Team Handshake was recently in Orlando for our inaugural employer event – Handshake’s Early Career Summit – alongside one of the largest gatherings of US colleges and employers. It was four days full of customer conversations, sessions, and buzz on the exhibit floor, so we wanted to bring our top insights back to you as a key member of our Handshake community. 

Our summit brought together 70 folks across top employers – like Travelers Insurance, Ernst & Young, Fidelity, Protiviti, and Alight Solutions – to not only learn from Handshake’s internal experts, but more importantly to hear from our customers like PwC, DENSO, Google, Enterprise Holdings, and Bank of America on how they’ve evolved their early talent recruiting strategies to keep up with the the competitive talent market and HR and TA’s digital transformation. 

Our VP of Employer Product & Marketing, Luke Baxter, and our Director of Employer Marketing, Kristen Ribero, reviewed these trends on a webinar. Let’s jump into the three key insights we came took from the Orlando event:

1. Skills, not just schools. Competencies, not just curriculum. 

No longer are schools and curriculum the only  evaluation criteria employers use to find early talent. This approach is critical in taking in a holistic view of a candidate. The whole talent market is embracing this new skills economy, and employers specifically realize how beneficial and efficient early talent is when it comes to finding the competencies organizations need to hit their goals. For example, take hiring for entry-level data scientists: there aren’t that many data science programs and majors, so they have to consider projects and other factors that demonstrate that skillset.

In fact, two-thirds of Handshake Premium customers’ proactive outbound campaigns do not include GPA as a minimum requirement.

When you’re not using legacy recruiting criteria, it also allows employers to build more diverse pipelines and slates.

2. Personalization and relationship building – at scale.

We know that Gen Z and early career talent expects personalized experiences – and they’re more likely to respond to employers with personalized outreach: 77% of students would prefer to join companies that proactively and personally reach out to them. Even more, they can be dissuaded by solely digital recruiting experiences (think assessment to video interview without human connection). Because of that, there were a lot of conversation around how to balance high touch with high tech, especially when recruiting larger volumes of candidates or for niche roles. At Handshake, we believe this is an and not an or equation. You need both.

3. Vendor and tool proliferation. 

This point isn’t lost on us – we know we’re a software partner. Also we realize we’re one of many. 51% of respondents in our webinar indicated that they felt there were too many tools in the pre applicant space. Handshake is working to ensure our platform is as comprehensive as possible in the pre-applicant space. Taking it one step further – we’ve heard from our customers that they’ve bought other pieces of technologies and that don’t stick, so we’re committed to demonstrating value through not only our product, but also our customer success team who consults our Premium partners on their sourcing, event and D&I strategies alongside their internal team structure and workflows. 

It’s clear we’re at a tipping point when it comes to early talent recruiting and employers are trying to make sense of the world at large and the world internally. We’re here to help.

If you want to learn more, feel free to check out the full webinar recording here or request more information below.