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Top 5 ways to get the most out of University Recruiting season

University recruiting is full of challenges. While trying to find the best fit for their internship and new grad roles, recruiters must manage a high volume of candidates (positions can get tens of thousands of applicants!) within a tight timeline of just a few weeks. On top of that, the past year demanded a revisit of many tried-and-true university recruiting processes, like career fairs and on-campus interviewing.

To kick off the 2021 university recruiting season, we hosted a webinar with leaders from eBay, Zoom, and Asana to learn more about these challenges—and how they might be reframed as opportunities. What new strategies are recruiters using to go beyond resumes and connect with a broader, more diverse candidate pool?

We’re sharing the five top tips that we learned from that illuminating discussion. You can also watch the recorded conversation here.

Tip #1: Have a Nurture List, not a Master List 

University recruiting is traditionally dependent on having a physical presence at campus events, so companies have tended to target a few “top” schools. The pandemic changed all that. “We’ve taken the stance that instead of calling it your Master List, we’re referring to it as a Nurture List…and we can nurture so many relationships and partnerships among a variety of schools,” said Nicole Perzigian, Global Emerging Talent Program Leader at Zoom. 

Cindy Loggins, Global Head of University Recruiting at eBay, spoke about being “school agnostic,” which allows you to bring more equity and inclusion to your hiring pipelines. This strategy is backed up by data: when CodeSignal ranked schools by coding skills, we found that the traditional top engineering programs were far from the only source of great candidates. 

Tip #2: Build a process that helps candidates practice

A computer science student at a school like Stanford or MIT who’s heavily targeted by recruiters will be familiar with the tech interview process. But not every student has had those opportunities. It’s important to make sure you’re getting an accurate read on a candidate’s skills—and not just measuring how many times they’ve interviewed before. 

To level the playing field, build a way for candidates to get comfortable with your tech assessment and interview process. Some tools, including CodeSignal’s General Coding Assessment, offer this out of the box. “I always encourage all our candidates to take as many practice tests as possible to get comfortable with the platform,” said Tracy Jordan from University Recruiting at Asana. 

Tip #3: Advocate for the hiring manager 

As Nicole described it, early talent recruiters are responsible for “building the pipeline for the future leaders of our organization.” None of that is possible without hiring managers who are fully bought-in to the process. “It’s a ‘you and me equals success’ equation…this is a true partnership,” said Cindy. 

Therefore, it’s important to make sure your hiring managers have a say and feel involved every step of the way. Include them in your recruiting events—Nicole started a “campus volunteer list.” Discuss your timelines upfront so you can set expectations, and find ways to manage that time effectively—like Asana’s strategy of conducting interviews on “batch days” to avoid bottlenecks around interviewer capacity. 

Tip #4: Be authentic, transparent, and flexible

What’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make as an early talent recruiter? According to the leaders we spoke with, it’s a lack of authenticity and transparency. Candidates want an honest answer on what you’re looking for, what skills they need, what the process will look like—and whether they’re still being considered! 

Along those lines, Nicole added, “take that extra step to look at your job descriptions and make sure they are representative of what you need” and not giving candidates the wrong impression or making them feel unqualified. And remember that, especially in the current environment, a little flexibility around deadlines is appreciated and goes a long way.

Tip #5: You’re the company’s #1 cheerleader

Humans aren’t very good at making assessments off just a resume, but we are good at reading each other’s emotions. And as Cindy put it, “We ooze who we are as a company.” While it’s easy to get caught up in the mechanics of your process, you’ll be most effective if you stay deeply connected with your organization’s values.

Every company has something special connected to the work you’re doing, that goes beyond location or compensation. If you tap into what your company is about and truly believe in it, you’re likely to find candidates who share that passion and will be lasting contributors to your team. Many aspects of recruiting can be improved with technology—but your enthusiasm can’t. It’s your superpower. 

Want to learn more about how CodeSignal can help your team go beyond resumes this university recruiting season? Check out our resources for early talent recruiting.