Harness data and creativity to attract diverse future talent


By Jackie Grisdale

The early careers landscape is BIG!

With thousands of schools, colleges and universities and with resources stretched, it can be tough to know where to focus your efforts. How do you change the composition of your talent pool without simply increasing volume? How do you target your activities in a more efficient way? And how do you make sure you appeal to the type of student that you want to attract. The challenge of who, where and how in student attraction is something that we know about. So here are our top tips.

Look at your data. It sounds obvious, but it’s an easy thing to rush or overlook. Make sure you are clear on who is in your pipeline, the composition, how this aligns with your diversity metrics and observe how it changes at each stage. This will highlight any disconnect or issues in the process. Is it an attraction issue? Or is it a conversion issue?

Is your data accessible, in a good state, and giving you the insight that you need? Can you access it in a timely way? Can you be agile and forward thinking in your recruitment efforts. If not, review your processes and systems to see where to improve. Proactivity to address issues will save your resourcing team a headache in the long run – whether your issue tends to be too few, or even too many applications.

Track your activity from end-to-end. Media and face-to-face activity should generate

applications from the students you want, with a successful applicant to hire ratio. Look at where the successes, and weaknesses and optimise your activity based on this insight.

Once you’ve got the insight about who and where to find them, it’s time to get creative. And I don’t mean with the truth! Do you appeal to Gen Z? Ensure your employer brand is authentic and relevant for the future talent you want to attract? Consider their drivers and motivators. Does your value proposition match? A creative visual can help cut through the noise, but your story and message needs to have substance to resonate. It needs to reflect type of organisation you are and the culture you have or want to foster. Don’t be afraid to get feedback. Test how your marketing resonates with the type of students you want to attract. Is it turning them off? Or does it improve your appeal with them? Listen to the feedback and evolve it.

Once you’ve done the hard work to attract the students you want, please don’t forget about the customer journey beyond the application. It’s something often overlooked. Gen Z want personalisation and crave immediacy. So, make it all about them. Personalise the journey wherever you can, and make sure the process, and your responses are as quick as they can be. They won’t hang around for you if you don’t!