By Jason Richmond, CEO and Chief Culture Officer at Ideal Outcomes, Inc.
Recruiting the right talent is never easy, but when social distancing and remote working caused by COVID-19 are the norm, the challenges are magnified. With everything from face-to-face interviews, college job fairs, and even worksite tours being restricted, companies need to get creative and rightly so, since creativity will helps them stand out among the competition and help attract the best candidates.
Since COVID-19 began, many new college graduates have seen their offers rescinded and are anxious to find the right opportunity. Many are using new ways to find jobs, and these are some of the strategies we’ve noticed them use that you can apply as you look to recruit them.
Tap into College Career Centers
You probably already have relationships with several school career centers, but if not, this should be your first step. They are an excellent source for getting the word out that you are hiring, and with many career centers transitioning to online career fairs, these are an excellent resource to tap into. As you gain experience with virtual career fairs, start to think about ways you can hold your own, especially if your hiring needs are significant.
Target Your Audience with the Right Online Presence
Most candidates are looking for work online and use LinkedIn or other social networks, where hopefully you have a strong presence. Also, be sure to actively utilize sites that are particularly powerful for recent graduates and entry-level positions; career centers can advise you as to which sites they and their students recommend.
Think Generation Z
Many college graduates are part of Generation Z, our first true “digitally native” generation. They are comfortable online, so instead of face-to-face meet and greet events, plan and offer informative webinars to provide job seekers information about your company. Keep your presentations short—perhaps fifteen minutes at most—and offer them in a themed series. Use a platform that allows for interactivity so that participants can ask questions, either verbally or via chat. Also keep in mind, Gen Z is the most diverse generation employers have faced, so be sure your recruiting content and messaging reflect this.
Ramp Up Your Video Interviewing Techniques
You certainly can conduct live interviews on Zoom, Skype, or WebEx but these platforms do not necessarily create a great candidate experience due to connectivity, lighting, and other technical challenges and they are not going to speed up your screening process. Speed is critical because you are competing with other employers for top talent, so pre-recorded screening interviews, where candidates respond to a set of questions and record their answers, will save you and your candidate time and reduce scheduling nightmares. There are quite a few products out there, so check them out to see which best meets your needs. If your organization likes to conduct panel interviews, you will have to rethink this process in an online setting. Limit the number of interviewers to no more than three so as to not overwhelm your candidate with too many voices and their trying to make eye contact, and carefully plan each panel member’s role in the interview.
Vitalize Your Job Descriptions
Most job descriptions are dull and well…dull. They appeal to no one, and especially not to Generation Z. Figure out the top two or three positions that are critical for you to fill with recent graduates and develop compelling job descriptions. Include video clips showing a “day-in-the-life” and brief testimonials from current employees and slowly expand these features to other jobs as time and budget permits.
Highlight Your Culture and Work Environment
Like Millennials, Generation Z cares not just about the work, but also about the company. Therefore, it’s important to spotlight your values and how you live them each day in the work you do. For example, showcasing a strong work life balance, corporate social responsibility program, or diverse workforce are some ways to start. While you might not be inviting candidates for an office tour right now, including a virtual tour complete with comments and insights from current employees can add greater context. If your office(s) is/are still closed, see if you have photographs of working spaces, break rooms, and public areas that you can mix in with video of employees even if they are currently working from home.
Excel at Communication
Keep all your candidates posted on their application status. Push out update emails, send them copies of your company newsletter or any press releases, texts, and even short calls. Let them know you care about them as people and support them in their search during this challenging time. After all, candidates are customers too and should be treated with the utmost of respect.