March 23, 2020 | By NACE Staff
TAGS: best practices, internships, operations, nace insights, coronavirus
Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
During these times, it is important for those in URR to lean forward and provide support to their organization’s interns and candidates, explains Chelsea C. Williams.
“Students are very nervous about classes and graduation and what opportunities will be available for them going forward,” says Williams, founder and CEO of College Code, a talent development and retention consultancy for diverse populations.
“They want to know how to navigate this current environment. We need to be more intentional in teaching students about why career readiness skills are important and how they show up. With the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, for example, problem-solving and being resourceful are necessary for students to move forward.”
Williams says students want employers to know is how challenging it is to go through their spring semester away from school, where the support and feeling of community may be limited. They are also concerned about the availability of resources to help them during this time.
Many students are returning home to situations that are less than optimal, Williams adds. They may be homeless or have very low social-economic status, with home environments that are not conducive for learning, studying, or even taking phone calls. Some have no room to do their work or no internet service.
“Students want employers to understand how much weight is on their shoulders at this time and how much they need employers to coach and help them in this uncharted environment,” she says.
“Whether or not they get the exploratory conversation, the interview, or the job, they are trying to leverage their networks and resources, but they need help.”
Williams says that some of the groups of students that are going to be the most challenged are:
“I think telling students where you stand—even if you are not firm—is better than saying nothing at all to students,” Williams notes.
“Say we’re taking things on a weekly basis or continue to check our website or look out for email newsletters with updates on our process. Share resources or videos so students can continue to learn more about your culture and the professional development resources you offer to staff and candidates.
“This is not the time to go ghost. Highlight to prospective candidates, amid all that’s going on, that this is how we are taking care of our employees. I think a forward-thinking company would be communicating to show their brand and their culture during this time.”
She suggests that organizations use resources and support they already have in place to help students “where they are.”
“Proactive campus recruiting professionals are telling students, ‘We cannot imagine what this experience has been like for you, but we are here for you. Here are some of the ways we are able to support you at this time,’” Williams says.
For example, Williams spoke to a company that is giving its interns access to the organization’s employee assistance program (EAP).
“This is a valuable offering because, where there might have been mental health resources on campus, access may be limited for students who need them,” she points out.
“Offer your interns a subscription to an app through which they can do mindful meditation through their phone or tablet to help ease the stress of this situation. Give interns access to recruiters by holding ‘office hours’ to answer their questions. Hold a webinar for them. If your organization is not communicative during this time, interns may question whether it is a place they want to work.”
Williams has drafted several best practices to support recruiters and hiring managers during this pandemic:
“This can be an overwhelming situation, especially for students whose professional futures are being impacted,” Williams says.
“We need to have empathy, be available, and provide support like we never have before.”
Percent of employers that allocated more resources to recruit historically marginalized students
NACE September 2021 Quick Poll
Percent of students seeking employer that embraces diversity
2021 NACE Student Survey
Percent of employers with a formal diversity recruiting effort
2021 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report