To say that everything changed in March 2020 would be a significant understatement-- our homes became our offices, we only made contact with others through the filter of a mask and classrooms turned to virtual learning environments to combat the potentially deadly effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic may be ebbing, but that doesn't mean the changes it brought will disappear. On the contrary, outcomes of the pandemic are here to stay with changes in recruiting strategy among them.
If you're recruiting from campuses this fall, be ready to meet students where they are – which is virtually anywhere.
We spoke with Marc Goldman, the executive director of Career Engagement at Gettysburg College, a while back. He shared some actionable insights about the current state of recruiting on college campuses in a (hopefully) post-pandemic world.
His biggest insight?
Virtual is here to stay!
Goldman said that Gettysburg College had considered getting rid of job fairs altogether-- even before COVID-19.
"As a small liberal arts college, geographically not in an urban center, from an ROI perspective, bang for your buck, recruiters might not pick us as a place to go."
With the option to go virtual, recruiters are changing how they approach campus recruiting.
"They're following this sort of agnostic recruiting philosophy, 'it doesn't matter what school you're from…we want to find good candidates wherever they are.'"
With the option to recruit virtually, recruiters can expand target schools beyond a few core programs. They can focus on getting the best candidates for their open positions regardless of the size or location of the school. Many recruiters are also seeing more diverse applicants as a result.
Recruiters not only reach more schools with a virtual first philosophy, but they also reach more students within those schools.
In what feels like a distant past, students had to be on campus at a specific date and time to take advantage of career fairs, information sessions or other recruiting programs. With virtual events, recruiters can reach students who may live off campus, have a packed schedule, or can't get to the fair due to accessibility issues.
Going virtual first allows recruiters to find the best and brightest candidates for their open positions- regardless of their location and ability or willingness to attend in-person events.
Not to mention that students often prefer a virtual first environment, as the members of Generation Z have grown up with technology at their fingertips.
Gen Z candidates across the board prefer virtual events. "Students who signed up for a virtual fair session in fall 2020 were almost 10 percentage points more likely to attend than students who registered for an in-person fair in fall 2019."
Studies show that Gen Z prefers to learn new information through digital resources! So when they're looking to research their next steps after school, you can bet that they'll be online. If you're only offering in-person events or resources, you'll miss out on a considerable portion of the student population looking for a new position.
Virtual recruiting sounds pretty great, right? There are a lot of benefits to recruiting virtually, but there are some pitfalls too! It might take some getting used to, and it certainly requires different skills. Recruiting virtually is a new way of doing things that may require adjustment and adaptability— but we're here to help.
One of the hardest things about recruiting virtually is that your efforts can fall through the cracks. Because you're not directly in front of students, they may not give you their full attention. If you're sending out email newsletters or advertising on school forums, it is pretty easy for students to ignore.
But there is one digital medium that does wonders for engagement and it just happens to be the way Gen Z prefers to learn!
Video. We mentioned that Gen Z looks to digital resources to learn something new and that's true! Their first resource is Google, which is expected. But what you may not know is second to Google and growing in popularity is YouTube! Gen Z prefers to learn through video, AND if your video tells a fascinating, engaging story, students will even share it with their friends and classmates on campus!
That sounds great, but making compelling video content can be incredibly difficult.
That's why we're excited to see campus recruiters starting to use WorkReels to make and share videos. WorkReels is the ideal way for campus recruiters to create compelling videos.
WorkReels uses pre-built templates called Storylines to collect raw video clips from current company employees. WorkReels editors then take these clips and transform them into a package of videos that function much like a campus information session – sharing the perspective of recent graduates who started with a company and descriptions of what's unique about beginning a career there.
So how exactly does it work?
A campus recruiter signs up for WorkReels, invites a few co-workers to help film, selects the right content for the video and WorkReels takes it from there. We deliver four videos for your use on social media, your jobs page, or really wherever you see fit!
If you're a campus recruiter, sign up your company for WorkReels here: https://app.workreels.com/#/register-user.
A company’s employer brand is simply the perception people outside of a company have about what it’s like to work there – whether it’s accurate or not!