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Lara Lang

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Authenticity is the only way to engage with the smartphone generation


When engaging and recruiting youth talent it is critical that engagement is authentic – the smartphone generation want personable and relevant content because that is what they are accustomed to. This article will look at how the latest technology and clarity of message is crucial and how trigger-point based marketing activity – for instance, around incentivisation and peer-to-peer engagement and endorsement – can ensure that you can reach and effectively communicate with the right candidates. 

As most of us know all too well, the smartphone generation are not a patient bunch – because they’ve never had to be. They have been brought up with immediate, real and relevant content served to them instantly. It is no surprise that mobile is king with most millennials using it as their primary source of engagement. So, when engaging with youth talent the first thing to consider is to be accessible in their own space.

No surprises there either and, to be fair, most businesses nowadays have Twitter and Facebook careers accounts and a comprehensive career site but is that enough? Unfortunately, however – and, this time, surprisingly – it would appear that too many organisations are still posting corporate-led, jargon-filled, flat content that makes no sense to your young jobseeker. Employers are missing out on young talent.

‘Business Speak’ a Deterrent

According to a study from Business in the Community (BITC) and the City & Guilds Group, young job seekers are deterred from applying for entry-level jobs by ‘business speak’ and that 66% of the young people who assessed the company vacancies didn’t understand the role they would be applying to.

It’s also reported that jargon fuelled material negatively impacts young peoples’ confidence by making them feel like they “don’t deserve” a role or are “not good enough” to apply as they feel “intimidated” by the job descriptions or “unsure” of what they’ll be facing.

So, it really is the time for employers to cut the corporate tone and remove the jargon from their recruitment communications to make way for a transparent and open process; a process that makes sense and that will encourage young people across all socio-economic backgrounds to throw their hat in the ring.

For graduates and apprentices the top three most important aspects when looking for an employer is ‘working for an innovative organisation, who has a respectful working environment and excellent training and development’ (Bright Network’s 2016/2017 research ‘What do graduates want’).

Young talent will research a company’s attitude towards diversity before accepting a job and 68% of millennials are more influenced by comments and reviews posted online.

So how do organisations get their messages across in the right way whist keeping in the parameters of brand boundaries. Simple. Connect in real time, connect using real people and connect with incentive triggers.

Peer-to-peer Incentives

Incentives play a large part in initiating engagement with youth talent. By creating an interesting and fun way for potential applicants to digest careers advice, you help them to begin their career journey in a way that feels natural and relevant to them.

The use of gamification is a popular choice to help with the decision-making process. It can encourage young people and their influencers to get involved and weigh up the benefits of a career path and/or an organisation in an interactive way.

Peer-to-peer incentive is a hugely powerful tool when driving youth talent engagement. As mentioned earlier, more than half of millennials are directly influenced by comments and reviews online. Real life experiences are an invaluable currency with the youth market so, by creating an online dialogue between those that are already in the business and those considering an opportunity with the organisation, employers can ensure they are front of mind with young jobseekers.

Peer-to-peer engagement allows employers to strip back the jargon and drive an honest and relevant conversation. Real-time engagement technology, powered, for example, by live chat and personalised content, can bring a truly personalised experience to a target audience.

A digital-first approach to recruitment challenges can provide a better candidate experience that focuses on innovation, purpose, storytelling and humanising the recruitment process.

Luckily, new approaches and technologies can support this, and our research has found that by humanising the recruitment process in this way and by taking candidates through a supportive, engaging candidate journey, organisations have seen as high as 94% of post-offer candidates actually joining the company on day one.