The Coronavirus pandemic brought seemingly instant and significant changes to hiring processes around the globe. As organizations respond to immediate changes in demand and comply with new regulations, many businesses have to adjust. That includes closing brick and mortar stores, office locations, and campuses, as well as moving learning and work processes online. That’s brought significant changes to hiring, including one of the most noteworthy hiring activities, campus recruiting.
Campus Recruiting in the Past
In past years, campus recruitment has been a large part of recruitment efforts. SHRM reported that campus recruiting made up roughly 23% of new graduate hiring efforts. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)’s 2019 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report found that 98.9 percent of employers recruit from traditional four-year public/nonprofit universities. Additionally, employers attended 48 career fairs on average, and had planned to continue along the same path in future years. Even more, almost 50 percent of full-time college hires resulted from or included formal on-campus interviews as part of the hiring process.
Traditionally, campus hiring required large budgets, lots of travel, and tons of logistics. Most of the campus recruitment strategy was built on a company’s ability to maintain cordial relationships with schools and universities in order to get the best candidates in the market. Organizations sponsored events, fellowship programs, and in some cases connected with professors to get feedback on the best students and candidates.
Logistically, events were a nightmare. Companies would set goals, determine which campuses would help achieve those goals, assemble the right team per event, ensure the right technology was in place, and then promote, attend, and follow up with candidates after the event. Just writing it is a lot!
And, the technology was really complicated, as well. Companies had to make sure their career pages mirrored their employer branding efforts while the application process was simple enough for the candidates. Tracking the right candidate among the ocean of applicants was another exhausting job. To top it all off, having to remember or take notes in real time on which candidates recruiters thought would be a good fit is almost exclusively based on first impressions and academic performance, which isn’t even a good predictor of job performance.
Despite the efforts and cost, campus hiring isn’t a guaranteed success. In fact, there have been times where despite all the efforts, nobody is even hired. And, if hires are made, because organizations need to narrow efforts, campus recruiting often leads to a lack of diversity, unless specific and additional diversity and inclusion efforts are made.
Campus Recruiting Goes Remote
Between the Coronavirus pandemic and the downtick in global job postings, this year’s campus hiring is going to look much different.If organizations want to hire students or new graduates as entry-level employees or interns, or build candidate pipelines of talent students and alumni, they will need to do so remotely. This means virtual career fairs.
What is a Virtual Career Fair?
In order to connect students and alumni to employers without access to their campuses, universities have already started hosting online “events” called Virtual Career Fairs. Like regular campus events, Virtual Career Fairs are digital spaces where employers and job seekers can connect, learn more about each other, and sometimes even host interviews - completely online. They leverage chat rooms, video conferencing, and even virtual “booths” to help students learn more about available jobs, career opportunities, and benefits of applying to and working at an organization. According to The Balance Careers, some online job fairs even allow students to upload resumes that employers can review during the event.
Remote Diversity Hiring
Based on the 2019 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report, over 82% of employers have at least some kind of diversity recruiting effort. Just because efforts are being moved online, that doesn’t mean diversity hiring efforts should stop. To continue to diversity recruiting, recruiters should attend virtual career fairs at historically black (HBCUs), all-women, or community colleagues, as well as trade or vocational schools. We can also leverage online, diversity job boards and associations, as well. Job boards like Fairy God Boss and InHerSight specialize in recruiting women. In addition, there are also a variety of associations that help connect university students and graduates to organizations including the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) and Association of Hispanic Professionals (Prospanica). Some associations like Prospanica even have job boards of their own.
Virtual Campus Recruiting and Technology
Several kinds of technology can improve virtual campus recruiting processes and outcomes. Virtual job fairs allow students and alumni to interact with potential candidates via private chats or teleconferencing. In addition, other talent acquisition technologies like video interviewing and pre-hire assessments can help organizations with Instahiring - on the spot or rapid hiring.
Live video interviews give recruiters the opportunity to meet with candidates face-to-face in a virtual setting, and pre-recorded interviews let candidates answer questions directly to the camera on their own time. With added artificial intelligence (AI), some video interviewing software can even send detailed reports to help hiring teams understand a candidate’s soft skills. These methods make it possible to efficiently screen candidates anywhere, anytime.
Further, online assessment tools and gamified assessments are another great way to screen candidates at a virtual career fair. These tools ensure that the initial screening process is systematic and scientific, ensuring only the candidates with the required skills and competencies move forward in the hiring process. Technological tools and software can help organizations to hire the most suitable entry-level talent by using customized assessments to benchmark campus hiring.
Employer Branding at Virtual Campus Events
Like live campus events, helping students and alumni understand your employer brand is an essential part of virtual campus recruiting. Right now, as the world struggles to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic, many people are scared both for their health and their jobs. While specialized messaging or even corporate swag designed to attract students on specific college campuses may have worked in the past, now people are looking for more. Organizations should incorporate messages that address how the company is supporting employees through this difficult time, sacrifices their leadership team has made to support lower-level employees, and the benefits that the organization provides to support employees throughout the year.
As virtual campus recruiting increases in popularity over the next several months and years to come, organizations and need to improve their messaging, employer branding, and even technology to cater to this new recruiting function. For more information on Campus Recruiting, Remote Hiring, and Safe Hiring, check out these resources: