Building Genuine Candidate Relationships

    In this series, we’re covering six of the most pressing challenges facing campus recruiters right now. Stay tuned as we release a new post each week! Access the full eBook here.

    If you’re a recruiter, you’re likely juggling tons of responsibilities while seeking top candidates to drive your organization forward. And if you’re operating by the traditional recruiting playbook, you probably know that the time constraints of traditional career fairs and interviews often leave little room for meaningful connections between recruiters and candidates. So how can you create opportunities for genuine engagement, build authentic candidate relationships, and foster lasting connections with future hires? Read on to find out.


    The Power of Real, Paid Work Experience 

    According to Parker Dewey’s recent research, 95% of respondents rated "real, paid work experience with an organization" as their preferred method of engaging with employers. This finding underlines the value candidates place on hands-on experience rather than traditional, superficial interactions.

    Micro-Internships offer candidates the opportunity to delve into real-world tasks and challenges, mirroring the responsibilities they would assume in a full-time role. This allows candidates to showcase their skills, learn from professionals, and gain industry-specific knowledge, all while making a meaningful contribution to the organization. The sense of accomplishment and personal growth that arises from these experiences significantly impact their overall perception of potential employers. 


    Fostering Professional Connections

    Micro-Internships help recruiters build deeper professional connections with prospective employees. During these short-term engagements, recruiters can observe candidates' work ethic, communication styles, and overall cultural fit. In turn, candidates have an opportunity to connect with mentors, supervisors, and colleagues, nurturing relationships that may extend beyond the Micro-Internship itself. As one Micro-Intern supervisor explained, 

    “[The Micro-Internship] basically eliminated the need for me to interview [the Micro-Intern]. At the time that we did the Micro-Internship, I didn’t have the job posted online. Once I knew that she was interested, I told our talent acquisition team to post the role, and I sent Jessica the link. She applied right away. Any sort of prescreening information I already knew—I had two weeks with her.” 

    These connections serve as a foundation for long-term relationships. When candidates feel valued and supported during their Micro-Internship, they are more likely to remain engaged and excited about potential career opportunities within the organization.


    Steering Candidate Decision-Making

    Our recent findings also illustrate that real work experiences through Micro-Internships positively influence a candidate's decision to apply for a full-time position within the organization. When individuals gain insights into a company's culture, values, and mission through these immersive experiences, they become more likely to envision themselves as part of the team. As Micro-Intern-to-hire Jessica Tardy explained, “Because of my Micro-Internship, I was able to more clearly envision what that role was going to look like and that experience with the team. The fact that I’ve gotten to meet and work with my supervisor allowed me to make that decision with confidence.”

    Micro-Internships allow candidates to assess the work environment and determine if it aligns with their career goals and aspirations. They can evaluate how their skills are valued and utilized within the organization, leading to more informed career decisions. Consequently, employers benefit from a pool of candidates who are genuinely interested and invested in their company.


    Building Relationships with First- and Second-Year Students

    Micro-Internships are also a great tool for creating real connections with students who are early in their academic journeys—allowing companies to nurture their talent pipelines at an earlier stage. Plus, students want to connect with employers in freshman or sophomore year: 69% recently reported that they wished employers had begun to engage them earlier than they did. 

    In sharing his Micro-Internship experience, one student explained, “I got to learn so much about how the company was made, why they created it, how they actually manage it day-to-day, where they get some of their best ideas, how they manage their team [...] That relationship, the information I got from it, that has pivoted my career and where I want to focus and what I plan to do post-grad.”


    Boosting Candidate Confidence

    For candidates, Micro-Internships present a unique setting to build, develop, and demonstrate their skills—while witnessing how their contributions can create a real impact. By actively engaging in meaningful projects, candidates can fine-tune their existing skills and discover new ones. This not only boosts their confidence but also empowers them to make more informed career choices. The ability to tangibly demonstrate their capabilities during a Micro-Internship creates a lasting impression, setting the stage for successful future collaborations.


    Ready to start building genuine connections with prospective candidates? Get started here