As we walked around at Personal Hungary HR exhibition and sneaked a peek at the presentations, it became crystal clear that the job market presence of Generation Y and Z is one of the most urgent matters for HR experts. Inspired by the lectures, we started our miniseries on the recruitment of the generations in focus. In the first part, we discussed the advantages of involving as many generations as possible in the workspace – including Y and Z. This time, the recruiting process itself (from the perspective of a Gen Y jobseeker) occupies the foreground.
You may think that it all starts with an enticing job ad, but this is far from the truth. To be able to work with the creme of Gen Y and Z, especially in case of a shortage occupation, you cannot do without employer branding. Communicating about the workspace and employee community as a brand requires as much attention to detail as advertising products or services.
The Young Lion and Employer Branding
Roar, the Gen Y&Z division of Generali comes in handy as a school example of visible employer branding. For the insurance company, younger employees are a must considering that they can reach clients from their own age group with ease. So, they’ve designed an environment with flexible working hours primarily for them. The lion’s share of the concept is the campaign, though, which includes all the crucial keywords known as the generations’ career desires: flexibility, work as a game, self-actualization, lifelong learning, community and individuality at the same time. These are spiced up with fresh and bold colors, designer lion masks, pictures of colleagues dressed according to the latest trends, a Facebook gallery demonstrating the rightful application for the “office of the year” title – a set of compounding elements that create the trendy workplace atmosphere. Besides, advertising platforms were also picked with great care: among other opportunities, festivals were also used as a forum to reach future employees.
Roar office; source: Hello Roar Facebook page
Job Search from Y Angle
A well-planned campaign incorporating current trends is far from the end of story. At least as much attention needs to be devoted to the bits and pieces of recruitment, impressions formulating throughout the process, the real opinion of the employees and applicants related to the company. As a matter of fact, I am a member of Generation Y, I can report on the details that an applicant sees and seeks during the recruitment.
Let’s start with the relevant platforms. When I only toyed with the idea of finding a new position, I started to notice the job posts on Facebook pages of companies I already followed and favored. After a while, I sneaked into the relevant forums on social media and at last created an account on job boards. But I never rendered beyond online territories. As a side note, public transportation is a perfect spot for reading job ads, which means mobile friendliness is essential for any job posting platform.
On the various platforms, I saw a few original ads aiming to find the new member of the creative team. Unfortunately, the successful approach proved to be the minority, since many of the descriptions took the easy way, and squeezed in popular but empty keywords to target the desired generation. I suggest refraining from such a strategy, as it creates the air of generalization and even dishonesty – which are not the best founding stones of a long-term employer-employee relationship. Additionally, the reader will pair the unfortunate feeling with the brand itself.
No matter how convincing the job post was, trust didn’t come with the first impression. The background check always started with the website and social media presence, which provided feedback about the consistency of corporate communication. Needless to say, the lack of online presence was a red flag. Secondly, research continued in my social media network to find someone who had been in direct contact with the company. What can be more valuable than first-hand experience? If there was no such person within my reach, I extended my investigation to forums, blogs, Google-search to find out more about the actual employee experience.
In the jungle of job posts, I came across an especially appealing description providing detailed and relevant information about tasks, skills, aims, advantages, etc. The wording also reflected a value system close to mine. As I felt addressed by the ad, I also bothered to apply with more than my general CV, I sat down to write a letter as an answer.
Even though the position was love at first sight, I planned to continue my hunt.
Most members of Generation Y have faced the difficulties of job search at least once (if not, their friends or their favorite blogger certainly did). That’s why it’s known that receiving answer for a job application is as rare as hen’s teeth. Considering the hunt closed after a single application is same as waiting for the “happily ever after” with no effort.
The scheduled ad scanning was cancelled soon as I received an answer from the desired company the very next day. It took about ten days to go through all phases of interviews, and communication didn’t cease between stages, either. All professionals involved in the selecting process (either from the company or from their recruiting partners) were polite and supportive. Decision was also made within a few days, which, luckily, brought fortunate news. Even if the selection process had ended with different results, I would have stored the application as a good experience, and I would have kept an eye on the company in hope of future job openings, and possibly I would have even spread my positive opinion. Now, I can gladly report, the employee experience is absolutely in agreement with my expectations formulated based on the job post and the recruitment process.
Almost at the same time a friend of mine also faced the challenges of job searching. After a while, she also found an enticing position. She managed to get to the second round of interviews, which was submitting a test work. She waited for any response for quite long, but finally interpreted the long silence as a refusal. It took her additional one or one and a half months to find a similarly loved position. She was about to sign the contract, when the first company informed her that she was welcomed as the new team-member. Of course, she didn’t even get tempted to choose the first position over the second, although there was no written agreement yet.
Back to Employer Branding
The job post is really only the tip of the iceberg, the success of recruitment depends more on the infrastructure behind the enticing entry. The supporting system includes such forefront elements as the marketing of the employer brand with social media presence, cover pictures, wisely chosen advertising platforms, well-positioned team photos, and the opinion of the colleagues published on the website. The list is long.
Nonetheless, the forefront branding elements (including the job post itself) will be a waste if they don’t reflect truly on the employee experience. As a pillar of the campaign, Roar had to actually create a design office suitable for active relaxation and stress relief, conditions of flexible working time had to be ensured, and a fresh employee must meet a friendly and casual atmosphere even during the first days. And that is why the counterexamples, the ads with shop-window promises inevitably hurt any company in the long run. Gap between the projected image and the actual experience will urge the new employee to say goodbye at the first opportunity (forcing the company to restart the whole recruitment process). What is more, the brand may lose credit if the discrepancies of the corporate identity are shared.
Even less obvious branding elements shall not be overlooked either: an ideal employee can be won and lost during recruitment. During the candidate selection process, all our messages and communication form the image of the company. Candidate experience will be spread among friends and on several online platforms.
Recruitment must use efficient communications entirely in agreement with the employer brand. Optimized and quickened processes also help to keep the best of the candidates before they are discovered by the competitors. If the communication is erratic or even lacking and the processes are slow and without any momentum, the candidate will picture the same fate as an employee. It is understandable if they choose a different path.
Additionally to the marketed employer branding and the office appliances, it’s worth utilizing the available online platforms and software solutions for the recruitment process. That’s why we devote our next article to the tips and tricks to gain the most out of ATS and the online platforms popular among Gen Y and Z.