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How to Recruit Early Career Talent: 5 Tips

Early career talent is defined as professionals who have only been in the workforce for less than three years. Generally, these potential employees are current college students about to graduate, or recent grads who have just stepped their toes into the workforce for the first time. Although organizations may brush this demographic off because of their lack of experience, early talent is actually what companies need to inject new life into their cultures and shape the future of their organizations for years to come. But in order to effectively recruit this group of workers, it’s important to understand them and adopt strategies that appeal specifically to them. Continue reading to find out tips for how to recruit early career talent successfully.

Trends in Early Career Talent Recruiting Going Into 2022

The landscape for recruiting has in general changed drastically in the last year—and early career talent recruiting is no different. The following are some trends to keep in mind as you plan your recruiting strategies for the New Year.

Early career talent is vocal talent

Making this group of employees happy is particularly essential because they are the most active on social media platforms, and they're more likely to publicly share their experiences—both good and bad—of their workplaces. Whether you have interns or entry-level employees in this group, it’s imperative to create an environment they can get excited about, so they will tell their peers why you’re a great place to work, which will help boost your early career talent recruitment.

The workplace effects of COVID-19 will be long lasting

Since early career talent is coming into the workforce during the age of COVID, they're going to expect some of the changes to the workplace to continue even as organizations go back to brick-and-mortar operations. As a result, the virtual campus recruiting that has taken place is likely to persist, at least some of the time, because this talent is accustomed to meeting with recruiters online. Also, after being hired, early career talent will expect flexibility when it comes to working remotely. They want employers that will give them the option to leverage the technology they know so well to have more flexibility in their schedules and more opportunities to telecommute.

Diversity is a key driver

For younger members of the workforce, diversity is a key component of how they decide on which organizations to work for. This isn’t surprising, considering Generation Z, which is made up of people born between 1995 and 2012, is the most diverse group to enter the workforce yet—representing more racial, cultural, and gender communities than ever before. They want to work for organizations that are a reflection of the underserved communities they’re members of, so making efforts to boost D&I in your organization should be a top priority.

How to Recruit Early Career Talent

Since Generation Z is such a unique addition to the workplace, the same old, same old recruiting techniques just won’t work when you’re trying to reach them. The following are five early career talent recruiting tips that can help you be more successful in attracting and retaining these young employees.

1. Offer Paths for Advancement

After watching the aftermath of several recessions and mass layoffs over the years, early career talent craves an environment where they can have a stable, long-term career. According to a survey conducted by InsideOut Development, 40 percent of Gen Zers report that their biggest career concern is the need for stability in their jobs and 36 percent are afraid of being stuck for years in a position that has no opportunities for growth. With these concerns in mind, you need to have clear career paths for entry-level workers so they know they’ll have a chance to advance in your organization. Also, provide career development to give employees the tools they need along the way to reach their goals.

2. Demonstrate Social Responsibility

Younger workers have causes that are near and dear to their heart, and they are increasingly expecting the organizations they work for to also stand up for the issues they believe in. Social responsibility factors into Generation Z’s employment decisions, so you should be vocal about the causes your organization promotes, or make social responsibility a priority if you're currently not involved in any causes. Donating to charities, being vocal about issues, and organizing employee volunteer days in the community can go a long way toward making your workplace more desirable for early career talent, so put these activities in the forefront so they know you’re making a contribution.

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3. Personalize Recruiting Approach   

If you treat prospective employees like they're just a number, it will completely turn off early career talent to your company. They want a more personalized approach that illustrates the type of work environment they want to be a part of—and mass messages are likely to be ignored. As a result, recruiting messages should be personalized, informal, and welcoming to get them interested in a position at your organization. 

4. Look for Potential, Not Necessarily Experience

If you have rigid standards for the specific types of experiences candidates need to land a job, you may have problems getting the great talent you want. Generation Z comes into the workforce with numerous skills that their predecessors may not possess, but they may not have the formal experience you require on paper. Instead of expecting a certain amount of work experience or different certifications when filling positions, try an approach that focuses on the potential prospective employees bring to the table because this will yield better results for recruiting early career talent.

5. Put Your Workforce Front and Center

What your company does is important, but when it comes to early career talent, who does what your company does is just as important. Since this is a generation of workers that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, you need to put your workforce on display when trying to attract new talent. Potential employees want to know that your workplace has representation of their communities—particularly in leadership roles. Leverage your social media and recruitment website to highlight the people just as much as the company.

You may need to take a whole new approach to recruiting to find early career talent, but when you do, it'll be well worth the effort. These workers can breathe new life into your organization, but you need to let them know you value them and what they care about. These steps can help you effectively reach this group of workers so you can benefit from everything they have to offer.

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