The number of job openings across the United States has changed little over the last six months with 11.3 million jobs available, according to BLS data. Overlay that with a 3.8% unemployment figure from February, and we’ve got a buyer’s market for May’s crop of college grads. If you’re hiring, the question is: What are you selling to them?

HR teams often talk about the employee experience — what about the recruiting experience? Here are tips to create a candidate experience that sells your company to new graduates.

Career fairs. There’s hype and buildup before and during a career fair, but what happens afterward? Too often, students are ghosted. There are no corporate follow-up communications, and student emails go unanswered. Top talent moves on to the next internship or job opening.

Job fairs should be treated like exhibiting at a business conference. Sell your company. Meet students, get resumes and make notes about the students’ professional interests. Collect their emails and send job opportunities to get their applications. Create a reasonable expectation for the student. If you won’t be hiring for a few months, say so and let them know to look for an email.

Resumes and AI. AI use is all the rage in resume submissions. Proponents say it speeds the hiring process. Others wonder, are we losing the human aspect of human resources?

A February Wall Street Journal digs into that question and cites a Harvard/MIT algorithm expert saying, “Some candidates — such as people who didn’t go to college, didn’t get good grades or don’t know someone already working at a company — might be suited for a job but not discovered in a labor-intensive process where recruiters are forced to make fast decisions and quickly rule out scores of candidates.”

AI shouldn’t be the only way to source resumes and candidates. Entry-level job seekers shouldn’t have to rework resumes with keywords to get through AI systems. AI does not replace human interactions and engagement. Read resumes to make decisions.

PREMIUM CONTENT: April 2022 US Jobs Report

The first interview. Large corporations often have first interviews with recruiters who are new to the job or use AI chat bots. Most of these screening systems are in place to simply check a box and move to the next step in the process.

Recently, a business associate told me a story about her son who was getting ready to graduate from a top US engineering school. The screener was late to the virtual interview, didn’t apologize and tossed the first question: What’s your GPA? That’s less than personal, and that information was already on the resume. When the young recruiter couldn’t check a box, he abruptly ended the interview by saying, “I cannot complete this interview.” Then he clicked end, thus hanging up on the virtual call! That company continues to say it cannot find good entry-level staff. I wonder, is it the internal training process and not the job candidate?

Next, more interviews. Companies often require candidates to speak with several people when interviewing. Are those people trained to have a conversation with the candidate, or will they simply talk to the resume? A resume is a tool that shares basic experiences. Interviewers should be coached on how to represent the company and their team by asking thoughtful questions to learn more about the candidate, how they think and what they can add to the business.

Setting expectations and continued communications. It is ok to say no. Job hunters would rather hear “You’re not a fit” than wonder what happened. If there’s a new grad your team likes, stay in touch with regular updates and consider skipping steps in the process. Most good students on the market are managing multiple interviews and potential offers. They aren’t just waiting for you.

The critical question. If another job at your organization came up 10 years from now, would that now mid-level professional be interested, or would they remember a bad experience with your company? If the answer is the latter, revisit how you’re recruiting and hiring.

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