2022 and beyond sees huge disruption to recruitment and hiring. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of virtual recruitment and hiring across all levels. Business needs are evolving rapidly, and recruitment strategies should adapt quickly to satisfy changing business expectations and objectives.
The pandemic majorly disrupted work trends, and many of them are here to stay. These workplace disruptions have caused significant shifts in HR operations, with recruitment being no exception. Organisations need employees who can support critical workflows and this requires them to be focussed on skills rather than on roles. They need to encourage employees to be multi-skilled; which dictates that recruitment practices go beyond the traditional talent pool. At the same time, the pandemic has also caused a radical change in employee expectations. Organisations need to step up and revise the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to attract and retain the best talent.
The “now normal” requires that hiring practices cater to the evolved ecosystem. A solid campus recruitment program is an essential part of a comprehensive recruitment strategy. Campus recruitment offers companies the opportunity to build their employer brand with a young audience, and hire a high-energy and diverse workforce at a lower cost-per-hire.
Campus recruitment: Then and now
The pre-Covid campus recruitment scenario — HR folks visiting campuses to promote events, a steady stream of students attending assessments and interviews, and recruiters in campuses making presentations in an attempt to recruit top talent from colleges — all these seem like a distant past. Geographical distance, time and logistics were limitations. While virtual recruitment platforms were available even then, the pandemic transmuted them to a necessity and accelerated their adoption.
Recruitment is the first step in employee experience. During the pandemic, campus recruitment used technology as a backbone to hiring. Post-Covid, it is quite clear that virtual and hybrid campus recruitment are here to stay. The normalisation of remote and hybrid models of working means that companies can expand their geographical reach to candidates using virtual recruitment platforms. Companies can contact candidates at top universities and college campuses, and hire the best of the best, without having to worry about where they are located. However, to attract Gen Z, companies need to up their ante with custom campus recruitment solutions that will make them sit up and take notice.
Campus hiring: Trends and Strategies
As companies undergo digital transformation and realign themselves to become adaptable, flexible and resilient, they also need to hire a future-ready workforce. Hiring top talent from campuses requires a well-founded campus recruitment strategy.
Let’s take a look at some of the campus recruiting trends that are here to stay.
There is an increased focus on employer branding. Getting top quality job applicants from campuses requires that companies build a positive employer brand. To do so, companies need to look beyond traditional campus recruitment practices such as job fairs, presentations and sponsoring college fests. Keeping in mind that Gen Y and Z are digital natives, brands need to build a strong online presence. Virtual tours of the office, webinars and short reels or stories on social media will attract potential candidates. Arranging virtual informal interactions with employees will help college grads understand the organisation. Hackathons will help tech companies establish their brand and get the right candidates for the job. Sponsoring college fests and providing internship opportunities are other ways to hire top talent.
Companies can now recruit from a diversified talent pool. Virtual recruitment has now become the path to pursue. Companies are no longer limited by distance; they can source candidates irrespective of their location. With virtual and hybrid working models here to stay, companies can reach out to top talent from a wider pool and hunt for candidates with the right skill set, without having to worry about candidate location. They can now look at hiring from the perspective of skills requirement rather than seek candidates to merely fill an open position. They can reach out to candidates via a variety of channels including college bulletin boards, virtual groups and social media platforms. Omnichannel recruitment helps companies to touch base with remote candidates.
The GPA influence is waning. There have been huge disruptions to business in the recent past. This has made employers aware that, in the long run, hiring multi-skilled people who are flexible is more beneficial than hiring the brightest candidate with the highest grade point average. Accordingly, in campus recruitment, recruiters have started looking for cultural fitment and a holistic skill set so that young talent can be moulded based on business needs. Internship within the organisation or in a relevant industry has a high influence on hiring decisions, as employers can see candidate capability first-hand. Employers are now focussing on candidate potential as against candidate credentials.
Apart from internship experience, the candidate’s major at university, extra-curricular activities and any other work experience are beginning to count too. Attributes such as team-working abilities, problem-solving skills, verbal and written communication skills, analytical and technical skills, work ethics, leadership and organisational skills, flexibility and adaptability are starting to feature in the must-have criteria for selecting candidates.
EVP matters. Today’s college graduates have high expectations of the company that they work for. Employee Value Proposition (EVP) refers to the promises made by the organisation to the employees about the benefits that they will receive in return for their commitment to the company. Apart from monetary benefits, young employees are looking for autonomy and flexibility. In a remote and hybrid working scenario, a vending machine or ping pong table no longer holds value, and companies need to have a concrete EVP, which can become a deciding factor for candidates. So organisations need to consciously rethink the EVP.
Gen Z’s workplace expectations include a well-defined career path, working for brands that are in line with their values and offer flexible working models and schedules, besides opportunities for continuous learning. Studies show that Gen Z is more aware of diversity in both race and gender; so workplace diversity and inclusion should be highlighted in the EVP and the employee handbook.
Gen Z also looks for support during times of crisis. Well-detailed wellness programs and mental health support may tilt the balance in your favour. Organisations that are open to and ready to fulfil most of these expectations will remain as the top prospective employers for recent graduates. While it is not necessary to bend over backwards to satisfy all expectations, it is a good idea to study and understand what young college graduates are looking for, and attempt to incorporate reasonable demands.
Virtual and hybrid recruitment are here to stay: While the all-encompassing adoption of virtual recruitment was necessitated by the pandemic, hybrid recruitment is becoming popular as the effects of the pandemic are waning. Organisations would do well to redefine recruitment strategies to include virtual and hybrid recruitment, keeping the long-term perspective in mind, and also plan for technology infrastructure for online hiring. From the perspective of campus recruitment which is a large-volume and complex activity, it will lend flexibility to talent acquisition, offer a better reach to a wider talent pool, and prove cost effective.
Both virtual and hybrid recruitment offer several benefits. A robust campus recruitment platform that can handle high-volume recruitment and end-to-end automation will cover many aspects such as automatic workflows, AI-based online assessments, remote proctoring and seamless candidate experience with automated communication. It will let recruitment staff focus on the critical aspects of planning. A hybrid model of recruitment offers the flexibility of conducting assessments and the initial round of interviews online, on the campus hiring platform, while asking short-listed candidates to appear in-person for final rounds of interviews. Onboarding can be online or offline, depending on the candidate location and company policies.
Catch them young
Companies need a solid campus recruitment strategy to build a workforce of the future. The virtual and hybrid working models necessitate revamping of traditional campus recruitment as we knew it. The pandemic has shaken up the ecosystem, and the changes are going to be long-lasting. Hiring needs to be aligned with business goals, and HR staff need to work with business functions to understand gaps and skill requirements. Recruitment teams need to be agile to keep pace with rapidly evolving business needs.
As with the hybrid working model, recruitment too is going to be partially online and partially on-site. Internal teams will need to be “prepped” to handle hybrid recruitment. Fresh recruitment workflows will be necessary so that responsibility and accountability are maintained in the system. A strong and robust technology platform that provides a seamless hiring experience, will provide recruitment teams the necessary agility to straddle both worlds. For instance, coding and functional assessments could be conducted online, whereas interviews could be in-person. With HirePro’s end-to-end custom campus recruitment and university hiring solutions, recruitment teams have the flexibility and agility to conduct both virtual and hybrid campus recruitment.
An adaptable and flexible hiring organisation will support the future workplace. To capture top college talent, hybrid recruitment will help companies engage with candidates both in-campus, and online. Companies are increasingly using robust technology platforms to support new hiring trends. While technology gives organisations the flexibility to conduct both virtual and hybrid campus recruitment, they also need to adapt their internal processes and engage with potential candidates to hire the best college graduates.