How to digitise your graduate recruitment program?

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

Why is graduate recruitment important for organisations?

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

Graduates are adaptable. Organisations can mould 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.

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

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

How do organisations hire graduates?

Most firms have an elaborate graduate recruitment program. It comprises of 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 organisations normally 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 it comes to choosing their employers. They have strong opinions about the way they view their career. They want to associate with organisations 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 they do not view any imminent changes in their graduate recruitment numbers.


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

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

What are the best practices for digitising 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 organisations 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.

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 the 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 behavioural 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 chatbot can resolve this problem by answering such sensitive questions. Candidates will be more comfortable to direct these queries to a chatbot rather than a recruiter.

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. Organisations can send communication regarding video interview etiquettes 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 experience.

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 organisational 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.

Employer Branding

With a limitation on campus visits, organisations 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 experience can leave a lasting impression on young minds.
  3. There will be a surge of video interview practise tools. If the organisation has such capabilities, they can offer such platforms or products to help the students.
  4. Organisations can offer their internal library and knowledge resources to enhance students’ learning.
  5. Companies can team up to organise virtual career fairs to attract the 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. 

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, organisations 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 organisations to attract the youngest entrants of the workforce. 

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