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Campus Recruitment Communications Plan

Erin Iafelice

Campus recruiting has become a moving target this fall. At many colleges, a large portion of the student body is attending class virtually as the pandemic wears on. Others began fall classes in person, only to go entirely virtual due to spikes in positive COVID-19 cases. And that led other universities to push back their semester start dates. Amid all of this uncertainty, students still want (and need) to find their first post-college job. Whether you are hiring or not, they still have questions. With a campus recruitment communications plan, you can provide the answers.

What is a campus recruitment communications plan?

A campus recruitment communications plan is not the same as your campus recruiting strategy. Where the latter is about bringing star student candidates into your organization, a campus recruitment communications plan is about informing students of your hiring status. The type of information you provide in this communications plan helps student candidates engage successfully in your hiring process, whether you’re hiring now or will be soon. Communicating with prospective talent even when you’re not hiring serves to strengthen your talent brand.

Three good reasons for having a campus recruitment communications plan

Before COVID-19, the job market was so strong that it was hard to imagine a time when organizations wouldn’t be hiring. While a global pandemic may be just a temporary hold on hiring, a recession could create a more long-term change in job market conditions. The cyclical nature of the economy makes it likely time of reduced hiring will come again. Here are three reasons why adding a campus recruitment communications plan to your recruiting strategy is vital to your performance:

  1. Protects your college grad and intern recruiting pipeline. You’ve worked hard to build a profile and interested talent pool on campus. Communication helps maintain engagement, so you’re not starting from scratch when it’s time to hire again or fill internship roles.
  2. Sends the message that you value and respect campus talent. A black hole of communication now will impact how students respond when you do start hiring.
  3. Keeps minimal hiring going. Your organization may have a few roles to fill at some point during a pandemic or economic downturn. Reliable communication will help ensure you’re prepared to fill these roles quickly before candidates are lured away by the competition.

Create your communications plan 

To get started on your plan, put yourself in your candidates’ shoes. College recruits wonder what your hiring process will look like for this coming school year, and how they can engage with you at the proper times. Make sure you answer questions like these with your campus recruiting communications plan:

  • Are you hiring now, and if not, when will you start hiring?
  • Are you filling internship positions now? Are there contingency plans for internships if there is another shutdown?
  • If you are not hiring now, should college students still apply?
  • Where can students get the most up-to-date information on your hiring status?
  • Should new hires and/or interns expect to work virtually or on-site?
  • Will your interview and hiring process be virtual?

Your student candidates may expect a virtual hiring process, especially if your organization had already started using virtual hiring technology before COVID-19. However, they will still want to know if they’ll have the opportunity to meet on-site before a job offer is extended, and how your social distancing procedures will work.

Last year, college students had to learn to be flexible, adaptable, and patient like never before. They’ve come to expect frequent updates from their colleges and universities about how they should proceed. If you can meet them where they are with a campus recruiting communications plan, you’ll have the advantage over other organizations who’ve gone silent with campus recruiting.