August 10, 2020 / Coronavirus

Campus recruiting in a pandemic


As Covid-19 continues to have an unprecedented impact on our lives, the recruitment industry has been the subject of a lot of speculation. Will it thrive in a new market with more top talent available, or will hiring freezes spell a tough time for recruiters?

A topic that hasn’t been discussed as much is how organisations and campus recruitment teams will operate this year, without the in-person events and careers fairs they’d usually attend.

A High-fliers graduate market report in 2019 revealed that, in 2018, the UK’s top 100 employers would market their graduate vacancies at an average of 22 universities through campus recruitment presentations and local careers fairs.

With tech being some of the most popular graduate jobs, especially considering the battle for tech talent brought on by the skills gap, we take a look at three ways companies can take advantage of the cancellation of in-person events.

Broaden your horizons

The report highlights that employers’ market their vacancies at 22 universities on average. Where does that leave students at the other 100+ universities in the UK?

Equality is a huge topic at the minute, not just in the industry, but as a global issue. Organisations talk about the need for change, but if it comes to campus recruiting and you’re only targeting the top 20 universities again, then we’ll continue to see unequal opportunity.

By concentrating on the same people from the same universities, you’re missing out on so much talent. Jake Humphrey, the BBC’s first-ever American Football host, former Formula 1 anchor, and Beijing Olympic presenter to list just some of his resumé, never even went to university in the first place.

The best talent isn’t always at the best university, and this may be an opportunity for employers to rethink their perception of success, and how they go about targeting the candidates with ability and potential rather than academic prowess.

Without having to commit to going to specific locations for events, this year’s campus recruitment strategy could be a real catalyst for change in the industry.

The online shift

So, it’s all well and good saying you’re going to broaden your horizons, but how do you do that effectively?

Social media is a great tool and something that employers were utilising effectively long before Covid, but with everyone moving their strategies online, you risk the channels becoming saturated.

Instead, organisations should look to online engagement tools to help. This year we at ShowX are launching UniCode, a university coding competition where the top tech talent from 80 universities compete against each other throughout the year.

It also acts as a 24/7 engagement tool for employers, who can sponsor the bi-weekly fixtures and nurture talent from their first year onward. Our solution is just one of the platforms that businesses can utilise to engage with students around the clock, rather than only once at an event.

The shift from in-person to online engagement was probably an inevitable one. A live event has benefits, but it’s so easy to miss some great talent if on the day they’re ill, busy working or even hungover (they are still uni students after all).

Much like working from home, where Covid-19 accelerated a process that would eventually have happened for most organisations anyway, employers can use this year to do the same by perfecting their online engagement strategy and realising the benefits of 24/7 engagement from a wider pool of talent.

Show off with your brand

With your engagement strategy online, it can provide an excellent opportunity to get creative in the way you leverage your brand. Buying students pizza to lure them over to you at a careers fair is one thing, but it can be hard to give them a real insight into life at the company when it’s just a face-to-face conversation.

An online strategy, for tech roles especially, can give you the same level of visibility (if not more coverage with platforms like UniCode) but just as importantly, provides a chance to create fun, engaging and meaningful content from which students can learn. Something a lot more difficult to achieve at a face-to-face event.

So, don’t let Covid ruin your graduate recruitment strategy, take advantage of event cancellations and perfect your online engagement.

To find out more about UniCode and see how it can work for your organisation, get in touch with our sales executive

Alex Adams
Marketing Executive

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