“The biggest lesson is: start as early as possible,” says Mayo, who knows about the recruiting process firsthand, having earned his MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business in 2015. “That’s one of the most consistent determinants of candidate satisfaction both this year and in past years.” Other tips include budgeting time wisely because “candidates who spend too little time on recruiting each week are almost certain to wind up dissatisfied, but spending too much time can also be a bad idea. The best bet for most candidates is to spend 8-10 hours a week on average.” Additionally, “choose your target industry carefully; highly competitive industries have high failure rates and consequently low rates of recruiting satisfaction. Make sure you are targeting an industry that fits your profile to avoid ‘re-recruiting’ and the stress that comes with it.”
‘IN A VIRTUAL INTERVIEW, YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW YOU DID’
In this year’s survey, RelishCareers didn’t ask about one of the biggest trends in recruiting: virtual or e-recruiting, in which MBA candidates meet prospective employers initially — and sometimes exclusively — digitally, whether via Zoom or some other platform. But the trend is unmistakable. In a recent report, 78% of schools reported an increase in employer use of virtual interviewing technologies in the last year.
“We asked about virtual recruiting last year, specifically about things like video interviewing, and overall people had a strong preference for non-virtual recruiting,” Mayo says. “They felt there was a lack of transparency, that the process lacked the immediate feedback of in-person interviewing. In a virtual interview, you have no idea how you did.”
Indiana Kelley’s Rebecca Cook is also president of the nonprofit MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, which in May released its 2018 Fall Recruiting Trends Survey. She told Poets&Quants in the spring that while recruiting is expensive and companies — especially tech companies — are open to trying new things like virtual recruiting to cut down on costs, job seekers hate the process. “I think companies will continue to try it, but I don’t know if it will take over,” Cook says. “Because how do you get to know somebody that way? Well, there are different kinds of virtual recruiting. There’s the person where you’re actually talking to somebody on the phone, or you’re video conferencing with someone. Or there’s the pre-recorded interview type, where you and the company set up and they say, ‘These are the five questions you need to answer,’ and those are recorded and then the student has to record it. The students definitely don’t like that one.
“You know, it’s not a person, so how do you get to know somebody? How do you know if you like the company? Or if you get along with them? For the students who go through the entire recruiting process via phone, never see the company, never actually physically meet somebody — how do you know you really want to go work there?”