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Campus Recruiting Tips: How to Appeal to Students at a Virtual Career Fair

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Campus recruiting is an important strategy for adding new talent into your organization. And one of the most popular ways to connect with this vital talent is by attending – and hosting – both virtual and in-person career fairs on a platform like the Radancy Talent Acquisition Cloud. 

Campus Recruiting Tips

These campus recruiting tips will help you attract, engage and convert students through career fair events: 

  1. Understand Generation Z
  2. Build Your Campus Talent Pipeline & Nurture It 
  3. Communicate Early and Often
  4. Prioritize Conversations 
  5. Set Clear Expectations
  6. Highlight Your Company Culture – Remote and In-Person
  7. Showcase Your DEIB Commitment
  8. Highlight Professional Development Opportunities
  9. Follow Up to Drive Engagement 

Let’s take a deeper look at these critical campus recruiting tips.

The Foundation: Understanding Generation Z

First, let’s start by focusing on the audience. Generation Z makes up the majority of student populations right now. This demographic is known for its diversity, experience with technology and social activism. As a result, Gen Z carries their own priorities and expectations when it comes to evaluating prospective employers. In a virtual environment, it can be challenging for employers to showcase why they are a good fit for Gen Z candidates. Drawing upon research about Gen Z in the workforce, as well as campus recruiting trends, here are some ways to engage Gen Z students at a virtual career fair.

Build Your Campus Talent Pipeline & Nurture It

A traditional campus recruiting program before 2020 tended to rely heavily on sending recruiters to attend the in-person campus recruiting events (or career fairs) of a select number of colleges and universities. But the rapid adoption of technology across recruiting teams and campuses alike over the past few years has led to an evolution of the campus recruiting model. Campuses began hosting multi-employer career fairs online so that campus recruiting teams could connect with students digitally. At the same time, many campus recruiting teams realized they could also reach a larger number of campuses by hosting their own campus recruiting events online. And today, many extremely successful campus recruiting teams have a dual model in which they connect with students at virtual and in-person career fairs hosted by the schools directly – and then their teams nurture and engage that talent through a series of virtual hiring events they host directly. This enables them to grow their early career talent pipeline much more effectively, reach a broader range of students, support their Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives, and is also much more time, travel and cost-effective. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the relevant tips campus recruiting teams should use for all of these scenarios of hiring events. 

Start Communicating with Students Early

Whether it’s for a consumer brand or an employer brand, personalization is the key to attracting Gen Z in your campus recruiting efforts. That means you should reach out to college students before the virtual career fair even begins. For example, you may wish to reach out to prospective candidates on LinkedIn and send them a personal invitation to attend your booth at the career fair or send a personalized email blast to your opt-in list. You can also use other strategies including posts on your social media channels and inclusion in the university’s career center newsletter.

Prioritize Face-to-Face Communication 

Gen Z is known as the generation of “digital natives,” but that doesn’t mean face-to-face communication is taboo. In fact, a survey of college students found that 72% prefer face-to-face communication when possible. Hosting virtual career fairs on a platform that enables you to provide a one-to-one connection with candidates is a great way to bring this into your campus recruiting program. For example, you can incorporate video calls into a virtual career fair booth to drive engagement and foster face-to-face communication between recruiters and prospective candidates. At Radancy, we recommend offering video, audio and chat capabilities to appeal to a range of communication styles. This will set your campus recruiting efforts apart and engage students in a way that they intuitively understand.

Set Clear Expectations by Offering Scheduled Time Slots for Recruiter Conversations

Another campus recruiting tip is to make the experience as convenient as possible and set expectations with students. Gen Z students want to maximize their time at the career fair, which can be hard to do if there is a long line to speak with a recruiter at a booth. If a student sees they are the tenth (or twentieth) in line, they may skip out on your booth altogether. But you can alleviate this problem by offering students the opportunity to sign up in advance for a specific time slot. Radancy’s Hiring Events offers a scheduled chat feature so that campus recruiting teams can better organize their time and resources during campus recruiting events, and students can plan on a specific time when they need to visit a specific employer’s booth.

Highlight Your Company Culture, Remote and In-Person

Company culture is an important factor for all prospective employees, but especially those at the beginning of their careers. With a virtual career fair, your campus recruiting team can draw upon multiple types of media to showcase your company’s culture and mission, giving students a better idea of what it’s like to work at your company. Use your virtual booth to post a video tour of your office and pictures from company social or volunteering events. Showcase teams working from home or how your organization has adapted to the rise of remote and hybrid work arrangements. Highlight employee testimonials, in written and video formats, about their experiences with the company. Be sure to include information from recent employees or interns who may have started their job remotely and share some downloadable resources about what the remote onboarding process is like.

Showcase Your Commitment to DEIB Initiatives in Your Campus Recruiting Strategy

Another campus recruiting best practice is to show your company’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Research from Deloitte found that Gen Z is poised to be the most diverse generation in the nation’s history, and a top factor they consider in evaluating an employer is how the company recruits, trains and retains diverse talent. At a virtual career fair, post materials highlighting your company’s affinity groups (aka employee resource groups or ERGs), professional development programs focused on diversity and mentorship opportunities for diverse candidates. You may also wish to have some representatives from some of your DEIB initiatives participate in your booth, or invite representatives of different employee resources groups to participate and connect with prospects. Many campus recruiting teams today are also hosting specific campus recruiting events that feature their ERGs, for example, to continue the engagement in these aspects with their early career talent pipeline.

Talk About Your Professional Development Programs

Deloitte’s research also found that career development is a priority for Gen Z candidates. This generation recognizes that today’s career paths are rarely linear, and that it’s important to keep learning and building skills for an ever-evolving workforce. Do you offer tuition reimbursement for continuing education? What about in-house training or funding to attend conferences? One great way for campus recruiters to share this type of information with students is by including recruitment materials that highlight these opportunities within a virtual career fair booth, as well as by encouraging your recruiters to talk about career development at your company and consider hosting engagement events later in the talent journey that spotlight these programs directly. 

Follow Up to Drive Engagement 

Want to make a lasting impression on Gen Z college students? Send a personalized follow-up to promising candidates. Thank them for visiting your booth at the fair and let them know the next steps in the hiring process. Since you’ve collected their contact information on your virtual career fair solution, you can also let them know of any future virtual events or job opportunities that would be a good fit. With Radancy, you can easily email prospects from the platform right after an event (and even connect with hiring managers to quickly move the process forward with top candidates). Communication and timing are important for every job seeker, so use these tips to create an excellent candidate experience for the college students you connect with at virtual career fairs and hiring events.

About Radancy

Radancy is the leading cloud-based talent acquisition software provider intelligently solving the most critical challenges for enterprises globally and delivering cost-efficient outcomes that strengthen their organizations. The Radancy Talent Acquisition Cloud, powered by rich data and deep industry insights, optimizes the entire candidate journey, enabling enterprises to hire the most qualified talent faster, while reducing costs and driving higher ROI, recruiter efficiency and an improved candidate experience.

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