Jan 12 • 4 min read

COVID-19 has turned many industries on their heads, including the world of recruitment. Since the pandemic began, the Fox School’s industry partners have worked tirelessly to create solutions to ensure they are staying engaged with students. The Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) is thankful for the partnerships and the support they continue to provide to the school. 

In March 2020, COVID-19 forced us all to rethink how to approach employer and student engagement in the virtual space. Over the next few weeks, CSPD will share how our employer partners are managing during COVID and the impact it has had on the recruiting world. 

Today, members from Cigna, Target and Vanguard discuss how their organizations adjusted to the virtual environment to enhance student interaction. 

Opening up new lines of communication

Jackie Reis, HRM ’13, is a senior recruiter at Cigna, recruiting for the Risk Management and Underwriting Leadership Development Program. Prior to Cigna, she worked at TE Connectivity and Aramark. She explains how Cigna reconsidered their approach to managing candidates and interns to enhance the experience for all.

By the time the pandemic hit, Cigna had completed nearly all recruitment. So the main decisions we needed to make at that time were: How we would proceed with a virtual internship program while ensuring an impactful experience for our interns, and how we would plan for a virtual fall recruiting season, including event planning, team training and interview processes. 

The main way that we changed is by opening up new lines of communication with our candidates and interns that did not exist before. Our goal is to increase transparency with what is going on behind the scenes and to make everyone feel informed and know what to expect. In the past, we were meeting students at events and checking in. Now, we are making it a point to stay in contact and send regular updates. 

Offering more developmental experiences for students 

David Wyant is a lead executive recruiter at Target who works closely with the store teams and campuses in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Delaware to help find great entry-level positions for students. Wyant rose to his current role after starting as an executive team leader six years ago. He describes how Target has been able to expand its reach in a virtual environment.

I’ve seen more collaborations across the Target enterprise when it comes to virtual engagements with students. Previously, I would look for leaders that could drive to campus to help lead our events. With a fully virtual campus program, I’ve been able to bring in Temple alumni that wouldn’t normally be on our local team to share experiences with students. We also incorporated more connection points in our summer internship program for our interns to virtually meet and ask questions of leaders ranging from district and regional store leaders to our CEO.

I’d say we’re also offering more developmental experiences for students now that aren’t hiring specific events. These aren’t always school-specific as they have been in the past, but they provide options for freshmen through graduate students across the country to get tips on everything from how to set up their LinkedIn profile, to virtual interview tips and self-assessment skill-building.

Pivoting approaches to adjust the virtual world 

Julia Murphy joined Vanguard in 2016 as the university relations team coordinator. Over the course of her career, she has managed recruiting relationships with a number of partner universities, including Vanguard’s internal internship program. Murphy explains how Vanguard made changes in order to help recruiters, candidates and new team members flourish in a virtual world. 

Vanguard was able to successfully pivot our recruiting efforts to adjust to the virtual world. We took advantage of opportunities to engage with students using the various virtual platforms that our university partners were leveraging. Vanguard altered our interview process for internships and entry-level roles to keep candidates’ health and safety as a top priority. We utilize Microsoft Teams in order to host final round interviews to give candidates the opportunity to connect one-on-one with hiring managers, while also networking and experiencing as much of the company’s culture as we can offer in this virtual environment. Our teams have been successful in hiring interns and full-time candidates in finance, investment management, advice and IT.

Center for Student Professional DevelopmentCignaCorporate PartnersCOVID-19CSPDHRMProfessional DevelopmentRecruitersRecruitmentTargetVanguardVirtual Events