With graduates starting their final year of pizza delivery, and the bank of mum and dad nearly empty, thoughts turn to work and the big wide world.
This is a tricky time for Gen Z and their prospective employers. Marrying the expectations of the two parties can often be difficult and time-consuming for everyone involved.
Gen Z individuals are tech-savvy and accustomed to an instant-access lifestyle.
Potential graduates will be reviewing your company’s credentials via Glassdoor and influential student sites such as Graduate Fog, so a progressive brand perception is key to attracting the best candidates.
As a recruiter, you will be well versed in onboarding the next generation of talent and aware that your pipeline for graduates needs to be time efficient and effective. That said you’ll need to define precisely what you are looking for in a star candidate, so you get the right fit.
According to a 2014 article in The Telegraph many graduates select the wrong roles on leaving university, the upshot being that 25% may quit their first job within a year of starting it. This “churn” is a negative for everyone, with British companies spending £900m per year on attracting the best candidates (source CEB report 2014) it is also a costly exercise. To avoid wasting your resources consider using realistic job previews to illustrate both the company ethos and how your graduates will fit into that culture.
So now you’ve identified your dream candidate it’s time to roll out the campaign and get recruiting. So here are some tips to find and retain your future stars.
1. Deliver a great campaign
To maximise engagement, you will need to think ahead and be prepared to inspire them with an attractive brand offering and a smooth recruitment process.
Your graduate campaign should drive positive brand awareness and entice those future leaders to get in touch.
So, what is your average university leaver looking for? According to the 2018 AAGE Candidate Survey, the quality of training and development you offer and the opportunities for career progression held an almost equal attraction (27% and 24% respectively) as a decider for accepting a graduate opportunity. The quality of the work (19%) and the company culture (15%) were lower in importance in their final decision-making process.
Existing employees make great brand ambassadors so consider using graduate hire testimonials to illustrate their experiences as part of a social media campaign or on your website. These same employees could form part of your assessment centre day offering the opportunity for candidates to get to know the real you as a company!
Milkround have created a library of a day in the life case studies which are a great example of making it real for the candidate. Consider developing something similar for your central grad positions to avoid any confusion about their future role.
2. Keep it accessible
Your candidates will expect ‘on demand’ application methods that function via mobile apps. With over half of all 18-24 year olds stating they access emails and social media via their mobile more than any other device, your recruitment process needs to be easily accessible and engaging. Following new methods of interviewing can also help with scheduling large numbers of candidates. An online platform is an efficient way to manage applications and screen for suitability. The Harris Poll (May 2018) commissioned by Glassdoor states 44% of job hunters found cancelled or postponed interviews frustrating so an online option could be the way forward to avoid a bad initial experience for potential candidates.
As researcher McCrindle found, Gen Z grads grew up on mobiles and digital devices and as such digital change is part of their DNA. They are looking for organisations who adopt new technologies and incorporate tech into roles, systems and operations so they can work on the go at any time.
App-driven digital assessments offer freedom and control to applicants who are used to interacting via online methods. As well as speeding up the hiring process, it reduces the logistical issue faced by recruiters scanning a wide geographical area for candidates. Including yes/no questions in your online screening will quickly self-select the more appropriate candidates. Plus, for busy final-year students, flexibility in the recruitment process will add extra appeal.
3. The need to nurture!
Finally, you’ve found some promising potential, but you need to drill down to the top 5% of your graduate contenders. While moving into the final phase of the selection process either by assessment centre or interview panel, it is worth keeping your candidate in the loop. Many candidates complain of long delays between initial applications and feedback.
A massive 43% of respondents to a Harris Poll (May 2018) conducted on behalf of Glassdoor said that recruitment and hiring managers not updating them on the status of their application was their biggest grievance.
If you are planning an assessment centre, consider streamlining the process with software. Online candidate tracking can offer an overview of a candidate’s progress to date. This may be shared across teams for review. This real-time evaluation can speed up the decision-making process as well as improving consistency.
4. Onboarding – next steps
Once you have your dream candidates onboard, you need to make sure you cherish them from the beginning. Many graduates may be overwhelmed by full-time employment, they may not understand what is expected of them or feel lacking in the skills and confidence to achieve those expectations. Gen Z prefers to be moving forward at all times and may get disheartened without progress, so consider assigning mentors to your new hires. That way they can be guided with ongoing support and skills gaps may be identified before they become a problem.
Education and development opportunities are an excellent way to keep employees engaged and challenged throughout their career most graduates will expect to continue learning in their first job.
Based on McCrindle’s research it’s important to find or create opportunities that enable your Gen Z graduates to contribute to greater organisational goals and missions. These ‘opportunities’ could include project secondments and participation in staff forums.
Finally, it’s worth noting that McCrindle has reported that Gen Z’s are team players who want to contribute, to solve problems and develop helpful, innovative solutions.
Only employers who recognise the particular talents of this generation and their future potential will be the winners of the graduate recruitment battle.