Youth Recruiting: 5 Data-Driven Best Practices

May 17th, 2017

Jon-Mark Sabel


A couple weeks ago we looked at 5 Ways to Make the Most of Campus Recruiting. Now, with most of the Class of 2017 graduating in the very near future (both from secondary school and university), it's time to look at what to do once they've entered the job market. Fortunately for the Class of 2017, they are entering an economy nearing full employment. The National Association of Colleges and Employers indicates that employers expect to hire 5% more graduates this year than last. In other words, expect that traditionally hard-to-fill roles will be even more difficult to fill.

Getting Youth on Board

With competition for recent grads higher than it has been in recent memory, catering to their expectations is crucial for getting them on board.

1) Mobile: No Longer “Nice to Have”

Like the graduates of the last several years, the Class of 2017 makes heavy use of their smartphones when performing job-related research. In fact, in a recent Yello Survey of 1400 young adults, 26% applied for open positions via mobile. A mobile-friendly application process is no longer a differentiator - it’s just a necessity. If you haven't already made the jump to a mobile-enabled application, it will probably force you to re-evaluate your priorities. Endless fields and forms don't work well on a mobile application, so you should only ask for the most pertinent information. Since recent grads all look the same on paper anyway, you should delay screening decisions until after a phone screen or video interview.

2) Keep Them Engaged

Maintaining open lines of communication during the interview process is critical for keeping a new grad’s attention. 86% of new grads appreciated the use of text messages during the interview period, up from 79% of last year’s grads. Unlike email, text messages are almost always read and never ignored. It is estimated that 90% of people read a text message within the first three minutes of receiving it; SMS reminders are the perfect way to engage young candidates and give the hiring process a more personal feel. Many successful youth recruiters are also finding a great deal of value in WhatsApp, the instant messenging platform. By creating a "group" for each role you're looking to fill, you can answer the questions of interested candidates and inform them about the specifics of the position.

3) Let Them Differentiate Themselves

According to this recent iCIMS study, 90% of this year’s grads feel confident in their interview-taking skills. So confident, in fact, that 58% consider mass interviews “competitive” and 21% call them “exciting.” Recent grads understand that their inexperience makes them look very similar on paper. They want the opportunity to differentiate themselves. Like mass interviews, video interviews offer a way for recent graduates to differentiate themselves at scale: in the Yello Survey, 76% said they appreciated the opportunity to video interview during the hiring process. This is in line with the ~80% of HireVue’s 1.3 million surveyed candidates who said they enjoyed the experience and opportunity to differentiate themselves.

4) Move Fast

Graduates with a technical field of study are a hot (and limited) commodity. To what should be no one’s surprise, 61% of recruiters said that they were most interested in hiring STEM majors - yet only 23% of recent grads pursued a STEM field of study. And in the Yello Survey, 74% of respondents indicated that “delays in receiving a job offer were the reason they turned it down.” Reading between the lines, this means they found work elsewhere.   It should come as no surprise, then, that getting to these graduates quickly should be a top priority for talent acquisition.

5) Let Them Bring Friends

Referrals consistently prove themselves one of the best sources of high quality talent. Of the 1400 young adults surveyed by Yello, 96% said they wanted to refer friends into their companies. 96%. Considering that recent grads are likely to be friends with those in a similar field of study, asking your new STEM hire for referrals could be the perfect way to fill similar positions.

6) Make the Most of Apprenticeships

For organizations in the UK, the recently implemented apprenticeship levy has created a great opportunity for all employers to invest in apprenticeships. Apprenticeships offer a phenomenal way to develop youth in the workforce. With standardized apprenticeship standards, employers know that by empowering learning, they are also getting a great return on their investment.

Stats to Reflect On:

  • 74% of young adults said delays in receiving an offer were the reason they turned it down (Yello)
  • 90% of students feel confident in their interview skills (iCIMS)
  • 79% of young adults said mass interviews were “competitive” and “exciting” (Yello)
  • 76% of young adults felt positively when video interviewing was used during the interview period (Yello)
  • 96% of young adults want to refer friends into their companies (Yello)
  • 26% of young adults apply via mobile (Yello)
  • 86% of young adults felt positively when text messages were used during the interview period (Yello)
  • 32% of entry-level applications received are not qualified (iCIMS)


Today's youth are not Gen-Xers or Millennials. They are members of the iGeneration - and have completely different priorities than generations past.

Here's how to recruit them: for apprenticeships, for internships, for entry-level, and beyond.