Competing for young blood – Business times article December 2008
Recruitment campaigns must appeal to Generation Yers — who see the working world as their personal smorgasbord, writes Margaret Harris
The new generation of job seekers do not respond in the same way as previous generations to recruitment drives, so recruiters need to plan and execute their strategies to attract them or risk being ignored.
Companies will have to take into account the changes in the workplace if they are to attract Generation Yers (18 – to 25-year-olds) and retain older workers. Dr Marie Puybaraud, director of global workplace innovation at Johnson Controls, says: “It is the only time that we can find four generations in the workplace, spanning from 18 years to more than 65. The ageing population will remain a constant and the younger generation will influx the workplace with a different mindset. The clash of generations may be significant.”
But she adds that companies are taking note of the demands of Generation Yers more than ever. At a time when many skills are in short supply, what is the best way to attract Generation Yers? Puybaraud, though reluctant to speak as a recruiter, says: “The skills shortage limits the choice of candidates for companies, while the skilled young employees have access to a wider range of employers.
“We could only extrapolate at this stage that if the Gen Y has more opportunities to choose a job, then the workplace could become a major factor to influence their choice. We asked the members of Gen Y in our interactive questionnaire about this, and to date we know they choose a company because of opportunities for learning, work colleagues, and opportunities for advancement and promotions.”
Mark Gray, the head of specialist HR technology firm Graylink, says companies do not have to spend a great deal to get results. A simple, clever, well-thought-out recruitment campaign can be hugely effective, he says.
Getting the basics of a good recruitment campaign right can mean the difference between landing the big fish or being left empty-handed, he adds.
Here are his 10 tips on how to run an effective recruitment campaign:
- Know yourself: Companies must get to grips with their employer brand, because this is what sets them apart from competitors.
- Know who you’re speaking to: Few HR departments seem to know who their target is. Recruiters must know the kind of candidate they are seeking, and understand that different types of jobs require different types of candidates with their own preferences.
- Know the media landscape: Recruiters need to have a solid understanding of how the media works today and how fragmented it has become. They must also familiarise themselves with technology as the new generation is increasingly moving online.
- Know your competition: To compete for talent, companies must know who they are up against, and what unique selling propositions they are offering candidates.
- Planning and execution: Every point of contact with candidates must be consistent in terms of quality and brand alignment, or it will damage the company’s brand.
- Get to know your marketing department: HR must align its message with the corporate brand, and this requires co-operation between the members of the two departments.
- Have a call to action: Every job advertisement must have a clear, concise instruction to interested candidates, but the call to action must suit the target audience. For example, it is not a good idea to ask traditional blue-collar workers to submit their CVs online, but it would be fine a young Gen Yer
- See the whole process as a campaign: There must be a connection between the job advertisement and the call to action. If a job ad appears in a newspaper and directs candidates to a website, the website’s branding must be consistent with the advertisement and the employer brand.
- Stand out in a crowd: Ads that look the same blend into the background — ads must be visible and make an impact.
- Evaluate your campaign: The success of the campaign must be assessed and measured. If the same ad was posted across various media, companies should track the success of each one to discover what works and what doesn’t for the next one.