Over the past two months, WayUp has surveyed more than 500 current students and recent graduates about their job search. Here’s what we found: 

In general… 

Out of 18 large and growing industries, candidates overwhelmingly favor roles in computer and technology, with 45% of respondents looking for a job in these fields today. Finance and economics took a far second place, with 12% of respondents searching for positions in these areas. Health care, education, and manufacturing ranked in third, fourth, and fifth places, respectively. 

The majority of students and recent graduates plan to begin their search for these roles in the fall (38%). Winter is the next most active season for incoming candidates (29%), followed by spring (19%) and, lastly, summer (13%). 

When it comes to seriously considering an offer, respondents weigh work-life balance as the most important factor in their decision. This is closely followed by location, salary, and job type – all of which hold nearly equal weight in the decision-making process. The company itself ranks as the least important element for prospective employees. 

Candidate engagement & experience 

Email is the most effective communication channel for recruiters to reach students, with 76% of respondents listing it as their preferred medium of correspondence. The remaining 24% of students prefer to be contacted via text message or push notification. 

76% of respondents listed email as their preferred medium of correspondence

Regardless of communication channel, candidates are grateful to get responses from all of the jobs they apply to: 94% of respondents like to know when and why they’re not qualified for a job. Yet, when asked how often they hear back from jobs they’ve applied for, 82% stated that they only receive responses some of the time. 

As far as navigating job search boards and tools, candidates shared the features that are most beneficial to their search, listed here in order of most to least valuable: 

  1. Filters to narrow search results 
  2. Ability to be messaged by a recruiter within the platform
  3. Knowing when an employer views a resume and/or profile 
  4. Personalized job recommendation emails and/or alerts 
  5. Having a professional profile 
  6. Career advice & tips 

Virtual recruitment efficacy 

While the industry-wide, overnight shift from in-person to virtual recruitment felt like complete chaos at the time, candidates shared that their experience remained essentially the same: 

  • 54% of respondents stated that virtual interview processes had no impact on their job search, with an additional 37% sharing that the switch to virtual actually had a positive impact. 
  • Nearly half of candidates (43%) have attended 2-5 virtual recruitment events this year, and, of those who attended virtual events, 66% of respondents shared that they’re more likely to apply to a job after attending a virtual recruitment event held by an organization. 

When asked to provide more context on the benefits of virtual recruitment, candidates highlighted: 

  • Greater convenience & flexibility 
  • Increased access & opportunity 
  • Faster response time from recruiters 

Our 2022 campus recruitment forecast 

As of today, 66% of candidates would feel comfortable attending an on-campus event; 24% are not sure yet – only 10% outright said no. 

This response reinforces the trends that we’ve been seeing over the past months, with companies and job-seekers alike eager to return to face-to-face hiring experiences. In order to most effectively return to campus though, hiring teams shouldn’t rush to ditch virtual recruitment strategies altogether. 

We predict that going forward, more and more organizations are going to rely on a hybrid approach to tackling early talent recruitment, pairing the conveniences afforded by virtual recruitment with the engagement that only in-person interaction can provide. For instance, leveraging a virtual DEI sourcing database, like WayUp, alongside on-campus engagement at career fairs and with diverse student groups. A multi-faceted approach that combines the benefits of virtual and in-person recruitment strategies to curate a well-rounded and streamlined approach will be the key to locking down talent this year and beyond. We work with qualified, DEI candidates everyday—click here to start connecting with them.