In today’s competitive world of recruiting top talent, hiring entry-level employees is often a task that’s not assigned a high priority. Hiring managers know it’s something they have to do, but they don’t necessarily have a plan in place to attract and retain the best candidates. Here are 6 tips that will help you find the talent you need—and potentially make a stand-out hire that will stay with your company for many years to come.
1. First, sell candidates on what your company can do for them. While you’re busy assessing candidates’ skills, they’re looking at your company and imagining if they can see themselves as part of the team several years down the road. Do they agree with your company’s values and mission statement? Do you offer enough challenge, opportunity, and growth? Is it worth their investment as well as yours? Don’t just assume these new hires are only interested in staying with the company for a year until they learn the ropes; they may turn out to be valuable employees with fresh ideas and new ways of approaching your business.
2. Realize that experience isn’t everything. Considering many entry-level candidates aren’t going to have a lot of job experience, their transferable skills may be what make them right for a position. A few valuable transferable skills include:
- Verbal/Written Communication
- Critical Thinking/Problem-Solving
- Digital Technology
- Professionalism/Work Ethic
- Analytical Skills
- Project Management
3. Create a dialogue that will help you identify their transferable skills. Take a look at their past jobs, volunteer activities, and hobbies to see what transferable skills might qualify them for your open positions. Allow your candidates to explain how a specific responsibility in a prior role taught them a transferable skill they’ll likely be able to draw on in their new role. Once you identify the area of their core strengths (e.g., communications, human relations, creativity, or management and leadership), you can match them up with the position that is best suited for them.
4. Look for candidates in places you may not have considered before. If you’re a small- to medium-size company, you may not get the chance to interview on a college campus and candidates may never hear about you. Why not attend an open house event at your community college where job seekers can meet you, learn about your company, and make a great first impression? You can also look into alternate talent pools such as social media or volunteer groups. And be sure to check online communities where job hunters may post their resumes and portfolios (Dice, GitHub, HealthcareJobsite, MediaBistro, etc.).
5. Imagine what your ideal candidate looks like. Now throw that picture out the window. Envision, instead, someone who’s a baby boomer, been out of the workforce for over 20 years raising a family, a returning retiree, or even switching careers and willing to start over. Talent and a strong work ethic comes in many different forms. Don’t just assume the youngest candidates, straight out of college, are going to be the best fit for your company. In fact, your best candidates may not have gone to college at all. Life’s circumstances affect us all, and sometimes we take detours that weren’t on the road map.
6. Make the onboarding experience as positive as possible. Before these new employees even arrive on the first day of the job, try to get the paperwork out of the way. (Who wants to sit in an office signing an avalanche of papers?) Have their computer set up. Introduce the rest of the team. Assign a resourceful mentor who can answer questions and offer guidance. And be sure to provide plenty of important feedback over the first few weeks—and months—that helps them achieve their goals and experience more satisfaction in their careers.
If you’re willing to put the time and energy into finding and developing the right entry-level talent, you just may be looking at the future leaders of your company.