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How to Optimize Your Candidate Experience for Early Talent

As Gen Z comes of age and increasingly becomes part of the workforce, it's more and more important for organizations to improve the candidate experience for early talent. Gen Z workers are very different from generations past, so they have many different expectations of their employers—as well as the companies they engage with during their job search. Getting them excited about working for your company begins with a good candidate experience, and Gen Z candidates will not settle for less. To ensure you're able to attract the employees you want, the following are some suggestions on how to optimize your candidate experience for early talent.

How to Optimize Your Candidate Experience for Generation Z

Before launching any early recruitment campaigns, you should understand what Gen Z wants in the workplace. If you need to know how to optimize your candidate experience for Gen Z, these areas are a good place to start.

1. Showcase Company Values 

Early career talent is passionate about the things that are important to them, and they have drawn their line in the sand. They will not work for organizations that don’t share the same values they do. According to a recent survey we conducted with internship and first-time job seekers, 8 out of 10 respondents said it was important that their values aligned with the company's mission. 

Whether it's a commitment to helping disenfranchised groups in the community or protecting the environment, employers need to demonstrate that they also care about, and are committed to, doing their part to make the world a better place. One important way to improve candidate experience for early talent is to showcase the values of your organization as much as possible, so candidates are crystal clear about where you stand and what you're doing to improve the community. 

2. Demonstrate Transparency 

Job seekers today want companies to give it to them straight. They don't want any information sugarcoated, nor do they want information hidden from them, so transparency is a must. Candidates know exactly how much the positions they’re vying for are supposed to pay, so companies need to be transparent about salaries and benefits to demonstrate that they’re paying workers fairly and providing equal opportunities for all employees. 

Talent expects the hiring process to also be transparent. For example, PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 78 percent of job hunters expect transparency about how the data collected by recruiters is being used when they apply for positions. Furthermore, in our Early Talent Sentiment Report, we found ​​that “74% more candidates prefer to self-report their information than have their data inferred by AI.” 

In addition, candidates want to know what happens as they move through the hiring funnel, so telling them what to expect each step of the way will not only help them prepare but will also show that your company cares about their success—even before they’re hired.

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3. Assemble a Diverse Interview Slate

Gen Z is the most diverse generation in the workforce today, so these candidates expect a workplace that is a reflection of this diversity. And demonstrating this diversity in the workforce begins with assembling a diverse interview slate that includes talent from underrepresented backgrounds. Candidates feel a lot more empowered when they see themselves represented on the interview team. This will help you reach the goals in your diversity recruitment plan and also show candidates that you care about representation in your workforce.

4. Personalize the Experience

No one wants to feel like they’re just a number, so the more you personalize the recruiting process, the better the response you’ll get from Gen Z candidates. This means as much as possible, you want to personalize the hiring process based on candidates’ skills and interests so they don't feel like you're not paying attention or don't care about giving them the information that's most relevant to them.

5. Maintain Regular Communication

Research shows that 90 percent of Gen Z would rather work in an environment that has a human touch and connection with colleagues, so recruiters must establish strong communication with these candidates early on. Let them know the status of their applications—even if they won’t be advancing to the next step—so they don't feel like they've wasted their time. 

The further along candidates get in the hiring process, the more important communication becomes. To improve the candidate experience for early talent, when someone participates in an initial interview but is not selected for a second, it's a good idea to inform them not only that they won't be moving forward as soon as possible. And if you’re able to, provide constructive feedback for them and ask for their feedback in return. 

Remember that even if a candidate doesn’t land one position, they may come back and apply for a different one later on. However, if they don't have a good candidate experience, they’re more likely to move on to another company.

Gen Z has different needs from any other age group in the workplace, so when you're recruiting for early talent positions, it's important to understand who they are and what they expect from employers. These tips can help to improve the candidate experience for early talent and ensure that these people will be interested in working for you.

Download The Early Talent Sentiment Report to get insights to attract Early In Career talent and shape meaningful employment experiences, elevating your company as a sought-after employment brand.

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