In a matter of weeks, the US college grad hiring forecast shifted from what was supposed to be the strongest in 50 years to the worst since the Great Depression.
Leading employers realize that pausing their campus recruiting program now can have detrimental effects to their qualified pipeline down the road. That’s why nearly 6 in 10 employers plan on adopting or increasing digital engagement, including virtual events, during this time, according to a recent Handshake survey.
With more employers embracing digital engagement through online platforms like Handshake to shape their future workforce during this time, our team decided it necessary to build new digital-first features to help employers tap into the talent they’re looking for— without the need to travel to campus.
Until those features are out, there’s more employers can do to deploy practical and effective ways for engaging with early talent beyond this year’s pandemic. That’s why we sat down with Eric Pfeiffer, University Recruiter at Intuit—a Handshake Premium partner—to learn how they engage with students and recent grads in the era of COVID-19.
How have you approached hiring since the team has transitioned to fully working remote—are you hiring for about the same number of roles or for critical roles only?
When our work from home transition happened, we were pretty much wrapped up with our season. Any remaining roles that were open had to go through a special approval process to ensure those roles were meaningful to the organization. And as of now, Intuit is still hiring for professional opportunities that have gone through an approval process as well.
What has been the most challenging aspect of recruiting remotely?
Getting our business partners on board to do so. Some of our partners are only used to interviewing in person and it took a little bit of extra effort to get them comfortable with it.
Through our partnership, we know Intuit has been a leader in virtual recruiting events way before this pandemic. How did you leverage virtual events before COVID-19, and how has your tried and true virtual recruiting strategy enabled you to stand out from your competitors during this time?
We would typically run only a few engagement events virtually every season. But since the shift to virtual has happened our team has embraced it. We have dived headfirst into running info sessions related to PM and design on Zoom and running virtual events with some diversity partnerships we work with. We are trying to keep our sessions no longer than an hour and want to include student’s participation as much as possible. We don’t want them to get burned out over Zoom.
Tip: Move beyond video conferencing apps by hosting intimate one-on-one sessions like coffee chats without leaving the platform you already rely on for recruiting early talent. Learn more.
How has social distancing affected your spring recruitment? Traditionally, you’ve either used this time to either head on campus to connect with early talent in person, or have already started conducting in-person interviews. How are you engaging with and interviewing early talent now instead?
I am leaving at least one day open on my calendar where students can sign up for a half hour chat to learn a little more about Intuit and have a face-to-face conversation with me. We are also working with a group of early career product and design employees that are running these similar sessions with students.
This is new to all of us—what have you found to be helpful? How have you been working with your team to support them and help them embrace these changes?
Since we are all spending the majority of our time in one space you get burnt out so easily. Our team is embracing this by only having meetings that are no longer than an hour and having hard stop times at the end of the day. You can get hooked on being “on” at all times while at home. We do our best to turn off.
Summer internships begin in May and June. If you’re still planning on hosting your internship virtually, what were some of the driving factors behind your decision?
Our business is still operating at full potential and we are an innovator of early career talent. We support small businesses and they need us now more than ever.
Decisions that leaders are making during this time will have lasting impact. How are you thinking about how students will perceive and engage with your employer brand during this time? How are you remaining top of mind for students?
We are just allowing ourselves to be available for them. We understand while finding work is important, some of them are in a space right now where they need someone to talk to.
How are you thinking about the fall recruiting season? Do you think virtual events will be the new normal? If so, how are you thinking about driving successful results and how are you resourcing your teams to hit these indicators?
We are planning on going fully virtual. We are running smaller events via Zoom right now and are working to scale them by the fall.
Tip: Whether you plan on recruiting entirely online this fall, will be traveling to a select few campuses, or are incorporating a hybrid of both, check out our fall contingency playbook.
Not all students have equitable means to engage with employers and have typically relied on resources like technology from their school to help them land a job. In the absence of these resources, how are you democratizing opportunity to engage these underrepresented groups?
We work with a series of organizations tailored towards underrepresented minority students and first generation college grads. Holding specific events for them to understand what is important for them and what they want is important to us.
What can job seekers do to stand out among other applicants during this time?
Being comfortable with meeting online is important right now. And even if your internship was canceled for the summer, what are you doing to better yourself for the fall?
We have been connecting with students that have lost their opportunities and have been recommending different books or areas of opportunities they can work on.
Special thanks to Intuit’s early talent recruiting team for their Handshake Premium partnership and contributions to this post. If you’re looking to uplevel your early talent recruiting program in advance of the unprecedented fall 2020 recruiting season, get in touch with a Handshake expert to learn how to set your program apart from the pack.