Virtual recruitment in 2020 and beyond

Jul 27, 2020 | Attraction & marketing

Campuses are empty and students are crying out for support, Rowena Bach from PeopleScout considers how we should recruit them.

Before Covid-19 campus activity was a great way to contact students, get them engaged and make a lasting impact. Businesses across a huge range of sectors would regularly pitch up to impress the latest cohort and there was a real sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) if your company didn’t attend.

Today, even the most seasoned talent recruiters find themselves in unchartered territory. While everyone’s primary concern is the safety of candidates and staff, keeping the talent acquisition function moving is essential. But now that nobody’s on campus, what’s the best way to recruit students?

Consider your audience

When deciding on your digital strategy, it’s important to appreciate what kind of jobs market graduates are entering and how this will affect their decisions and behaviours.

University students are facing a worse jobs market than in 2008 – 70% of students believe Covid-19 will affect their career prospects (Dig-in), more than two thirds have had job offers withdrawn (Bright Network YouGov) and a third are confident of getting a job compared with 49% pre-Covid (Bright Network YouGov). A key lesson to be learned is one of trust. It’s vital to assure candidates that your offers won’t disappear.

Digital dos and don’ts

Students expect to be engaged in their time and on their terms. It’s essential that the messages and media you use are right for your audience.

Use data to see where your candidates are coming from and focus on the persona and type of person you want to recruit. It’s a balance of resource and budget, but a thorough analysis of your target market can produce huge returns on a relatively small investment.

Digital is also a great opportunity to move towards a social recruitment, talent pooling strategy. With up-to-date personas, you can create effective campaigns that speak to students as individuals, and use savvy brand and social activity to draw them to an online event.

If you decide to host an event, try to answer key questions and allay fears. A focus group can reveal which areas to concentrate on. Shaping the event in a way that allows you to collect data but also build your brand is important. After the event, encourage candidates to apply and support them with their application.

With everyone going digital, there’s a danger of virtual fatigue. Whatever your medium and message, make them personal, playful and memorable. They must leave you feeling confident and inspired.

Here to stay

Travel restrictions and limited capacity venues are likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Students will be wary of attending physical events in large numbers. This means that hybrid strategies and virtual efforts are here to stay. What’s more, investment made in virtual activity today won’t be lost as lockdown eases.

While virtual events won’t be exactly the same as on campus, creating a stand-out experience will be crucial. And remember, although the virtual world has no physical boundaries, it’s going to be crowded.

Was this article helpful?


Share This