When you are recruiting staff to your company, it can be really easy to get caught up in what you want from your candidate. After all, you have a vacancy (or vacancies) and you need them to be filled with the best young people out there. So, you set about creating your job advert, pinpointing all the qualities and skills you are looking for.
Recruitment can be an expensive and lengthy process so it seems to make sense that explaining to your potential applicants exactly what you want from them will get you the best people for the job. However, those skills and qualities are only part of the story when it comes to your recruitment process.
What is important to remember is that your candidates are also looking for something from you. Recruitment of the best young talent – and you do want the best talent for your company – is not a one way street.
Whether you are recruiting graduates, Apprentices or students to part time and seasonal roles, they have first of all got to be attracted to your company. What is so special or unique about your company that makes you stand out in the crowd of all those other companies offering similar positions and looking to hook the same talent as you?
Become A Salesperson
When you advertise your job vacancies, this is the time when you also need to sell your product to the buyer – the product being your company and the buyer being your candidate.
Many companies miss out on the best talent because they are not concentrating on selling the opportunity they have on offer. The opportunity is lost amongst the competition.
Obviously, not everyone is a good salesperson – that’s why you hire a sales team for your company whilst other members of your team have strength in other areas such as credit control, project management or administration.
If you are a larger company, you might have an HR recruitment team who ‘sell’ your roles to young people but, if you are an SME, you might be in a position where you are creating your own recruitment process. If you are not a natural salesperson, it is time to put your best salesperson head on and get creative. What selling points are going to make a young jobseeker choose your company over others?
Selling your company and your opportunities can be broken down into two steps:
- Hooking your talent – This is done with your job ad and any communication you have with your candidates up top the final interview stage.
- Closing the sale – this is the final interview where you decide whether or not to offer a candidate the role…and where your ideal candidate could well slip through the net right at the last moment because they are no longer sold on your opportunity and take up an offer elsewhere.
Hooking Your Talent
Yes, you need to state those skills and qualities you are looking for in your candidate in your job. But what also contributes to a great job ad is a section where you appeal directly to the type of candidates you are looking to attract. Not what you want from them but rather what you want for them. And it needs to speak to young people.
- You want them to love their job. You want them to be happy working at your company. If they love the company and the job, they’re going to go on to a successful career.
- Create an adventure that will attract young people to your company. A great story that will make students, Apprentices and graduates get their applications in. Something that makes a buzz around your company – this could be a story about some awards you have won. If you are a new company, it might be a few facts about how the company has grown since it was set up, how you won a prestigious client – and now you’re inviting all these new young people to be part of the continuation of the success.
- Is taking part in community projects part of your adventure? We have written before about how being involved in the local community can benefit your company. Young job seekers look for companies that care about the local community. Speak to those young people in your advert – how can they be involved in your community work?
- Avoid the cliches and jargon! Again, we have looked at the problems with cliches and jargon in your job ads in a past article. But everyone else does it? Not only do cliches and jargon put young people off from applying for your vacancies, you might not even get that far. If everyone else’s ads look like yours, you could be lost in the crowds and not even noticed in the first place. If you are lucky enough to get noticed, the cliches and jargon can make the young talent you are are attempting to hook in feel unqualified for your role because they don’t understand what you are saying to them. Be individual, make yourself stand out and talk to your young audience.
Continuing The Application Process
These days, many of the larger companies in the UK will have at least some description of automation at some stage of their application process. It could be online questionnaires or other screening processes.
If you are an SME and don’t have automated processes in place, you could use this to your advantage when trying to hook in young talent. Young people want to work for a people company. They want to feel like human beings are dealing with their application, not processes.
If you communicate by email with applicants who have made the next stage, keep that email human and personal as well as professional. Again, reinforce your adventure or your story in your email but also address your candidate directly, perhaps offering a couple of short reasons about why you liked their application and why you think they would be a great fit for your company.
If you do have a screening process as part of your application set up, make sure you don’t let your young talent escape the net at this point. Don’t just have a set question process where the interviewer goes through the motions. Have a person who really understands your company and is well qualified in the role you are recruiting for. This will come across to your interviewee and will make them feel in touch with the humans of the company rather than a process.
Another way to sell your company to your job candidates is to offer a tour of your company. Depending on the type of role you are advertising, you might be looking to attract young people to an entry level Apprenticeship, for example. These young people are likely to have little or no experience of a workplace.
Offering a tour of the workplace can give your potential recruits a feel for the company culture. You could even make provisions so that they can sit and chat with some of your employees. For SMEs, this could be an informal chat with an employee doing a similar role to the one you are recruiting for. For larger companies, it could be a chat with someone who works as a mentor to new young staff.
Again, a tour around the premises and chats with employees keeps the application process on a more human level and keeps your young candidates interested.
In The Interview Room
You haven’t successfully sold your company to a young candidate until you seal the deal. Sealing the deal in this scenario is you offering the role to the candidate you think is the best fit – and that candidate accepting your offer.
This article has been all about keeping the recruitment process human as a way to sell your company to young people. When you get to the interview stage, that doesn’t change. Don’t lose your candidate by saying all the wrong things. Rather:
- Try to make the interview relaxed and show the candidate you are taking a personal interest in them. Again, if you are interviewing a school leaver, they may well be completely unfamiliar with being interviewed. Making them feel more at ease by being relaxed will, in turn, make them feel more inclined to want to work for you.
- Be passionate about the role you have on offer. Be passionate about the company. Be passionate about how your candidate can fit in with the company and grow and develop within it. Show your young candidate what you want for them. Give them examples of other apprentices or graduate recruits who have had similar roles and have since been promoted to more senior positions or who are doing further training and qualifications.
- Be realistic about the role you have on offer. Over-selling can be just as off-putting for a candidate as under-selling. So, yes, be passionate about the role but don’t try to convince your candidate that they are going to be one of the top bosses within a year or so if that is just not the case.
- Talk to the candidate about themselves – not just what is on their CV. You have read their CV. You know that part already. A good candidate has usually done a good amount of homework on your company, too, so no need to waste time reciting the whole history of the company to them. Encouraging your candidates to talk about themselves in a more relaxed way shows to them that you are interested in them as a person – not just as a potential member of staff. This could tip the balance in your favour if they have had interviews elsewhere and have a choice to make over which company they will work for.
Recruitment can be costly and time consuming so it’s important to make sure you are attracting the best young talent to your roles and recruiting the ones that are the best fit. Selling your company to candidates can go a long way towards making sure you are not letting top talent slip through the net.