3 Methods for Building an Entry-Level Talent Pipeline

From the sales industry to manufacturing to corporate America, entry-level talent can be an essential business-driver that contributes to economic growth for organizations and to society overall. However, many companies tend to over-focus on executive recruiting and hiring senior personnel, overlooking the potential for younger, less experienced workers to join their organizations and grow within their ranks.

Entry-level employees can be one of your company’s best assets. They command lower salaries, but many are also skilled, highly adaptable, trainable, and carry great potential to grow within your ranks. Remember, yesterday’s intern could be tomorrow’s CEO. If you want to attract the best early-career talent in your recruiting efforts, you’ll need to adjust your sourcing strategies to engage this demographic and understand what drives them in their carers. This article will discuss some of the benefits of scaling your company with entry-level talent as well as methods you can use to start building a robust pipeline of younger workers today.

Why Hire Entry Level Employees

One could argue that entry-level workers are one of the workforce’s most underrated assets. They command lower salaries on average, bring energy, a new perspective, and diversity to an organization. Many have learned unique skills in college or through internships and part-time work experience and as a result, are tech-savvy, innovative, and understand the driving motivators of the Millennial demographic, which is especially important in industries like sales, marketing, tech, and media.

In fact, employers now have higher expectations of entry-level workers than ever. These days, young recruits and recent graduates are expected to have much more education and knowledge than generations past, including internship experience or having completed a major or specific coursework related to the field. In all actuality, entry-level is no longer entry-level. Because of organizations’ exceptionally high standards for even early-career hires, there are many unemployed or underemployed recent grads who may have impressive skills and are willing to share them for substantially less money — saving cost-per-hire and overall operating costs for a hiring company.

1. Leverage College Interns and Recent Grads to Your Advantage

One of the first ways you can feed a healthy entry-level talent pipeline is by recruiting interns. While unpaid internships are controversial, there are ways that you can legally and ethically leverage this readily available talent on a temporary basis to get you through a busy season and later, extend full-time job offers to those who perform up to standard. If your company is short on budget and needs qualified entry-level workers, hiring interns can provide valuable help when you need it while also giving you the opportunity to train talent to enter the entry-level position you want internally. Here are some steps that talent recruiters can take to start sourcing interns and college grads.

  • Understand your timelines, goals, and deliverables. Internships should be project-based and have a supervisor who will oversee the process. Meet with them regularly to set expectations and understand the skills the internship hires will need.
  • Plan in advance to recruit college interns and recent grads at the time they will be looking for opportunities. Schools may have different schedules so make sure you familiarize yourself with these timetables and plan around that. Keep in mind that there are both spring graduates and winter graduates, so it’s better to have a twice-yearly recruiting surge around this.
  • Get more bang for your buck. Especially in the case of unpaid or low-paid interns, you may have the luxury of breaking a single job into several to extract more talent. For example, instead of having a social media and marketing intern, you may have a social media intern, a PR intern, and a direct response intern.
  • Post jobs on many platforms. Make sure you’re posting on all the catchall job sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, Craigslist, etc. but also on social media and via targetted ads.
  • Incentivize employees to refer emerging talent: Do your employees have a friend or family member who would be perfect for an internship or entry level role? Make sure they don’t keep it to themselves. Offer rewards and other incentives for referrals.
  • Reach out to colleges and trade schools: Real-time contact with educational institutions can be a direct line into your entry-level talent funnel. Look beyond colleges and universities for IT training schools and community college to uncover high-potential talent you may not have previously considered.

RELATED: Understanding Challenges Around Filling Entry Level Positions

2. Craft Your Best Possible Job Posting

Keep in mind that the job postings you disseminate across various job platforms may be an entry-level recruits’ first impression of you. With this in mind, it’s important that you put your best foot forward and to make sure that you’re speaking directly to this demographic and that you’ll stand out from the countless other companies who are targetting them. Remember that entry-level talent may be new to the professional world and will need a little more guidance and explanation than more senior-level candidates. They may not know anything about your company or even much about the industry yet, so avoid any fancy jargon that could confuse them or send them clicking the “back” button on their browser.

Craft job postings that are fun, easy to read, and informative about the experience they will have with your company culture and work environment. Use bullet points to break down the skills you are looking for, what value you will provide them, and what opportunities they will have to learn and develop on the job. You may also list both minimum and preferred qualifications to help applicants self-assess their odds of getting the job.

3. Use Tech and Social Media to Target Talent

Did you know that more than 34% of Millennials regularly use Instagram and that 28% use Snapchat? LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter also remain valuable resources for social recruiting, with the ability to search for talent by alma mater, send direct messages, use hashtags, or create targeted ads and landing pages based on geography and demography. There are also a number of AI software options available that use algorithms to scrape recruits’ social profiles and online portfolios to help you make better-informed hiring decisions that will turn into long-term retention and advancement.

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