Early talent recruitment faces new challenges each and every year. However, this year has its own particular challenges. Recruiters are struggling to know where to focus their efforts due to an economic turndown, tech layoffs, hiring freezes, and more. These storms can be weathered if teams focus on the right initiatives, prepare for upcoming challenges, and build on what's already working. The following are some early talent challenges to keep in mind for the year ahead.
The Challenge: Building Relationships With Candidates
Early talent does not want to be treated like a number. These candidates are very concerned about making real connections with potential employers when vying for jobs. They are looking for genuine real connections during the hiring process. They want to get a good sense of the company culture, what the team environment is like and how they will be able to grow their skills at your organization. So how can recruiters effectively address this need?
Creating a strong employer brand goes a long way toward building and nurturing connections with early talent. This should start as soon as possible—even in college students’ freshman year—and be maintained over time so potential candidates become familiar with your employer brand and view it in a favorable light. Make your brand as visible as possible on campus, create a value proposition for students by showing you care about their success, and ensure that your company is offering the benefits Gen Z cares about.
When dealing with candidates directly during the hiring process, technology can be used to increase personalization, even though you're communicating with numerous applicants. Doing things like checking in with candidates via text to let them know the status of their applications, creating segmented email campaigns based on the specific interests of people in your pipeline, and staying in touch with past and present candidates to see how they're doing will go a long way toward creating the connection that early talent craves.
Workers have always had their share of challenges, but early talent seems to be having a particularly difficult time. According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 27 percent of Gen Zers report that their mental health is fair or poor—a much higher percentage than Millennials and Gen Xers, who report fair or poor mental health at rates of 15 and 13 percent respectively. As a result, wellness should be a priority for organizations in 2023 because early talent applicants expect their employers to care about their well-being.
Tackling challenges around wellness is a tall order, but companies need to have a culture that prioritizes mental health to successfully recruit early talent. Offer benefits that help employees maintain good mental health, which not only include access to therapy and an employee assistance program, but also benefits like flexible work schedules, training that helps employees cope with stress, exercise programs, and career development assistance.
But efforts to address mental health should not end there: Your company’s leaders need to also play a role. Providing training for those in managerial positions will help them engage with employees about mental health issues, listen empathically, and provide employees with valuable coping and resilience skills to handle any workplace challenges they face.
The Challenge: Providing Internal Mobility
Early talent today is coming into the workforce with a drive and entrepreneurial spirit. They are extremely interested in working for organizations that value them enough to support their growth—and companies are much more likely to retain them when they do. Early in career talent won't settle for being stuck in a dead-end job for years without any advancement in sight, so when organizations don’t put in the effort to help them grow, retention is a challenge. This means businesses need to find ways to prioritize internal mobility and give young professionals chances to climb up the ladder of the organization.
To demonstrate an investment in early career talent, be sure to create clear career paths so they can see themselves at your organization in the long term, and know what steps they need to take to achieve advancement. In addition, provide in-house training to boost employees’ skill sets, as well as pay for certifications that give them the knowledge they need to grow as professionals.
Also, as employees move into managerial roles, continue their training. Although they may have mastered many skills that are important for advancement in your field, they still may need education to become effective leaders. Many early talent professionals aren’t leaving their jobs because they don’t like them. They are sometimes leaving due to poor management. Therefore, investing in management training can prevent unnecessary conflicts, keep employee morale high, and improve retention, especially among Gen Z workers.
Companies know that hiring early talent is important for the future of their businesses, but they may not necessarily know the most effective ways of attracting and retaining them. By understanding the talent acquisition trends of Gen Z hiring, as well as the challenges early talent teams face, you’ll be in the best position to reach your early talent recruitment goals.