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Hire for Potential Not Experience | How to Attract Early Career Talent

Danielle McClow
March 26 ․ 9 min read

Picture this: you're replacing a rockstar employee who moved on to a new company (bummer). Ideally, to obtain the same level of productivity, you're seeking a clone candidate.

And to spice it up, the hiring manager decides to add on a few more role requirements and responsibilities to make the team even stronger (cool).

Your company, your recruitment team, the hiring manager, and I all know this is asking for a lot. We know you need people who can deliver on goals, bring new ideas and fit in with your culture—we also know that you don't have the budget you need.  

But what if you targeted early career talent?

Think about it. Professionals starting their careers have untapped potential. These eager candidates are actively looking for jobs that will teach them how to apply what they've learned in school or early trade experience.

Early Career Talent is the Perfect Talent Pool

Early career professionals generally have less than three years of work experience and are hungry for work that will support their growth. As a bonus for you, they also come with a lower price tag which reduces time and cost to hire. 

Today's early career talent is tech-savvy—they grew up on the internet and have been immersed in digital culture their entire lives. As a result, these candidates entering the workforce or starting their careers bring a plethora of new ideas and solutions to your company, all while ramping up more quickly.

Three people using talent marketing technology

Top Ways Early Career Talent Provides Benefits to Your Company

  • Passion: These professionals are eager to get started and, let's face it, start making money. They probably have loans to pay and rent to secure (hello freedom). Tap into this passion for career mobility by letting new hires take on responsibilities and new projects that will lead to internal career growth. While they are starting as entry-level employees today, let them try new things, make mistakes, and provide a clear path to move up. 
  • Desire to learn + digital expertise: Branching off their passion, new professionals want to learn their craft and keep learning. With COVID, we've seen quite the uptick in learning for professionals looking to reskill or enhance skills. Early career talent is no different. They can learn new skills and blend their technical skills with their soft skills to create the future workforce. (I.e., merging data processing and data analytics with critical thinking and communication). The digital experience also means less time training on tech.
  • No "bad habits": In addition to being less expensive than more seasoned workers, early career talent is also free of "bad habits." Since they have little to no prior work experience, your team can teach processes without worrying about resistance because "we did it a differently at my old job." This workforce is ready to learn your way of doing things and, if asked to, will be open to finding ways to make them better.
  •  Great for referrals and testimonials: These new workers are often eager to pave their way in the field. Therefore, they are more likely to provide a company review or cultural testimonial. Leverage this to your advantage on your career sites, CRM campaigns and social media. Authentic employee reviews help attract more talent and shape your culture. 

On the other hand, early career talent needs time to ramp up to corporate life. They won't have all the experience working in systems or performing actual tasks, so you need to be mindful of this gap. 

Two men using talent marketing technology

Top Ways to Support Early Career Talent Growth

  • Address skills gaps with learning solutions and programs (internally and externally)
  • Provide mentors for growth opportunities and guidance
  • Allow new hires to help define your culture and employee value proposition
  • Support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives by creating employee resource groups or inviting new hires to existing programs

Tips to Help Attract Talent

Early career talent's digital experience also means that they interact with your brand and hiring experience differently from previous generations. This generation of workers expect a consumer-like digital experience.

When they have questions, they want immediate answers and avenues to find those answers. The best way to attract early career talent is through your employer brand and talent marketing technology.

Talent Marketing Tech that Appeals to Today's Talent

Professionals kicking off their careers are motivated. As the most tech-savvy group to ever enter the labor market, today's early career talent should be excited to progressbenefit from their enthusiasm by implementing the right recruitment marketing strategy and technology.

CRM: Build diverse internal and external talent pipelines and communicate your company goals directly within email campaigns to keep early career talent informed of open roles, company news and events.

Career Sites: Reveal your authentic brand and commitment to early career growth programs on your career pages and enable a chat assistant to answer questions anytime.

Events: With COVID, you can no longer rely on your event presence to be your differentiator. You need to be creating virtual experiences and continued touchpoints to deliver your "why us" message. Virtual events provide that outlet and allow you to automatically pull recommended participants from your early career talent community based on event criteria and goals.

Talent Assessments: Leverage on-demand video interviews to help connect with tech-savvy early career candidates and better understand their interests. Qualify hires with post-apply assessments to dig into unique skills and pose questions that reveal candidates' growth potential.

DEI Plugin: Detect conscious and sub-conscious bias in content, including job descriptions and campaign content by implementing a DEI plug-in. This helps you take a step forward toward inclusive progress and opens the door to all talent.

Discover more about ways to attract early career talent and how tech and an authentic employer brand can support your strategy in our 2021 Recruitment Strategies Report.

2021 RM Strategies Report