Resetting early years recruitment post-pandemic

Sep 22, 2022 | Apprentices & school leaver

Covid-19 has changed life as we know it and early years recruitment is no exception. So, what do employers need to consider to attract young talent post-pandemic? Alika Ish, an apprentice solicitor and leading voice on apprenticeships and early years recruitment shares her views.

Before we can consider whether employers should evolve how they attract young talent post-pandemic, we should look at what methods were traditionally used.

Historically, an employer would flag roles on job searching platforms such as Indeed or Monster. An email would go out to the company as part of an internal referral scheme, going to a career fair, or working with a university’s employability service. Social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook also came into play as a channel to recruit.

It’s fair to say, that recruitment strategies which worked in the pre-pandemic world may not be as effective today.

A new approach

So, how can employers get a little more creative with their recruitment strategy – specifically for ensuring successful attraction of the ‘early years’ age bracket?

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is traditionally used by brands and industries to promote a particular product or service, such as a beauty range or a travel service. However, what we have seen during and post-pandemic, is that different industries are now using creators to promote much more than that.

There have been different influencers in many industries promoting different roles or companies, as being great places to work. It’s effective for targeting people in the early careers bracket who may not have thought about that role or considered they would be eligible to apply.

It allows the target audience to be more confident in applying, as they can see their peers talking about an industry or job at a specific place. It not only aids their perception that they can secure the role, but also that the company would consider ‘someone like them’.

This is critical as many companies, even in the early stages of their career, require a considerable amount of experience which often deters younger people from making applications.

Work experience

Company awareness is a very powerful tool which can and should, be used at the earlier stages in one’s career. Likely to be at a time, before the target audience is ready for the role.

An example of this may be companies going into a college or secondary school and providing work experience or giving a talk in a particular area the company would like to develop in future years.

Companies would be surprised at the number of students who remember employers that came into their education establishment, to dedicate time in the earlier stages of their careers.

This level of brand awareness is something that students consider when making that application in the future.

Social media

The power of social media has significantly increased since the pandemic. It is a very comprehensive way of gleaning a variety of different opinions on the same topic, and it does not stop with jobs and companies.

During the pandemic, some brands were extremely creative when it came to showing their company culture and what it’s like to do a particular job role, through content ideas such as ‘a day in my life in XXX role’.

Some companies even try out different trends as we’re now back in the office and can demonstrate how people in the company interact with each other.

Companies can also now be visible online. When someone goes to look for a particular job role or work for a particular company, one of the first places they look, outside of the website, is social media to see what the front face of the company looks like.

Consistent brand voice

The final strategy is to ensure your brand voice is consistent and truly communicates your ethos. Not only on the website, but are your values aligned through your various other online platforms?

Applicants want to see ethics of a company and whether they are truly ‘as good as they say they are’.

For example, on the website in the recruitment section, it may talk about how it’s a very supportive working environment that cares about building relationships. However, perhaps on LinkedIn, there are no examples of social events to back this up.

It may be that a company claims to respect work-life balance, a big pull, particularly for young students adjusting to starting their careers. However, the job description may state that it’s a very ‘fast-paced’ environment. To clarify, ‘the term fast-paced’ may imply that there is a lack of workplace boundaries to some applicants.

There are a few different methods that companies can use or consider, particularly targeted toward early years recruitment. While there is still a place for traditional methods, today these can be supplemented with additional tools to achieve the same objective.

Read more stories on early years recruitment.


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