Key insights for recruiting emerging talent (even on a budget)

When we are hiring fresh talent at the very beginning of their careers, whether that be from a university or school, we are looking for the sharpest tools in the talent pool toolbox. 

As recruiters, when sourcing the top quality candidates for our organisations we need to have a successful strategy in place. However, not everyone has the appropriate budget to execute a comprehensive process. If you are working with a low budget it is all about understanding what resources you have at your disposal and taking advantage of them.    

At our past Early Careers event in London, 40+ Talent Acquisition professionals dedicated a whole day to discuss the end-to-end process of hiring emerging talent on a budget. Sarah Wallace (Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Tate & Lyle) and Gavin Mulcahy (Director, Ireland & UK at Sova Assessment Ltd) were leading the charge to guide and share their experiences with the group.   

When the question ‘what kind of budget everyone had in place for their early careers strategy’ was addressed to the floor, it was a complete mixed bag. So we have compiled some of the key insights for recruiting emerging talent, even if you’re on a budget.   

Finding & attracting talent 

With the number of grad schemes and apprenticeships that are available on the market, it is essential that you stand out. With an unlimited budget you can sponsor events on campus or produce marketing materials such as brochures and freebies.

However, if you have a low budget, have no fear! There are plenty of other impactful methods that will catch the attention of the talent, such as hosting a guest lecture or utilising your previous early careers hires to share their experiences. You can do this either in person at careers fairs or through a creative and engaging social media campaign which allows prospective candidates to see what it is really like to work at your organisation.  

Top tip: Don’t limit your attraction to the individuals in the last year of their education. Direct your employer branding towards earlier years and hook them early.     

Communications & applications 

Communication has become a hot industry topic as more and more recruiters believe their needs to be responsive at each point of the candidate journey (especially when the target market in question is expecting the same levels of response as they would from Amazon or Asos – treat your candidates as customers).

With a suitable budget you can secure temp admins to assist during high volume application periods, but there are also various low-cost methods such as dedicated inbox or auto response. Or you could get creative and try communication channels that will resonate with your target market such as Whatsapp groups, via social media or wherever your audience is communicating.           

Selecting and assessing the best talent 

As opposed to using expensive tools during the selection and assessment process (such as online psychometric tests), you can make your assessment more personal by presenting the candidate with exercises that are based on situations that previous early careers starters have faced at your company. 

Watch Sarah’s full presentation here:

Watch Gavin’s full presentation here: 

To sum up, when recruiting emerging talent you don’t actually need a stellar budget to source and hire the brightest sparks. One of the key ingredients that emerging talent possess is their alignment of purpose. The current generation of early careers are looking for the organisation’s values and motivations, and authenticity requires little to no budget at all. The only limit is your creativity!

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