I am not too far past my own graduation to forget that heady feeling at the tail end of my university days. In equal measures, I was excited but also anxious about securing my first job. The scale is understandably tipped towards anxiety for the current cohort of graduates, whose entry into the labor market is flanked by economic volatility on the one side, and an unprecedented pandemic on the other.
The silver lining to this is that employers are more determined than ever to show up and help students navigate through this uncertain period. Companies are also driven to invest in technologies that not only meet the needs of virtual recruiting in the immediate months, but also create a fairer, more efficient, and more engaging process for future seasons.
Below, we share a few ways the campus recruitment landscape is shifting:
One of the most obvious changes in campus recruitment is the growing reliance on digital technologies. Handshake, the largest early career talent network in the US, reported an astounding 2500% increase in the number of virtual interviews, and 825% increase in virtual career fairs from 2019 to 2020.
The recent surge is admittedly compelled more out of circumstances than by choice. Yet, more organizations are realizing that digital platforms need not be a lesser alternative to in-person interactions. Virtual technology can help us reach candidates from remote areas who might have been deterred by the cost and logistics of travel. Platform integrations enable us to send personalized feedback in a quick and authentic way, when before the sheer volume of applicants might have prohibited such scale of follow-ups. In the case of pymetrics one-way Digital Interview solution, not only can candidates tailor their experience to allow them deliver their best responses, recruiters are also given the flexibility to evaluate submissions at their own time without compromising on rigor.
Importantly, employers acknowledge that this is not a simple ‘lift and shift’, but a thoughtful transition to digital environments. The change requires us to understand the difference between digital and in-person modalities and adapt accordingly. For instance, while you can move an 80-person information session to a video conference platform, what might work better is leveraging the break-out room functions to facilitate questions and answers.
We might still see companies return to a hybrid approach in the short term. However, as Simon Kho, Campus Recruiting Director of Discover describes in our recent webinar, “Digital resistance is futile”.
Reassuringly, many employers are citing human connection as a priority when it comes to choosing and implementing technology. Even before the lockdowns, recruitment leaders were spending time to rethink their engagement with candidates because of its outsized impact on employer brand and talent quality down the line.
ANZ, one of the top four banks in Australia, replaced a lengthy CV submission and personality assessment with pymetrics’ behavioural science-based exercises. The switch reduced the application time by an incredible 50 mins, and boosted application completion rates by 5% to 99.7%. Notably, because pymetrics was able to save recruiters an equivalent of almost seven weeks in screening time, ANZ was able to make personal calls to candidates at key steps of the process instead of a cold email.
Where before “fun and innovative” might have been the hallmarks of a stand-out grad experience, in this moment when confusion pervades, candidates appreciate timely and transparent communication above all else. Graduates – every 2 in 3 according to Handshake – are particularly keen for updates on which roles are still available. How do you continue to help candidates find their best-fit role in your organization when traditional channels like career fairs are no longer an option? You get creative with technology.
A leading global financial services firm, for instance, uses pymetrics’ Guidance tool, to provide each student with a personalized shortlist of internship and full time opportunities that they are most suited for, even before they formally apply to the program. By equipping candidates with data driven career suggestions, you can further give them confidence to apply to roles that they might not have considered previously. This is particularly significant for graduates whose industries have been severely impacted by the pandemic and who might have struggled to picture an alternative career.
From an employer’s perspective, you also gain access to a far larger and more diverse pool of brilliant talent.
The ability to screen candidates for their potential, rather than their degrees, is momentous when we think about the types of talent most companies are competing for today. Whether you are a bank, a consumer goods company, or a mining corporation, digital and analytics are critical capabilities that we need to pipeline talent for. At Discover, for example, computer science graduates form the bulk of campus hires despite financial services being the firm’s core business.
Bolder companies like ANZ and PwC have therefore chosen to abandon CVs entirely. Instead, they use technology to focus on attributes such as creativity, empathy, and flexibility, and provide training to high-fit candidates to help them become job-ready after.
The results have been gratifying. Firstly, these companies have been able to break away from the intense competition of campus recruitment by tapping into a much broader field of candidates. Secondly, diversity across every spectrum – be it gender, ethnicity, economic, or even neurotypicality – improves because you overcome many of the social biases that riddle resumes. Thirdly, the business, and in turn the communities they serve, benefits from the array of ideas and innovations that arise only when different perspectives and experiences are allowed to brew together.
Technology is breaking new grounds at such a dizzying pace that it is unfeasible to depend on schools alone to provide the necessary skills training. Continuous learning supported by employers is the sustainable way forward.
In the coming months, campus recruitment teams will be forced to do more with less. Yet between the passion and dynamism of the community, and the capabilities that technology has to offer, I have no doubt that the Class of 2020 and beyond will be able to find their place in the world of work.