The 10 Commandments (for Virtual Campus Hiring Success)

The 10 Commandments (for Virtual Campus Hiring Success)


One of the fallouts of the Covid-19 crisis is the massive disruption to job drives across college campuses. As organisations respond to immediate changes by shifting their recruitment process online, these ten commandments can help you keep your campus program away from possible issues in these ‘new normal’ times.

In the story of the 10 commandments from The Holy Bible, God gave Moses 10 commandments for his chosen people, the Israelites, to follow. These commandments were given as rules/guidelines so that the newly freed Israelites may live life without committing sin (mistakes). The below 10 commandments are not prescribed by the Catholic Church. Neither am I, God. Though, “that me, through this me, is talking to me’, to paraphrase the infamous line of a ‘godman’ of our times. These commandments if implemented, should keep your campus program away from possible issues in these ‘new normal’ times.

1. Thou shalt do modeling of offer count simulations

Use the wealth of your past hiring data to calculate the percentages and ratios such as assessment clearance ratio, interview select ratio, offer-accept ratio, and joining ratio. Use the data to convince your leadership on the strategy you must take to hire the quality and quantity of campus talent required by your company. This strategy will include the number of colleges to visit, expected offer counts for each of those colleges based on the ‘day slot’ you negotiate/will get.

TIP: Monitor these ratios against every college you hire from so that you can make adjustments to your campus hiring strategy appropriately.

2. Thou shalt simulate your need for Interview Panelists

You interview panelists are the fuel that powers your campus hiring engine. Use a time and motion study approach to calculate how many technical and HR panelists are required to achieve your hiring numbers. In case you choose to go through the assessment centre route where you have multiple panelists assessing the shortlisted talent, you will have to factor in more panelists.

TIP 1: Partner with your business team to get the required count, +25% buffer at least two full weeks before you begin hiring. Let your BU Heads spread the message that panelists have to mandatorily partner towards this organisation building activity.

TIP 2: Do mandatory blocking of time of interviewers. Draw up a schedule that shows each of them how many days are needed. Give them the dates and timings in advance so that they can plan their calendar and work-related deliverables.

3. Thou shalt over-communicate

Remember that college administration and students are preparing for multiple companies to visit their college (virtually) over the next couple of months. The average Training and Placement Office (TPO) may be interacting with over 20~30 companies at the same time. So the key is to over-communicate with TPOs to ensure that there are no misses on dates and times of your online assessments /virtual interviews.

TIP 1: Close the feedback loop from colleges in which they’ve sent the details to eligible students.

TIP 2: In addition to emails, use SMSes/ Whatsapp for business/IVR calls to eligible talent one day in advance. Send them an instructions sheet. Make it idiot-proof so that you don’t end up with 20 issues to solve when the online assessments/ interviews begin with the students of your chosen colleges.

4. Thou shalt plan for tech issues

However awesome that campus partners’ interview platform solution seems, no matter how much you’ve trained your interview panelists to be prepared for tech issues, and even though you’ve given a detailed min. system requirements sheet to your talent, something will go wrong. It’s guaranteed. How prepared you are with your ‘plan B’ for each situation will determine how smoothly you will sail through the tech issues.

TIP 1: Tell your panelists to keep their laptops in permanent charge mode. Have mobile hotspots to switch in case their wifi drops.

TIP 2: Gather college + personal email IDs of campus talent as a redundancy measure. In case invite links were not received on one ID, you can trigger it to their secondary ID instantly.

TIP 3: Get your IT department to whitelist the URLs and services that are required by your Campus Team or Interview Panelists so that IT policies don’t block the interview platform(s).

TIP 4: Have a reschedule process when the talent has video/audio issues during the interview. 1~2% of all your talent (candidates), will have these issues.

Whether in pandemic times or otherwise, your governance process is vital. There has to be a maker-checker process so that your management can know that it is a well- managed process from start to finish.

5. Thou shalt always calibrate your Interview Panelists

10 interview panelists will have 11 opinions and approaches to interviewing! Whether technical/HR panelists, it is vital that you get all of them on the same page so that your quality of hire, as well as candidate interview experience, can be kept consistent.

TIP 1: Get your L&D team to partner with you in running interview panelist calibration workshops in batches. Cover all your panelists before they begin interviewing. It adds credibility to the calibration exercise and kills questions like ‘what have we hired?’ later.

TIP2: Let the new panelists shadow a few interviews with an ‘interviewer buddy’. Your interview buddy should reverse shadow and sign-off on the new panelists’ interviewing ability before they are allowed to fly solo.

6. Thou shalt monitor real-time

With virtual hiring happening, you can neither see nor hear what is happening on the ground when interviews are in full swing. So having an audit framework with checklist items can save you from possible impending disasters.

TIP 1: Audit the feedback forms of interviewed talent in real-time. If fields are not filled up by your panelists, get them to fill it asap.

TIP 2: Interview links to be triggered for 2nd round in real-time for those who clear the first round. This should be communicated to the qualified candidates so that they are prepared and waiting for their second round.

TIP 3: Get a set of your seasoned panelists to eavesdrop on interviews or listen in on interview recordings. That way they can capture and fix gaps immediately.

7. Thou shouldst walk a mile in their shoe

One of the principles of design thinking is “Empathy”. How do you know if you are giving the best experience to your campus talent, your interview panelists, and even your own campus hiring team? You must see the whole process from their perspective so that you can create a memorable and empathetic campus process.

TIP 1: Do a complete experience audit from the talent, interviewer, and campus TA perspective.

TIP 2: Get a scheduler tool if possible to send out interview links to candidates and interviewers alike to reduce campus talent acquisition time on mechanical activities.

TIP 3: Have a dedicated resource(s) to liaise with your interview panelists pool. This will include blocking their calendars, planning reschedules, follow-up before the event, getting them to fill out all fields of the feedback form, and so on. The cost of these extra eyes and hands will be repaid manifold in terms of peace of mind of your campus team.

8. Thou shalt do the ‘Governance’

Whether in pandemic times or otherwise, your governance as a candidate interview experience, the process is vital. There has to be a maker-checker process so that your management can know that it is a well-managed process from start to finish.

TIP 1: Have a central MIS team prepare daily reports from raw data generated by campus processes (assessment data, interview data, offer data). They can share such reports with CTA for calibration before publishing to your management/leadership. Even campus assessment partners’ invoicing should be undertaken by your Central MIS team, backed by raw data.

TIP 2: Self-audit all your processes for non-compliances (NCs). Report NCs to leadership with a plan of action to correct the issues that arise.

9. Thou shalt engage

Your competitors are not necessarily in your line of business but hire the top talent from your target audience. Or they could be well-entrenched brands in the minds of your potential talent and Training cum Placement Officers (TPOs). How well you engage this audience of talent and TPOs will influence their decision to look at
your company as an employer of choice.

TIP 1: Engage your campus talent with an engaging (and short) campus connect session. Invite hand-picked seniors from that college who are working in your company to be ambassadors and sell the brand. Add a live poll to keep the session engaging. Use free live-poll tools like the direct poll to create memorability during the virtual campus connect.

TIP 2: Conduct virtual TPO meets or individual TPO connects and sells your brand to them. Move beyond PPTs and tell them engaging stories.

TIP 3: Create an infographic job description that goes out to your target audience. The current generation has a 15 seconds attention span, use the time well to highlight and showcase your brand.

10. Thou shalt keep thy people happy

Almost everyone is working from home. They’ve got their own challenges that they face on a daily basis. Small and regular recognitions will work better in creating that ‘psychological safety’ than a grand gesture at the end of your campus hiring cycle. When people feel appreciated and know the impact of their contributions, they will go the extra mile and collaborate like never before.

TIP 1: Recognize your team and extended team of campus ambassadors/interviewers regularly in the virtual team connects and via your company’s established R&R framework.

TIP 2: Lead by example. Take breaks. Ensure your team and interviewers do so too. Set boundaries of work and off-work time.

10 commandments. 24 tips. May you find your campus numbers and professional salvation!


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