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  • Staying High Touch Amid a High Volume of Applicants

    April 05, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    Candidate Selection
    A recruiter touches base with many applicants.

    TAGS: best practices, branding and marketing, candidate selection, recruiting, nace insights

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    Disney Campus Recruitment supports the different businesses that comprise The Walt Disney Company, meaning it has thousands of internship opportunities bringing in many thousands more applications every semester.

    Since one of the most critical best practices of effective recruiting is making personal connections with candidates, Disney Campus Recruitment makes each candidate feel he or she isn’t going to get lost in the process.

    “We try to ensure every candidate receives timely communication, even if automated, to let them know their application was received and will be considered,” says Wayne Hampton, manager, Disney Campus Recruitment and Disney Professional Internships.

    The Disney Campus Recruitment team monitors the various inboxes, and reads and responds to communications within 48 business hours.

    “Our processes and communication cadence are continuously evolving to yield the best candidate experience,” Hampton notes. “Our team is dedicated to making personal connections—whether it’s monitoring and responding to our multiple recruitment inboxes, calling to decline an internship post-interview, or sharing the great news that a candidate will be joining Disney. Our motto is ‘We change lives,’ and we’re committed to it.”

    Doing so means avoiding the common missteps employers make when trying to manage a large flow of applications and still provide a positive candidate experience. For example, Disney Campus Recruitment feels that the biggest misstep is not communicating anything at all. For this reason, it requires students to apply through its website instead of via a job board or other job posting site so it can manage the communication, and respond quickly and appropriately.  

    “We believe that an extraordinary experience for our guests, audiences, and consumers starts with an extraordinary experience for our employees and future employees,” Hampton says. “People have come to expect a level of quality and excellence from Disney, and we want to make sure that stays true to our recruiting programs. 

    “We want all students to have a positive experience—even if they aren’t selected—because they could be a great candidate for us next season or next year. One of the leaders on our team stated this very well: ‘Today’s non-selected student may be tomorrow’s gold medalist.’ ”

    Since the Disney College Program has been around since its launch in 1981, it benefits from strong word of mouth. It encourages this dialogue by leveraging social media.

    “We use that to our advantage through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and a blog, all of which are constantly updated with content written by our team,” Hampton explains. “Students can also comment and join the conversation.”

    Disney Professional Internships also has dedicated social media sites, and each of its professional internship recruiters is required to have a Twitter account and post to it regularly.

    “You can probably imagine the angst we had when we decided to go to social media platforms,” Hampton says. “But we elected not to scrub the sites unless we saw inappropriate content. That means that we get the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

    But, Hampton explains that it feels more “real” because students believe their peers, and students get a more complete picture. 

    “We also were pleasantly surprised to find our sites are somewhat self-policing,” he adds. “If a negative comment is posted, within minutes, dozens of students will respond to clarify that the post doesn’t speak for everyone and that they had a very positive experience.”

    Hampton recommends that organizations that are trying to engage candidates virtually and provide an outstanding candidate experience in light of a high number of applications remember to make personal connections.

    “Sometimes, the reality of the quantity of applicants—or your recruiting budget—may require some form of virtual engagement, or it may be the only thing you can do,” he says. “Even though most students probably realize that, they also still want some sort of a personal touch. Try to figure out what works for your brand.”

    For example, he says that every student selected for the Disney College Program receives a branded postcard by snail mail congratulating him or her on the offer. 

    “Although the entire application, interview, and offer process is done virtually, we found this step was too important to drop,” Hampton says. “And a huge benefit: students take pictures of themselves with this postcard and post it to their social media accounts.”