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7 Tips to Attract Early Career Professionals

As you’re creating a recruitment plan for the year, are you incorporating ways to attract early career professions into your strategies? If not, you’re really going to miss out on talent that can significantly contribute to the success of your organization—while those who do focus on this talent will reap the benefits. In fact, a survey of senior managers conducted by Robert Half found that 83 percent planned to hire fresh college graduates because they understood the value this talent brings to the table. Among the reasons survey respondents cited for this decision were the fact that early professionals are enthusiastic about entering their new careers; eager to learn, and equipped with strong technical skills that can benefit their organizations. In addition, early career professionals bring fresh ideas and perspectives into the workplace, which fuel innovation.

It's clear that the value proposition of hiring early career talent is there, but recruiters have to be strategic in order to attract these workers. The following are seven tips you can use to hire early career candidates, and ensure that you’ll be able to retain them.

7 Tips For Hiring Early Career Candidates

1. Get a Buy-In From Management

Just as with any other recruitment initiative, it's important to have a buy-in from management about hiring early career talent for the program to be successful. If your senior leadership does not see the importance of investing in these workers, it may be more challenging to recruit them since it won't be a company priority. It's important to demonstrate the value early career employees bring to the table so senior managers will be on board with your plans to attract and retain them—which may include creating a program specifically for the recruitment of this demographic.

2. Build An Attractive Employer Brand

Employer branding is an important element of attracting young professionals because it tells the story of what it's like to work at your organization. A strong employer brand will let prospective employees know what you have to offer in terms of culture, advancement opportunities, and compensation, so they can weigh your workplace against others when making decisions. 

One area of your employer brand that you particularly want to pay attention to is the diversity and inclusion at your organization. Younger generations have become increasingly diverse, and they expect to work in environments that reflect that diversity. As a result, a more diverse workplace not only makes it more attractive for early career professionals, but it also motivates them to be more engaged when they do get hired. If your organization already has a diverse and inclusive workforce, then you need to put it on display in your employer branding materials. If your workplace isn’t as diverse as you would like it to be, make it clear that you're interested in hiring talent from underrepresented communities to increase the diversity at your organization.

3. Create a Pipeline of Early Career Talent

To facilitate hiring early career professionals, you can create a pipeline of this talent by partnering with colleges and universities that can help you attract students. Implement internship programs so potential future employees can become familiar with your company and what it's like to work there. Also, offering scholarships can raise your profile among college students, while showing that you care about their future. These things can help you build a pipeline from college to your company because students know your organization and what your values are.

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4. Offer Opportunities for Growth

Just because early talent are beginning their careers doesn't mean they’re willing to accept a job with no opportunities for advancement. If you want to hire and retain these workers, you have to make it clear that you have paths for advancement available to them so they can see themselves building a future at your organization. Part of this pathway should include investing in professional development and mentoring, so you demonstrate that you're willing to give them the tools they need to grow and contribute to your company on a long-term basis.

5. Offer Fair Pay

If you’re working toward achieving DE&I goals, you can't focus on diversity and inclusion and forget the equity piece of the equation. Part of this equity includes providing fair and equitable compensation for early talent, so they know you value their contribution to your workplace. Conduct an audit of what you're paying workers and ensure that you’re giving early career employees the compensation they deserve.

6. Promote Work/Life Balance

Early in career talent are willing to work hard at this stage in their career, but they're not willing to burn themselves out to do it. To appeal to this group of prospective employees, you need to emphasize a healthy work/life balance because they make time off a priority, as well as flexible work schedules that allow them to pursue outside interests.

7. Implement Effective Onboarding Program

You may be able to attract the talent you want, but it doesn't mean anything for your organization in the long run if you're not able to retain these hires. Since early career talent can be the future of your organization, it's important to create an effective onboarding program that makes these employees feel welcome and incorporated into your workplace culture, while teaching them what they need to know to succeed in their jobs. This will go a long way toward creating a positive impression that can turn a new hire into a long-term contribution to your company, rather than a short-term employee that looks for opportunities where they feel better supported.

Early career professionals can be a great asset to your organization, but you need to use different tactics in order to attract and retain them. As you're creating recruitment plans, be sure to include ways to appeal to this demographic, so you can begin hiring talent that shapes the future of your workplace.

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