Planning for a New Norm

Written By: Theresa Hickey, PHR

When I started working 19 years ago, I knew I was going to love being a Recruiter. I enjoyed hearing people’s unique stories and knowing that not one person was the same as the next. It was rewarding to know that maybe my interaction was one of the reasons someone took a position at my organization.

I was exposed to university recruiting soon into my first job and knew I found an area I loved. I have been able to see so many colleges and universities across the country that I never would’ve had the chance to see had it not been for my roles in university recruiting. The opportunity to recruit a student who was just starting to think about their first job and ultimately seeing them progress in an organization was what made the travel and long hours’ worth every minute.

Heading to campus in the fall and spring usually brings a lot of emotions. First, I’m excited to be back on campus and to see all the energy from the students. Second, I’m nervous because I wonder if I’ll find a parking spot and then find my way to where the event is taking place. Third, I’m focused because I only have so much time to make my company stand out amongst all the other organizations at the event. Lastly, I’m anxious and patiently waiting to meet students and hear their stories.

This year is like no other I’ve experienced during my 19 years on college campuses. I anticipate I’ll have many of the same emotions but know it’s going to be different not just for me but for students as well. Since the experiences will be different, I wanted to share a few things that will be important now, more than ever when back on campus.

  • First Impressions – The days of shaking hands are over. A handshake was a key part of a student’s first introduction to a recruiter. Eye contact, positive attitude, and having done research on an organization or recruiter will be key in our new environment and something to help set students apart.
  • Follow the process – Recruiters are not going to want to exchange papers or pass around an iPad to get contact information. Students will need to really listen to the application instructions and follow appropriately. It’s also important for students to utilize Career Services to help them understand the best way to apply to positions and to help them find job openings. Try to remember the process might take longer than average and might be a different format than most students were used to in the past.
  • Building A Personal Brand – Students will need to stand out. There will be less jobs available until the economy can rebound. Students need to start thinking about how they want to make an impression to recruiters and figure out what key information they should share; having an elevator pitch is an excellent first step.
  • New formats – The typical process of a student showing up at an event and eventually doing an in-person interview are over. The new normal will be more virtual and require more work on everyone’s part. Technology will play a big role going forward so educating yourself now is key.
  • Follow Up – This has always been an important step in the job search process. Those who take the time to send a follow up note after any part of the process will show their continued interest and leave a lasting impression and deeper connection with the Recruiter.

This year of recruiting and job searching will be unprecedented. Companies are looking at their recruiting strategies, hiring numbers, and keeping their team members safe. Students are thinking about their education, life after college, and staying healthy. We’ll get through whatever our new normal looks like and have stories to share for many years.