7 Ways To Put On an Engaging Virtual Info Session
Make your info sessions stand out.
With campus recruiting going virtual, students may be overwhelmed with emails, social media posts, and overall “Zoom fatigue.” On top of that, employers who are competing for top college talent will likely all be facing the same limitations in terms of technology, and many are still encountering a steep learning curve as they try to create engaging online presentations.
Even with these challenges, students rely on recruitment events to gain an edge in the application process and learn about available employment opportunities. According to a RippleMatch survey on recruitment events, info sessions rank as one of students’ preferred events to connect with employers. However, traditional engagement efforts, like providing food or giveaways at an event, using flyers or on-campus signage, or generating interest through word of mouth will be unavailable. How can you cut through the clutter and create a virtual information session that gets students excited to work for you?
Based on what we know students value in recruitment events, here’s how you can craft an engaging virtual info session:
Students worry that an info session will be a one-way, “talking head” lecture. Make sure your presentation, like an in-person one, allows ample time for questions and answers. Even better, invite multiple representatives of your company to be part of the event, and use virtual breakout rooms to split the students into small groups to allow more individualized attention with your representatives.
Go the extra mile to get attendance
Virtual events may have a higher no-show rate than in-person events. Go the extra mile in publicity by partnering with the college’s career center and student clubs. Highlight how the event ties into recruiting, provides opportunities to connect with your company, and offers special insights into the industry and hiring process.
Offer industry insights
College career services professionals have long advised employers that it’s not enough to just highlight your own company’s opportunities. Instead, give students the inside scoop about your industry as a whole. What does your industry do, what makes it different from others, and where does your company fit in? Providing career information that goes beyond your individual company and into broader topics can be much appreciated, especially by students who are just starting their career exploration. RippleMatch’s student surveys suggest for employers to “host value-adding virtual events to help these candidates grow professionally as they go through your hiring process” and providing industry insights are a great way to do that.
Connect the dots with hiring
RippleMatch’s survey show 71% of students hope attendance at recruitment events improves their chances of being hired—so make attendance count. Ideally, your campus presentations are clearly connected to your recruiting strategies, so try to track attendance, and give students who participated in your event a bit of extra attention when reviewing applications. Give clear advice to students about how to stand out in the application process. When promoting your event, mention that students will get the inside scoop on what it takes to get hired. Consider providing at least a few minutes’ worth of concrete advice about how to make a resume or application stand out, and outline what the steps are in the interview process.
Try something different
Try some alternative ways to connect with students, like virtual coffee chats, “recruiter in residence” or “office hours,” a virtual tour of your company, or even a virtual “job shadowing” or mentoring experience for your top candidates.
Show your company’s culture
More than ever, students are seeking to work with employers that offer professional development; and in light of the stress caused by COVID-19, they are seeking employers that offer a supportive and empathetic culture. Highlight how your company supported its employees in the wake of COVID-19 and speak honestly about how you are creating an equitable company culture. Be transparent about your culture ensures a great fit when you make new hires.
Follow up with individual communications
Effective follow-up with candidates who participate in your events is critical. A virtual presentation can feel more anonymous, so following up with candidates individually, ideally with tailored career information or next steps depending on a student’s career interest or major, will reassure students that they aren’t just another viewer of what could have been a recorded video presentation. Be sure to send reminder emails and follow-up messages and track them back to your recruiting metrics to find out what worked best and improve for next time.
With some creativity and extra planning, your virtual recruiting event can be just as engaging as an in-person one and can help you cut through the virtual clutter to find the best candidates.