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What Is Campus Recruiting?

On face-value campus recruiting is a self-explanatory concept; the process of attracting, engaging and employing the next generation of graduate talent, typically on campus during the spring and fall semesters. However, building a successful strategy that delivers is not as simple as just having a stall at a career fair and hoping for the best. Although career fairs are a pivotal element of campus recruiting, taking control of the journey from initial engagement through to follow up can often make or break a strategy.

Equally, even though job fairs sit at the heart of most strategies, activities that surround these fairs such as on-campus information sessions, alumni referrals, student group networking and, most importantly, online outreach make up a broader strategy. The focus on these additional activities has been amplified by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and has forced campus recruitment strategies to be revised to evolve with the times. This has given rise to online events, video interviewing and other forms of online engagement that hone the employer brand.

Whether looking for internships, entry-level roles or graduate schemes, organizations have not stopped putting emphasis on sourcing the best and brightest to become their future leaders. So, why do so many organizations consider campus recruiting to be such a crucial part of their talent strategy:

The retention rate of college graduate hires:

  • After one year:        93.6 percent
  • After three years:    73.3 percent
  • After five years:       62.9 percent

In addition:

Sixty percent of new hires in last 12 months were new graduates.

Over 49.5 percent of new hires are from on-campus interviews.

NACE 2019 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report

Campus Recruitment During COVID-19?

Though many things have changed since the beginning of the pandemic, the good news is that the fundamentals remain the same: organizations are looking to attract and engage the most talented graduates. Even with internships, companies are doing their best to adapt to the current state of the workplace, with 42 percent of employers moving their internship programs virtual and 40 percent reducing the length of the internships or delaying the start date to ensure they can still go ahead.

As the demand for graduate talent hasn’t waned but the traditional methods to engage with them have, the rise of virtual events and video conferences was somewhat an inevitability. The reduction in face-to-face career fairs could have caused considerable disruption, however, with the move to make graduate fairs and recruitment events virtual many are side stepping this obstacle. Luckily, as these activities are aimed at a digital-native generation, the transition to digital events, conferences and interviews has been relatively smooth.

Even though there will always be demand for in-person interaction, there are substantial benefits to having more virtual events. From reduced costs and a larger ROI to the ability to connect with a wider candidate base, online events allow for less time setting up and more time in front of potential candidates, albeit virtually.

To this end, earlier this year Avature released its video platform, a solution designed to keep the flow of top talent while adhering to social distancing protocols. From facilitating virtual interviews to empowering online events, Avature video can be combined with any other solution to enrich the candidate experience.

The Campus Candidate Journey

Regardless of how your campus recruiting activity is carried out, one thing that has remained a constant is the candidate journey. How are you engaging candidates before the event, managing and segmenting them during the event, and following up with them after? These activities should be emphasized more than ever given the reduction of in-person contact.

What you have lost in terms of face-to-face interaction should be made up in solid communication and engagement techniques. So, what are the key steps to bear in mind:

Getting your ducks in a row

It’s common for campus recruitment teams to have several programs and roles they’re trying to fill at any one time and it is important to have the resources to manage these effectively and simultaneously. Many teams are still working off excel spreadsheets, amalgamating resumes from various sources or typing up feedback notes from several scraps of paper which can waste valuable time; finding the right technology can streamline these tasks. This is exactly what Viasat was trying to achieve when they chose to leverage Avature’s technology through a centralized feedback portal, speeding up their ability to identify the strongest candidates and freeing up recruiters from time-consuming tasks to focus on what’s important.

Be seen on social media

Social media speaks for itself when it comes to marketing and engagement. With the average person spending over two hours and 20 minutes on social media a day, sculpting your unique message across your chosen platforms and taking time to target the graduates will help fill your talent pools. This is also a great way of creating a buzz and spreading the word prior to your upcoming event. This can sit alongside any regular recruitment marketing efforts you are already carrying out.

Make your employer brand shine

Once the student or graduate has shown interest in you, ensuring your employer brand is front and centre could be the deal maker or breaker with 75 percent of candidates likely to research a company’s reputation before applying to a job opening. Whether they are registering for an event, applying for a role or just looking to find out more, make sure they are coming into contact with your own branded portals, landing pages and communications. This is why Encompass Health decided to design a unique, branded landing page for each of their Facebook ads, creating a unique and enhanced candidate experience for their audience and subsequently improving their talent pooling and segmentation.

Event segmentation

At any event, virtual or otherwise, don’t forget to prepare for the fact that you are going to receive an influx of candidate data in a short space of time. This coupled with the desire to process this information and share the strongest profiles with the business efficiently is really where your campus recruiting technology platform can deliver a competitive advantage. Keen to tap into this opportunity Encompass Health implemented a branded onsite portal that allows recruiters to rapidly enter new leads into their system and leave confidential feedback directly within the person record.

Move away from legacy systems like excel spreadsheets, loose notes and manual segmentation. Find technology that allows you to make quick notes on a shared platform, automatically separate candidates into relevant pipelines and share them with the right hiring managers in a timely manner. This will put you in the best position to hit the ground running once the event is over and you have follow ups to carry out.

Be first to follow up

As campus recruiting is a competitive world, top candidates are likely to be engaging with other brands and the race is on to seal the deal with your favourites as soon as you can. So, this is where all the hard work of recruitment marketing, attracting, engaging, screening, and segmenting comes into its own. A priority should be given to timely, tailored responses and having your candidates already segmented can cut hours off this process. Set up automated workflows to trigger an invitation to schedule an interview, apply for a specific program or to attend an upcoming event for top talent.

Be sure to be clear about next steps and cover off potential queries and information that might be useful for them. As the most sought after talent will be receiving content from all angles, making yours shine with tailored messages really is a priority.

The Future of Campus Recruiting

As things stand, virtual events will be the staple of campus recruitment for the foreseeable future, but are also likely to play a big part in strategies even once face-to-face meet ups are permitted once again.

COVID or not, the key to successful campus recruiting is delivering a stand-out experience that captures attention and interest before, during and after the event. Those organizations that do so most effectively are leveraging technology that facilitates speed and agility when it comes to follow-up communications or the ability to react quickly with interview scheduling. On top of this the right platform can create a high-touch experience without the burden of more admin work for recruiters with capabilities that allow you to both automate and personalize elements of the process, such as emails and workflows.

As face-to-face events are currently off the table, making sure the online experience lives up to expectations relies even more heavily on solid technology. There’s an increased importance in giving candidates a taste of what life is like at your company, so rich media content in emails, an attractive career site and an easy and impressive application experience is a great way of putting your best foot forward.