We’re just going to come out and say it: High-volume recruitment has a real candidate advocacy problem. It’s a nut that the industry – despite its best intentions – hasn’t yet managed to crack. Here's what we think might do it.

Stepping up for Gen Z

In high-volume roles, we’re generally dealing with very young people. Think back to when you were 15. Maybe your mum still made your lunch. But even if you were a go-getter, there was still plenty you’d never done before.

Many Gen Z candidates haven’t ever had their own money, don't manage their own schedules and haven't really experienced what ‘working’ means.  Yet, knowing all this, recruitment systems still try to deliver information and expect to interact with young people in the same way they would for 35-year-olds.

And that’s an issue.

It means you’re almost certainly missing out on great candidates just because they don’t immediately ‘get’ the recruitment process. And there are obviously major downsides for the candidates too. They don’t get the job and they don’t learn anything to help them next time.

The intention is there - we hear recruiters and business leaders acknowledging these issues and searching for solutions everyday. But it feels like we're so deeply entrenched with systems and processes that aren't compatible with these goals that the solutions are hard to see.

Hard isn't impossible though, and there are things we can do to start shift the dial.

A little bit of advocacy goes a long way

Sometimes advocating and designing for candidates feels like it's in direct conflict with the world of pressured KPI's, quarterly reports and bottom lines we all live in. But as we say a thousand times a day round here, even a first step counts.

Changing or improving one thing, even in a small way, is always worth doing.

Here are some of the ways we’re advocating more for young people:

Hiring more Gen Z staff

One of our core values is “never for them without them” so, this month, we’ve welcomed three new team members who are part of this younger generation. They're already reminding us of the stuff we've all forgotten - what it feels like to do "job stuff" for the first time and how big the little things feel (like what to wear to your interview) when you're new to it all. They're also helping us work out how to be in GenZ spaces like Discord and TikTok without looking like a living, breathing Steve Buscemi meme.

Offering interview coaching

Candidates can book a group training session or pay a tiny bit to get some one-on-one time with our resident interview coach. This covers off what will seem like really basic stuff – what happens at an interview, when to arrive, and what to do if you miss your bus. It also goes through some of the questions that may come up and ways to think about answering them. A huge part of the training helps candidates understand and articulate their skills, even though most will have zero work experience. They see that picking their younger siblings up from school or playing in a rugby team shows time management, resilience and perseverance, for instance.

Acting as a help desk for young candidates

When you're stressing about your first job and don't even know how to articulate your problem, fast answers are crucial. That's why we've been handling all queries for some of our biggest clients – as many as 3000 a week! Our average response time is about two minutes – before, most of these candidates would’ve been lucky to get a response within 24 hours.

Trialling a new candidate service

This three-month subscription gives candidates access to three kinds of support:

Self-analysis and awareness – candidates learn about their strengths and weaknesses using fun assessments and exercises. For example, our Adaptability assessment has been tested on a few thousand candidates. It helps young people see which adaptability attributes they excel in and where they could improve. Another area is work-readiness – this helps young people see how ready they are to enter the world of work, and where they can upskill.

Training courses – candidates can upskill in areas like interview training for online or group interviews, customer service skills, and how to enforce rules with customers.

• Other opportunities - they get access to job postings that might fit their criteria, before they’re advertised.

Grow your pool by growing your talent

A little bit of support will go a long way towards lifting the overall level of the GenZ talent market, as well as growing the size (and value) of your own candidate pool. And obviously, more good candidates means more efficient processes and more jobs filled with great people. It's a positive cycle.

As an added bonus, we all get to sleep well knowing we're setting these young people up for success.

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