each university page. When we are attending college career fairs, mock interviews, accounting days etc., we like to send team members who are alumni of that specific college and can connect with the students from having taken the same exact courses, professors etc. Additionally, many of our team members who are alumni of a target university will go back and teach an accounting class there, which grants us exposure to those accounting students even further. A lot of this is coordinated through our Recruiting Committee.

What is the breakdown in terms of responsibility between HR and Marketing for these webpages and other campaigns to connect with college students?

Everything digital or communications-related is coordinated by our Marketing team. Everything related to the recruiting process itself is coordinated by our HR team. We do have a dedicated Marketing team member who acts as a liaison between our Marketing and HR teams, coordinating things that span across both departments, such as emails, graphics and other college communications.

What advice would you give to your fellow AAM members who are considering implementing this recruiting marketing strategy at their firms?

For firms to start implementing this strategy, establishing and leveraging relationships with your local universities is paramount. By fostering close connections with those accounting and career departments (as well as your team members who are alumni of those departments), you can not only enhance your visibility, but also cultivate a pipeline of job applicants who are well-equipped to meet the evolving demands of the accounting industry.

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About Kayla Juba

Kayla Juba is the Senior Marketing Specialist for Brown Plus, a premier advisory firm providing accounting, assurance, tax and consulting services across the Mid-Atlantic region. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication/Journalism from Shippensburg University. Kayla has more than nine years of experience in marketing communications and has worked in accounting marketing for over three years. Prior to joining Brown Plus, Kayla worked in event planning and fundraising for several nonprofit organizations in the Central Pennsylvania area.

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