Going back to early spring of 2020, the way we, both students and recruiters, went about our roles in the recruiting process changed suddenly and drastically.  At least for the time being, and perhaps the foreseeable future, gone are the days of in-person career fair conversations, hearty handshakes, and face-to-face interviews.  To varying degrees, we all had to learn how to leverage technology and simulate the once in-person recruiting process as best we could with the tools available to us.

Did it work? To varying degrees, for the most part.  Was it ideal?  In our opinion, no.  In fact, it has been far from ideal for us.  There is something to be said for the personal interaction that transpires within the recruiting process that have been impossible to recreate in the virtual replications.  Yet, we soldier on, making the best of the hand we are dealt, perhaps learning a few new tricks along the way and making the most of our situation.

Here are a few things we have learned thus far during our long, strange trip:

Zoom, Teams, Skype and the like have readily allowed for expanded access to employers beyond campus – No longer were students bound to whichever organizations visited their campus, and no longer were recruiters bound by travel and time budgets.

Virtual events have opened more time to be strategic – Students had more opportunities to expand the scope of their job search, while recruiters were able to streamline their processes and possibly be more calculated in their approach.

You create your own home field advantage – Whether a student or a recruiter, the opportunity was theirs to establish one’s own personal career fair table or interview room, creating their own individual comfort zone, the ramifications of which were both positive and negative.

Although likely more casual, it is still the real deal – Students and recruiters alike were most likely more relaxed, but the fact of the matter was/is these interactions between the two still matter and each had to put their best foot forward.

Etiquette still exists in a virtual setting – While handshakes were not an option, appropriate attire, eye contact and common courtesy are still the order of the day—on a screen just as much as in person.

You are adaptable – Both students and recruiters were able to make lemonade from the lemons that the pandemic presented.  Who knows?  Might this be an indication of the “new normal” for the campus recruiting process.

You still need a break from your computer screen – Spending all day on your feet at a career fair can be exhausting; so can staring for hours on end into a computer screen.  Everyone needs a break away from the virtual process just as they would at an in-person event.

This has been different for everyone – You are not alone. We are all going through it together and can empathize with one another.  Most importantly, we are maintaining contact and keeping the process going.  It may not look the way it has been in the past, and we may still need to make some adjustments, but if the lines of communication remain open, whether personally or technologically, we have a chance to achieve our desired outcome.