The Auburn University School of Accountancy developed guidelines to help our recruiters adapt to changes in the recruitment process as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
TIP #1 – UTILIZE ON-CAMPUS AMBASSADORS.
Many employers have enacted policies that prevent business travel, thereby limiting in-person interactions with students. Utilizing on-campus ambassadors (students who have completed an internship or have accepted an offer from you) is a great way to cultivate personal relationships in the traditional manner while still adhering to stricter travel policies.
TIP #2 – LEND A PERSONAL TOUCH (WITHOUT THE TOUCH).
“Swag” is a fun element of the recruiting process, but a lack of in-person events will naturally decrease the ability to distribute items to show you care. As a replacement, consider a contact-less candidate care approach. Some ideas include e-gift cards (Starbucks, Amazon, Chick-fil-A, Grubhub, etc.) or a care package from one of the vendors listed below.
TIP #3 – ALLOW US TO FEATURE YOU!
Let BAP highlight your unique value proposition by participating in the Featured Professional Partner (“FPP”) program. More information about the FPP can be found here.
TIP #4 – SHOWCASE YOUR CULTURE.
“The people,” is a common answer to the question of “Why do you choose to work there?” Students understand the importance of cultural fit and want to envision how they’ll factor into your environment. Although virtual recruiting departs from the traditional in-person office visits and socials, it is still possible to allow a student to picture themselves working for your organization. Facilitating multiple introductions between students and your professionals is a great start, but be creative as to how you can substitute the ancillary parts of the experience (virtual office tours, including students in office-wide virtual programming/training, etc.).
TIP #5 – KEEP RECRUITS INFORMED.
Be transparent with students about your recruiting plans and timeline for the year, as a lack of in-person contact can minimize the natural communication of such information. Virtual recruiting could feel impersonal to students, so personalize the experience as much as possible through frequent communication (email or otherwise).
TIP #6 – DOWNSIZE YOUR IN-PERSON INTERACTION.
Meeting with small groups of students on campus is still possible while following all mandated health and safety guidelines. For more information on how on-campus events and meetings can be held this fall, visit the “On-Campus Events” section on this page.
For more virtual recruiting tips, read this Handshake article.
Virtual Meet the Firms
Beta Alpha Psi will host this spring’s Meet the Firms event using the Career Fair Plus (“CF+”) virtual platform on Wednesday, January 20th, from 4 PM to 8 PM. CF+ utilizes meeting schedules; each recruiter at a virtual booth has a meeting schedule divided in 15-minute increments (5 minutes longer than the fall) and students sign up for a time slot to discuss their resume. The number of schedules available to a professional partner is unlimited for the spring event.**
**All exhibitors should be conservative in the number of schedules they initially create, as it’s easier to add schedules during the appointment window than cancel under-performing schedules.
IMPORTANT PRE-EVENT MILESTONES
Below is a general outline of how the event will come together. Confirmed representatives will receive detailed logistics via email to ensure they are adequately prepared.
Tuesday, December 1st – Deadline to register for the virtual fair in Handshake. Exhibitor registrations will import to the CF+ system to create your firm/company’s virtual booth.
Between Wednesday, December 2nd and Tuesday, December 8th – The “Team Lead” designated in your VMTF RSVP will receive access to your virtual booth, which gives the ability to add team members and create schedules.
Before the spring semester begins on January 11th: Exhibitors should familiarize themselves with available CF+ training materials:
- Click here to review the CF+ provided guidance for employers. AU-provided guidance will be emailed to registered participants.
- Attend a virtual training before using the system (strongly encouraged). Links to the CF+-hosted recruiter webinar sign-ups are below.
*A live VMTF recruiter training webinar was hosted on Wednesday, December 16th. Click here to access the recording.
Monday, January 18th: Meeting schedules (names and available times during the 4-8 pm CT window) must be finalized by exhibitors. We discourage altering the pre-determined 15-minute increments. Once students begin signing up, you cannot edit your schedule if a student occupies a time slot you must cancel; anticipate needed breaks in advance.
Tuesday, January 19th-Tuesday, January 26th: Students make appointments on exhibitor schedules.
Tuesday, January 26th (4-8 pm CST): Our second virtual Meet the Firms is LIVE!
Below are some tips for professional partners to make the most of the virtual Meet the Firms experience.
BEST PRACTICE #1 – CENTRALIZE COORDINATION.
All members of your VMTF “team” have access to schedule details, but avoid having each team member set up their own schedule independently. For consistency purposes, it’s best to designate a team lead who sets up and names schedules according to a common convention. Ensuring your team operates seamlessly with regard to schedules will translate to informed candidates who book appointments with the “right” representatives.
BEST PRACTICE #2 – LABEL SCHEDULES APPROPRIATELY.
Label each schedule very clearly so students identify the schedule that matches their service and city preferences. If you have altered the timeframe to be different than the event timeframe, also indicate that in the title (e.g., “Meet an Audit Partner from 5-6 pm”).
Professional Partners with multiple locations may find it most useful to have a meeting schedule for each service line and major city. For example: Atlanta Audit, Atlanta Tax, Birmingham Audit, Birmingham Tax, Advisory etc. Avoid being too prescriptive, as it may deter an inexperienced recruit from booking an appointment (they may interpret too-specific titles as not being a match for their level).
Professional Partners with few locations may find it advantageous to differentiate their meeting schedule by either office location or service line. For example: Birmingham and Atlanta, or Audit and Tax.
Plainsman Sponsors: If you typically collect less than 20 resumes at Meet the Firms, you may be well-served to start with two schedules. If the schedules fill up before the event, you can add more schedules to accommodate demand. This practice will ensure that your recruiting time is spent efficiently and minimize idle time between student meetings.
BEST PRACTICE #3 – ONE SCHEDULE : ONE TEAM MEMBER
While CF+ does allow for flexibility in schedule-sharing, it’s discouraged. Each schedule is tied to a team member’s name and LinkedIn profile, so if multiple professionals are sharing one schedule, it could confuse students about who they’re actually meeting. However, in a pinch, the link to each video room can be shared with other professionals, even if they don’t have an active CF+ account (i.e. a last-minute team member cancellation doesn’t mean schedule cancellation). You could also bring in more junior recruiters (or campus ambassadors) into the room to supplement the interaction with the schedule owner.
BEST PRACTICE #4 – SET A MINIMAL PRE-REQ FOR STUDENTS.
Want to ONLY talk to accounting majors at Meet the Firms? There is an “Additional Prerequisites” question you can ask in the Schedule Prerequisite section and the students will be prompted to answer Yes/No to that question before they schedule an appointment (e.g. “Are you declared or considering an accounting major?”). You can also include the Major requirements in the Schedule Description. We discourage using the Major checkbox, as students enter their major in a variety of ways (Accounting, ACCT, Accountancy, etc.) and younger students may not yet be declared as accounting.
BEST PRACTICE #5 – MONITOR YOUR SCHEDULE FOR LATE ADDS.
To allow for “walk-ups,” the scheduling window will remain open throughout the event. Therefore, if you desire a dinner break in between appointments, be sure to intentionally block the time slots so a walk-up does not schedule while you’re away. If the event is concluding and you desire to end earlier than 8 pm, block any remaining appointments to avoid a candidate being “ghosted.” If you want to avoid any surprises during the event, you should block all remaining time slots as of the event start (essentially, ending your personal sign-up window).
BEST PRACTICE #6 – USE YOUR LAPTOP AND PHONE/TABLET IN TANDEM.
Most professionals are accustomed to conducting video conferencing on their laptop, and we believe the CF+ format is no different. However, we recommend also logging in to the app with a smartphone/tablet to utilize the available note-taking and rating features for your interactions. Note that these ratings will become available to any of your professionals with CF+ access, and you will need to devise your organization’s approach to the standard star-rating system to ensure consistency across schedules.
BEST PRACTICE #7 – LIMIT USE OF CAMPUS AMBASSADORS AT THE EVENT.
We suggest that you do not use campus ambassadors (currently enrolled students who have interned or accepted an internship offer) to as schedule owners during the event (unless a schedule is clearly labeled that the student is meeting another student). Because they are both on campus, recruits have the opportunity to meet with an ambassador in person at a different date. Thus, the Virtual Meet the Firms should be used to facilitate relationships between our students and full-time professionals. Campus ambassadors can be used in the follow-up process; hosting in person, small group interactions with potential candidates identified during VMTF.
BEST PRACTICE #8 – PROVIDE CONTACT INFORMATION.
Professionals assigned to a schedule should have an active LinkedIn account connected to their CF+ account. Additionally, if you wish for students to be able to contact you, you must give them your contact information during the event interaction (helpful to utilize the chat feature in the video room). CF+ does not distribute employer information to students, so students can only follow up via LinkedIn or if you proactively provide your email.
BEST PRACTICE #9 – FOLLOW-UP AFTER THE EVENT.
Because students are unable to participate in multiple schedules for the same employer, follow up after the event becomes very important. We suggest that staff, seniors, and managers conduct the recruiting during the event with their meeting schedule. Then strong candidates can be invited to meet with senior managers, partners, directors etc. over Zoom at a subsequent date to further develop relationships.
BEST PRACTICE #10 – SEND SOCIALLY DISTANT SWAG.
Since a virtual Meet the Firms is not conducive to physical “swag” or informational pamphlets, consider sending a message to all students who visited your “booth” with specific next steps in your recruiting process. There is also an opportunity to send “touchless giveaways” to the students that visited your booth. Suggestions for socially distant “swag” can be found above.
The day of the event, Colby Lakas will be available to Professional Partners in a Zoom drop-in room for any questions that may arise.
Technical support is also available prior to and during the event by clicking on the help button at the bottom of your meeting schedule screen. Although we will be able to assist with recruiting and logistical questions, reaching out to Career Fair Plus directly will get you the quickest help with technical issues.
Professional Partners that choose to host on-campus recruiting events will be expected to comply with all “A Healthier U” policies enacted by Auburn University.
These policies include:
- Face coverings are required to be worn in all University buildings and strongly encouraged in outdoor areas where physical distancing is not feasible.
- All events must be logged with AU; events larger than 100 people are subject to special approval.
- Appropriate physical distancing should be maintained everywhere on campus.
- Practice good health etiquette by washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if you are unwell.
All on-campus events should be coordinated through Colby Lakas in order to ensure that all policies and guidelines can be followed. For more information on Auburn’s “A Healthier U” policies (including FAQs and specific event policies), please visit this page.