Create The Perfect Virtual Recruiting Strategy For Universities With These Tips
On-campus recruiting has been decreasing in popularity over the years. Running up high travel costs and being time-intensive is less than ideal in today’s fast-paced tech industry. The pandemic proved to be the nail in the coffin for this old-school way of university recruitment.
Universities and other educational institutions across the world canceled in-person career fairs and on-campus recruitment drives. Companies needed to think on their feet to organize their summer internships as well as figure out ways to fill their candidate pipeline. This led to a forced transition to virtual campus recruiting—which turned out to be a good thing so far!
2022 holds the promise of a new start for the modern recruiter. Virtual campus recruiting doesn’t demand a huge budget, eliminates geographical constraints which widen your talent pool, and provides an improved candidate experience to today’s digital-savvy generation—it is a win-win all around.
Let’s talk about virtual campus recruiting strategy, making the shift to a remote hiring model, and speaking the language of Gen Z. The latter of which make up a majority of your target audience in this article.
Creating a virtual campus recruiting strategy: The steps
Traditional campus recruiting only happens once a year. Now that you do not have to wait until universities reopen to initiate your hiring discussions, virtual campus recruiting can be an ongoing strategy: you can nurture your potential candidates throughout the school year.
As the first company to reach out, you’ll have the advantage of students’ full attention. Here’s what you can do to build an effective virtual campus recruiting strategy:
1. Build a robust hiring plan
Before going all-out with your virtual recruiting ideas and strategies, you need to assess the skill gap within your company—then go on to hiring for those particular roles. List down your hiring needs by taking inputs from team leaders of various departments.
Ask them questions like:
- What departments need new talent?
- What skills are the current roles lacking?
- What level of expertise do you need from your candidates?
- How do you plan to build/strengthen your employer brand among student groups?
Based on the answers, your recruiting budget, and ROI targets, chalk out your virtual campus recruiting strategy to meet all your goals.
2. Add more universities to your hiring pool
Now that you have a solid plan in place, the next step is to have a clearly defined set of requirements—to help decide on the universities to target.
The identified list of schools could be based on the job openings, budgets, and diversity policies. Gen Z expects workplaces to be inclusive and as they make up a majority of the targeted workforce of tomorrow, it’s best if your company gets started on its D&I journey soon—not that you need a reason to be naturally inclusive and empathetic.
The more schools, and the more types of schools you can include in your campus recruitment efforts, the more vast and diverse your pipeline will be. Virtual campus recruiting makes it easy to expand your horizons. Take location out of the picture as you don’t have to physically go to these schools, and then build out talent profiles for specific roles that don’t conform to the usual handful of schools. There’s top talent in all of these places.
Related read: 5 Advantages Of University Recruitment
3. Leverage social media to source candidates
Today’s college grads get everything done on their phones. They rely heavily on digital means to get them through the day. Your recruiting strategy for students being virtual is a blessing in disguise! This is how you stand out from the crowd—by leveraging social media for your recruiting efforts.
Splash your job postings on relevant social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram in a creative way that grabs eyeballs. Talk about your brand, what a day at work looks like, what current employees think about your company, showcase your culture, share snappy/fun stories—humanize your company by being authentic.
If you need to build connections with universities that you’re freshly collaborating with but do not have the budget, here’s what you can do. Use Google to search for Dean’s Lists, engineering honors programs, and so on. Search for student awards, competition wins, and membership lists for student organizations. You can get all the relevant student information if you know your way around Boolean search—if you don’t, this article will help you immensely!
4. Show interest in students throughout their time at university
Since your entire campus recruitment is going to be remote, there’s no time like the present to connect with students and keep in touch throughout the year. Supporting a continuous exchange of ideas, opportunities, and information all through their time at the university helps to keep your brand at the forefront when it’s time to begin the actual hiring process.
Here are some innovative college recruiting strategies to nurture students:
Share compelling content about the day-to-day goings on at the workplace to keep your company top of mind. Invite students to read blog posts by, and watch videos of, your employees. Allow them to check you out on social media (which you should’ve been updating regularly). To strengthen your brand, share information about the company via webinars or seminars – the nature of work, new patents, cutting-edge research, and career paths.
Spruce up your careers site and encourage students to sign up for your talent community. Shine the spotlight on your company’s work culture, goals, benefits, and rewards. The visual content could include images, employee videos, or graphics to create a story.
Use customized recruitment campaigns that can answer questions like, What steps are being taken for the mental well-being of employees? What do your employees have to say about the culture—both pre-COVID and now? Segment and target talent by major, university, geography, diversity, and more for better results.
Run workshops and mentorships to help soon-to-be graduates, not just for your targeted students, but for all of them. This helps you keep your finger on the pulse and learn what students are interested in while increasing visibility and trust in your brand.
Offer internship opportunities so students can experience for themselves what it would be like working for your company. Bake in project support and incubation programs as part of their learning process.
5. Diversify your engagement strategy
Conducting one webinar to drive engagement and dusting your hands off would’ve worked in a traditional setting but not anymore. It’s important to plan and host several virtual events throughout the year if you want to keep the students engaged. These are a few virtual recruiting event ideas that are a good place to start:
Hackathons are a great way to connect with students and build relationships with them. They drive engagement and attract top talent. You, as recruiters, can even assess potential candidates’ culture fit as they work with your team during a hackathon.
With tools like HackerEarth, you can not only find qualified developers with hiring challenges but can also engage our 6.5 million strong developer community by hosting hackathons.
Virtual career fairs let you connect with students, collate information, host interviews, and assessments—much like on-campus career fairs. You can design your virtual fairs so they have employer booths that attendees can visit, auditoriums for webinars, and chat rooms where they can network with recruiters, hiring managers, and other company reps to find out about open jobs and the benefits of working for your company
Virtual information sessions like AMAs (Ask Me Anything) with your company’s leadership team, QnAs through chat, employee panels to promote various aspects of your company, and the tried and tested webinars, all serve to pique and hold the interest of your potential candidates, i.e. students. Students look forward to personal interaction with employers and have their doubts cleared, so build in time and capability to field questions.
Related read: Benefits Of Creating A Campus Hiring Strategy In India
6. Identify the most efficient tools to assess future candidates
Skills assessment is the first step to screening potential candidates in online campus recruitment. To handle large volumes of student applications, you need to arm yourself with a good coding assessment tool—that helps you identify the students’ potential by conducting assessments for diverse roles as well as objectively evaluating students based on their skills.
This is where we, at HackerEarth step in! Our coding assessment platform generates a leaderboard after every assessment, allowing recruiters and hiring managers to screen the very best developers with ease. You can upload a job description and create a coding assessment from a library of 13,000+ questions across 80+ skills, within minutes.
Coding interviews mark the culmination of your online campus recruitment. An efficient coding interview tool would have an in-built code editor, video chat, offers pair programming, and automates interview summaries. Pair programming interviews can help employers expedite technical skills assessment by assessing candidates based on real-time programming skills.
Our intelligent online coding interview platform, FaceCode comes with a state-of-the-art collaborative code editor, a built-in question library, HD video chat, a diagram board and so much more. It is completely developer-friendly. Click here to experience it first hand.
Related read: 21 Tech Recruiting Tools To Scale Your Hiring
7. Measure your goals to see if your efforts are paying off
You need to dive deep into analytics from your virtual campus recruiting strategy to figure out what is working and what isn’t. Other than the basic number of attendees metric, there are other factors to take into account before declaring your recruitment drive a success. Here are some things to measure:
- Event attendance numbers
- Students who RSVP’d but didn’t attend
- Do these students engage after the event by responding to follow-up messages and submitting applications?
- Open, click-through, and interested response rates to your emails
- The number of resumes collected and live chat interactions initiated
- The number of qualified candidates per event and college
- The number of hires you made on each campus
- What interview to offer ratio do you get
- How many offers to acceptances do you get
- Retention rates of new hires
Shake up your virtual campus recruiting strategy!
Recruitment strategies for universities do not have to be only career fairs and company presentations. You can play around and add a little spice to your virtual campus recruiting strategy as seen in this article—Gen Z appreciates out-of-the-box efforts to catch their attention.
Be it organizing hackathons to garner engagement, throwing out dress codes to make interviews seem less intimidating, or curating custom campus recruitment strategies, keep experimenting until you find something that works for you. We hope the virtual campus recruiting tips in this article will help you step up your campus recruitment game.
Campus recruiting takes time but it’s worth the wait, don’t you think?
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