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Hiring Virtually – Opportunities to Supporting Students in Pursuing Careers in a Pandemic

Region IV-W
January 6, 2021 Trisha Gott Kansas State University

The pandemic has taught us a lot about effective virtual workplace practices. This fall I heard from seniors about their successes and failures preparing for virtual job fairs and interviewsLooking for work and starting jobs in a fully remote environment is most certainly a new experience for most. In supporting students in transitioning to their careers we can take steps in support of students’ success. By bridging the work of academic and student affairs we can also effectively prepare a workforce for the pandemic and post-pandemic work. Here are a few ideas to consider:  

In classrooms... 
  • Offices that support career development for students can work with faculty to adjust coursework and enrich student technological skills. This year faculty used new mediums in their classes including vlogs, blogs, and podcasts to advance learning.  Students worked in virtual classrooms environments, they discussed, they studied, they worked in groups, they developed presentations, and they did this work virtually. This was necessity in some cases and regular practice in others, no matter, these are practices we can continue to build on in the post-pandemic world. Students have gained new skillsets. I saw firsthand students who created virtual portfolios for their nonprofit work, a prospectus to pass on to interested employers. What additions of technology in classrooms can be considered for long-term use in academic classrooms and how can those tools bolster student skills for the workplace?  

In programs... 
  • Practitioners can consider how to support students in transitioning from causal online community-building to professional practices of building community. Students already build community through online mediums – whether they are active on TikTok, a gamer, follow YouTubers or casually use Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, or Instagram, opportunities to build virtual community abound. As practitioners, in our programs we can support this existing practice and help students transition these skills into professional settings. As students start their first professional jobs in a virtual environment, how can we help them consider the skills they already have to build community online in their fulltime work?  

In interviews... 
  • Career Centers rallied to pull together completely virtual career fairs for students – which required herculean efforts in partnership with industry. Campuses and career centers may consider continuing and growing hybrid hiring practices post-pandemic. In some cases, this new format increased accessibility and leveled the playing field for students interviewing for jobs and internshipsThe online medium allowed for different students to excel as they had more control over their environment and carried this forward in the interviews. How might a virtual interview process help both employers and students find success in meeting their professional goals?  

On campus... 
  • This year campuses shared classrooms spaces across college and departmental lines in order to keep teaching in person. In my own office space, students requested classrooms and conference rooms to use for virtual interviews with perspective employers. This practice can be leveraged to make additional campus spaces available for virtual interviews. With many conference rooms, classrooms, and meeting spaces technologically outfitted along with highspeed internet, why not create a register of campus spaces available for students to “check out” for their interviews? Providing a professional setting and outfitting students with reliable technology for their interview is one adjustment campuses may consider continuingHow might we use campus spaces in the future to support students and employers in their interviews?