With 6.7 million jobs open in the U.S., employers cannot help but take their recruiting strategy back to the drawing board. That drawing board has more and more employers looking at lowering/dropping qualifications and focusing on entry-level hiring. In other words, if the candidate we want isn’t out there in the current labor market, maybe we need to reconsider our requirements. Great employers will use this as an opportunity to play the long game and maximize benefit to employees and the organization.
As we continue to see statistics reporting minimum qualifications drifting lower and lower over the last six years we are shifting into a market where entry-level candidates have a greater chance of getting hired. To refocus your organizations efforts on expanding entry-level hiring consider the following:
Computer related fields are a great example of self-taught candidates. I often hear from candidates that they chose a computer science or IT related field because they learned everything they could about computers and networks at a young age; from taking them apart and rebuilding them to figuring out the code that makes them run! Self-taught candidates fail forward and test their problem-solving skills in a comfortable environment. Many of them follow and participate in online forums or groups specific to their interest so they are able to keep pace with ever-changing trends. Self-taught candidates may also express a deeper appreciation of lifelong learning and come with plenty of experiences that can set them up for success on the job. For the perfect match, choose from over 600 standard tests, 5,000 combinable topics or create your own content with eSkill.
High school students are not too young to hear about your career opportunities. Take the time to engage with students on high school campuses to teach them the ins and outs of your industry. A study conducted by Student Research Foundation in 2017 concluded that 71% of high school students are extremely motivated by their interests. Are they interested in your industry? Give them time to learn about the field, what it takes to be skilled in it, what the opportunities are, job shadowing, intern programs, tours, etc. Don’t assume they know about you, tell them about you and give them ways to engage and experience if your field is for them.
Many companies focus on rising juniors and seniors for college recruiting, and while that’s important, there’s opportunity in engaging freshmen and sophomores with your company. While other companies are fighting over the students who are closer to graduating, take a chance with the new kids on campus. Giving these students the opportunity to learn about your company while other companies are shunning them as “inexperienced” or “too young” will go a long way in building a lasting relationship.
Entry level candidates are looking for a job and not far behind their first role many will be considering what’s next? Rather than be offended by that perspective have a plan to help them envision their future within your company. Work with them and show them the different career paths internally and how to obtain the skills to achieve their goals. Plan for how your company can use entry-level hires to grow your internal candidate pipeline for future promotions.
Transparency means the good and the bad. Sharing the “bad” up front sounds counter intuitive to a recruiting strategy that is supposed to attract people to your organization, but it can be very valuable in building relationships and setting expectations. For example, if you don’t have promotion opportunities-don’t pretend you do. Instead, find ways to help them land their dream job by letting them learn and master skills internally while they contribute to the success of your organization. An example of being transparent with the “good” is enterprise rent a car and their internal promotion ticker on the main page of their careers site. From an external perspective, enterprise rent a car does an excellent job of showing the transparency of the opportunities to climb the ranks within the company and how employees can change careers without having to change companies.
Overall a solid and successful recruiting strategy will take a holistic approach to workforce planning that includes internal and external analysis. Your recruiting strategy has to change with the labor pool while considering several other elements that constantly evolve and influence the outcome of your hiring. There’s always opportunity for organizations to make the most of entry-level candidates while considering what your skill needs will be in the coming years.
What are some strategies your organization is using to hire entry-level candidates?
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Kristina Minyard is currently the Director of Ignite Education in Huntsville, AL. She has over 11 years experience in HR, Recruiting, and Business Development. She utilizes her skills and experience in HR Consulting, Technical Recruiting, HR Policies, Staffing Services, and Labor Relations to create content on her blog hrpockets.com and other platforms.