Going phygital with campus hiring

Campus recruitment has always been challenging for recruiters, given the logistics,  high-volume hiring and complexity of workflows involved. When the pandemic forced this huge exercise to go remote, recruiters began appreciating the power of digital technology to speed up hiring processes and reduce costs. Now, with pandemic restrictions gone, recruiters everywhere are embracing “phygital”, combining the best of both worlds, physical and digital.  For campus recruiters in particular, phygital campus engagement offers immense advantages. Let us see how it works.

As companies adopt the hybrid mode of working, they’re moving towards a new normal – phygital hiring – the combination of digital and physical hiring. (HirePro’s market study on remote recruitment, Feb 2023)

“The hybrid model of recruitment is the future. On our campus only 4% of recruitments were done offline. Only small and local companies prefer the offline mode.” Rashmi Bhandari, Dean of Placement, Sahyadri College of Engg. & Management in The Times of India


  Phygital campus engagement: benefits and drawbacks 

On the digital front, AI-powered platforms offer a host of gains for large-scale campus hiring:

  • Time saved on logistics and travel
  • Cost on junior-level recruitment reduced
  • Access to diverse and high-quality talent across geographies widened
  • Bias during selection eliminated
  • Screening time reduced
  • Organisation positioned as innovative and future-ready, giving it a competitive advantage

There is a downside too. A recent HirePro market study highlighted employers’ concerns about candidates engaging in malpractices during online testing and interviews. At the candidates’ end, poor digital infrastructure can be frustrating.

Nevertheless, with the pluses outnumbering the minuses, phygital hiring will continue to gain traction.

Phygital/hybrid hiring processes

Going phygital with campus hiring width=2560

Going phygital involves tweaking campus hiring methods. Here are three possible approaches:

  • Blended: Recruiters adopt a mix of online and offline hiring processes, for example, video-call interviews for initial screening, followed by in-person meetings with shortlisted candidates in the final phase.
  • Composite: Here, employers parallelly organise hybrid events. A company may opt to conduct virtual career fairs for Grade 2 and 3 colleges to save on time and cost while simultaneously organising on-campus interviews for Grade 1 institutions.
    Including a virtual component offers another advantage—recruitment teams can approach colleges that were previously ignored because of prohibitive travel costs.
  • Synchronous: Here, physical and virtual components are combined for the same event. For example, not all candidates may be able to attend an on-campus hiring event. Giving such students the option to connect virtually to the campus recruitment team widens recruiters’ access to candidates.

In practice, wise employers pick the phygital process that suits them best or consider a mix-and-match strategy.

Best practices for phygital campus engagement

Transitioning from physical to phygital is not a cakewalk! Here are some ideas that can help:

Transition smoothly from offline to phygital 

  • Communicate the transition process clearly to your campus coordinator in terms of dates and the events to be conducted in-person or virtually.
  • Select a reputable online platform to seamlessly manage your entire workflow, including assessments with proctoring to prevent malpractice during initial screening.

Choose the right recruitment software

For the digital part of your strategy, select an appropriate campus hiring workflow  software to test candidates in a virtual environment. Automated processes also ease your tasks. For example:

  • Assessment software helps you develop and send a test to students to facilitate screening.
  • Automated email messages help to maintain consistent communication with job applicants. You can, for instance, create messaging content appropriate for each stage of recruitment to improve candidate engagement.

Promote your phygital campus event on social media

Millennials and Gen-Z candidates spend vast amounts of time on social media platforms. Hence, a social media strategy,  besides conventional on-campus promotions, is a must. Some ways to reach your target audience:

  • Share posts on employment-related platforms like LinkedIn and WhatsApp groups frequented by university students.
  • Create informal videos featuring your employees. Discuss the positives of working for your organisation. Share these on Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn or university Facebook pages.
  • Your present workforce is your best ambassador.  Ask your employers to share information about the phygital event on their preferred social media.

Build your employer brand

To attract high-quality talent during campus hiring events, companies must strengthen their employer brand. It is no secret that millennial and Gen Z job seekers extensively research potential employers before making a choice.  Your organisation’s commitments to diversity and inclusion, larger social issues, employees’ mental health and career development, etc. all count towards determining whether you are a suitable employer.  To amplify your employer brand, you could:

  • Organise on-campus programmes such as workshops, seminars or a virtual discussion on LinkedIn on topics close to Gen Z  to showcase the company’s values and ethos.
  • Share comments from your employees on social media about their working experiences and perceptions of your office culture.