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Recruitment | 10 Min Read

Virtual campus recruitment: The future of campus hiring


The worldwide outbreak impacted human life, with lockdown and social distancing measures bringing everything to a standstill. The same repercussions were felt in the context of hiring processes across the globe. In response, organizations adjusted to immediate changes in demand and the new regulatory changes.

This included a quick transition to online recruitment and remote working, which brought substantial changes in the recruiting processes, including one of the most remarkable recruiting activities, campus hiring.


What does virtual campus recruitment mean?

Virtual campus recruitment refers to sourcing, attracting, and hiring talented individuals for internships, co-op positions, full-time entry-level jobs and summer jobs. Virtual campus hiring strategy involves working with university career development centers and participating in career fairs to meet with college students and graduates face-to-face.


Who is a virtual recruiter?

A virtual recruiter is a person who sources, screens and selects candidates for job vacancies but does so remotely rather than through traditional in-person methods. Virtual recruiters perform the same duties and goals as traditional recruiters; their main objective is to enable their employers or clients to get the best talent to fill their vacancies. They can liaise between job seekers and potential employers and help companies focus only on those candidates who are fit for the job.


Why is online campus recruitment important?

For several reasons, virtual campus recruitment is essential for organizations, as it offers numerous benefits and advantages.


Provides access to fresh talent:

Campus selection and recruitment offers organizations access to a pool of fresh, young talent with the latest academic knowledge and skills. Hiring from campuses allows companies to bring in individuals eager to learn and adapt to the industry.


Helps build a talent pipeline:

The campus recruitment process helps organizations build a talent pipeline for the future. Companies can nurture potential candidates by establishing relationships with universities and colleges, creating a pool of qualified individuals for future hiring needs.


Helps evaluate cultural fit:

Hiring from campuses enables organizations to assess candidates for their academic qualifications and cultural fit within the company. This is crucial for maintaining a cohesive and productive work environment.


Is cost-effective:

While upfront costs are associated with participating in career fairs or conducting campus interviews with traditional campus recruitment drives, organizations incur no such costs with virtual campus recruitment, making it a cost-effective hiring process.


Helps establish employer brand:

Active involvement in campus recruitment helps organizations build and enhance their employer brand among students. A positive campus reputation can attract top talent and create a competitive advantage in the job market.

Top industries leveraging virtual campus recruitment

  • Information technology (IT) and software development
  • Consulting and professional services
  • Finance and banking
  • Engineering and manufacturing
  • Telecommunications
  • FMCG
  • Automotive
  • E-commerce and technology startups


Top challenges of online campus recruitment

While the online campus recruitment process offers many benefits, it also comes with challenges. Some of the top challenges associated with online campus recruitment include:


Infographic 1


Limited face-to-face interaction:

Lack of in-person interaction can make it challenging for recruiters to gauge a candidate’s soft skills, interpersonal abilities, and cultural fit with the organization. 

Technology barriers:

Some students may need more reliable internet access or appropriate devices, which can hinder their ability to participate in virtual recruitment processes.

Diversity and inclusion concerns:

Online recruitment processes may inadvertently introduce biases, impacting diversity and inclusion efforts. For example, algorithms used in resume screening may inadvertently discriminate against specific demographics.

Communication challenges:

Miscommunication can occur more quickly in virtual settings. Clear and effective communication is crucial, and misunderstandings can arise due to the reliance on written communication and the absence of non-verbal cues.

Digital fatigue:

Extended virtual interactions can lead to digital fatigue for recruiters and candidates. This can affect engagement levels and the overall quality of the recruitment process. 

Evaluation of practical skills:

Certain industries and roles require demonstrating practical skills that may be challenging to assess in a virtual environment, such as hands-on technical skills or problem-solving abilities. 

Maintaining employer brand:

Virtual interactions make showcasing the company culture and work environment challenging. Organizations need to find innovative ways to convey their employer brand in a virtual setting during campus hiring.

Organizations looking to overcome the abovementioned challenges of campus hiring can do so with the help of Mercer | Mettl’s campus hiring solution. It allows companies to interview and evaluate without needing a 3rd party tool. Collaborative tools and simulators enable companies to assess candidates’ technical skills remotely. Furthermore, it provides a seamless experience for devices, be it mobile, tablet, or PC.


Best practices for a virtual campus hiring drive

Here are few things to keep in mind while planning and conducting a virtual campus hiring:


Campus selection

45% of Indian graduates are employable for top in-demand jobs and skills. 48% of Indian graduates exhibit the highest employability in AI and machine learning roles.

*India’s Graduate Skill Index 2023

Shortlisting campuses every year is a tedious affair. But with Campus intelligence, organizations have a scientific way to select the college that suits their requirement.

Campus intelligence is an essential virtual campus hiring solution that helps organizations make data-backed decisions as it relies on validated statistics. It consists of competency scorecards and heat maps that rate students’ performance on specific competencies based on the assessments. It creates a campus mean score to help shortlist campuses based on requirements. Mercer | Mettl has conducted over 20,000 campus drives and has abundant data on numerous colleges and universities. Organizations can rely on this information to obtain a campus scorecard for the competencies they seek.

Most organizations make their campus targeting strategy based on their previous years’ experience and the onboarded students’ quality. This strategy places organizations in a loop without avenues to explore newer campuses. This is where campus intelligence can help companies with rich data and campus analytics built over time. Campus intelligence maintains a thorough record of campus drives held over the years, considering high and low-performing campuses. The latter is filtered out, which creates a dynamic and up-to-date process.

Organizations can access campus data across various profiles based on their requirements. Whether a company intends to hire engineers, business graduates, marketeers, or researchers, campus intelligence can customize a campus scorecard based on the competency framework and skills demand.

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Pre-placement engagement

After selecting colleges through campus intelligence, student engagement is the next step in campus recruitment. Presentations and talks offer little value in a world where information is available at the click of a button. Organizations need to create an impression on students by connecting with their aspirations.

Every fresh graduate wants to work in a new-age organization. It would help if the organization exhibited its culture and offered them a glimpse of the stimulating environment and their work. Companies must use this opportunity to give students a brand recall value and gain their interest, ensuring a wider reach. 

The solution to this is online contests like coding hackathons, innovative ideathon, and case study competitions.

Hackathons and ideathons are events where people from different backgrounds, such as coders, analysts, designers, business strategists, and creative thinkers, cumulatively solve predefined challenges within a specified time frame and create a working solution or a prototype of a product, service, or business model. A hackathon is not just restricted to coders and engineers but can be designed inclusively, challenging the best minds to find ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas. A case study competition is a valuable means to assess business graduates’ understanding and give them a glimpse into some of the fundamental challenges they would be working on.

These online competitions provide organizations with an excellent platform to introduce themselves, enabling candidates to showcase their innovative problem-solving skills.

Candidate screening

Online assessments

The next step is to roll out the screening assessments to interested candidates and shortlist them for the final interviews. The four pillars of screening are technical or domain skills, cognitive skills, behavioral and personality traits and effective communication. A screening method based on these four pillars can uncover a student’s potential.

Online assessments are used widely in the screening process. They enable organizations to test the candidates’ core skills and suitability, considering the role and the company, and shortlist them for the selection interview. Most organizations choose skill-based assessments to ensure they hire people who can adequately perform the desired tasks. However, no team in an organization works in silos in this age of digital transformation and collaboration. Hence, psychometric assessments empower organizations to find the fit for their company’s culture.

Domain or technical skills

Let’s assume an IT company has to conduct campus placements to fill multiple vacant positions in its various global centers. It wishes to test students’ coding knowledge and hands-on coding ability. Distributing a coding test with MCQs that can filter many students is an excellent way to undertake it. It would ensure that students who match the benchmark scores and are serious about the organization will make it to the following screening round: hands-on coding in a natural coding environment. Coding simulators allow students to apply their skills and showcase their problem-solving approach, graded on predefined parameters without manual intervention.

Organizations can use readily available assessments, combining them with a coding simulator for a holistic overview of a candidate’s coding potential. This would ensure that students making it to the subsequent rounds possess a certain degree of proficiency.

Cognitive skills

In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world, organizations stress the importance of cognitive skills such as learning agility, problem-solving, innovative thinking, etc. These open-ended skills can be applied to any job and are sought-after.

Behavioral and personality traits

Every organization has its culture and mission, and potential employees must easily fit into the company culture. Thus, assessing behavioral tendencies and personality traits offers recruiters insight into a person’s behavioral patterns and helps predict their ability to deal with pressure, conflict resolution, and other typical workplace problems. As there are no right or wrong answers, scores are often in the form of a scale and the percentile in which a student falls. These include aggression, motivation, honesty, etc. It helps recruiters to map candidates’ personalities to organizational benchmarks.

Communication skills

Effective English communication is one of the most critical skills. Communication is an essential consideration for most roles and organizations. However, only some companies assess candidates’ verbal English skills, except perhaps in the interviews. 

However, with increasingly global roles, spoken English must be measured using the latest technology, i.e., language proficiency evaluators. This allows for conducting evaluations at scale. An English language evaluator auto-evaluates the results. The review can be sent to multiple students simultaneously, and the results can be fed into the student’s final scores. Language proficiency evaluators combine assessments for pronunciation, fluency, listening and comprehension to assess all communication elements. Depending on the role’s requirements, they highlight a candidate’s trainable and non-trainable aspects.


Final selection interviews

While organizations often prefer to hold an in-person interview round, adopting a virtual campus hiring strategy means not stepping on the campus while ensuring better results and ROI.

Numerous video interviewing platforms available on the market, like Google, Skype, Zoom, etc., can be used for virtual interviews. But the right interview platform offers power-packed features, such as setting a path for the interview process by defining key competencies, the option to choose from a library of sample questions to evaluate specific skills, rating the candidates, and ultimately making data-driven decisions by assessing candidates’ data from multiple interviews and screening modes.

Competency-based interviews are consistent, structured and unbiased. They provide a platform to list the various competencies and related questions based on the job role and allow interviewers to score on the same platform.


Why are online assessment platforms important to virtual campus hiring strategy?

Virtual campus hiring can produce measurably better results with online assessments compared to campus visits in a relatively short time.

Online assessments can fast-track the efficiency of a virtual campus hiring process in numerous ways by enabling students to take the test from anywhere. This also removes the logistical hassles of booking venues and time slots to conduct the screening test on campus.

Furthermore, remote proctoring can be an enabler in the digital campus recruitment process, whereby companies roll out online assessments in a secure proctored environment, ensuring the integrity of assessments. A test can be taken from anywhere using remote proctoring, and the candidate only needs a computer with an internet connection.

Here are ten reasons an online assessment platform can make or break an organization’s virtual campus hiring strategy and the various features companies can look for when choosing a platform and assessment partner:

  1. Online assessment platforms provide complete control to the employers over test creation, distribution, invigilation, evaluation and report generation. Recruiters can easily create and administer a test.
  2. Companies can reach out to many previously unexplored colleges due to resource limitations, i.e., time and personnel unavailability.
  3. Enhanced reach aside, this system addresses the significant challenge of simultaneously conducting thousands of tests. Imagine the administrative expense and time a recruiting team would need to visit each campus and administer hundreds of tests.
  4. It allows layers of tests to be added to a single defined assessment. For example, apart from general MCQs and essay-type questions, organizations can add coding simulators, language proficiency evaluations, case study simulators, and psychometric and personality tests.
  5. Minimum system requirements – a computer, a browser, and internet connectivity.
  6. Autosave the candidate’s answers to manage infrastructure issues, such as the internet, network, power outage, system crash, restart, etc.
  7. Proctoring empowers companies to curb cheating and other assessment-related malpractices.
  8. The turnaround time is the most notable advantage of online assessment platforms. Since the tests are web-based, the test evaluation and report generation happen in real-time. After the candidates finish tests, detailed reports are generated within minutes, with scores on each assessment on a single dashboard. This expedites the decision-making process, enabling recruiters to select quickly and wisely.
  9. Actionable analytics allows companies to compare different campuses and performance trends and gain granular and regional insights.
  10. The flexibility to conduct the test in a contest, game, or code challenge format enhances engagement and maximizes student participation while strengthening brand recall.

Besides being cost-effective, video interviews promote real-time collaboration for everyone involved and address time and location constraints. Digital transformation requires organizations to scale up quickly, yet more scalable models exist than face-to-face interviews.

Many video platforms also allow pair programming, enabling technical hiring managers to combine interviewing and code testing into one platform.



Technology pushes every business function to adopt innovative and cost-effective methods to streamline and accelerate their processes. The time is right to choose the virtual campus recruitment process. It is an opportune moment to transform campus hiring processes and move toward the future of recruitment with an all-in-one platform solution.

Traditional campus hiring Virtual campus hiring
Deliver a pre-placement talk Conduct a highly energetic and interactive contest - hackathon, ideathon, or case study competition.
Book a physical venue and schedule slots. Roll out online assessments (personality, behavioral, cognitive, technical, domain, communication) that are time and location-agnostic
Send a dedicated team of recruiters and invigilators Administer tests from anywhere
Risk candidates using unfair means to cheat and clear the test Anti-cheating software, such as phones and multi-factor authentication, can prevent impersonation with a lockdown browser and detect objects in the background.
Logistical costs and execution Cost-effective solutions without the need to physically visit any campus
Spend long hours to interview candidates Interview candidates anytime, anywhere with structured video interviews
Long and unstructured processes Decreased time-to-hire with innovative sourcing, screening and interviewing tools


How Mercer | Mettl can help

Campus hiring drives demand significant resources, financial and otherwise. Therefore, an increasing number of organizations are seeking to transform this process. Mercer | Mettl enables organizations to break away from traditional and redundant hiring processes and take a step toward better hiring using the best available technology.

Mercer | Mettl’s technology-driven solutions can help you conduct large-scale online campus recruitment drives through the following offerings:

Mercer | Mettl's offeringsTool description
Campus hiring strategy for an end-to-end implementationMercer | Mettl's campus hiring strategy has enabled India's leading organizations to reach and filter a large pool of candidates, increase campus footprints, and improve turnaround time. Our comprehensive 6-step campus hiring strategy includes i) Building campus intelligence, ii) Building relationships with campuses, iii) Connecting with the students, iv) Using modern screening tools, v) Conducting structured interviews, and vi) Engaging students post the rollout of the offer. Mercer | Mettl's team of experts can help you develop and execute a strategy that meets your business needs.
Xathon for an engaging pre-placement activityXathon is a platform for conducting fully online hackathons. It offers complete control over the event with the ease of scheduling multiple events and coordinating with numerous stakeholders with just a few clicks. Mercer | Mettl's team of subject matter experts helps execute a successful virtual hackathon, from ideation to execution.
A suite of assessments to screen efficientlyOur vast library of tests and simulators allows companies to create tests and challenges to evaluate the shortlisted candidates' fundamental skills. Choose from various psychometric, cognitive, domain and coding assessments to secure the best fit for the role.
SpeechX to evaluate the candidates on the nuances of speech Powered by a reliable artificial intelligence speech technology, SpeechX is a fully machine-administered and auto-graded tool to test the ability of a non-native speaker to speak and understand English. It is a ready-to-use, scalable and highly accurate assessment solution.
SecureProctor to conduct credible remote assessments SecureProctor is Mercer | Mettl's cutting-edge tool, driven by artificial intelligence, that provides a holistic solution to ensure the integrity of assessments in a cost-effective and scalable manner. It comes pre-integrated with Mercer | Mettl's examination platform.
Interview platform to conduct innovative and structured interviews Our intelligent interview platform supports competency-based structured interviews with collaborative tools that allow companies to create a panel of interviewers, define the grading framework, and schedule interviews easily.

Redefine your Campus Hiring Program with Mercer | Mettl’s Suite of Campus Hiring Tools




1. What are on-campus and off-campus recruitment?

2. What does a virtual interview mean?

3. How do college students engage virtually?

4. What are the steps involved in the virtual campus hiring process?

5. How do you measure the success of your online campus recruitment process? 

Originally published July 22 2020, Updated April 16 2024

Written by

Harsh Vardhan Sharma, with 6 years of content writing expertise across diverse B2B and B2C verticals, excels in crafting impactful content for broad audiences. Beyond work, he finds joy in reading, traveling, and watching movies.

About This Topic

Campus hiring is the process of recruiting fresh graduates from colleges. Campus recruitment starts with campus selection, following which a recruitment team visits campuses for engagement activities, candidate screening and interviewing.

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