As recruiters face decreasing resources, many are turning to virtual recruiting as a way to fill their talent pipeline and hire top quality candidates — without attending in-person events. 

The opportunity for virtual candidate engagement is especially strong for campus recruiters. While younger Gen Z candidates still prefer face-to-face recruiting interactions, they’re also more likely to prefer text messages and video calls than other generations.

Here are 4 tips to ensure you’re building successful candidate relationships virtually, without being physically present. 

1. Know your candidates’ communication preferences. 

Before you build a virtual candidate engagement strategy, it’s important to meet your audience where they are. 

In Yello’s 2019 Recruiting Study, we learned that each generation has specific communication preferences. For example, Gen Z’s preferred communication method is email (like most generations) — but they’re more likely than other generations to prefer video calls.  

Candidate Communication Preferences by Generation

Leverage industry benchmarks as well as your own company’s campus recruiting KPIs to determine which virtual channels are the most engaging for your candidate pool. 

2. Leverage social media to build your employer brand virtually. 

Social media is a great way to build a virtual presence with candidates — especially on networks like LinkedIn where job seekers are actively looking for opportunities. 

To connect with candidates on social media, you’ll want to prioritize shareable and engaging content. Think of how you can use storytelling to reinforce your employer brand with multimedia like photos and videos. 

Get inspired with these social media recruiting examples. These companies used videos, podcasts, dedicated groups, clear calls to action, and more to make an impact with candidates online. 

Kearney engaged 77% more candidates — while cutting physical on-campus events in half.

3. Strike a balance between mass marketing campaigns and personal messages. 

Recruiters that understand how to build a strong employer brand know when to use marketing campaigns to engage candidates — and when to use one-to-one emails, phone calls, or other communication methods. 

While every organization and candidate pool is different, you’ll want to ensure you have a good mix between both. Because you’ll be connecting with candidates virtually, you don’t want to overwhelm them with too many separate communications. 

Yello clients like West Monroe Partners have gotten creative with their employer branding campaigns. They use campaign email and text messages throughout the process (and post-interview) to keep candidates engaged, communicate information about next steps, and ensure they’re informed about benefits and employer brand. 

4. Lean toward one-to-one communications to ensure you’re effectively building relationships.  

While candidates will likely be happy to hear from you in any format, you’ll want to lean toward more personalized messages — especially with a larger virtual recruiting strategy. 

Even Gen Z candidates still prefer face-to-face communication over digital methods, so it’s important to give candidates that virtual “face time” with as many personal conversations as possible. This will help candidates feel connected to your brand throughout the process, and help your recruiters build more effective candidate relationships. 

When you can’t meet with candidates physically, virtual candidate engagement is a great way to build those relationships with technology. You’ll not only expand your talent pool with virtual candidate engagement — but you’ll also cut costs, save time, and hire quality candidates faster.


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