August 30, 2021
5 Tips for Building an Effective University Recruiting Virtual Event
For university recruiting leaders, one of the largest challenges coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic has been shifting to virtual recruiting, from navigating online platforms to finding new ways to connect with students.
And, even as recruiters begin returning to campus, many firms are still choosing to host recruiting events online, allowing them to reach more universities and students in the recruiting process.
But virtual events are no easy feat — they must strike the right balance of being engaging and informative, while taking into account possible virtual fatigue.
Here, we have pulled together five best practices for designing an effective virtual recruiting events strategy.
(1) Use live virtual events to create a more engaging recruiting experience.
Live virtual info sessions are the top-rated virtual event format among students, with over half (58%) of students rating this format positively.
Meanwhile, student sentiments towards pre-recorded virtual info sessions are much less positive. In fact, just 29% of students rate this format positively, with 31% of students rating it negatively.
Although pre-recorded sessions allow for greater flexibility and reach, hosting them live can be a stronger tactic for sparking positive engagement.
(2) Good presenters are a driving factor for prospective candidates.
Good presenters are one of the most important markers of a successful recruiting event — they are both the number-one driver of event satisfaction and application likelihood.
When it comes to presenters, students are interested in hearing from a variety of sources.
Nearly half of students (46%) are interested in hearing from previous interns and hiring managers. Executives and employees from their future workstream are also high on the list of speakers students consider appealing.
(3) Host smaller sessions to create a more personal experience.
Students show a strong preference for virtual events with a smaller number of attendees; 20% of students say their ideal group size for an event is 1-5 candidates, and 36% say their ideal size is 5-15.
Overall, a significant majority of students (83%) say they would prefer to attend events with no more than 25 candidates.
“[My favorite virtual event was a] small meeting (around 10 people) with a recruiter and other potential applicants to informally hear about the opportunity,” one student said in an interview with Veris Insights. “It was a comfortable environment where I felt fine asking any sort of question, especially knowing there weren’t many other students in the call.”
When it is feasible, hosting smaller events can be an effective way to create a more intimate setting for students to connect with recruiters and one another.
(4) Timing is key when scheduling virtual recruiting events.
Students’ preferences for timing of virtual recruiting events shift throughout the year.
In August, before classes begin, students’ top preference for the time of a virtual event is 1 pm – 3 pm. By September, when the semester is in full swing, the top preference has shifted to later in the day, from 5 pm – 7 pm.
Keep in mind that the majority of students prefer to spend 30 to 45 minutes at a single recruiting event, and longer events may contribute to fatigue.
(5) Focus events around preparing students for the recruiting process.
Finally, understanding why students attend virtual events is key to tailoring content to their interests.
4 in 5 students say they attend virtual recruiting events to increase their chances of securing a job. Across all topics, they are most interested in learning how to succeed in the recruiting process.
In addition to sharing important information about your firm and students’ potential roles, use virtual recruiting events to communicate clear next steps for students to follow as they continue along the recruiting process.