Engaging early-in-careers candidates

Engaging early-in-careers candidates


A breakfast seminar on Wednesday 18th March at Penna’s London offices looked at ways of connecting and engaging with entry-level candidates throughout their selection and development journeys, with client-side insights provided by KPMG.

Setting the scene, Penna’s director of assessment Daryl Murray noted the very distinct characteristics of today’s entry-level and early-in-careers candidates, who tend to be well connected digital natives with high expectations of employers’ selection and development processes.  They are also more inclined to share their experiences with others.

Daryl talked of the compelling need for recruitment processes to be genuinely engaging, and stressed that they needed to embrace new technology in order to be relevant and appealing to the target audience.  Self-selection tools, effective role-specific screening tools and immersive assessment tools all have parts to play in delivering a positive experience, as well as providing more opportunity for candidates to familiarise themselves with an organisation’s culture and values – thus increasing opportunities for self-selection as well as providing a potential boost for retention rates.

The client-side insights were provided by Georgina Kvassay, a senior manager of Smart Development – KPMG’s first firm-wide early careers development programme, providing a framework for the ‘journey to management’.  (The programme’s launch had launch followed an earlier review of graduate recruitment processes and the perceived need to link these more effectively with candidates’ experiences on and after joining.)

One notable innovation has been the introduction of interactive workbooks, which help to support the development plans of new joiners (and can also be used to inform performance management meetings).  A ‘one firm’ approach has been adopted, aimed at linking different aspects and experiences of the business together, replicating best practice and delivering consistent messaging.

Communication is delivered via a secure internal hub (described as “a cross between Twitter and Facebook”), providing the opportunity to engage with EiC entrants much more easily – and in the less formal tone of voice that they can relate to.  Among other things, it’s hoped that such developments will help to reduce the significant attrition levels experienced when EiC employees’ market value rises sharply on qualification.

Although the Smart Development programme has only been up and running for about a year, it has already generated some very positive feedback, with people starting to take more responsibility for their own career development.

The session closed with an apposite quote attributed to Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest who survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.”


Thursday, 20 March 2014

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