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The Early Career Talent Recruitment Lifecycle: Tips from IBM & ST

Lauren Tartaglino
July 28 ․ 7 min read

When early career professionals apply for jobs at your organization, they aren’t simply reaching one of two destinations: hired or not hired. 

They are entering a lifecycle, giving you the opportunity to build a career-long relationship, whether they’re hired or not. But how do you nurture early career professionals into a full lifecycle of recruitment?

Nurturing and Converting Early Talent

Of course, a recruiter's goal is to convert talent into a hire; so, let’s talk about how to get from application to hire. 

When early talent starts their journey with your organization, it's critical to understand what’s important to your target candidates at every stage of their recruitment journey.

  • From the first moment of awareness, you need to be sharing content and messaging that is relevant and meaningful to them. And more importantly, making sure it's where they’re looking.

    Since early career talent is primarily Gen Z, your recruitment marketing efforts should look different from what they have in the past.

  • To continue engagement and nurture interest, you have to ask yourself where do early career professionals want to engage and see us vs. where do they not want to engage?

    As the “always-on” generation, these digital natives connect via screens 10+ hours every day. Media, particularly social media, is essential to how they network, interact, and their primary source of news and information (including their job search). It’s way past time to get your social recruitment campaigns and referrals on your corporate and employee feed. 
  • To drive conversions, you have to be more strategic in your calls to action. Instead of focusing on “selling” the job, you need to lead with differentiators and “sell” the why join our organization message.

    Being your brand advocate and showcasing your employer brand on the channels they’re looking at is more likely to drive applies than simply posting a job on your career site. Remember, Gen Z (and millennials) are more focused on social and political issues. They need to know your employee value proposition, mission, and give-back programs to buy into the current role and the long-haul retention game. 

Retire the Recruitment Funnel

Here’s why it's so important to look at the early career recruitment lifecycle as an infinity loop vs. a funnel. In a funnel, interested talent would simply reach a moment of truth did they get the job, or does their search continue elsewhere? But that's not what we want as TA professionals.

Instead, we want these interested individuals to find joy in the process, whether they get the job or not, so that they stay warm, nurtured, and in the pipeline for future opportunities. 

The infinity loop lifecycle is particularly true for early talent because let’s face it, they are only just starting their career. They may likely continue to be passive job seekers even after they land another job or might quickly begin actively looking again after they gain some experience.

Recruitment infinity loop

(To learn more tips about early career recruitment, check out our blog pages here.)

Create an Early Talent Tool Kit

To empower your recruiters to attract the early talent you need to fill open positions (and your pipeline for the future), you need to equip them with the right tools. 

Here are a few ways to build your own early career talent tool kit and how your recruitment marketing strategy can help:

  • Real employee stories: As early talent professionals come on board, capture their stories and shine the spotlight on them across all channels. By leveraging your employees as advocates, you're not only helping “sell” the why, but you're also keeping your new employees engaged and in the lifecycle themselves. 

  • Automation to maintain momentum: Empower your recruiters to embrace automation. Rather than clicking buttons and doing all of the manual work, it allows them to add more value by having impactful conversations with candidates and, in the end, allowing them to make a better hiring match. 

  • Be at the right digital events: Instead of being anywhere and everywhere, take a look at what will be most impactful for your organization to attend and run your events. Be sure to look at the entire lifecycle of events: who attended, what did they attend, did they chat with a recruiter, did they go on to apply/get hired. Look backward at those profiles of those hired, what worked, what skills were from where?

  • Referrals to fill the pipeline: Top talent refers top talent make it easier for your recruiters to fill pipelines with the right-fit talent by giving employees the opportunity and incentive to refer from their networks. Bring this to scale by leveraging tech and integrating with your existing internal tools like Slack and Teams.

By looking at the recruitment process as a lifecycle and retiring the funnel, you can keep your pipelines filled and nurtured for the next opportunity. And by enabling recruiters with the right tools, you can keep the early talent they’ve worked so hard to recruit engaged as

Next Steps

To learn more from early talent advocates, check out our on-demand conversation with IBM.

Free Early Talent Resources

Early Career Resources Link