Top 5 Tips on How to Engage with Universities and Students During COVID-19

COVID-19 is sending countries into lockdown with some companies already telling us that they are delaying start dates and cancelling summer internships.
Nevertheless, graduate recruitment and knowing how to engage with universities and students during COVID-19 remains important for company development and innovation. Sanctuary Graduates is still in the process of running attraction and recruitment campaigns for employers across a number of industries, from Big 4 professional services companies to teacher training. Using the feedback we are getting from our campus networks and connections, we are giving our top 5 tips on what’s working for these employers while university campuses are closed.

Student working from home during COVID-19

1. Tread carefully with academic departments

Understandably, departments such as the University of Bath’s Electrical Engineering department have told us that they are currently prioritising engaging with their students regarding best practice for exam seasons amidst COVID-19. However, our clients’ graduate opportunities are still being met positively by the large majority of the 1000+ departments in our network who are alerting their students to our clients’ opportunities.

As such, we have been able to continue to drive attraction via our academic department partners for our employers during this time of isolation and uncertainty. We have built this network painstakingly over the years, and it is maintained by keeping our employers’ messages concise and relevant.

2. Student societies are go go go!

Societies already advertise and promote opportunities digitally on the whole, and most have reported they are still proceeding with their AGMs, so there will be continuity. Societies such as the Cambridge University Data Science Society, and the University of Birmingham PPE Society are proceeding on the basis that society activities will run as normal for the coming year. Societies are still actively engaged with seeking and securing sponsorship as well as planning and advertising events, fairs, and talks for the coming academic year.

African Society of Cambridge University logo and are a society used for how to engage universities and students during COVID-19

Further, the Cambridge African Society is one of dozens of diversity societies we are partnered with who are proceeding as normal with digital marketing campaigns for our clients’ opportunities amidst COVID-19, continuing to engage their 460 email subscribers and 1500 Facebook members, helping meet our clients’ quality and diversity initiatives. As such, during the lockdown, engaging with societies by email and social media more than ever remains an excellent source for engaging with universities and students.

3. Digital attraction is yielding dividends

Unsurprisingly, we have found different digital techniques particularly effective. For example, our teams have seen a 7% uplift in responsiveness through email marketing techniques and targeted LinkedIn communications. With students checking inboxes for university updates, and with more time on their hands, they are more responsive to these techniques and are actively looking for opportunities.

Further, our team haves seen a 43% increase in the number of applications coming in for roles using email marketing techniques. Now is an excellent opportunity to utilise LinkedIn and email marketing to advertise your opportunities and roles.

4. Brand Ambassadors can deliver campaigns entirely digitally

Providing your Brand Ambassadors (BAs) support with social media and digital marketing activities is key right now. For example, how to most effectively use LinkedIn for connections and engagement with universities.

This kind of activity is currently being used by our BAs who are helping us to deliver applicants for one of the Big Four’s regional offices. For example, Nelly at Durham has been joining and posting on new Facebook groups while Jessica at York is using LinkedIn to increase her outreach and engage talent. One BA is even delivering outstanding results in isolation with her family in Hong Kong!

Our client BAs are working remotely all over the world, reporting continued success with digital initiatives, from finding candidates for tech recruitment roles in Germany to identifying talent for teacher training. A continued reliance on headhunters and Bas, with a little extra support for how to draft digital adverts and use social media, proves extremely effective for engaging students during lockdown.

5. Use your social media to tell the world you’re still looking for long term talent

Given 14% of businesses are moving budget from offline to online marketing strategies and there’s an increase in social media usage between 15 and 30%, it is important to use social media to advertise any changes in your recruitment processes as well as how to apply and continue during COVID-19.

Students are questioning whether there’s any point in applying or completing online tests due to belief that processes and roles may be paused or cancelled. Businesses should therefore use social media to engage universities and talent – let them know if recruitment processes are still underway as normal.

Do you have any questions on how to engage with universities and students during COVID-19? Do you need assistance in achieving this? Please do get in contact and let us know! Drop me a line at: .