Employer Branding Talent Acquisition

What Should Firms Be Doing to Attract the Best Young Talent?

All indicators agree: until 2030, the number of skilled jobs needed in the global economy will exceed the number of available candidates. The war for talent is raging, and companies are not sure they will win it.

What should firms be doing to attract the best young talent?

Not offer a career but an exciting, international, entrepreneurial and meaningful adventure.

Companies must take into account the aspirations and behaviors of this new generation of talent, even if they are sometimes paradoxical.

Large companies are not only competing with each other to recruit the best talent, but they are also competing with the entrepreneurial drive of young people who are creating or joining human-sized organizations and start-ups, learning and growing faster.

To attract the best young talents, companies must offer “fast track” or “rotational programmes” as early career development, which allows young talent to develop and take up challenges that have impact and meaning.

Companies must also capitalize on their specificities: collective dynamics and learning from other employees.

Young talents do not necessarily seek to work in non-profit associations or NGOs but want their employer’s Social and Environmental Responsibility to be reflected in their missions. The next issue is, how do young people approach looking for placements/first jobs, where do they search, and what are their expectations during the recruitment process?

A recent study was carried out earlier this year by the EDHEC business school and JobTeaser. They analyzed data from more than 1700 respondents, students, and recent graduates, who had either studied in Europe or were of European nationality.

They found that to look for internships and first jobs; young people mainly use their universities’ career intranet platforms (48%) then the companies’ websites (39%) and their network (35%).

71% of young people also ask for transparency on the recruitment process. Young graduates are used to instant application responses and want more fluidity during the recruitment process, i.e., speed and simplicity when applying.

They no longer want to complete an application form when they have already sent the same information in their CV. They would instead write a quick motivation email than a long cover letter.

74 % find it necessary to receive a personalized reply.

They want to get feedback for each step of the application procedure. In particular, they want a debriefing of their interview performance when they are not selected to improve.

Another critical issue is the importance of transparency in job offers, personalization and offering a range of application processes

Before applying, information found on the company is often decisive: 80 % of young people research the company culture before applying, and 78% believe that the company culture in­fluences their application.

Recruitment communication must adapt to these new requirements. Corporate discourse must be less stereotyped: more specific and more sincere.

They want updated, documented job offers and transparency in salaries. They would like the offers to be more detailed and reflect the company’s culture and values.

During the application process, young graduates want a personalized “candidate experience” that makes them want to get involved in the company because they will feel “unique.”

Finally, how are social networks impacting the recruitment process?

87% of students and recent graduates are already registered on at least one professio­nal social network. Among them, 78% consult their account at least once a week and three students among 4 read their news feed.

Companies can no longer be satisfied with a presence of their employer brand only on personal social networks; they must also communicate on professional networks and have content adapted to this target of young, qualified and demanding talent.

81% read the news and the company page before applying.

Social networks have an impact on the decisions of young talents before they apply.

They make it easy to check that companies’ promises match the realities experienced by young graduates already employed in the company. The experts are their ex-peers.

However, this digital presence does not exempt companies from establishing direct contacts with students: job and career fairs, campus presence, educational partnerships, business games…

This generation needs human relations and mentoring and coaching.

In conclusion, in a globalized, fluid and graduate-friendly job market, employer brands need to be proactive and sincere in order not only to attract and recruit but also to retain and engage these talents.

About the author: Manuelle Malot is the Director, Alumni Careers, and NewGenTalent center, EDHEC. Manuelle is a specialist in graduate recruitment and career management. She is an author and recognized expert on new generation career and workplace trends. She has more than 25 years of experience advising both executive professionals and organizations on the changing world of work.

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