With thousands of student job-seekers visiting the E4S site every week we’ve learnt a thing or two about what attracts them and what really turns them off. We also conducted some market research into what 16-18-year-olds look for in a job advert and here are our main findings.
Never use jargon
We see this all the time in job adverts – for a school leaver, navigating the world of corporates can be complex. Don’t make it hard for them. You may understand what your company does but imagine having no experience of your sector. Use straightforward language that someone outside your organisation, and probably with little or no real-life work experience, can understand.
Have a clear job title
We see plenty of creative names for apprenticeship schemes, but they need to easily show up in a search and be clear enough for your prospective candidates to know what it actually means.
Bring the role to life
There was a strong desire for young people to imagine themselves in a role. Include some day in the life content, preferably in video form. Don’t be tempted to list every single duty though – long, repetitive lists aren’t welcomed. Just try to pick out a few of the more interesting tasks and use images to show your working environment.
Always include practicalities
Never leave out salary, working hours or location – this is seen as essential information and ‘competitive salary’ is seen to be dishonest. Avoid being vague!
“It feels like a chore. Many companies don’t reply. If it’s just a big wall of text, it’s mind-numbing to read.”
But do inspire
Although students told us they get frustrated by the lack of practical information, those seeking apprenticeships were more likely to want to be inspired by the organisation itself and the experience of working there. They want to feel passionate about the brand they work for, and aspirational employers for the age group are innovative, fun and ethical.
Use Instagram and YouTube
The 16-18 age group were more likely to mention these platforms rather than Facebook or Linked In. This audience therefore wants to consume plenty of visual and video content. Snapchat and TikTok also featured more for this younger group.
Use video testimonials of current and past apprentices
We’ve trebled application rates by including video on job descriptions, and increased email click-through rate by including video testimonials. Email engagement can be challenging for this group so strong content is important.
Tell them how you support work life balance
16-18-year-olds were significantly more likely to look for an employer who supported flexible working hours due to study commitments. If you offer paid study leave, say so. Also include any other work life balance or wellbeing initiatives you have in the workplace. If they’re missing out on uni life, they’ll want to know what you can offer instead.
This audience isn’t a fan of “corporate waffle” so cut back on the length of your advert and just include enough enticing information to encourage them to apply. Think of the opening paragraph as your ‘elevator pitch’. This may be, for example:
- Professional qualification they’ll gain
- Permanent job with a salary of £X
- Friendly initiatives like a buddy scheme
- A couple of interesting tasks they’ll be doing
- When the programme starts and application process (it’s surprising how often these get left out…)
Finally, use a jobs board (like E4S!) as 73% of those looking for apprentices look here first. Good luck!