The Future of Campus Recruiting – The Need for Creativity & Adaptation in a Post-Pandemic World

It’s not breaking news that college will look a lot different over the next year while the world continues to battle COVID-19, shifting the way students engage with their campus communities, both socially and professionally. These changes will not only affect the students and faculty who live, work, and learn on campus, but also university recruiters and marketers who have historically relied on a physical presence to do their jobs. 

Newbridge has been working in the college marketing space for over a decade, and, while marketing is our expertise, we also know a lot about the college student population from running programs and conducting research in our networks, making our recent entry into the campus recruiting world a natural next step. 

Newbridge owns Door of Clubs, a digital recruiting platform that helps campus recruiters connect with student club leaders across the US. We’ve seen a significant opportunity to bring some much-needed creativity into the talent acquisition world and help companies attract and hire diverse talent more efficiently than before. 

When COVID-19 hit in early March, campus recruiters had to pivot their proven strategies of career fairs, in-person informational meetings, and on-campus interviews into efficient digital strategies and adapt to the changing college world. 

Through surveys and conversations with students and recruiters alike, we’re excited to support new approaches to campus recruiting through Door of Clubs and creative solutions that have proven to be successful in the college marketing world already. 

So, what does “the future of campus recruiting” look like, and how can university recruiters adapt their strategies for the coming hiring cycle to fit the college campus reality this Fall? 

We see five unique, creative options becoming important in this conversation:

1. Investing in efficient, all-digital platforms that support diversity recruiting, like Door of Clubs

There are lots of unique platforms on the market today that help college recruiters connect with students, attract applicants for internships or entry-level jobs, and engage remotely, like WayUp and Handshake. A virtual platform that can support recruiters with a lot on their plates and limited available time is important to any team and becomes even more important in a world with limited in-person engagement opportunities.

Many university recruiting teams have begun their planning for the ‘20-’21 school year and are looking for tools and digital platforms to purchase using funds that might have gone to travel for career fairs or on-campus interviews. Teams are also looking to place a higher emphasis on their diversity initiatives amid the growing movement for equality across the US. 

Student club leaders are often a priority target audience for college recruiters, given their engagement on campus, their proven, strong leadership skills, and driven attitude that comes from running a club. Recruiters almost always have this group of students on their radar but finding them and engaging them can be a time-consuming task.

If efficiency and diversity are two of your biggest requirements for a recruiting tool, Door of Clubs might be a helpful platform. The Club Directory tool provides efficient access to updated contact information for 213,000 clubs at 900 schools, including 30,000 diversity-based clubs, with the click of a few buttons. It’s inexpensive relative to some big-name recruiting tools, and it helps create more available time to reach out, engage, and get creative with communication strategies to students.

2. Creating engaging webinars that can take the place of in-person club visits or information sessions

Lots of big companies are doing webinars these days. When planned and executed properly, webinars can generate significant leads and allow a company to tell their story authentically and engagingly. 

These days, with students unsure of what their campus life will be like this Fall and COVID-19 causing restrictions on in-person gatherings, webinars take all the most important and engaging elements of traditional recruiting strategies and none of the physical encounters. 

The keys to a good webinar are good content, relatable people, and an authentic story. These three things can be challenging to combine effectively while also managing the recruitment of attendees, the technology platform to host the event, and gathering information for lead generation.

Many companies have already “cracked the code” of hosting a good webinar that brings positive results for recruiting efforts, but if you’re not sure where to start or just don’t have the time to do one on your own, hiring an agency like ours to help can be beneficial and efficient. 

Door of Clubs has been doing student-facing webinars since its inception in 2016, and Newbridge’s college marketing knowledge is a helpful addition to webinar planning and execution for recruiters. If your company is looking for an easy way to launch an effective webinar this Fall in place of career fairs or in-person club meetings, we can help recruit students within your target audience, set up the technology, help guide you on content for the event, and even follow up with students afterward to ensure positive relationships long term.

3. Utilizing students themselves to represent your company on campus as Student Ambassadors

Student Ambassador (SA) programs have been some of the most successful and impactful programs on the college marketing side of our business. From a multi-year partnership with L.L.Bean to launching the first-ever SA program for CBS Sports HQ last Fall, Newbridge has seen this format work for brands marketing to the college audience time and time again. 

The biggest reasons why SA programs are so beneficial are students’ peer-to-peer influence, content creation, and special access to the campus community that brands often can’t tap into on their own. These are the same reasons an SA program can be a unique and creative way to support a company’s recruiting efforts, fill the recruiting pipeline, and increase brand equity on campuses your recruiting team is targeting. 

SA programs are complex and require a lot of attention and work, but, if executed properly, can provide benefits of recruiting risk reduction, efficiency, brand building, and student understanding for recruiting teams. By hiring diverse, engaged students to represent your company on their campuses and create branded content to speak to the target audience, you see authentic storytelling between students and easier access to organizations and clubs, which together create awareness and build a more robust funnel of candidates.

We’re excited to use our marketing expertise in the form of SA programs to help recruiters build successful and unique strategies that can be just as beneficial on campuses regardless of their situation in the Fall surrounding COVID-19.

4. Researching your target audience to learn and develop data-driven tactics for engagement

Something we often see in the marketing world is brands not knowing enough about their target consumer (aka college students) and trying to engage them in all the wrong ways, either through their messaging or avenue of communication. On the recruiting side, HR professionals know significantly more about the groups they’re trying to recruit or engage with, but Generation Z is unpredictable, and knowing how to adapt strategies to fit constant change can be a challenge. 

By conducting a research survey of the audience or demographic you’re trying to engage, you might discover some new things about respondents that change how you choose to interact with them… or you might enforce the strategies you’re already using as successful and effective. Either way, gathering insights directly from the audience is a beneficial way to learn and adapt, which is particularly necessary these days in the ever-changing global climate. 

Given our level of consistent engagement with college students, Newbridge often runs surveys internally to gather information and insights that will help our brand partners create better programs and drive more significant engagement. But we can also design and execute surveys for companies themselves to help them learn about the college audience as it relates to their work.

5. Hosting a sponsored virtual conference to share your company story and find top talent through 1-on-1 coaching

This Fall, traditional career fairs and information sessions will be virtually non-existent in many parts of the world, which throws a wrench in plans for college recruiters who rely on those events to engage their audience and drive applications for jobs or internships. 

We’re currently exploring the launch of virtual networking and informational events where students can learn about a company through webinars, discussion groups, and 1-on-1 coaching sessions with employees of the company sponsor. 

These events combine proven recruiting strategies of webinars, 1-on-1 coaching, and real-time participation virtually to create a unique environment unlike any other. Companies can sponsor an event, and we will work with them to recruit students that fit their targets to attend a branded webinar and connect afterward with relatable employees, building personal connections and authenticity with students. 

If you and your recruiting team are looking to inject some creativity into your strategies this Fall or you’re just simply needing some support adapting to the changing world, we want to help. 

Contact our recruiting team at Door of Clubs to learn more about our unique options and how you can get started making an impact in the next recruiting cycle.