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Candidate Experience | 5 minute read

4 Things you would never guess entry-level talent is thinking about

June 9, 2016

I had the opportunity to sit on an alumni panel at my alma mater that was focused on life after university, where soon-to-be graduates eagerly sought advice about post-grad working life. However, while they picked my brain for answers, I was picking theirs, to gain insight into what is on the minds of the next generation of entry-level talent. Throughout the discussion, the group hit on some key topics that, if used correctly, can provide an edge for finding and recruiting top entry-level talent. Here are my four favorite questions posed by students, which can help you learn how to improve your candidate experience through your entry-level recruiting strategies.

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How much change do you really experience in the working world?

This student was concerned about the uncertainty of the future. Having had a path laid out for so long (i.e., high school to college to graduation), they were worried that post-grad life would feel stagnant. However, it’s important to remember that as a graduating student, change may have been scheduled for you up to this point, but that doesn’t mean it stops. Only that moving forward will require you to be the one to decide when you need change to happen for you.

The key takeaway here for recruiters is to portray during the interview process with these candidates that the opportunity you are presenting has room for change or growth. Would they get creative freedom to redesign the role? Do they have ample ability to to learn and develop? Is there opportunity for relocation? A promotion in the future? Let them know what’s available and emphasize that personal and professional growth doesn’t stop with this role.

Is it beneficial to go back to school for more advanced degrees?

With more students than ever earning bachelor’s degrees, it seems natural to wonder if something more is needed to get ahead. While some may consider returning to higher education since it would be an asset in their field, it’s also important to remember that specialized certifications can be an alternative to earning a master’s degree. Whether the degree or certification is related to a field, general leadership capabilities, or a specific program used at your company, there’s plenty of ways to continue education beyond graduation.

This means that to be the most effective recruitment consultant, it needs to be made clear what your employer is looking for education-wise. Let the entry-level candidate know if returning to school while simultaneously working will get them to the next level of their career quicker, or if certain certifications are preferred. Absolutely emphasize any tuition assistance or educational programs your company can offer to become their employer of choice.

What is the biggest difference between working as an intern and as a full-time employee?

It’s important to point out that, as an intern, you only have so much time and resources to make an impact so you might be more closely managed than full-time employees. Typically, there is a list of tasks to be completed for the day, and once done, it’s time to leave. But as a full-time employee, that’s likely not the case. You are expected to do much more self-management. It’s up to you to take the business goals for the day and break them down into tasks and priorities for yourself.

To address this in the recruitment process, take the time to really understand the candidate’s intern experience. Even if it was with your company, be sure to identify what their day-to-day responsibilities were, and set expectations for how the candidate  will be managed and what level of accountability they will be held to. For the best of candidates, especially with millennials, the prospect of autonomy in the workplace should be a major selling point.

What was most surprising to you when you transitioned from university life to corporate life?

For many people, the answer to this question is the adjustment in lifestyle and schedule. In university, students are often juggling several different roles throughout a single day such as student, intern, club president and employee. Ultimately, as a student, you might only spend one to three hours wearing each hat before running to whatever is next on your schedule. It can be exhausting. Though it can be a tough adjustment at first to have one focus for at least eight hours a day, ultimately you will find yourself having more free time rather than less. It’s important to think of the schedule as an opportunity to pursue interests, hobbies and new relationships outside of work that make up a fulfilling life after college.

For entry-level talent recruiters, this is a great way to present specific company perks such as a flexible schedule, paid time off or vacation days. Help candidates see their schedule as an opportunity to dedicate some time to themselves and their interests. With these thoughts from graduating students in your knowledge bank, recruiters can fully tailor the candidate experience to this group of talent. Ultimately, making their employer the employer of choice for recent graduates.


About WilsonHCG

WilsonHCG is an award-winning, global leader in total talent solutions. Operating as a strategic partner, it helps some of the world’s most admired brands build comprehensive talent functions. With a global presence spanning more than 65 countries and six continents, WilsonHCG provides a full suite of configurable talent services including recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), executive search, contingent talent solutions and talent consulting. TALENT.™ It’s more than a solution, it’s who we are.