Campus Recruiting When No One Is on Campus

We’ve officially entered a new normal when it comes to campus recruiting. With fewer opportunities to go on campus, interview candidates in person, and provide tours of offices, many employers are scrambling to find new and effective ways to connect virtually with candidates while maintaining a personal touch. And with all the cancellations of events (and nearly everything else!) and a hiring slow-down, students all over the country are growing anxious that they won’t be able to get the internships or entry-level jobs they need because of this crisis. 

Practically every one of the nation’s largest employers of college grads has been canceling in-person recruiting efforts that they’d spent months planning. And with new restrictions on travel, closing of campuses, and work-from-home policies in place, the world of campus recruiting has completely changed — almost overnight.

Thus far, nobody knows when we can return to “business as usual,” or what that will even look like. In this time of uncertainty, brands are asking some tough questions to keep attracting top talent and fill their hiring funnel with qualified candidates. One of the hardest questions they’re asking is:

How can you represent your company culture and values without an office or any in-person interaction?

No longer can you merely make great content about what it’s like to work at your company to attract candidates online. Now is the time to take your employer brand a step further by highlighting how your organization is responding to the crisis and how it has actually changed your company culture. Because it has changed your company culture.

If you want to keep attracting early-career candidates now and in the future, you need to meet these candidates where they’re at — and it’s not on campus. Here are a few ideas for how to elevate your employer brand while acknowledging the changes to come.  

Celebrate Your Resiliency

Show off how your company is supporting a new remote lifestyle. Instead of sharing videos of past company events and office B-roll, create original video content that reflects what’s happening right now. For example, you can showcase your Zoom happy hours or highlight your online L&D efforts. If your company did something unique to engage your people, share it. Show it off! Better yet, engage your current employees by interviewing team members who are working remotely and how they’ve been set up for success.

Even if you’re not currently hiring, this can serve as a great way to promote your employer brand. Since it’s not clear when candidates will get to step foot into your office or experience your old culture, give them an authentic look inside how your organization is developing an online one. 

Upgrade Your Social Media Presence

Generation Z spends an average of three hours per day on social media — at least they did before the crisis. It’s safe to assume that everyone will be spending more time on social media as we’re limited to digital interactions. Not only that, but 79% of job applicants were already using social media in their job search, a stat we expect to rise during this time. Use this to your advantage by elevating your presence on social media.

Start sharing more meaningful content that’s relevant right now. Perhaps you can share an article about how to prepare for a video interview, or you can spotlight some of that company-culture content mentioned earlier. Or get more creative, like encouraging employees to take WFH selfies and tagging your company. (“Working from home,” on the off-chance you still weren’t familiar with the acronym.)

Embrace Transparency 

Be transparent and highlight how your company is addressing the crisis with candidates. Don’t just talk the talk about your values — walk the walk by showing candidates how your company values have helped you navigate this new normal. This could be as simple as a candid conversation on your phone screen. Give candidates a real sense of what onboarding, training, and daily life would look like if people were to join your company remotely for the time being.

Candidates will appreciate your honesty. Plus, they will be more willing to roll with the punches if they know that you’re embracing transparency at your company. Don’t leave them guessing.

By the way, it’s worth pointing out that these suggestions don’t just apply to attracting college students and graduates and other early-career candidates. Embracing a digital-first strategy is the best way forward to connect with all candidates in today’s surreal times. Look at this as an opportunity to digital-proof your employer brand and elevate it when (and where) it matters most. Employees — and future employees — are really looking at how every organization is responding during this crisis. Now’s the time to showcase your response.

Liz Wessel is the co-founder and CEO of WayUp, a venture-backed startup based in New York that transforms how employers recruit students and recent grads, helping them hire diverse and qualified early-career talent. Liz has been featured in Forbes' "30 Under 30," Business Insider's “18 Coolest Women in Silicon Valley,” and the New York Business Journal’s “Most Influential Women.” Liz has also been a speaker at TEDx, TechCrunch Disrupt, SXSW, and other events. Prior to WayUp, Liz worked in marketing at Google in Mountain View and India.

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