A Message from Employers During COVID-19: We’re Figuring It Out Too

The hiring process is going to be different this year. That is certain. The typical career fair recruiting model that has been in place for decades won’t be happening during the 2020-2021 school year, and that changes the game for everyone – and it actually benefits Hampden-Sydney College students.

Recruiters typically like big target schools, where they know the educational program and have an expectation of the kind of student they’ll be getting in the process. However, the past few months have created social, technical and logistical change in how recruiters engage with students and now they must face a hiring season that is fully virtual without any human contact. They are looking for new ways of thinking as well as new hires with diverse backgrounds. With less travel and a more streamlined hiring process, recruiters now have the chance to connect with students from small, rural schools like H-SC.

Yet, this begs the question, “How does a company find the right people to hire if they never actually meet them face to face?”

These hiring decisions have huge implications for a company for the next several years as they build their workforce. You are a long term investment, and they know you want to launch your career in the best way possible. Here are some of the takeaways we’ve heard from recruiters as we head into the Fall 2020 Hiring Season.

Be Patient With Recruiters

Remember when everyone went virtual in March of 2020 and we all had to figure it out along the way? Recruiters are approaching this hiring season without a road map and they are trying to figure it out too.

  • What’s the best way to reach students virtually?
  • How do we keep them engaged during information sessions?
  • What are the best tools to connect with students since we can’t meet them in person?
  • How do explain our company’s culture when I’m doing this Zoom session from home?

These are all real questions they are asking themselves, and there is a lot that gets lost in translation on a Zoom Session. They are trying to build a professional relationship with you, and that is far more challenging in a virtual setting.

Be Positive and Optimistic

These companies are hiring! They need new hires to keep their business moving, so keep your conversations positive. We all agree this isn’t the most ideal situation, but recruiters are excited to meet and get to know you. Nobody wants a Debbie Downer and this isn’t a pity party. Find the positive side of whatever your situation currently is at the moment. Perhaps a delayed football season provided more time on research project in the lab, or maybe with a lighter social calendar you discovered a love for creative writing. Highlighting these positives will help you stand out as an independent and motivated candidate.

Be Authentic About Yourself and Your Circumstances

What you may not realize is the recruiter you are speaking with at that moment might have a demanding 5 year old wreaking havoc in the background, or they are doing their Zoom call in a corner of their bedroom. Maybe you are in an equally challenging situation with several siblings needing to use the computer for school or your internet connection is sketchy because you live in a small town in North Carolina.

It’s okay.

These are not normal circumstances and everyone knows it. Be you. Do your best. Your adaptability, good humor, and calm attitude will shine through and the recruiter will know the resilient person they will be hiring.

Don’t Be Invisible

Companies and organizations need you – your skills, experiences and perspective. This recruitment season can’t be a one-sided conversation. They need to find you, connect with you, talk with you, and learn about what your life is like right now. Here’s what you can do to make a recruiter’s job easier:

  • Build solid Handshake and LinkedIn profiles because recruiters are using both to find new talent in the virtual space
  • Research their company and understand what they do and how they do it
  • Show up to the Zoom information sessions and virtual career fairs and ask solid questions showing you’ve done your research
  • Respond to recruiter inquiries and follow up with a thank you note for sharing their advice for applying to their company

The recruitment season is a process, and even without the in person interaction, it takes both sides to make sure the job is a good match. This has been a shock to all of us, but time keeps moving forward and so does your education and career.

Tiger Tip: There are many H-SC alumni who are professional recruiters for their companies or industries. You can find them by using the Career Insights tool in Linkedin, which can allow you to search by location, industry, or by certain keywords.