A recent article* warned that ‘broken recruitment processes’ are causing young people to lose confidence in their abilities and are leaving them with a negative impression of some organisations.

The statistics are alarming. The article details that one in five young people who have had a bad recruitment experience have been put off a company completely.

What do we mean by ‘broken’?

To us, a recruitment process that discourages candidates from applying to your organisation is broken.

Application forms which seem unnecessarily detailed can cause talent to drop off your careers site halfway through their application.

Lengthy processes which require applicant packs to be downloaded and returned via post can lead to candidates feeling disengaged and disenchanted whilst they wait to hear from you.

A lack of communication throughout the process can leave a bitter taste in an applicant’s mouth and compel them to share their negative experience with their peers.

We could go on listing examples of disconnected and ineffective recruitment processes.

Why does this matter when you’re recruiting young people?

A broken recruitment process is an issue no matter what kind of talent you’re trying to attract. But it can be particularly challenging for young jobseekers.

Young people applying for apprenticeships, entry-level jobs, graduate schemes or other roles may not have the experience or tenacity of more practised candidates.

The report found that one in three young people had found their job application process difficult, and that 44% of those had lost confidence as a result – which may dissuade them from applying for other roles in the future.

How to fix your recruitment processes

When you’re recruiting young people, it’s essential that you offer an authentic, accessible and connected application experience for them.

1. Authentic employer brand

Increasingly we’re told that millennials are seeking more than a salary.

Young jobseekers are looking for careers that will fulfil them professionally and personally; they’re seeking progression and growth within an organisation and the chance to give back through CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) schemes. They want to work for companies which can aid their training and development, and are looking for benefits that extend beyond a monetary value.

Use your careers site to reflect your company culture and employer brand. Ensure you’re communicating your values, share stories from your people and promote the benefits and opportunities available to your team members.

Above all, make sure that your brand voice is authentic and that you can deliver on the promises that you’re making on your careers site. Many young people will be savvy to clever marketing and any whiff of insincerity may dissuade them from applying for a role with you.

2. Accessible application process

Consider where your candidates are. Are they going to be applying via a desktop computer, or are they more likely to join the droves of jobseekers browsing and applying for roles on their mobiles or tablets?

Offer a mobile-optimised careers site and simple mechanisms such as ‘Apply via LinkedIn’ or uploading a CV via Dropbox for a simple and accessible application experience.

If you’re recruiting young people, it’s prudent to also consider the language you use. Explain the application process without industry or recruitment jargon, and manage candidate expectations with a clear description of how and when you expect to feedback to them.

3. Connected candidate experience

Young candidates in particular are going to expect to apply online. Create short and simple application forms and trigger an automatic acknowledgement of their application through your Applicant Tracking System.

Engage with candidates at all touch points of the application process. Even if applicants don’t progress through to first interview stage, ensuring that you send them a timely and well-worded outcome email will strengthen their perception of you.

Offer candidates the opportunity to register for job alerts, which will enable you to build a talent pool of passive candidates, and will ensure candidates are still engaged with your organisation and feel valued.

An unbroken recruitment process…

…is one that compels a candidate to apply with you – because you’ve capture their attention and imagination with your careers site, company culture and the opportunities you can offer them.

It removes unnecessary clutter and makes it easy for candidates to apply wherever they are and using any device.

It makes the application process accessible and easy to understand for young people, which leaves them with faith in your organisation and the confidence to apply for other roles, even if they haven’t been successful with you.

And an unbroken recruitment process is one which is connected, simple and controlled.

Do you want to improve your in-house recruitment processes to ensure you’re not inadvertently turning away talented young people?

Download our guide to simpler, better internal recruitment processes today. We think it will be helpful.

*Original article can be found here on HR Review.

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About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.