Corporate Eye

Seeking Young Talent

When asked “what do you want to do when you’re older?”, most young people will tell you that they have absolutely no idea. This response isn’t surprising, and it would probably be not too far away from the answer you’d get if you asked most professionals.

However, one thing that we all share, young or old, is that we want to experience the world, we want to try out different ideas, different careers and different ways of working. It’s because of this that so many young people are seeking internships and placements to get them started on the career ladder. Of course, work experience is a two way relationship, and companies stand to earn a lot from taking on young talent straight out of school.

The Accountancy Model

For a long time accountancy firms have led the field with youth recruitment and ‘Big Four’ firms have been taking on undergraduates for years. The normal practice is to issue a contract which includes a work experience element during a gap year and then offers support and work experience throughout university. After graduating, employees often rejoin.

The beauty of this model is that it takes in the top talent very early on and also provides these firms with an essential resource: a voice within a university. This can be a very powerful tool and can really help encourage applications.

Filling the Role

It’s not always easy to mould a role for a seventeen or eighteen year old in a company packed full of talented and motivated graduates, but it’s actually a wonderful opportunity to bring in fresh ideas. Even your average school leaver has the sort of social media knowledge that some SEO experts would die for, and often a clever head for marketing.

Of course, it’s important to interview stringently for such a role: it’s likely that your candidates will already be a step ahead of the competition just by virtue of having thought so far in advance about their careers, but a lot can change during university years. Trying to retain talent you take on is important, but if you select well and invest in their development you are likely to be rewarded.

Recruiting early can be a risky business, but it can also be immensely rewarding if you pick the right undergraduates. The important thing to remember is to treat very young recruits as an investment: don’t expect them to be perfect out of the box, but do hone their skills. Not only can they then act for you as a valuable marketing tool but they may even turn into fully-fledged, and exceptionally well trained, employees.

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Tom Goodsir

Tom started his career early; taking on an associate role at Deloitte just a few days after his eighteenth birthday, working in a technical role but with a focus on identifying and recruiting talented undergraduates. He is now entering his final year at Exeter University and he continues to work with the recruitment side of the firm and remains an active brand ambassador on campus. Over the last few years, Tom has spent time building up a reputation as a freelance writer and has developed both a strong client base and good knowledge of social media along the way. Though there’s still plenty to learn, experience working in both the smallest and the largest of businesses has served him well and given him a feel for balancing strong corporate ideas with a personal tone. As a student, Tom is able to offer a valuable insight into the way graduate recruitment works from the other side and how students and interns react to particular styles of marketing and recruitment. Eventually he hopes to take off his copywriting business before embarking on an MA in philosophy.
 
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