We’re at that time of year in the recruitment calendar where, as an employer, you could find yourself with a glut of vacancies to fill and, naturally, you are going to be looking for the best young talent out there to fill those vacancies.
You could be a company who has a specialised graduate programme, for example, and you are looking for high calibre graduates to come and join your team. Or perhaps you are a firm that is investing in young people by offering quality apprenticeships in a particular field. Young people are doing GCSEs and A Levels and some of those people will be hoping to land a place on an apprenticeship course as soon as possible. On the other hand, you could be a company looking for temping staff to cover summer positions at events or summer camps or you could have gap year roles on offer both in the United Kingdom and abroad.
Whatever the case is for you, if you are looking to recruit young people at this time of year, then be aware that other similar companies will be on a recruitment drive, too, and they will also be on the lookout for quality, young talent; the same talent you are looking for. So, how do you make sure you get in there first and hook your next young star into your company before other firms do? You have got competition.
In this article, we will look at some of the best top tips for attracting school leavers, students and graduates to your vacant positions and how you can get ahead of the competition.
Top Tips For Attracting Young People To Your Company’s Job Vacancies
In previous blog posts, we have looked in detail at some of the tips listed below and there will be links back to those posts where appropriate. We will also look at some other ideas that you could take on board to make sure you get in there first and grab the pick of the crop for your entry level jobs.
Throughout all the tips, listed below, the main point is to be honest, throughout. Young people are realists and they want to know exactly what it is going to be like working for you; the challenges they will face as well as all those awesome perks you can promise. If they feel they are having the wool pulled over their eyes, they are more likely to look elsewhere. So, let’s get started:
Tip 1 – Think About Your Company Branding
Let’s get the big one dealt with first. Whatever type of role you have on offer, company branding is essential. If you are part of a large corporation or already have a cool, young reputation locally, then this is going to be beneficial for you but not all companies have fostered an image where school leavers, students and graduates are chomping at the bit to land a role with them.
On the surface, some sectors are naturally more enticing to young people than others and you might not be the next Google or Facebook, you might not have appeared in any lists of the world’s best companies to work for but that does not mean you have got nothing to offer. You have got to sell yourself.
Highlight Your Young Staff – If you are a company that has a product or service that is not necessarily considered as cool, then look to your staff. Highlight your previous recruits who are now high fliers within your company and show other young people that they, too, could soon be working with fun loving yet determined young people like these.
Arrange A Brand Page On Your Website – In some sectors, as many of you as employers will be no doubt aware, you have got lots of competition. The engineering and manufacturing sectors, for example, have a skills shortage so you might not have a large pool of graduates or young apprentices to choose from. But it is not just engineering and manufacturing. If you are in the retail industry, be aware that many young people associate retail with shelf stacking and have little awareness of exciting future career opportunities within the sector. As a company, you need to brand yourself by showing this is not the case.
One way to do this is by having a good brand page on your website which highlights the achievements of your young staff and also their career progression opportunities. You can then mention your brand page when your place your job ad with E4S. Unlike social media outlets, where you also need to be social as well as promoting yourself, jobs boards are places where you can do blatant self-promotion in a way that attracts potential young talent.
Highlight The Ethical Side Of Your Company – Young people also want to work for a company, these days, that is more than just about making money. Outside of trying to make a profit, what else is your company involved in? Do you have your own charity or do you support any existing charities? Do you have a company mission to invest in young people in the UK or abroad? Are you involved in any environmental work such as a commitment to recycling or using renewable energy? Are your products Fair Trade or do you use Fair Trade products as part of your service to customers?
If your company does anything like this, then highlight this as this is an attraction for young people. Especially for SMEs or startups, highlighting any sort of genuine commitment to the community or the environment can help you attract that young talent you are looking to harness.
Tip 2 – Take Your Potential Young Recruits Forward 1 Year
I’ve written in the past about engaging new staff straight away so that you can boost your staff retention. One of the tips in that post was to give young staff a structured plan where they can visualise where they will be in one year’s time. Especially in full time roles such as apprenticeships and graduate programmes, your new young recruits will want to be able to see visible progress, if not promotion. They want to know what type of career you have in mind for them and how that fits with the career they have in mind for themselves. If you can communicate this, then this will attract Britain’s young talent to apply for your roles.
- Can you offer young people a structured plan where they can map their progress?
- Can you offer your young recruits more responsibility on big projects?
- Can you offer them leadership?
- Will they achieve nationally recognised qualifications for any training they do?
- Will they learn new professional or trade skills such as using a particular type of software or machinery and power tools.
One way of communicating this in your attempts to attract young people to apply for your roles is to have case studies of past graduates or apprentices who have been successful with your company. Perhaps they gained promotion quickly and have already increased their salary. Remember, if you are recruiting graduates, they are likely to be in quite a bit of debt so they will want to know how quickly they can boost their salary to pay those debts off.
For apprentices, if you can pay above the minimum wage for apprentices, this can be a good way of showing that you are truly investing in their future. And even for casual student jobs, if you can offer training or responsibility, this can be a successful method to ensure they continue to work for you and, where applicable, you might even be able to keep hold of that talent once they have graduated because you have built up loyalty.
Tip 3 – Give Your Young Recruits A Mentor
Again, this is a tip addressed in a previous post. If you are offering roles to school leavers, put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Some of them will have never set foot in the workplace and this can be a daunting prospect for them.
For graduate recruitment, yes, you might have taken your graduate forward one year by showing them their potential success but a mentor can be the person they can discuss any issues with and also map their progress. This is much better than having a written plan on a piece of paper that just gets lost in the desk drawer. If your graduate, student or school leaver is going to feel completely lost in your workplace and they can’t see where the support is coming from, then chances are, they will not apply for your roles.
Tip 4 – Create A Video Job Description
You are looking at how to attract young people to apply for your job vacancies. These days, school leavers, students and graduates respond to a variety of media rather than long, wordy job descriptions. Is a video something you could think about? That means you can keep the written section of your job ad short and punchy and it shows young people you are on their wavelength.
Of course, you need to make sure the right people are seeing your video job description. E4S has a target audience of students, graduates and school leavers. If you are reading this article now, this probably means you are looking at ways attract young people to work for your company so you are in the right place.
Tip 5 – Highlight Company Culture And Job Perks
The type of people in your workplace and culture fit feature high on young people’s list of attractions when it comes to applying for jobs and careers. What have you got in place within your company culture that would attract young recruits? Have you got a social scene so your new recruits can make friends quickly, for example? This can be especially important if young people are having to relocate to apply for the jobs they want. Your social scene could be anything from monthly staff lunches, running clubs or even voluntary work for charities within your local community.
Again, I have written in the past about quirky perks that could attract young recruits to your workplace. You do not have to be a large company to be able to offer little extras to both attract applicants and keep them happy whilst they are working at your firm. A bit of imagination and input from existing staff can go a long way and SMEs, as well as large corporations can benefit from the incorporation of perks.
Tip 6 – Where Are You Based?
We all know that phrase, ‘Location, Location, Location.’ If you are based in what is perceived by young people as a ‘cool location,’ then what are you waiting for? Sell that location to them. In a newly regenerated part of the city where everyone wants to see and be seen? Well then, students and graduates are going to love telling their friends that their new job is right in the heart of all that. Little additions like this to your company branding or job adverts can be really useful, especially if you are a new or small company competing with the bigger companies for the best students and graduates.
Tip 7 – Attract Young People With Your Job Ad
If your job ad looks tired and boring, young people are going to think your company is tired and boring and probably won’t even request an application form. Whatever type of company you are, keep to the point in your job advert but give all the necessary information in a way that attracts young people.
Not everyone is a great writer and writing a job ad isn’t always easy. Follow our tips here for writing a great job ad to attract the target audience you are looking for. This can be combined with other media when you place your company profile with E4S so that you have a full package.
Tip 8 – Attract Young People By Showing Off Your Awards
Has your company won any awards? These are a great way to attract young people to apply for your roles. Obviously, if you are a more established firm and you have been voted in ‘Top 20 Companies To Work For,’ by famous publications then this is great.
Not all companies have that luxury of course but if you have ‘Investors In People’ awards, any awards from institutes within your industry or certificates as a result or work you have done for charities – anything that can highlight your achievements as a company – show these off on your websites or in your job ad.
Tip 9 – Work Life Balance
‘All work and no play…’ as the saying goes. And these days, young people are looking for roles where a work life balance is achievable. If you can offer a system that helps staff to address their work life balance, sell this to potential recruits because it as an aspect which features high on wish lists for young people.
As well as attracting young people to apply for your vacant positions in the first place, addressing work life balance with your staff can also help towards retaining or increasing productivity in your workplace. There are many reasons why people don’t use their full holiday entitlement and if you can foster a culture where your staff do use their holidays – and other flexible hours where appropriate – then this can be a big attraction for young people.
Tip 10 – Could You Offer Budget Advice Or Other Financial Assistance?
For lots of young people, money is tight. If you are recruiting school leavers for apprenticeship schemes then even if you are paying above the apprenticeship minimum wage, the salary may not cover some financial requirements. Likewise, for graduates, student loans and other debts will have mounted up during their time at university and, as I mentioned above, some graduates may have relocated to work for your company.
Offering help such as clothing allowances can go a long way to attracting young people to apply for your roles. Other ideas could be house shares, paying transport fees for them to get to your interview process or even a scheme where you can help young staff with a savings plan or debt repayment.
Tip 11 – There Is More Than One Way To Attract Young Talent To Your Company
And finally, yes, there is more than one way to attract young people to apply for your roles and the trick is not to rely on just one of those ways all the time. Young people use sites like E4S all the time to look for all types of employment, from voluntary work and part time evening and weekend jobs, to apprenticeships, to graduate careers.
Employ some of the tips suggested above and make your company stand out above the rest so that young people re eager to work for you. And why wait purely for this time of year when your competition is probably at its highest? Yes, put yourself out there now but also get yourself out there at other times of year, too. This can be especially effective for SMEs and startups who might struggle to get noticed amongst the larger corporations at this time of year. Offer placements, summer jobs or Christmas jobs and you could spot some talent from those strategies.
So, what are you waiting for? E4S is all about helping you find the ideal candidates for your vacancies. Find out more about us and place your vacancy with us and you could soon have an injection of the best young people with innovative ideas working for your company.