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How to Become an Early-In-Career Destination Employer

Any recruiter knows that attracting early career talent is a challenge—and students and recent graduates are becoming increasingly picky about where they begin their workplace journey. These candidates will not accept a job just to have one, so it's important for organizations to position themselves as a destination for early in career talent.

To discuss ways that organizations can accomplish this coveted perception while recruiting early talent, we recently hosted a webinar—“How to Become a Destination Early in Career Employer”—which included professionals from top companies like Airbnb and Xactly. Here are some of the insights they shared on how to successfully stand out as a great place to work for young professionals. 

Filling the Gaps

When Jessica Hernandez was a high school teacher, her colleagues in the education field would regularly discuss how the gap in student opportunities begins in preschool. Now, as the Manager of Early Career and Emerging Talent for Airbnb, she knows that the gap in workplace success begins in early-in-career. In order to fill this gap, Jessica says that Airbnb has changed the way it engages with colleges and universities, taking an approach that does not necessarily favor the top schools, but instead emphasizes providing opportunities for talent from underrepresented backgrounds.

“If you want to see really diverse leaders at the top, it starts at the beginning. That's why we've been putting a lot of focus not only on who we partner with for our university intern program, but also what nontraditional talent pathway programs look like,” Jessica explained. “One way we have changed in the university space is we're school agnostic now. Before, we used to have core schools that we would go to and partner strictly with, but we know that the students from Stanford, Berkeley, and MIT are going to find their way to Airbnb, so now we're really intentional.”

Airbnb is also being intentional about giving young talent choices of where they can work. The company recently implemented its Live and Work Anywhere policy, which gives students the opportunity to work remotely during their apprenticeships.

“It's both a great thing and a challenge. One of the hard things about being based in San Francisco is a lot of people did not want to move there—especially people who wanted to be in New York or folks in the Midwest who love the Midwest and want to stay there,” Jessica said. “It's exciting that they'll be able to have that, but then also provide us the opportunity to bring them together, so we can still build that connection.” 

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Exercising Candidate Ghosting

Another challenge that organizations face more and more is candidate ghosting, which unfortunately occurs a lot when dealing with early career talent. This is a problem that Matthew Cowling, Lead Corporate Recruiter at Xactly, says really hits home.

“Our internship program was supposed to be 32 candidates this year, but I had three that just literally ghosted after offer,” he said. “And by the time we figured out that they were not coming to join Xactly, it was too late to backfill that position.”

In order to combat this, Xactly works to exercise this ghosting by keeping candidates entertained so they will remain interested and engaged.

“One thing we do to get our candidates to want to come to Xactly is to keep them entertained and get them excited. I really pushed for our interns to have the opportunity to join our ERGs this year and also sit on the Board because we wanted new, fresh talent and their ideas on our Boards,” said Matthew. “We are a teaching, learning internship here. You're not just grabbing coffee at Xactly. You're actually doing the work.”

And as a result of immersing talent in the work early, Xactly has been able to convert interns into full-time hires.

“We did convert three of our 29 interns to full time after their internship was over,” Matthew said. “We extended five of our interns, which we are hoping to keep on until they graduate, so we can make them an offer. And then we have one position we are holding for an intern who's graduating in December.”

For more insights from this lively discussion, listen to the full webinar here.

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