A New Hiring Playbook: How 2020 Upended–and Created Opportunity–for College-to-career Transitions

The unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 outbreak dramatically accelerated the digital transformation for many aspects of life, including the job search and recruitment process for early talent. However, these changes are only the beginning of what is now a new hiring playbook for the year ahead. In order to take a closer look at the trends and insights shaping the current job landscape for early talent, today Handshake, the number one site for college students to find jobs and get hired, announced the release of its third annual Campus to Career Report.

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According to the report, 8 in 10 students said they only met with employers virtually this past year, and over 90% of employers overcame challenges posed to their traditional recruitment methods to connect with students at virtual career fairs this fall. The pandemic has not only driven virtual events and career fairs to become the ‘new normal,’ but set a precedent for remote engagement. This year, Handshake hosted over 3,000 virtual career fairs for more than 700 institutions of higher education.

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These virtual events enabled tens of thousands of employers to manage virtual recruiting for early talent, and opened virtual doors to great opportunities for students across the country. Students who attended virtual fairs found them very useful for learning about company culture and job roles and making personal connections through 1:1 sessions. A majority (76%) stated that they would definitely consider participating in virtual career fairs in the future.

“The past year was a catalyst for change and it has emphasized the impact this generation of students will have on the workforce through their willingness to adapt and be resilient during this time,” said Christine Cruzvergara, VP of Higher Education and Student Success at Handshake. “Our report highlights how both higher education institutions and employers can become more creative about supporting and attracting early talent. Many of these innovations, including virtual career fairs and remote internships, will provide lasting improvements—untethering opportunities from geography, and allowing students to more easily access mentoring, networking and meaningful job opportunities.”

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