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Campus recruitment has always been an effective strategy for sourcing, engaging, and hiring talent, especially for internships and entry-level positions.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, in 2019 almost all of the surveyed enterprise companies in the US (98%) recruited from traditional four-year public schools or non-profit universities. At the same time, 58% of their entry-level hires were recent college graduates.

With the unprecedented market situation and many internship programs being canceled, how will these companies fill in their recruitment funnels? The pressure is on the campus recruiters to move their recruitment processes remotely.

To understand better the job of the campus recruiters today, we spoke to Fizza Faiyaz, Talent Acquisition Expert who worked for companies such as IBM, Randstad, and Affinity Global.

Working for the largest companies in the world that hire at scale, Fizza has extensive experience in recruitment processes of software engineers and developers, including graduates for entry-level positions. We asked Fizza about her tactics, best practices, and recommendations for hiring university grads for technical positions in these difficult times.

Online Graduate Sourcing 

Visiting colleges and on-site campus recruitment is no longer an option, but many companies still see the value of the massive talent pool among the recent graduates. “A candidate is so much more than just a CV,” says Fizza. “A CV barely scratches the surface, it’s a simple piece of paper. What you really need is a real, meaningful conversation and a sample of their technical skills,” she adds.

That’s why Fizza recommends participating in online events: from virtual career fairs to online challenges and networking happy hours. “Events are perfect for making real connections and truly engaging our potential candidates,” she says. “Now that we work remotely, partner events, virtual meetings, and following up on LinkedIn conversations can truly be your best sourcing tactics,” she adds.

Virtual Internship Programs

While many companies decided to streamline the operation and cut down on hiring, there are still organizations that did not cancel their internship programs. “If you’re working for a tech company, you have probably always worked as virtual as possible,” says Fizza. She explains how important it is to the entire organization to continue the educational program with all the interns who accepted the offer. “Many companies still want to ensure the best possible learning experience to every single candidate, even if they need to compromise and move it remote.”

What skills does she recommend to look for in applicants for entry-level positions in tech? Good communication, creativity, and a big picture attitude. “You want to make sure that your applicants will be able to not only create a great solution but also to be able to explain it,” says Fizza. One of the ways to do that is by using CodeLive, allowing you to use a shared editor and combined video and voice capabilities to assess both technical skills and communication style of your candidates.

As a matter of fact, Fizza underlines the importance of providing diverse career paths for your interns. “Your candidates don’t need to be developers for the rest of their life,” says Fizza. “Your skills-mapping programs can help move them into management, human resources, or any other field that works best for them at the later stage of their career, and that can be a great incentive for them to join your internship program” she adds.

The Challenges of Virtual Onboarding 

Finally, once the new grads join the team, it can be challenging to get them up to speed when working remotely. Your new onboarding process needs to ease the transition and ensure that the beginners have your support. As Fizza noticed, “in these difficult times all the employees, including the new ones, need a sense of security and belonging.” As she suggests, “make sure the new remote employees know where to turn for feedback, questions, and instructions.” Keeping them in the loop, managing expectations, and informing them about the next steps is the key to effective communication.

Apart from providing an individualized onboarding plan, Fizza’s advice is to set up clear priorities. “Invest in video, digital resources, and virtual education. Maintaining digital training and project documentation can be easier with company intranet or internal wiki. Any tasks that require your physical presence need to be postponed. Delay whatever you can, focus on what brings value today.”

As Fizza admits, hiring and working remotely still has its downsides. “Yes, we do lack that face-to-face experience, being able to assess how the candidates are going to act in difficult situations based on their body language,” she says. “Luckily we are in the age of the internet, we have access to great educational materials and tools that make our remote work more effective.”

Still Having Issues with Remote Hiring?

Dealing with the unexpected situation of COVID-19 can be challenging. But these difficult times will pass, and you’ll need efficient ways to make good hiring decisions once operations return back to normal. Keeping tech virtual internships and remote campus recruitment can help you make that happen.

Natalia Dwórznik, Enterprise Marketing Lead at Codility.

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