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April 18, 2022

3 Mandates for University Recruiting in 2022

The University Recruiting landscape has shifted dramatically over the past two years. The COVID-19 pandemic challenged traditional notions of work, changing how recruiters operate and how students approach jobs. 

We’ve been closely tracking the university recruitment landscape throughout this transformation and have defined three key strategies that will allow recruiters to deploy the capabilities they developed over the course of the pandemic and thrive in the ultra-competitive market.

(1) Student-Informed Flexibility

One of the largest ways in which the pandemic reshaped the workplace was by shifting a greater emphasis onto flexibility. 

This is by no means a new conversation; research has long shown the positive relationship between flexibility and workplace satisfaction. But with the more recent shift to virtual and hybrid models, the push for flexibility has taken off.

Like experienced hires, students entering the workforce place a lot of weight on flexibility. For instance, 92% of students are open to offers permitting up to 3 days of remote work that are decided on by them. In comparison, just 57% are open to offers that have no opportunities for remote work. 

Embracing flexibility is key to capturing talent in a competitive market, but it’s not quite enough. Actively monitoring shifts in student sentiments, training recruiters to understand where candidates are coming from, and tailoring the university recruitment experience to current realities are all key to student-informed flexibility.

(2) Strategic Pool Selection

There are multiple facets of sourcing to consider as you develop a strategy for targeting candidates. School selection, selection of recruiting channels, and partnerships on- and off-campus all play a role in determining what your potential pool of candidates will look like.

In recent years, there have been important developments in this space as the move towards school-agnostic recruiting has grown. In 2021, two-thirds of employers relied on a blend of the school-agnostic and core school models for sourcing talent. 

There has also been a shift towards thinking beyond traditional four-year universities and considering graduates of community colleges, bootcamps, and university-sponsored certificate programs.

At the same time, however, university recruitment teams are overwhelmed. In 2021, more than a third of employers reported that burnout was their biggest staffing concern for UR teams. 

In a world where options for sourcing have expanded but teams remain overextended, strategic pool selection is especially important. Considering team capacity, effectiveness of different approaches, saturation among certain talent pools, and the makeup of your current pipeline can collectively inform a strategy that will capture more talent, while also ensuring your team has enough bandwidth.

(3) Deliberate Blended Recruiting

The shift to virtual recruiting challenged university recruitment teams to adapt quickly, but it also proved that many, though not all, events can be run effectively in a virtual environment. Looking at 2022 and beyond, in-person events are once again increasingly viable, leaving open the question of how to blend the best of both formats.

Events aren’t equally effective in virtual and in-person environments. For instance, employers rate first-round interviews as more effective when held virtually, but rate career fairs and conferences as more effective when held in person. 

Student preferences vary substantially here, too. Students frequently prefer that sessions intended to provide information, like panels, info sessions, and trainings, be held online. On the flip side, they prefer that sessions intended to build personal connections like networking events, conferences, and career fairs, take place in person.

A deliberate strategy that considers the effectiveness of different formats, both weighing your team’s and students’ preferences, will be key to successful recruiting going forward.

The future of University Recruiting has been turned on its head by the pandemic, but recruiting teams are still poised to succeed if they consider students’ evolving needs and experiences. With access to real-time student insights, recruiters can arrive at a data-informed strategy for success in 2022.

Start acting on student insights in real time.

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