As someone who has been involved in the recruitment business for a long time, I find it upsetting to see young, fresh talents facing a major brunt of this pandemic. As companies keep laying off or furloughing their employees, derailing their hiring plans, it leaves very little room for the freshers. There is already a huge dent in the job market and recruitment industry. And to make it worse, campus recruitment is not seeing the light of the day, not at least anytime soon. As the routine ways to scout new talent takes a backseat, it is leaving both graduates and companies confused.
Campus recruitment challenges during the pandemic
I recently read a report by Naukri.com, which mentioned that 66% of India’s students are without jobs, while 33% are awaiting responses from employers.
With companies putting recruitment on hold, students find themselves with withdrawn offers, no response on application, postponed hiring date etc.. Without campus placements taking place, students and freshers have no choice but to fear unemployment. Even if companies want to conduct campus recruitment, social distancing measures hinders their efforts. While some companies are trying to organize online campus drives and conduct initial interviews, it has not become common. This is leaving out a huge percentage of untapped fresh graduates. Finally, with classes and tests being deferred, companies’ annual talent acquisition plan has gone awry.
So, what do we, the ones responsible for human resource management, can do to bring some kind of semblance to this situation?
This is the time to be innovative and creative. Recruiters and HR Managers need to find a non-conventional way to hire new talent. Here are a few probable solutions.
1. Opt for a remote hiring process
There is hardly any option for face-to-face interactions these days. Let us assume that even if life goes back to normal, we will still want to maintain social distancing for safety. Ergo, the best thing to do now and in the coming days is to engage in remote hiring processes. We already see a huge dependency on technology for filling essential roles in organizations. Then why not use the same for campus recruitment as well? Organizing one-on-one online interviews with selected students, group discussions on Zoom or similar platforms, online campus drives, etc. can become a norm.
Here, I would also like to quote Sharad Sindhwani, Business Head of Firstnaukri.com.
“The pandemic has hit placement prospects of the 2020 batch across 82 percent colleges. It has further impacted internship offers of 74 percent pre-final year students. However, students are not losing their morale and going virtual for their learning as well as job interviews. In fact, most companies are also using new-age technology solutions to hire remotely.”
2. Look at contingent workers
I find it pleasantly surprising that despite campus recruitment not happening, students have not given up hope. The survey I mentioned earlier shows that nearly 83% of students (in India) are considering freelancing or even part-time jobs, instead of remaining unemployed. This is the moment for organizations to scout for a contingent workforce and bring back the gig economy!
Most global companies have replaced (and will do so in the coming days) full-time roles with various part-time, contractual roles spread across departments. This helps fulfil the reduced needs of businesses and also manage human resource costs. And what better way to do that with fresh graduates, who are talented and willing to work in a flexible environment? You can fill the skill gap in your company while creating job opportunities. They can work from home or any remote location and they need not be tied down with a long-term commitment, which gives them the work experience they seek and need.
3. Emphasize online recruitment
If online recruitment had become common already, now it has become a must! With campus recruitment going out of the way, I see students relying heavily on online job portals. Some are using the route of referrals and connecting with their college alumni, while others make the most of social media to find the most viable option. In such a scenario, the more you leverage your online recruitment process, the better chances you have finding fresh talent. But let’s not think that online recruitment is only limited to job portals. Also spread yourself across social platforms, where these students are scouting for their next gig. Online communities and forums of colleges and universities are also a great place to find a talent pool. Generate conversations and offer guidance. Turn the traditional style of recruiting online into a social exercise.
We are all optimistic that the present circumstances will give way to normalcy soon. But until then, rather than waiting for things to resolve, we need to find order in chaos and opportunities in challenges. The new generation of workforce is the future of our economy and it’s our responsibility to ensure that they find the right path.