Early Careers Sector Focus (2)

– By Alan Walker, ClickIQ Academy 

What do we mean by ‘early careers’?

Hiring apprentices, graduates – or anyone else you could define as “Early Careers” – has always been a challenge, but in 2019, these challenges are magnified for most organisations! 

Competition is high – particularly for in-demand skills such as tech – and the choice that candidates have is much broader and more diverse than it was 5 years ago.

People often talk about how to ‘crack’ the Gen Z and Millennial demographics but really, the main change has been the ease of access to information and the subsequent pressure that comes from living in a 24/7 society; everyone seems to be showcasing their brilliant life, job, achievements and career.

So how can we tackle hiring for this group?

This guide looks at the challenges we need to overcome and how we can position ourselves as the right organisations for the right talent. We like to see it as a snapshot of ideas, data and tips to enable you to think differently about how you tackle your programmes.

In Part 2 of this guide, we’re looking at 2 out of the 4 key components of the Early Careers recruitment process:

early careers sector focus image

3. Assessment:

Now that we’ve taken you through ‘attraction’ and ‘conversion,’ this next part of the recruitment process should be a key area you tackle; assessment.

A bad assessment process disengages candidates, can lead to bad hires and generally leaves a negative feeling in the mind of everyone involved. Get it right, and your candidate experience score goes through the roof, hiring managers are delighted, and your business has people who are a fit for the organisation on a technical, capability and cultural level.

What should I be assessing?

Every organisation is different; for some, it’s cultural alignment and behaviours, for others, it’s technical/hard skills, cognitive ability, motivation, potential or soft skills. For many, it’s elements of all those things.

So how do you figure this out?

You need to look at your current people and understand what separates your good hires from your not-so-good hires.

Top tip:

Find an external expert who can do a deep dive of as many of your existing employees as possible, using modern assessment tech to understand their technical/hard skills, behaviours, motivations, cognitive ability and soft skills.

Overlay those findings with employee engagement, performance and customer feedback data – you should be able to tell what separates your stars from your lower performers, meaning you can concentrate on assessing what it important – instead of trying to assess everything!

Methods and tools:

This is where it gets interesting. There are hundreds of options to choose from and – as per our section on conversion – you need to make sure the methods you use are right for your candidates and the hiring community you support.

  • Structured interviews – conducted consistently, can greatly enhance the validity of a recruitment process.
  • Cognitive ability tests – memory, problem-solving, processing speed and planning are good indicators of ‘brainpower’ and potential.
  • Job and cultural fit assessments – used to assess an individual’s suitability for a role/organisation’s culture
  • Realistic job previews – give candidates the inside track on your organisation.
  • Technical assessments – find out whether candidates have the hard skills you need.
  • Personality & behaviour assessments.
  • Assessment centres – often used to assess candidates at ‘volume’, for Early Careers candidates they can be a great way of seeing how an individual works in a team.

4. Onboarding:

This is the process that helps new employees gain the necessary knowledge, skills, tools and behaviours to be effective in their roles and to integrate with their employer’s culture and operations.

When done well, onboarding delivers a range of benefits – and is the cream on top of that well-thought-out and delivered recruitment process you’ve so lovingly developed.

What should a great onboarding experience cover?

  • The legal stuff: Contracts & policies to turn the candidate into an employee. Make this as painless as possible by allowing new employees to review and sign their documentation in an online portal, via their browser or an app.
  • The tools stuff: People need tools to do their jobs, so think desk, laptop, phone, access to relevant tech platforms, etc.
  • The people stuff: Bring to life your team, culture, values and behaviours as soon as possible. Invite them along to a team BBQ, coffee, drinks. Before they join, hook up with them on social media, introduce them to their peers, colleagues and internal clients.
  • The company stuff: What do we do? Why do we do it? How do we get stuff done? Who’s the boss? Who’s the boss’s boss? How do we behave? What rules do we have to follow as an organisation?

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