Over the past two months, we talked to over 100 customers who have successfully strategized and executed virtual campus recruitment drives. We understood their challenges, solutions, and, most importantly, the key factors that helped them succeed.
The following are the most significant challenges they faced during campus recruitment:
Online campus recruitment is catching on—making it pertinent to invest in campus recruitment software. According to research, 8 out of 10 selected candidates in this new generation decide to offer acceptance posts through online research. In fact, for Gen Z, digitized recruitment is an expectation (as opposed to it being optional). Another survey indicates that an overwhelming “91% of Generation Z claim that technological sophistication would impact their interest in working at a company.”
It's one thing to create a campus recruitment plan and whole another ballgame to measure its efficacy. In fact, as per data by an Aptitude Research Partners study, "Employers who recruit on campus are 3x more likely to improve retention, and 2x more likely to improve engagement and productivity."
In this section, we will list a comprehensive campus recruitment checklist comprising of key campus hiring strategy and the campus hiring process, which you can keep handy to boost your hiring game.
If you think having an on-campus presence is enough to hire the right talent, particularly Gen Z, think again. Understanding gen Z and keeping tabs on their behavior, likes, and habits, among others, is a tricky slope. Research by the Harvard Business Review claims that 72% of millennials hear about companies from friends, 68% from the job board, and 45% from on-campus recruiting events. Plus, 54% of Generation Z candidates won’t apply for a job if they think the company’s recruiting methods are outdated.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating a strategic and logical onboarding plan for non-technical hires:
Some multi-faceted stakeholders are actively involved in driving a scalable campus recruitment process. These include (but are not limited to):
In this section, we will understand some of the key campus recruitment best practices you can embrace and look at a few innovative campus recruitment strategies readily available at your disposal.
Before we deep-dive into the four-step campus recruitment process, it is worth noting that there are two ways to campus recruiting: in-person and virtually.
In this section, we will dive deep into understanding the importance of campus recruitment and how you can establish a robust campus hiring process. According to the Harvard Business Review, a staggering 84% of employers understand and accept the importance of campus recruitment. Yet, one of the biggest challenges lies in driving a scalable yet successful campus hiring strategy.
Let's start with the basics and understand what the campus hiring process entails. Here are a few of its defining characteristics:
In any high-volume hiring process such as campus recruitment, you need to ensure that the people reaching your hiring managers are above the skill benchmarks set as per industry and organizational requirements.
Also read: Our in-house cognitive abilities expert dives deep to determine why cognitive abilities assessment is the first step to campus recruitment. access the study here.
For instance, if you’re hiring for IT roles, some of the parameters you’ll expect your candidates to excel in are logical reasoning, computer fundamentals, coding skills, and more. Moreover, during campus recruitment, you’ll need to assess the potential of the candidate to perform. To assist you with that, we have identified various parameters, for both tech and non-tech roles that will help you spot high-potential candidates.
We have further divided the skills and proficiency level required for some popular roles during campus recruitment. Visit here to learn more.
Long story short, if you want to source, engage, and hire quality interns as well as entry-level candidates for your organization, you need a campus recruitment plan in place. What's most important to remember is that your campus recruitment process can only work if it is an ongoing strategic initiative instead of a one-off activity.
Furthermore, enterprises that focus on the big picture and create a robust talent pipeline for the future will be the ones driving innovation in today's unpredictable hiring landscape. Additionally, contrary to popular opinion, much of the work is still left post-recruitment—you need to monitor the needs of the new hires, understand the gaps in the recruitment process, and gather insights into what's working (and what's not).
Finally, at the heart of successful campus recruitment lies ongoing relationship-building with both colleges and students. From checking in with previous applicants to providing mentorship, there's much ground to cover. However, with the right tactics and strategies, as mentioned in this campus recruitment guide, you can be assured of driving a value-driven recruitment process that provides meaning to the hiring process for both employers and prospective candidates.
The writing is on the wall: Digitizing the recruitment process has emerged as a must-have for organizations as it can offer the following wide-ranging benefits such as:
1. Increased convenience
One of the primary advantages of a digitized recruitment process is the ability to deliver an accelerated and simplified recruitment process. Students have become accustomed to single-click interfaces where they can apply for jobs with just one click (LinkedIn's "Easy Apply" feature is the perfect example of this).
Additionally, candidates want to view the status of their application via an easily accessible dashboard that comes power-packed with updated alerts as well as messages. If you want to elevate your hiring process, make sure to provide a responsive, mobile-friendly design so that candidates can apply on the go.
2. Supercharged efficiency
The recruitment process can be a time-consuming endeavor. This is where campus recruitment software can help in leaps and bounds. It can allow candidates to register in advance and schedule interviews on the platform. This also includes the all-important task of processing resumes and shortlisting candidates (based on GPAs and specific keywords).
This can save your team plenty of time, and they can focus on new hire relationship-building activities that require a "human touch". Further, these tools double up as a centralized place storing all the critical information related to your target base. Finally, you can re-engage candidates with personalized emails and texts and follow up on the right note.
3. Decreased costs
It's no secret that in-person recruiting and entering data manually comes burdened with high costs. By deploying campus recruitment software, you can drive down costs. How? For starters, you can host virtual campus recruiting interviews and shortlist candidates in a digitized analysis of key metrics. You can also market to potential candidates through social media channels and platforms at the click of a button.
4. Improved data-driven metrics
As mentioned earlier, recruiting metrics are central in determining the effectiveness of multiple recruitment strategies. Without real-time insights and a data-driven approach, optimizing your recruitment plan can become a distant dream.
In this section, we will look at some of the time-tested tools you can use to upgrade your campus recruitment toolbox and bring forth a hybrid model of recruitment that caters to the specific digital and intrinsic interests of Gen Z and the millennials:
1. Technological tools: There is a need to start leveraging technology and social media to build an online reputation--before you begin recruiting online.
2. Right digital messaging: Creating engaging content and building relationships with students on diverse social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. can prove to be incredibly advantageous.
3. Screening tool: Leverage the power of the right screening tool to store applicant information and screen them during the online recruitment drive. This will streamline the process and make it more efficient. To screen smarter, put in your requirements such as GPA, internship/work experience, specialization, etc., and get filtered candidates.
4. Automated scheduling: Make use of automated scheduling tools to conduct interviews at the interviewee's as well as the candidate's preference. These tools allow you to sync up the calendars and alert candidates when an interview is scheduled.
Make use of interview scripts and rating scales to implement an objective and structured interview process that is based on standardized criteria instead of randomly chosen questions.
5. Pre-recruitment test: You can also conduct online exams for skill assessment, cultural fit, cognitive skills, aptitude, etc.
6. Video interviews: Mimicking face-to-face interviews, you can conduct live, on-demand video interviews remotely and shortlist candidates quickly and at one-third the cost. This is where video interviewing software like iMocha’s Live Coding Interview comes into the big picture: This tool allows you to conduct interviews in wide-ranging formats--from 1-1 to panel to phone to virtual all-day sessions. Plus, you can manage different time zones and send customized and automated messages both pre and post-interviews.
7. Virtual talent community: Creating an active virtual talent community and sending out regular communication relating to upcoming events, webinars, etc. keeps the conversation flowing. Staying in touch with the candidates throughout the year allows top-of-the-mind recall for your brand.
8. Campus recruitment technology: To encourage greater productivity and a streamlined online recruitment process, you can use ATS platforms such as iCIMS, Lever, Recruitee, etc. that allows you to gather and evaluate candidates’ credentials in real-time and view them on a centralized dashboard. This will empower your talent acquisition team to follow up quickly and access a wide pool of qualified talent at the click of a button. Think of it as accessing an online hub of the early-career talent pipeline.
9. Virtual career fairs and events: Did you know that companies such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, etc., hold virtual career fairs that you can be a part of? You can create recruitment campaigns under the banner of these listing sites, and gain access to a larger-than-usual audience.
The learning: If you wish to secure top talent quickly, efficiently, and economically, using the right cocktail of technological tools will be a smart business (and financial) move. This is why you should invest in campus recruitment software, which can provide invaluable feedback to hiring managers and provide analytics on the war of retention versus recruitment.
That said, a mere 30% of companies have processes in place to measure their recruiting efforts--a fatal error. With multiple strategies and factors affecting its collective success (or failure), it is critical for you to review and monitor the right metrics for successful campus recruitment. This is where embracing a data-driven approach can pay off huge dividends.
According to research by the Harvard Business Review, “Only about a third of U.S. companies report that they monitor whether their hiring practices lead to good employees." Not reviewing your recruitment processes can lead to higher costs and lower ROI. So here are a few questions you need to ask when you're evaluating the recruitment data:
Once you have all the answers at your disposal, think about whether your recruitment efforts align with your business goals to determine the effectiveness of your recruiting strategy. Here is an illustrative example for your reference:
In addition to the recruitment metrics mentioned above, it is important to laser-focus on the skills assessment of students and hires. Here are a few recruitment metrics to consider when assessing candidates for their skills for tech and non-tech roles:
Choosing the right set of recruitment metrics can help you to track the hiring success and optimize the talent gap as needed as resumes typically lie. When it comes to recruiting for non-tech roles, pay special attention to skills assessment using the following metrics:
It is important to know that recruitment strategies for a tech-related role are not accidental or rely heavily on guesswork. Having clearly defined skills assessment metrics in the beginning can empower you to improve the candidate and recruiter experience. Here are a few essential metrics to consider when hiring for a tech role:
The learning: There are literally thousands of questions and recruitment metrics to gauge performance, offer transparency, gather real-time insights, and measure recruitment efficacy via an objective lens. The end goal should be to monitor performance at every step along the recruitment process, drive a data-led hiring process, and analyze growth opportunities as well as areas of weakness. Finally, recruiters should evaluate successes and failures from the whole process instead of looking at the recruitment stages in silos.
Additionally, here are a few other pointers to keep in mind when driving a fool proof campus recruitment plan:
The learning: There is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach when it comes to creating a campus hiring process checklist. Some campus hiring strategies may work for some enterprises, whereas they may not work for others. At the end of the day, you need to create a blueprint that caters to your organizational needs and requirements in real-time.
Clearly, not understanding Gen Z is a mistake. Plus, if your campus recruitment plan is not holistic, to begin with, you are already losing out on potential talent that’s active on other avenues.
To effectively manage Gen Z in the workplace - also known as the online generation - you need to go virtual. In other words, besides having an on-campus recruitment strategy, you also need to focus on driving online campus recruitment. This includes leveraging virtual events such as career fairs and email campaigns that empower organizations to reach out to a more global student base at improved speed and effectiveness. You can also make use of social media channels such as LinkedIn to reach out to top talent, as 94% of job seekers use smartphones to browse or search for jobs online.
Now that you have a good understanding of how Gen Z thinks, let’s look at the top 7 Employee Value Propositions (EVPs) for managing Gen Z in the workplace.
To better cater to Gen Z’s requirements and manage them optimally, some organizations create a dedicated set of Employee Value Propositions that are relevant to their needs. These include:
The learning: For Gen Z, an impactful job translates to effective use of digital technology and tools, powerful relationship-building, and a personalized work experience. Managing them requires a different set of criteria that goes beyond providing ping pong tables or Zumba sessions at work. Campus recruiters need to keep these factors in mind when creating a campus recruitment plan and demonstrate the company’s holistic work culture at every juncture possible.
Instead of waiting for the actual orientation to begin, start onboarding the new hire with small gestures from day zero. You can send them a welcome email or a hand-written note to make them feel appreciated and comfortable.
To relate better with the new hire, you'll need to showcase your brand's backstory and purpose as masterfully as possible. This is where a customized video can help. You'll also need to outline the company structure, management hierarchy, and the new hire's responsibilities and workflows. However, err on caution and stay away from information overload.
Make sure to assign a mentor to the new hire so that the latter can reach out and get their queries addressed. Onboarding is most successful when interpersonal work relationships come into the picture.
It's only natural for the new hire to have a steady stream of questions. This is why you'll need to set up go-to resources and knowledge repositories that clearly talk about the organization's processes, guidelines, regulations, etc.
To ensure that you're always on top of things, create different checklists: checklists for day one, checklists for paperwork, checklists for policies and procedures, checklists for orientation, you get the drift, right?
Every minute your new hire spends on the onboarding process is invaluable with respect to critical information such as the employee's strengths, challenges, etc. So, make sure to collect data at every touchpoint possible and drive better performance.
Moving on, let's look at how you can effectively onboard tech employees remotely. The process is largely the same, with a few changes to the approach:
Step 1: Go beyond the paperwork on day one and provide the requisite work devices and infrastructure.
Instead of focusing solely on the paperwork, payroll, and benefits, demonstrate to the new tech hire how valuable they are. For instance, Netflix asks employees for their preferred laptop choice and configuration before Day One. This kind of thoughtful attention to detail paves the way for a strong onboarding experience.
Step 2: Streamline the induction process and make it mission-oriented.
Technical onboarding can work wonders if the tangible skills are aligned with the company's overall mission. You can conduct 'Get to know the business' sessions during the onboarding process to ensure that the new hire is perfectly acclimatized with the company's broader goals.
Step 3: Introduce the candidate to the job role with a fun yet challenging task.
To instill confidence and drive motivation, Apple employees receive their new iMac and are tasked with setting it up themselves. Creating these kinds of opportunities allows employees to feel accomplished via small-yet-significant wins. This engages them effectively and helps them get used to the work culture.
Step 4: Drive open and honest conversations and assign a buddy.
Often, technical hires are seen relocating to new places with no known acquaintance or family around. This is why assigning a mentor or buddy early in the onboarding process can make the transition easier from a 'social' standpoint. The buddy can also help the new hire bond better with the extended team, technical leaders, and other stakeholders in the organization. Plus, the new hire can speak more openly about any issues they face, creating a feedback-driven environment built on trust and honesty.
The learning: The onboarding process should enable a hyper-personalized experience for every new hire. It should be crafted with immense thought and care. It should keep the new hire engaged with the brand. It should make them feel welcomed and comfortable from the get-go. Hence, organizations must pay special attention to their onboarding strategies to build employee loyalty before day one. Plus, they need to invest in the right digital solutions to streamline the onboarding experience and make it friction-free.
Here's a quick run-through of the diverse tasks and responsibilities a campus recruiter undertakes:
The learning: Remember that all these players and components ultimately come together to play an integral role in driving successful campus recruitment. For a seamless recruitment workflow, the campus recruiter needs to coordinate and communicate with all the key players and manage moving parts from end to end. In simpler words, campus recruitment cannot occur in isolation; it needs a village to make it work.
Instead of trying to build a relationship on the last day of college, focus on relationship-building from the first day itself.
This is what General Electric and Consumers Energy did. The brand was present on move-in day at Michigan State University’s College of Engineering, helping students to move in. The idea was to nurture talent throughout the year instead of doing it once or twice a year.
Ramp up your campus recruiting efforts by creating a dedicated landing page with all the information students might need. For inspiration, take a look at Airbus’ landing page, which offers all the relevant information such as upcoming opportunities, recruitment process, testimonials, etc.
Having a student-focused career page allows your brand to connect better with your target audience and provide a personalized recruiting experience.
If you think handing out flyers can help you get great candidates, think again. LinkedIn’s survey revealed that millennials attribute “innovative and inspiring” work environments as their first choice when job hunting. So catering to this digitally-affluent target base needs to include “tech-savvy recruiting.”
For instance, General Mills stepped up their recruiting game by taking students on a VR tour through the Oculus Rift headset. Students took a tour around the brand’s office and the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area while still on campus.
Additionally, to make your campus hiring more innovative, you can leverage the following:
A. Assessment tools: To boost your hiring quality with respect to cultural fit and performance, you can leverage AI-powered screening assessment tools. These tools can analyze data and predict hiring outcomes accurately. Additionally, these tools can assess students on various factors such as aptitude, domain skills, personality traits, communication skills, etc. Such tools are extremely effective in gauging candidate potential and accelerating the pace of hiring.
B. Simulator-based screening: If you wish to assess the candidate’s coding skills and problem-solving capabilities, you can invest in simulator-based tests. These ultra-powerful data-driven tools can mimic real-life scenarios and effectively test candidates’ technical skills.
C. Virtual interviews: With COVID-19 creating havoc and mandating social distancing, virtual interviews have become all the rage. To add structure and order to the campus recruitment process, you can use video-driven, location-agnostic tools and conduct virtual interviews with relative ease. For non-technical roles, you can structure the interview questions based on your organization’s competency needs and current requirements. To hire for technical roles, you can use an online interview platform that is embedded with a coding simulator. This can significantly expedite the hiring process for tech roles.
To build a rapport with students, you need to create an informal environment while recruiting. You can schedule lunches with students and existing employees of the company, allowing the former to understand the company better.
You can have students shadow members of your team.
For example, Odgers Berndtson spearheads the “CEO for a Day” program, empowering 18 promising future leaders (students) to spend the day with the CEO of companies such as Ikea, Cisco, GE, Twitter, Cineplex, etc.
If you do not have the budget to source candidates internationally, hackathons can help. Not only will you get access to multiple potential applicants at once, but you can also understand if a candidate is the right cultural fit for your company.
On the other hand, hosting a webinar allows you to demonstrate to your target base what to expect from the recruitment process and hold a Q&A session with hiring managers.
The learning: Campus recruitment goes above and beyond career fairs and boring company presentations. You need to continuously revisit your recruitment strategy and keep your initiatives tech-driven and student-oriented for the best results. Follow the campus recruitment best practices outlined above and rise above the competition.
Plus, you need to remember that your campus recruitment strategy needs to be different for tech and non-tech roles. In simpler words, a homogenous strategy will fail. Here's how you can drive a rock-solid campus recruitment strategy for non-tech hires and tech hires separately.
Step 1: Create a talent pool and establish career fair goals
First and foremost, you'll need to understand what's the ultimate goal of conducting the campus recruitment drive. Then, you'll need to create a list of colleges/schools to recruit from--based on your relationship with the on-campus organizations and the career centers. When making the college list, make sure to factor in elements such as geography and industry. You should also track university partnerships to get quality hires. A campus recruitment software can help you in this regard by providing insights into which universities are offering quality hires over time.
Step 2: Choose the right representatives and engage candidates impactfully.
Next, you'll need to think about the various unique opportunities at your disposal to drive student interaction. You want to leave a great first impression. Hence, your company representatives should be enthusiastic, outgoing, and knowledgeable about the brand. To engage with students, create an alumni program where your employee is an ex-alumnus from the target school. This can skyrocket the potential candidate's trust and confidence in the company as they will be able to relate better with their 'senior' (for lack of a better term).
Step 3: Promote the recruitment drive on diverse platforms.
For a winning campus recruitment plan, you need to create the right buzz before it begins. You can share registration and sign-up links on social media using campus recruitment software. Ensure to embed a 'share' option and encourage potential candidates to share it on their social media handles. You can also create a dedicated section on the careers segment of your website and allow candidates to upload their resumes and register from beforehand. Finally, you can create a customized email campaign that promotes the career event creatively. Make sure to rope in your marketing team to streamline the marketing process. For inspiration, take a look at PwC Singapore's 'Ask me anything' campus recruitment video, which offers useful information that candidates will not find anywhere else on the internet:
Step 4: Use the right software to streamline the hiring process.
Invest in campus recruitment software to gather candidate information, screen and interview the top candidates, and extend an offer letter. Make sure that your onboarding process is value-driven, logical, and clearly outlines the benefits that will come with the job. Campus recruitment apps and software empower brands to interact with candidates at the click of a button. Plus, they can filter candidates and follow-up with the right fit at an accelerated time pace.
Step 5: Analyze campus recruitment metrics:
Finally, you need to evaluate the successes and failures of the campus recruitment process to gauge where there's room for improvement. The campus recruitment software can provide insights into areas of weakness and help you to improve the process.
Next up, we will discuss helpful strategies to recruit tech hires on campus (or online).
Also read: How Netflix, Unilever, and Roche reduce time-to-hire for high-volume roles
While most of the campus recruitment steps outlined above stand true for tech hires, there are a few initiatives you can try to engage with them better:
The learning: As simplistic as the campus recruitment process sounds, there are numerous factors and touchpoints to consider for it to be a resounding success, especially if you're hiring for technical and non-technical hires. Each segment has different elements to consider. It is also important to keep an eye out for the emerging campus recruitment trends taking place every year. As a pro tip, to make the most out of your recruitment drive, you can complement your on-campus activities with digital campus recruitment. Plus, keep a pulse on the latest trends for campus recruitment
Additionally, organizations are typically seen navigating a five-part challenge, which includes:
This is where a 360-degree tech-driven campus hiring strategy can lend a helping hand by enabling a structured interview process and shortlisting candidates.
Moving on, let's get to the part where we talk about why campus hiring should be a critical component of your campus recruitment plan and how technology is revolutionizing this space--one hire at a time.
1. You need fresh, undiscovered talent: Data reveals that about one-quarter of CFOs are engaging more in entry-level university recruitment than they did five years ago. In other words, the market is increasingly dependent on freshers and young talent as they can bring new knowledge, skills, and perspectives to the table- this can be invaluable for the company as fresh-out-of-college students are well-versed with the latest trends and technologies, which can eventually lead to the next "big idea."
2. Entry-level graduates are quick learners: Recent graduates are better (and quicker) learners. While no defining data proves this, the fact that Gen Z is tech-savvy works in their favor. They can analyze, perform, and follow-through instructions better. Furthermore, they can multi-task and adapt more quickly. All in all, if you want employees with unparalleled technical skills and a better grasp of the digital landscape, hiring fresh graduates is a sound business choice.
3. Young talents are driven and highly motivated: Graduates just starting out on their career journey are arguably more motivated and "pumped" to prove themselves. They are not only more interested in impressing their seniors but are also more willing to help co-workers more often than necessary. This makes them excellent team players for any organization. Furthermore, millennials are known to have better retention rates as they feel a deep sense of gratitude and thankfulness for their first employer. This group is also looking out for mentors and role models, making them ideal employees, willing to learn every step of the way.
At this point, you might be wondering how can one elevate their campus recruitment process. We have one word for you- technology!
To understand this better, let's look at Google's robust campus hiring strategy and how the company aces campus recruitment on multi-dimensional levels:
One, the brand offers student scholarships to support and inspire pursuing careers in technology. In 2021 alone, the brand has sponsored multiple students from 145 universities across 25 countries globally.
Two, the brand uses technology (aka its website) to demonstrate how interns, alumni, etc. entered the company and even highlights important tips on cracking the interview:
This creates more awareness and interest among college students as they can benefit from the interviews of Googlers and kick-start their career on the right foot:
Three, the company has a "Virtual Career Fair" section on its website, which redirects to a YouTube page with access to useful sessions from the career fair:
Finally, Google makes use of a plethora of digital platforms—from YouTube to blogs—to dispense knowledge on how the brand hires. It goes the extra mile to talk about the company's hiring culture as well as strategies in place so that first-time employees can formulate a more informed career decision.
The learning: As per data, a staggering 4 million college students graduate each year, and generation Z is expected to make up 30% of the workforce by 2030. Not tapping into this talent pool with the right mix of digital technologies and offline strategies is a mistake enterprise cannot afford to make. In other words, creating a mix of a strategic campus recruitment strategy and setting into motion a step-by-step digitally-driven campus hiring process is the need of the hour, especially if you have a high volume of recruitment needs to cater to round-the-clock. If you tap into the right talent pool, recent graduates can turn out to be a gold mine for your business.
To that end, let's understand what it takes to build a rock-solid campus hiring strategy.
Learn about the challenges faced by recruiters and hiring managers during campus recruitment. Visit here.
The learning: Your campus hiring strategy, when done right, emerges as a win-win-win scenario for the employer, the university, and the candidate. The employer can benefit from sourcing the right talent, the candidate benefits from landing a stellar job, and the university benefits from positive word-of-mouth publicity--owing to a personalized campus hiring process.