Recruiters wear many hats in their profession – Interviewer Scheduler, Career Advisor, Brand Champion, to name a few. And over the last several months, they’ve added a new one: Virtual Event Expert. We’ve seen entire organizations reinvent their strategies and adopt new tools to fit the new virtual environment – all in the name of hiring talented students looking for work in an unstable economic landscape.

At Yello, our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to continue doing that work in the future. In Yello’s 2020 Virtual Campus Recruiting Benchmark Report, we reached out to hundreds of recruiters and students to conduct this survey and uncover the most successful tools and tactics.

In this post, we’ll provide a high-level view of the survey results to show what’s working – and not working – in the new world of virtual campus recruiting.

Top Takeaways and Action Items

Yello’s report shows that recruiters can see the most positive results when they get the technology right, leveraging the full range of tools and platforms available while using the tactics that students prefer. Here are the top takeaways and action items from this report:

  1. Create an amazing video interviewing experience.
  2. Think beyond the virtual career fair.
  3. Larger companies: take notes from smaller companies.
  4. Expand your sourcing options.
  5. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of your technology.
  6. Start thinking about your long-term virtual strategy.
  7. Put the student experience front and center.

Download Yello’s 2020 Virtual Campus Recruiting Benchmark Report


The State of Campus Hiring

The shift to virtual recruiting has had an impact on the core “bottom line” factors of talent acquisition – including hiring volume and budget.

Hiring Volume

Despite economic uncertainty, recruiters plan to keep or beat their pre-pandemic hiring levels, with slightly more companies increasing their intern hiring.

To meet their hiring goals, the vast majority of teams are recruiting virtually – a 500% increase from 2019. 77% of recruiters report using mostly virtual strategies in 2020, compared to 12% in 2019:

How much virtual vs. in-person recruiting are you doing in 2020?

How would you describe your virtual vs. in-person recruiting in 2019?

Hiring Budget

More than 1 in 3 recruiters say their campus recruiting budgets have stayed the same, even as they implement new virtual tools and strategies. Larger companies were more likely to have decreased spend in 2020, likely due to reduced travel and event costs.

COVID hasn’t stopped hiring or the budget to support it. The big question for early talent recruiters is how to find and connect with candidates without in-person career fairs and hiring events.


The Transition to Virtual Recruiting: Results So Far

Building a high-impact plan means a big focus on virtual recruiting tools and strategies. So we asked early talent recruiters what’s working and what’s not – and what specific areas are seeing the most benefits and the most challenges.

More than 76% of recruiters who adopted virtual strategies in 2020 report that the change is driving positive results for the team.

Supporting our diversity recruiting program’s needs with virtual recruiting has been…

And nearly half say it’s easier to support diversity recruiting – possibly due to the ability to expand reach virtually beyond core in-person events.

Nearly half of recruiters say they are meeting more candidates than in previous years – but larger companies are more likely to be seeing sustained or decreased candidate reach. The majority of companies are sustaining or increasing their number of target schools, but larger companies are most likely to be recruiting at the same number as 2019.

Larger companies are more likely to be recruiting at the same number of schools 

While companies of all sizes are seeing results and value from their virtual efforts, larger companies are lagging slightly behind smaller organizations. The takeaway? Larger companies need to leverage more innovative virtual tools to keep up with smaller companies. We’ll cover what tools are most effective in the next chapter.


Most Effective Virtual Tools

Everyone agrees: virtual recruiting works. Now let’s talk tactics. Survey respondents identified the most widely used tools and those ranked most effective and most critical for the virtual candidate experience.

Recruiters today are using these tools:

Recruiters report these tools as driving the best – and worst – results:

Recruiters seeing positive results use: webinars/livestreams and visual group interviews.

Recruiters meeting more candidates use: Video interviews and virtual group interviews.

Recruiters seeing negative results use: virtual career fairs and job boards.

Recruiters meeting fewer candidates use: virtual career fairs.

Technology plays a key role in results. There are opportunities to think outside the box – beyond the virtual career fair – and see more positive results using webinars and virtual group interviews.

Are recruiters and students on the same page?

Recruiters ranked these as the top 7 most effective virtual strategies:

  1. Video interviews
  2. Virtual career fairs
  3. Phone interviews
  4. School/career center job boards
  5. Webinars/livestream events
  6. Employee referrals
  7. Virtual group interviews

But what do students say?

We asked students to rank their favorite ways to connect to employers:

Your tools need to work for recruiters and students. But recruiters are missing out on some tactics that students prefer – like email campaigns and social media posts – that can help meet candidates where they are, while avoiding Zoom fatigue.

Download the full list of virtual strategies used today in the 2020 Virtual Campus Recruiting Benchmark Report.

Recruiters say virtual interviews and events are the most important factors for a positive virtual candidate experience – ranking these above 1:1 communication and interview scheduling.

We asked recruiters to rank the three most important factors to improve the virtual candidate experience.

What are the 3 most important factors to improve the virtual candidate experience?

Recruiters are leveraging video interviewing for more than just interviews. Video interviews are flexible — recruiters can use them to conduct formal interviews, automate screening with pre-recorded interviews, source and engage candidates in more casual virtual coffee chats, and save time with virtual group interviews. Learn more about Yello’s video interviewing solutions for every stage of the recruiting process.


The Future

COVID has changed campus recruiting as we know it. Going virtual may not have been a choice, but most recruiters plan to embrace virtual strategies moving forward – even after the pandemic is resolved.

In spring 2021, nearly 80% of recruiters plan to leverage virtual strategies, with 30% saying they will be exclusively virtual, and almost half saying they will use a mix of virtual and in-person.

After the pandemic, nearly 2 in 3 recruiters plan to use a mix of virtual and in-person recruiting strategies:

Do you plan to recruit virtually in Spring 2021?

Campus recruiting is now physical and virtual. We expect recruiters to return to on-campus recruiting at their core schools, while also using virtual to expand their reach to more candidates.

Take a deeper dive into the details of this critical planning tool! Download the 2020 Virtual Campus Recruiting Benchmark Report.


Yello partnered with SurveyMonkey to survey 515 talent acquisition professionals and 1,000 students in the United States and Canada. The survey was conducted in October 2020.