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Unique Challenges to Early Talent Hiring and How to Overcome Them

Early talent hiring is an important part of shaping your organization's future, so it’s important to keep in mind that just because you're looking for employees without a lot of work experience doesn't mean recruiting early talent is all smooth sailing. Just as with hiring seasoned professionals, recruiters sometimes face roadblocks in early career hiring they need to navigate. The following are unique challenges to early talent hiring that recruiters face, and how to overcome them so your plans are successful.

The Challenge: The COVID-19 Skills Gap

The Problem: During lockdowns, many students didn't get opportunities to build the valuable skills they will need to succeed in the workforce. Although students are back in the classroom now and striving to catch up on what they missed, employers believe skill gaps could impact their Gen Z recruiting efforts. Some of the skills they're concerned about include interpersonal, interviewing, and leadership abilities that students may not have been able to fully develop during the time they were out of school.

The Solution: Employers looking for ways to combat this challenge are actively working to fill the gap of skills the pandemic created. One strategy organizations are using is offering virtual work experiences and resources to help students understand what will be expected of them in the workplace, as well as the skills they’ll need to successfully compete for jobs. In addition, new hires that come in from Gen Z recruiting are receiving more mentoring and peer coaching to help them sharpen their skills and build a foundation for success.

The Challenge: The Invisible Employer Brand 

The Problem: With so many companies vying for candidates in their early talent recruiting, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. Many companies have realized that recruiting early talent has been hindered because many potential candidates simply don't know who they are and what they have to offer. Without a strong employer brand, it's nearly impossible to get the attention of young talent.

The Solution: When you're recruiting early talent on college campuses, make your presence known early and often. You want to capture the attention of students from the day they step foot on campus until the day they graduate. Host recruiting events regularly, sponsor other events that are taking place on campus, give students branded items they can use every day, and provide programming that familiarizes them with the skills they need to succeed in your field. Demonstrate you care about students’ future by partnering with career centers to provide internship and scholarship opportunities. 

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The Challenge: The Perfect Candidate

The Problem: Although companies need to have standards when hiring any candidate, sometimes looking for the perfect one may hurt early talent hiring. For example, focusing on elite schools means recruiters miss out on an abundance of skilled and knowledgeable students who attended other colleges and universities. Similarly, when hiring managers have a laundry list of qualifications they want for entry-level positions, it can also make early in career hiring difficult. Asking that candidates graduate from the Ivy League, or have advanced degrees or certain certifications to qualify for an entry-level position probably isn't necessary. 

The Solution: When recruiting, open up your options. Look for students from smaller colleges and universities, as well as Minority Serving Institutions to find the talent you need. When it comes to the qualifications, review what you’re asking for and make them more realistic by focusing on skills, rather than credentials. Remember that the search for the perfect candidate on paper may actually make you overlook the perfect candidate in practice.

The Challenge: The Snail’s Pace 

The Problem: For some organizations, hiring takes a really long time. Although recruiters want to ensure they find the right candidate for each and every position, if they’re doing early talent hiring, time is of the essence because young professionals aren’t willing to wait around—particularly if you haven't even acknowledged their application in the first place. If your recruiting metrics indicate that your hiring cycle is too slow, it could be a problem when trying to get early career talent.

The Solution: Use the time you spend at colleges and universities to build a pipeline of qualified talent available when entry-level positions open up. Also, be sure to not only nurture the people you meet on campus, but communicate with those who apply for positions. Respond to applicants in a timely manner, let them know the status of their applications, and even if they don't get hired for a specific job, stay in touch if you think they would be a good fit for other positions. Be sure to keep talent engaged so they remain interested in your company, which will go a long way toward shortening your hiring cycle.

Early talent hiring is essential to your organization's growth, but it's important to avoid common pitfalls associated with it. Avoid future problems by keeping unique early talent hiring challenges in mind, as well as these tips on how to overcome them.

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