How employers can use virtual campus recruiting to connect with students

Aug 07, 2020 - Cat DiStasio

Virtual campus recruiting events are on the rise, and there’s no question why. Employers have always enjoyed the benefits of participating in university career fairs to connect with up and coming talent, but in-person career events can be expensive and time consuming. And now, amid a global pandemic, in-person events have been cancelled and moved online to help keep everyone safe and healthy.

Virtual campus recruiting events offer all the same perks, and then some

Compared with traditional recruiting methods, virtual campus recruiting events offer employers a ton of benefits. They help you connect with more candidates than you otherwise would, for starters. That makes virtual career fairs a good way to pre-screen candidates in the fall and expand your talent database to help you fill positions weeks or even months down the road.

Virtual campus recruiting is also a convenient option, both for employers and recruiting teams as well as job seekers. The best virtual career fair platforms support connections from a wide variety of devices, so candidates can join events even if all they have is a smartphone. Platforms that are easy to use help employers attract better talent and virtual campus recruiting events in particular help organizations tap into eager talent markets with more motivated, available candidates.

If your recruiting needs center around entry level positions, recent grads are your target talent pool. Virtual campus recruiting supplements other recruitment marketing efforts, like content and social media activity.

The real kicker is that employers get all of this for a better value than traditional campus recruiting and in-person career fairs. Virtual recruiting events are a lot more cost effective than other options, especially when you consider that there are no venue fees or travel costs. Employers should be prepared to pay for the privilege of participating in a university-hosted virtual career fair, but the cost is still much lower than in-person events. Organizations can also host their own virtual career fairs and partner with universities to recruit their students, either by hosting one event per university or having multiple universities at one event. Choose the approach that makes the most sense for your recruiting needs, whether you’re trying to target students by skills or geographic region.

Keys to virtual campus recruiting success

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of virtual campus recruiting is marketing. Luckily, most universities’ career services departments are more than happy to promote employer events to their students and alumnus. Employers can also tap into job site networks, like WayUp, which have millions of students and a diverse candidate pool.

Knowing your event will be well attended is half the battle. Another key piece takes place within your organization, behind the scenes. Your recruiting team may already be well versed in conducting virtual interviews but if you’re inviting hiring managers to participate in your virtual events, you need to make sure they’re prepared as well. Make sure your hiring managers receive appropriate training in interview skills as well as the virtual career fair platform. Hold a sandbox session before the live event so they can get accustomed to navigating the platform. Identify super users on your talent acquisition team who can train hiring managers, and be available during the event to help anyone who encounters any issues.

Building relationships with student candidates

Just like all your other recruiting efforts, successfully recruiting student talent relies on building relationships. Virtual campus recruiting tools make it easy to make an initial connection and engage with candidates but many employers don’t realize that there’s a lot more to it. The best virtual recruiting event platforms allow employers to make notes on candidate profiles, which helps route talent through the recruiting funnel. Ideal platforms also offer automated tools for following up with candidates after recruiting events to ask for feedback, set appointments for interviews, and communicate about other next steps. Having all that information in one place helps recruiters and hiring managers continue fostering relationships based on trust and transparency, and ultimately leads to better hires.

Connecting with student talent in the virtual world

Employers must pivot quickly to keep competing for top talent during the current pandemic, and in the post-COVID era. Job seekers, especially those in the younger generations, will continue relying on virtual options for their ease and convenience, as well as for safety. Virtual campus recruiting offers employers an extensive list of benefits, compared with traditional recruiting methods, and if approached wisely, employers can stretch their recruiting budgets further while netting even better results.

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