It’s back to school season, and not just for students. September is the best time to recruit entry-level talent and companies have already begun recruiting the Class of 2018 on OneWire. If you haven’t already, it’s time to get started!
Recruiting entry-level talent is different than hiring experienced professionals. In addition to the general changes in the hiring process (e.g. interviewing on campus instead of your office), it’s important to tailor your company’s recruiting experience to specifically to college students.
From the first step to the last, these small tweaks to your recruiting process will ensure you hire the best entry-level talent for your firm.
Creating Job Descriptions
Crafting an eye-catching job description starts with understanding your audience – which in this case is college students. Generation Z is now entering the entry-level talent market and their behaviors and goals vary greatly from millennials.
Ping pong tables, weekly happy hours and great perks are still alluring, but what Generation Z wants most is an entrepreneurial, creative environment to advance their careers. In your job descriptions, highlight career advancement paths and any training/support programs that your company offers to entry-level employees. It’s also important to optimize your job descriptions with relevant keywords. Gen Z is accustomed to finding everything online, and job opportunities are no exception.
Sourcing Entry-Level Talent
Many companies take a back seat when it comes to recruiting students but as we’ve mentioned in previous articles, post and pray is no longer a competitive strategy. This is especially true for recruiting entry-level talent. Firms that sit back and wait for applicants are missing out on valuable candidates.
Instead, go after talent yourself. Visit campuses and set up interviews through the career services offices. Share out your jobs on career services portals (if you post on OneWire, we do that for you). Reach out to your alma mater and contact your alumni groups. You can even source entry-level resumes on OneWire. Not only will you receive a higher volume of candidates when you actively source, students tend to be more engaged and responsive than experienced professionals. They want a job, and you’re inviting them to one.
Now that you’ve tailored your job description to Gen Z, the resumes will start rolling in. Nearly all the students applying will not have full-time experience in their background, and some might be liberal arts majors. So, what are a few good indicators of future performance?
Internships: Relevant to your role or otherwise, internships are a great yardstick to measure work ethic and initiative in entry-level talent. The more internships, the better but you should also be looking for consistency of the role. Have they shown an aptitude for finance with an accounting internship followed by an investment banking summer analyst role? Multiple internships within the same industry is a great indicator of their commitment and drive.
Extra-Curriculars: Whether it’s sports, Greek life or volunteer work, extra-curricular activities are a solid indicator of time management skills. Students juggling multiple activities and a great GPA will thrive in work-hard play hard cultures like those of investment banks. Segment out the most relevant and be sure to follow up with questions when you interview.
You made it past the posting, sourcing and review stage. Now it’s time to interview. You can’t ask the typical “Tell me about your role” or “Why are you switching jobs?” but you don’t have to start from scratch either. Tweak the phrasing of your interview questions and you’ll still be able to find the information you’re looking for about a candidate.
The following questions are a solid foundation for an entry-level:
- Tell me about the activities you’re involved with at school.
- Why did you choose your major/minor?
- Why did you apply for this role over others?
- How do you think your internships prepared you for this career track?
- What are you looking to gain in your first job?
- Tell me about a time you faced a challenge and how you overcame it.
Here’s a great article about what to ask entry-level candidates.
Basic background questions gauge personality and responsiveness but make sure to also include behavioral interview questions. They’ll give you a better idea on future performance and how students will respond in specific situations.
Communicating During the Process
Generation Z grew up with online messaging and instant replies. They expect emails answered quickly, including during the hiring process. It’s important to keep this in mind to improve overall candidate experience when hiring for entry-level talent.
Update candidates during the interview process and try to answer any questions within a few business days. Your company will build a stellar recruitment brand at schools if you’re responsive and cordial, even if candidates don’t fit the role.
Recruiting entry-level talent is easier said than done. The market for high quality candidates is already competitive and will continue to be as companies expand their recruiting efforts. Stay ahead of the game with these tips.
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