The graduate recruitment process has grown increasingly digital in the past few years, but the entire process for 2020 was held online due to the pandemic. However, the virus didn’t create this change; it simply sped up a process that was already happening.
Graduate Roles are Still Important
Graduates are the future of every business. Most enterprise organisations in APAC have a two-year graduate program, and the people hired for those roles use that program to grow their skills and experience before moving on to other roles within the business.
Furthermore, it is critically important to continue recruiting for graduate roles during this uncertain time. Graduates futureproof the business by bringing in diverse, new talent with different perspectives, new ideas and an understanding of current trends.
But, the Process Needs to Change
Normally, the planning for a graduate recruitment cycle begins in the previous year and recruitment teams start planning in November and December and recruitment campaigns start to go live in March. Traditionally, recruitment teams would attend career fairs, flying to different universities and presenting information about their organisation in person. Throughout the next few months, candidates would apply and interview online, and finally attend an in-person assessment center.
But, in 2020, we needed to adapt rapidly. Organisations tried to stick with their normal timeframes, but moved the entire process online – virtual career fairs and virtual assessment centers included.
The virtual fairs were run by universities and showed nearly 1,500 students registered at each campus. Recruitment teams advertised on social media to get students excited to speak with their organisation. On the day of the fairs, recruitment teams recorded at least 300 students visited their digital booth. Graduate Recruitment Managers were given the ability to present to larger groups of students at once – something that isn’t possible at a traditional booth. Students also came with questions, which recruitment teams could answer and talk with them about one-on-one.
Some virtual fairs are held using Zoom video technology, along with the help of third-party providers to ensure everything runs smoothly on the day of the event. Employers had a unique booth and logo, so students could easily identify them and talk with employer representatives. Many graduates registered to talk with booths which allowed recruitment teams to target hundreds of students in just three hours without having to travel.
Best Practices to Make the Transition Smooth
For the process to be successful, consider the types of technology you use. For virtual career fairs, the university may already have a preferred platform. However, you will still need to consider virtual interviews and virtual assessments. At Springboard, we can schedule and conduct virtual interviews – live or recorded – on a candidate’s own time.
Likewise, it is important to focus on communication. Graduates want to hear from you. Something as simple as a message to check in can be powerful. Communicating with candidates, even if it means admitting you don’t have all the answers, builds trust in an uncertain time.
We Won’t Go Back
With the COVID-19 crisis, we are always facing new surprises. However, with graduate recruitment, the surprise was how well the process worked – even with changes taking place under a tight timeline. Recruitment teams had to adapt quickly, but they saw that the digital process works. Students responded well to online career fairs and recruitment teams saved money by avoiding air travel and lodging.
Based on many virtual career fairs held last year, 2020 won’t be a one-off year in which graduate recruitment looks different than normal. It will be the first year where digital graduate recruitment is normal.