5 ways to keep Gen Z candidates warm and engaged

Apr 26, 2024 | Home Featured, How-to, Sector & policy

The keep-warm strategy can be overlooked and is sometimes non-existent. For employers of Gen Z, it’s not just about keeping warm, it’s more about keeping relevant, explains Holly Hobbs at Apprentivia.

Candidates are applying to lots of entry-level schemes. The average organisation receiving 86 applications per vacancy (up 23% on last year).

With many putting a great deal of effort in, if there is a lack of communication, they’ll question why they’re putting their time into a recruitment process and they are more likely to forget about an organisation amongst the crowd.

Keeping warm should be a part of and as important as your attraction strategy. It’s also relevant past the recruitment and offer stage, playing a part in setting up for success within a scheme and role.

How are students feeling?
Students have to work overtime when applying to schemes like apprenticeships and graduate roles due to the competition out there.

Some students have been said to have faced over 100 rejections before securing a role. That’s a lot for school/college leavers or graduates to go through before they’ve even entered the job market properly.

There can be an overall lack of support and education around job applications so young people are already at a disadvantage, regardless of their backgrounds, and need your empathy. As a result, communication, keeping them warm and showing you’re respecting their time is vital throughout the process.

ISE stats show this year that employers reported 14% of their candidates withdrew during the recruitment process and 9% disengaged from the recruitment process without providing any reason for their withdrawal or stopped engaging in communications with the organisations.

Uncertainty anxiety
Before we get started, I wanted to explain ‘uncertainty anxiety’.

In 2008, Domino’s Pizza were experiencing some challenges in regards to customer experience. Customers seemed to be constantly phoning up to ask where their pizza was after ordering. They expected it to arrive sooner than it did. But this only made the process slower as the person who answered the phone would have to stop the person making the pizza to ask for the status of the order.

Instead of offering remuneration, money-back guarantees or hiring more staff, Dominos tuned into the psychology of the experience. They realised that customers didn’t want a faster delivery, they wanted less uncertainty. After all, as humans, we crave security.

Dominos added a ‘pizza tracker’ to the ordering system, which let customers know at what stage their order was at. This small change revolutionised Dominos and ultimately, increased customer satisfaction.

This story can inspire us to look at things differently and highlights the benefits of keeping students in the loop.

1. Keep students in the loop
It’s important to keep students in the loop throughout the recruitment process. Keeping them engaged could be as simple as providing them with regular updates as to where your team is with your recruitment process. Or you could even start by putting a note on your website letting applicants know an idea of your timeline and that each applicant will definitely hear from you.

2. Communication should resonate
Engage with Generation Z in the way that they’re used to. That could mean integrating more social media into the process. A WhatsApp channel (candidates don’t have to see each other’s numbers or yours) to share updates could replace over-long, corporate emails. This could equally be a mix of socials and offline due to not everyone having access.

3. Bring it to life
It’s reassuring for candidates to receive communication from a company after offer and before they start on a scheme. Bring this to life by sending a little package to their homes – full of things for their first day such as a notepad, pen, book etc. In a digital world, things like this go a long way!

4. Set clear expectations
After offer, use this time to send short-form, TikTok-style videos each week around expectations. Remember what seems obvious to you, may not be to them. Videos on what to expect on your first day, what to wear, where to park and walk in, what transport options are available, meet the key people on your programme etc can all really help students feel at ease, especially those who are neurodiverse.

5. Meet peers
It can be a good idea to allow those in the same cohort to connect and get to know each other before starting on a scheme. This can make everything a little less daunting on their first days. It could be via an in-person event or online.

You may also be interested in…

Top tips to reduce student reneges

It’s not you. Is it me? The importance of improving graduate rejection communications

ISE Student Recruitment Survey 2023 has the latest data on hires and reneges


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