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How To Hire College Students During Coronavirus

By collegemktgrp | July 24, 2020 | Student Employers

In the era of the coronavirus, it’s harder than ever for businesses to connect with college students for new hires. On-campus marketing is off the table for now, and will likely be up in the air for at least the next school year, too.

If you’re an employer who relies on college students to staff your business or who typically recruits graduating seniors, this presents a real challenge.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, you could find quality talent at college job fairs and through campus career centers. You could also promote job openings with signage posted on campus.

Now, all your recruiting efforts are restricted to the digital realm. Luckily, that’s where we come in.

Here are 6 tips on how to hire employees for employers looking to recruit college students during COVID-19.

1. Leverage Your Current Employees

Your current employees are your most valuable assets when it comes to finding new candidates, especially right now when unemployment is high.

Most people know someone who is looking for work, and chances are one of those people have the skill set you’re hunting for. Make sure your current employees know about the open positions you’re hiring for, and encourage them to recommend peers who they feel are qualified for the job.

Your employees could also share your job listings on their personal social media profiles, if they’re comfortable doing so. This is a great way to expand the reach of your listing, and connect with as many quality candidates as possible.

Of course, if you expect your employees to promote your job listings, you need to make sure they’re happy working there — otherwise they’re not likely to recommend the job to others. A healthy workplace culture that addresses the priorities of Gen Z will go a long way to turn your employees into recruitment ambassadors.

Another tip on top of that is to offer referral bonuses to employees who find your next hire!

2. Post Job Openings Online

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s more important than ever that you make sure your job listings are up-to-date across all your online platforms, not just your website.

Use hiring platforms like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, Monster, and Idealist to cast the widest net possible. And since you’re interested specifically in hiring college students, be sure to tap into Career Rookie and College Central as resources to find more candidates.

If you don’t have an active social media presence, it’s time to start building one. Facebook and Instagram can be especially useful in promoting new job openings and reaching people you might not otherwise.

Social media is a powerful way to find people who may not even be looking for a job. Job listings on your website will only be seen by people who actively seek them out, and listings on hiring platforms will only be seen by people who are looking for a job in your specific industry.

On social media, you can let all your followers know about new job openings. And if your followers re-post your listing, their friends will know, too. Who knows, maybe someone who didn’t think they needed a new job will be inspired to apply!

3. Turn to Old Applications

You may be struggling to find enough quality candidates to submit applications for job openings during this time. That’s especially likely if your business is in a college town and relies on students for seasonal work, or your business requires employees to be physically present.

This may be the perfect time to revisit old applications. While these candidates weren’t the right fit at the time (or they were just bested by a higher-qualified candidate), now is the time to reach out and let them know about your job openings. You can even offer to fast-track them into a hired position if they’ve interviewed in the past.

Connect with past applicants by importing their email addresses all into an email marketing platform like MailChimp and creating a segmented list. Then you can send mass emails to this list about the opening, with a button for interested people to contact you.

4. Highlight Your Safety Standards

If your job requires work outside of the home, most candidates will be concerned about the safety protocols you have in place to protect their health during COVID-19.

Make it a point to communicate the measures you have in place to protect employees in the workplace. This information should be included or linked to in the job listing details, everywhere you post them.

5. Be Sure Your Candidate Is Remote-Ready

Many jobs are remote right now. If this is true for the position you’re hiring for, you probably can’t afford to train a new employee on basic remote work practices.

A virtual interview is a great chance to see how a candidate functions with the technology and the setting. Are they dressed to impress? Is their at-home work space clean and free from distraction? Are they able to operate their camera, screen share, and handle other remote work technologies easily and professionally?

They don’t have to be familiar with the specific tools you use – they just need to demonstrate the capacity to learn quickly and work professionally and reliably from home.

6. Communicate Post-Coronavirus Expectations

Retaining college student employees can be difficult. It can be even harder during coronavirus, when no one knows what tomorrow may bring.

Ideally, your new hire will be with you after the pandemic has passed. If you expect their work to change once the virus has been mitigated, be upfront about these expectations in your interviewing and hiring process.

Make sure potential hires know what the job entails now as well as in the future. Your company may be working remotely right now, but you may be expecting employees to work in the office when it’s safe to do so.

Communicating these expectations now will maximize your ability to retain new employees well into the future.

More Tips to Retain College Student Employees

Even in normal times, retaining your college student employees can be a challenge.

Their lives and schedules are regularly changing. And when they’re balancing work with school and their personal life, burnout is a real risk.

But it’s easier and more cost-effective to retain than to retrain, so a retention-first approach is the best.

Learn about the proactive steps you can take to keep college student employees around for the long haul >

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