How to digitalize your graduate recruitment program

Sudhanshu Ahuja

May 14, 2020

Graduate recruitment is a crucial part of a firm’s hiring strategy. As employees move to higher positions or leave, several roles become vacant. Organizations prefer to fill these roles with young graduates for several reasons.

  • Why is graduate recruitment important for organizations?

    Young blood helps organizations stay relevant and connect better with the new-age customers. Fresh graduates inject vigor and new ideas into their systems. Moreover, this young workforce is enthusiastic and ambitious. They are eager to start their careers, participate and contribute.

    Graduates are adaptable. Organizations can mold them as per their culture and requirements. They are savvy and have spent a long time learning the latest technology and skills. As they blend into the existing workforce, they can pass their knowledge to others.

    Organizations are perennially seeking leaders. Organizations can groom promising graduates and prepare them for future roles with a long-term view. Graduates who get the right opportunities tend to stick with their first organizations.

    Lastly, filling the vacant roles with fresh graduates is a cost-efficient hiring strategy.

  • How do organizations hire graduates?

    Most firms have an elaborate graduate recruitment program. It comprises campus visits and exhibitions at career fairs. These visits are followed by the selection process, which generally includes case studies, group discussions, and interviews.

    Graduate recruitment plans also entail campus branding strategies. Large organizations usually have a separate team to manage campus recruitment. This team engages promising students through a host of activities during the academic year. Campus talks, competitions, and internship placements to engage the students.

    The new age workforce is a demanding segment when choosing their employers. They have strong opinions about the way they view their career. They want to associate with organizations that have a similar vision and mission.

    To click with these young minds, companies have a separate onboarding program for the graduates. It often includes outbound and inbound activities. Meetings with business heads, buddy programs, and a comprehensive training plan are some of the initiatives of graduate onboarding.

  • How has the COVID-19 impacted graduate recruitment?

    The current pandemic of coronavirus has brought the world to a grinding halt. With restrictions on mass gatherings and movements, there seems no end in sight. At least, until a cure is made available to the masses.

    With the financial disruption caused due to the current pandemic, one may expect graduate recruitment to slow down. However, an analogy with the 2008 recession reveals that it may not be the case. Sectors like retail, supply chains, IT, and healthcare will still want to hire young employees.

    Moreover, most companies are putting out statements that do not view any imminent changes in their graduate recruitment numbers.

    In this scenario, traditional graduate recruitment will not suffice in its traditional form. It is also not known if classes will resume on the campuses. Even if they do, there are fewer possibilities for companies to visit colleges.

    Given the situation, adapting to a digitalized hiring process is the need of the hour.

  • What are the best practices for digitizing graduate recruitment?

    In the wake of COVID-19, employers have been agile and swift in their response. With almost all functions working from home, we are witnessing a significant transformation in the working style.

    Most organizations have already moved to digital recruitment and selection processes. However, graduate recruitment requires a specific focus on certain areas. Here is how to go about it.

    1. Virtual Screening and shortlisting

    Meeting the students in person makes it easier for visiting managers to make the hiring decision. Group discussions are also a crucial part of the campus hiring programs. It allows the managers to assess candidates on skills like communication, leadership, conflict management, and negotiation. Moreover, case studies help in understanding their technical expertise and problem resolution capabilities.

    In the current scenario, HR teams can use tools like recruitment chatbots to screen and shortlist candidates. Impress is one such AI-powered tool that comes with several features. Let’s look at them in detail.

    1. Impress allows the recruiters to set their selection criteria. Moreover, they can give weightage to different aspects such as GPA, industry projects, and various other aspects. The chatbot can evaluate the students based on their answers and filter the qualified candidates.
    2. The recruiters get an option to move the candidates to the next evaluation stage if they meet the qualification criteria.
    3. Impress can connect with third-party tools for behavioral and sentimental assessments.
    4. Impress can also connect with third-party automated video assessment tools. These video assessment platforms allow the recruiters to feed the interview questions. Some of them also evaluate the candidates on their body language and communication skills.
    5. Lastly but most importantly, graduates often hesitate in asking direct questions related to salary, roles, culture, etc. impress.ai chatbots can resolve this problem by answering such sensitive questions. Candidates will be more comfortable directing these queries to a chatbot rather than a recruiter.

    2. Virtual interviews

    The shortlisting process can be followed by video discussions. However, it may help to take an empathetic approach while evaluating the graduates. A video interview is a new practice, and the pressure of fewer jobs may make them nervous. Organizations can send communication regarding video interview etiquette to alleviate their fears. The recruiters can set the tone of the interview by addressing their worries at the start of the interview. Such little things can go a long way in enhancing the candidate’s experience.

    3. Onboarding

    As the graduates will be joining the virtual workforce, HR teams will have to change their induction programs. Full-day classroom training will become a thing of the past. So will a multi-week induction program.

    However, the HR teams will still have to ensure that the new joiners get an elevated experience. One way is to provide free access to all information and policies. Secondly, buddy programs will allow the graduates to observe the culture and workplace practices more closely. Lastly, virtual tours of the office spaces can create a sense of attachment. Gamification of the induction process is also an idea worth exploring.

    Making them a part of the daily meetings and regular check-ins can help them come up to speed. Cross-functional webinars will help them understand the organizational structure and interdependencies.

    Connecting the employees on an internal social platform will allow them to ask questions. The new joiners can discuss their problem statements with the more experienced colleagues.

    The candidates will have a myriad of questions regarding their joining dates and confirmation of jobs. Constant communication will engage the candidates and send a message that they are being taken care of.

    4. Employer Branding

    With a limitation on on-campus visits, organizations will find it hard to create a buzz amongst the students. Here is how HR teams can attract students through a virtual strategy.

    1. Large-scale virtual contests can engage students and expose them to the corporate world through real-time case studies.
    2. Video footage of the existing employees about their experiences can leave a lasting impression on young minds.
    3. There will be a surge of video interview practice tools. If the organization has such capabilities, they can offer such platforms or products to help the students.
    4. Organizations can offer their internal library and knowledge resources to enhance students’ learning.
    5. Companies can team up to organize virtual career fairs to attract students and inform them about their roles.
    6. In a normal situation, candidates get to meet the recruiters who can address their queries. Impress platform that can manage these aspects in the current scenario. Recruiters can enable the platform to take questions about culture, growth prospects, and career trajectories.

    5. Imparting skills

    Onboarding is generally the time when new joiners learn and pick up skills from their colleagues. Due to the physical distance between employees, it will become tougher to bring the new joiners up to speed.

    To accelerate this process, organizations can partner with virtual academies. They can offer courses relevant to their roles and positions. Apart from this, several Ivy League colleges are offering free courses at this time. The HR teams can work together with the hiring managers to identify the right courses for this segment.

  • Conclusion

    Graduate recruitment in 2020 is going to witness a significant transformation. It will be challenging for organizations to attract the youngest entrants to the workforce.

    However, digitizing graduate recruitment can be a way for organizations to ensure that their graduate programs are not on lockdown in 2020.

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