Five Things for Campus Recruiters to Know in a COVID-19 World: Advice from a Current College Student
By: Rubyjoy Pikes
As we all know, this recruiting season will be far from normal with the current state of our world. With change comes new challenges, and we’re all in the same boat of pivoting our day-to-day strategies to accommodate the uncertain environment.
As a current college student, this is a very scary and unpredictable time for me. Stress levels are growing, change is inevitable, and it’s more important than ever to protect my mental health. This is the point in students’ lives where making connections and putting ourselves out there is crucial to set us up for future success. On top of the uncertainty with school and social lives, students are also trying to juggle the (sometimes dreaded) internship and job search to establish their career path upon graduation.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that the more successful a campus recruiter is in connecting with students, the less stress students will feel in their career development strategies. So, I sat down to see what advice I could offer to college recruiters to help us all grow and adapt this Fall. Here’s what I came up with:
1) Write a Good Email
Writing an engaging and readable email is one of the many keys to success in business, and the same applies to recruiters reaching out to college students with the goal of building relationships and meeting hiring numbers. While it may seem like an obvious “tip,” sometimes writing a “good and engaging email” is harder than it may seem.
Here are a few things that would prompt me to open and respond to an email from a campus recruiter:
- Engaging Subject Line: It’s the first thing a student will see when it pops up, and since we’re so busy with class, you want something that will stand out and make us remember your email when we have a moment to read and respond.
- Keep it Short: Students don’t have long attention spans, especially in the middle of our already busy schedules. So, keeping your email short and to-the-point will increase the likelihood that students fully read your message without getting bored.
- Call-to-Action: The subject line is to capture the attention, but now the important part is making your reader want to continue reading. Having a strong call to action may look something like introducing who you are and what you’re proposing. A key thing to remember is because you’re marketing to students, you want to throw something in about what’s in it for us. As greedy as that may seem, we students will keep reading in response to getting something in return. Let them know what you’re providing.
- Personalize: In my experience, personalization is a key thing that many emails I’ve received are lacking. We students love to feel special and not just an insignificant address in the BCC field. While recruiters’ time is already spread thin, it can actually be fairly easy to achieve personalization without sending individual emails. Even a simple mail merge to add names or universities can make a world of difference in building connections via email.
2) Diversity & Inclusion
With the current racial struggles due to systematic racism, more and more companies are focusing on diversity and inclusion. As a young African American woman myself, it’s sad to see that it’s taken months of protesting to finally open people’s eyes to racial inequality in this country, but it’s never too late to get started and take action.
If you and your company haven’t done so already, now is the perfect time to take a step back and figure out how your company is making a positive impact on diversity and inclusion.
Here are some questions to ask if you’re not sure where to start:
- Does your staff match your audience? How diverse are your employees and staff? Do you have proper representation of different diverse groups and perspectives? Are employees that are externally representing your team an honest portrayal of the company’s diversity?
- Are you jumping to conclusions? How are you reaching out to your students of color in a respectful and equal way? Are you making the assumption that people of color are in need of more resources, or are you genuinely trying to share resources equally across the board? Have the members of your staff had diversity and inclusion training?
- How inclusive are your interview panel and leadership? How does your interview panel look? Is it all white? Do you have people of color in positions of power? Are you using the same interviewing questions and consistent interviewing methods for every person that you interview?
3) Be Creative
Although creativity goes hand-in-hand with marketing and recruiting, a lot of companies are still trying to find their creative groove. Creativity is all trial and error, and it’s all about finding what works for you and your team.
As a college student myself, I’m more likely to engage with a company that is going above and beyond with their outreach, especially if it’s different from a cold email or virtual info session. For example, running a student ambassador program to harness the power of peer-to-peer influence; creating a student-facing social media page for your recruiting efforts to meet students where they spend most of their time; or providing educational resources to show added value are all great ways to think outside the box without putting in a ton of extra time or effort.
4) Run Good, Engaging Info Sessions
Webinars and virtual events quickly shifted from a creative strategy to a must-have during the pandemic, but there is also a fine line between an effective, creative webinar and a webinar that’s straight-up bad. Students are already on Zoom all day long, so it’s important to give them an engaging experience that doesn’t take up too much of their valuable downtime.
Since I started my internship this summer, a few of our Door of Clubs partners have asked me if live sessions are better (or worse) than recorded sessions, and the answer to that is it depends. Creating a space where students are able to interact with information and ask questions when needed will result in a more committed audience, but finding a time that works for every interested student could be a challenge due to rigorous class schedules. So, having an option to watch a recording of the event would be a great option for students who want to attend but can’t, allowing you to reach an even larger audience.
One thing to keep in mind when putting on a webinar is to make sure that you are accurately representing the company’s diversity. Make sure you’re bringing a variety of team members from a variety of backgrounds, races, genders, and ages to present or sit on an employee panel. This simple step will showcase your inclusion efforts while reaching the audience in a more impactful way.
5) Be Patient, Give Grace
Everyone is going through their own struggles these days, college students included. Let’s face it, online learning just isn’t the same, and we’re scared for our professional future and our personal future. So, keep it in mind to be understanding that we’re all dealing with life and trying to navigate the path forward differently.
When reaching out to students, let them know that you recognize this is a challenging time and that you’re here to support them in any way that you can, whether it be through job and internship opportunities, learning resources, or a friendly conversation. We like to know that we’re being heard, and that goes hand-in-hand with showing compassion.
I hope this helps you understand the college brain a bit more during these times and get a head start for the upcoming Fall 2020 recruiting season. If you have any questions or would like to talk more about creative strategies or how my Door of Clubs team can support your company this season, we’d love to hear from you!
More About Rubyjoy
Rubyjoy joined the Newbridge team in the Fall of 2020 as the Marketing and Design Intern and will play an integral role in Door of Clubs this year to support growth and platform enhancements. Pursuing a degree in Graphic Design at Portland State University, she recently moved from her hometown of Auburn, Washington to start her new journey in Portland, Oregon. Rubyjoy got started doing graphic design because of her passion for communicating through art. She has always been a visual learner, which compelled her to speak in a way that didn’t involve words. RubyJoy is excited to use her passion and skills to support the creative process at Newbridge during her internship. While she’s not working, you can find Rubyjoy exploring new restaurants around the city and thrifting for new t-shirts to add to her expanding t-shirt collection.