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Recruitment | 10 Min Read

Virtual Campus Recruitment: The Future of Campus Hiring

Introduction

The Coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic has an impact on human life, with lockdown and social distancing measures bringing everything to a standstill. The same repercussions are apparent in the context of conducting hiring processes across the globe. In response to that, organizations adjust to immediate changes in demand and stay current with new regulatory changes. That includes closure of brick and mortar stores, workplaces, and campuses and quick transition to online learning and remote working. That’s brought substantial changes in the recruiting processes, including one of the most remarkable recruiting activities, campus hiring.

What Does Campus Recruitment Mean?

Campus recruitment refers to the strategy of sourcing, attracting, and hiring talented individuals for internships,  co-op positions, full-time entry-level jobs and summer jobs. Typically, college recruitment practices are implemented by many medium and large-sized organizations with high-volume hiring needs. Also, enterprises can use these for varying purposes, such as leveraging university career centers to source prospective candidates and visiting multiple colleges and attending a wide range of recruiting events all through the spring/fall semester. Campus hiring strategy often involves working in association with university career development centers and participating in career fairs for meeting face-to-face with college students and graduates. Some industries are more likely to engage in college recruitment than others – technology business consulting, finance, manufacturing, and engineering, to name a few.

The Campus Hiring Season

Campus hiring caters to organizations’ growing talent needs by enabling them to hire candidates from educational institutions. Most organizations possess a campus hiring team or create one during every recruitment season. These teams visit different colleges and institutions and zero in on the best-in-class potential resources.

Let us assume a scenario:

There are four crucial steps in any campus recruitment process. Campus selection, campus engagement, screening the students and campus interviews. The campus team shortlists the campuses, initiates a relationship with them and promotes their brand on the campuses. After the first phase, the team visits the educational center and engages with students through a detailed PPT, followed by a Q&A session. Afterward, interested students are offered a short test, typically a pen-and-paper exam. The campus recruitment team invigilates the proceeding to maintain the sanctity of the test-taking process.

The campus recruitment team scans each test to shortlist the students for a final list of students for the interviews. This long-drawn process, spanning over one or more days, has its pitfalls. The interviewers often don’t remember to ask the right questions or lack a uniform approach. The challenges mentioned above only enumerate the tedious process in one hiring exercise on one campus! Only a handful of students are probably selected from one campus.

Meanwhile, the target is hiring 80 students. The recruiting team must visit several more campuses. Add to that the hassle of handling its team’s logistics while visiting them. This does sound like a time-consuming and intricate process.

Organizations might have assumed that there was no need for tech-interventions in the campus recruitment process. However, the on-ground campus hiring drive is an extremely challenging proposition for the corporate team on a college-visiting spree each day. The financial resources subsumed in the process undermines any benefits accrued from the strategy detailed above.

We now know that there must be a more efficient process to undertake campus hiring, especially in current times amid the need to maintain business continuity with limited available options.

Campus_Recruitment_Process

What Is Virtual Campus Hiring?

Amid the pandemic crisis and plunge in global job postings, campus hiring will depend a lot on technology in these unprecedented times. If organizations want to recruit students or new graduates or build a successful talent pipeline, they must do so remotely, and that means it’s time to go for virtual campus hiring.

Online technology-based tools enable universities to connect alumni and students to employers, even without visiting their campuses. Just like regular campus events, online campus drives provide an online medium where job seekers and employers can learn more about each other and connect for exploring new avenues. They can leverage tools like video conferencing, chat rooms, and virtual booths to help students understand more about available opportunities and benefits of applying and becoming a part of a particular organization.

Who Is a Virtual Recruiter?

A virtual recruiter involved in the process of conducting interviews may be a recruiting officer working online and remotely, a superior or hiring manager intending to save time and resources in the hiring process, a recruitment process outsourcing(RPO)provider, an online pre-screening tool designed for the candidate evaluation process. Virtual interviews standardize candidate screening process by assessing candidates on crucial parameters that ascertain the candidate’s suitability for employment, ensuring adherence to work and anti-discrimination laws. Virtual recruiters perform the same duties and have the same goals as traditional recruiters; their main objective is to enable their employer clients to get the best talent to fill their vacancies. They can liaison between job seekers and potential employers and help companies focus only on those candidates who are fit for the job.

Best Practices for a Virtual Campus Hiring Drive

Campus hiring is integral to the recruitment process for most businesses. Companies invest substantial resources in their campus hiring drives each year, hoping to onboard their companies’ best quality talent.

Technology advancements disrupt the talent industry, setting the stage for a dynamic and exciting future of recruitment. From a business perspective, too, if an organization continues to use primitive technology, it is unlikely to corroborate the process with the eventual ROI.

With significant developments in recruitment technology, organizations can skip the conventional campus hiring steps, meaning:

  • No more booking of time slots and physical venues
  • No need for repetitive pre-placement talks and presentations
  • No logistical hassles, such as preparing for a large number of candidates to take the screening tests
  • No need to dedicate invigilators for every exam room to prevent cheating
  • No need for manually evaluating the assessments
  • No need for manually shortlisting candidates for the selection interviews

The traditional process is highly resource, and time-intensive and organizations spend substantial sums only on the campus hiring drives. Such an extensive and cumbersome campus hiring process is challenging to scale and requires technology intervention.

Campus Selection

55% of participating organizations have highlighted targeting the right set of campuses as their most critical challenge in our recently released report Campus Hiring 2020: Challenges, Trends & Best Practices.

Without any real intelligence, shortlisting campuses every year is a tedious affair. What if we were to tell you about a scientific way to select the college that suits your requirements?

Campus intelligence is an essential campus hiring solution that helps organizations make data-backed decisions. Organizations are often unaware of how to undertake this process. 

Campus intelligence relies on validated statistics. It consists of competency scorecards and heat maps that rate students’ overall performance on specific competencies based on the assessments. It creates a campus mean score to help shortlist campuses based on your requirements. Organizations such as Mercer | Mettl have conducted over 20,000 campus drives and have abundant data on numerous colleges and universities. You can rely on this information and obtain a campus scorecard for competencies sought by your organization.

Campus Scorecard

Overall college performance based on students’ competencies

50% of organizations make their campus targeting strategy based on their previous year’s experience and the onboarded students’ quality. This strategy places organizations in a loop where there are no avenues to explore newer campuses. This is where campus intelligence can help you 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.

higher mean score means a higher average salary

A higher mean score means a higher average salary

You can access campus data across various profiles, based on your requirements. Whether you intend to hire engineers, business graduates, marketeers, or researchers, campus intelligence can customize a campus scorecard based on your competency framework and skills demand. Campus intelligence provides a holistic strategy to approach campuses, enabling you to make decisions about salary benchmarks. Such an insight serves as the first step toward a virtual campus recruitment strategy. It reduces manual interventions and offers a seamless experience to organizations involved in the task of selecting campuses.

Pre-Placement Engagement

After selecting the colleges through campus intelligence, student engagement is the next step in campus recruitment. In a world where information is available at the click of a button, presentations and talks offer no real value. Organizations need to create an impression on students by connecting with their aspirations.

Every fresh graduate wants to work in a trendy organization. You must exhibit the company’s culture, offer them a glimpse of the stimulating environment and the work being done by the company. You must use this opportunity to provide them with a brand recall value and gain their interest, ensuring a wider reach.

Now you might ask about ways of doing all this without ever meeting these students in-person? The answer is online contests, such as coding hackathons, innovative ideathons and case study competitions.

Pre-placement talks are a thing of the past. A virtual campus recruiting strategy involves organizations taking the engagement to the next level, using technology and offering students a unique platform to connect with the brand. Online competitions provide organizations with an excellent platform to introduce themselves, enabling candidates to showcase their innovative and problem-solving skills. 

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 useful means to assess business graduates’ understanding and give them a glimpse into some of the real challenges they would be working on.

Pre-placement talks are likely to attract dispassionate students. Conversely, interactive and high-on-energy contests can be extremely useful ice-breakers, ensuring participation from fresh graduates, genuinely interested in the business and its products. This would ensure quality hires. 

Online competitions, such as hackathons, can serve as a one-stop-shop for your recruitment process. If you are looking to hire coders, you can stage multiple coding rounds in a single hackathon to lead to the final interview. The hackathon can be your engagement, screening and selection tool.

Online competitions can be conducted on online platforms to implement all processes together in one place efficiently. Easy outreach is the most significant upside to using an online platform to conduct virtual contests. Hackathons or case study competitions can be rolled out simultaneously at numerous campuses across the country. Additionally, most platforms provide marketing support by promoting them on social media channels for improved visibility and outreach. The online buzz helps gain significant traction among college students, driving better participation and high-quality submissions.

Hackathon platforms, along with a team of subject matter experts, help you create an engaging problem statement, design an online event, define multiple stages of participation, enable students to form groups and submit their projects in a streamlined manner. They ensure an excellent student experience, which doubles up as a fantastic branding exercise. It is easy to judge the submissions and declare the winners without any manual intervention.

Hackathons and other types of online contests are innovative campus recruitment strategies. Virtual hackathons are cost-effective and save considerable time compared to traditional student engagement events.

Mercer |  Mettl recently conducted one of the most popular and largest campus engagement competitions in the Asia Pacific region, in association with Amazon. Amazon’s annual flagship event, the ACE Challenge 2019, was an inter B-school case study competition that strategically positioned itself as the forerunner of innovation, strategy and simplicity. With its footprint across all premium B-schools in the Asia Pacific region, the competition set the stage for the sharpest minds from top B-schools to exercise problem-solving, lateral thinking and evaluate live case-simulations. Mercer | Mettl was the technology partner, ensuring the smooth execution of multiple stages of the contest. It also played an integral role in student engagement and the outreach strategy across the region.

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 genuinely 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 that can adequately perform the desired tasks. However, no team in an organization works in silos in this age of digital transformation and collaboration. Psychometric assessments empower you to find the right fit for your 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. Disbursing 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 next screening round, which is hands-on coding in a real coding environment. Coding simulators allow students to apply their skills and showcase their problem-solving approach, which is 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 to the subsequent rounds, possess a certain degree of proficiency.

Cognitive Skills

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

Behavioral & 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 such 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 and honesty, etc. It helps recruiters to map candidates’ personalities to organizational benchmarks.

Communication Skills

Effective English communication is perhaps one of the most critical skills. Communication is an essential consideration for most roles and organizations. However, many companies do not 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 conducting evaluations at scale. An English language evaluator auto-evaluates the results. The evaluation can be sent to multiple students at once, and the results can be fed into the student’s final scores. Language proficiency evaluators combine assessments for pronunciation, fluency, listening and comprehension abilities to assess all communication elements. They highlight the trainable and non-trainable aspects of a candidate, depending on the role’s requirements.

Why are Online Assessment Platforms Important To Your Virtual Campus Hiring Strategy?

Virtual campus hiring can produce measurably superior results in a relatively short time with online assessments compared to campus visits. Therefore, instead of employing traditional recruitment processes, recruiters can view their candidates’ performance and scores virtually, from the comforts of their offices.

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 logistical hassles of booking venues and time-slots to conduct the screening test on the campus. You may ask how one ensures a cheating-free test environment when students sit at different locations, and there are no invigilators? Well, the answer to that is ‘proctoring.’

Remote proctoring can act as an enabler in the digital campus recruitment process, whereby companies roll out online assessments on a secure proctored environment and leverage technology. Remote proctoring uses manual and AI-based remote invigilation technologies to conduct online assessments that prevent candidates from indulging in unfair means. A test can be taken from anywhere using remote proctoring, and the candidate only needs a computer with a high-speed internet connection. 

There is no limit to the number of candidates one can proctor, allowing access to a larger candidate pool. As remote proctoring gives candidates the freedom to attempt their test at their time of choosing, a higher participation and attempt rate can be expected.

Risk-free proctoring lends credibility to the results, also significantly reducing manual intervention in the initial phase. The campus hiring season out-spreads simultaneously, and multiple assessments at multiple campuses coincide, enhancing the benefits and criticality of remote proctoring. It helps create a campus pipeline for future recruitment needs. Remote proctoring helps you set benchmarks and accordingly target campuses for an efficient campus hiring strategy.

Here are ten reasons an online assessment platform can make or break your virtual campus hiring strategy, and the various features you can look for when choosing a platform and assessment partner:

  • 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.
  • Companies can reach out to many previously unexplored colleges due to resource limitations, i.e., time and personnel unavailability.
  • Enhanced reach aside, this system addresses a significant challenge of simultaneously conducting thousands of tests. Imagine the administrative expense and time you would need to visit each campus and give hundreds of tests.
  • It offers the flexibility to add layers of tests onto a single defined assessment. For example, apart from general MCQs and essay type questions, you can add coding simulators, language proficiency evaluations, case study simulators, and psychometric and personality tests.
  • Minimum system requirements - a computer, a browser, and internet connectivity.
  • Autosave the candidate’s answers to manage infrastructure issues, such as the internet, network, power outage, system crash, restart, etc.
  • Proctoring empowers companies to curb cheating and other assessment-related malpractices.
  • 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 their tests, detailed reports are generated within minutes, with scores on each assessment in a single dashboard. This expedites the decision-making process, enabling recruiters to select quickly and wisely.
  • Superior, actionable analytics allows companies to compare different campuses, performance trends and gain granular and regional insights.
  • Flexibility to conduct the test in a contest, game, or a code challenge format enhances engagement and brings out maximum participation from the students while strengthening the brand recall.

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.

There are numerous video interviewing platforms available on the market, like Google, Skype, Zoom, etc. that can be used for virtual interviews. But the right interview platform offers power-packed features, such as setting a path for your 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 down the various competencies and related questions based on the job role and allow interviewers to score on the same platform.

Video interviews also promote real-time collaboration for everyone involved and address time and location constraints, besides being cost-effective. Digital transformation requires organizations to scale up quickly, yet a face-to-face interview is not the most scalable model. 

Many video platforms also feature the option of allowing pair programming that enables technical hiring managers to combine interviewing and code testing onto one platform.

Conclusion

Technology is pushing 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 your organization’s campus hiring processes and move toward the future of recruitment with an all-in-one platform solution.

Comparison between Traditional Campus Hiring and Virtual Campus Hiring

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 technology-driven solutions

FAQs

We have listed the answers to the most typical concerns regarding virtual campus recruitment:

What is on-campus and off-campus recruitment?

On-campus – These recruitment drives are organized by a particular institution or university wherein a pre-specified college group is eligible to participate. Under this type, primarily, a placement cell arranges the placement drives and then all the candidates eligible, related to the pre-decided limited colleges, can participate in the selection process. There is not much competition on campus drives, and you need to prepare a test format specific to a particular company.  

Off-Campus – In the off-campus drive, you can apply and attend the placement events organized by some MNCs and at-times by colleges as well. You must be eligible to participate in the drive, regardless of which college you belong to, and thus candidates who fulfill the eligibility criteria can partake in these events. Moreover, companies also get an opportunity to select the right candidates. So there is a difference in the level of competition between the two recruitment drives, with off-campus being highly competitive because the number of participants is more  than on-campus. 

What does virtual interview mean?

A virtual interview leverages video technology to allow interview discussions to take place remotely. Instead of meeting face-to-face, the hiring manager and participants will connect over online video software.

How do college students engage virtually?

Employers can connect with students without stepping on campus. Listed below are some ways to engage students, virtually ranging from social presence to video interviews.

  • Social media presence

A  company’s social media presence on YouTube, Twitter or Instagram can work in its favor and provide an advantage in recruiting. Companies can offer a glimpse of  work culture and devise recruiting strategies to draw students in and increase brand awareness.

  • Company Conversations

Organizations can connect candidates over the phone or use video conferencing tools because conversations are an integral part of establishing connections with students.

  • Webinars/Presentations

An interactive webinar or video presentation can save an organization’s time and money that would otherwise get exhausted while commuting and reaching on campus.  Potential candidates can get a sense of the organizational work culture, the work done in the enterprise and employer expectations. Virtual presentations shouldn’t be draggy but a brief one (around 20 minutes or less) and be followed by Q&A sessions for maximizing engagement.

  • Virtual Interviews

Organizations can schedule virtual interviews via phone or video conference and enable students directly to choose time slots.

Campus Hiring Reimagined: End-To-End Virtual Campus Recruitment Solutions

Overcome Campus Hiring Challenges By Conducting Virtual Campus Drives Across The Country

Originally published July 22 2020, Updated October 5 2020

Bhuvi Kathpalia

Written by

Bhuvi is a content marketer at Mercer | Mettl. She's helped various brands find their voice through insightful thought pieces and engaging content. When not scandalizing people with her stories, you’ll find her challenging gender norms, dancing to her own tune, and crusading through life, laughing.

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