5 top tips for engaging school leavers with authenticity
The importance of authenticity in employer branding when bringing to life an organisation's EVP should never be overlooked. Trust is at an all-time low globally, against the rise and popularity of peer-to-peer recommendations. Here are 5 top tips to help you think about how you can bring your brand to life, authentically:
1. Invest time in understanding your audience
If I've learnt anything in my career to date it's that school leavers don't behave in the same way as graduates. For those of us working in student recruitment it means that we shouldn't assume that we already know how to speak to school leavers. Even with two years under my belt teaching in classroom in east London, I've never presumed to know everything there is to know about the motivations, passions and influences on today's school leavers. I'm constantly reading up on this exciting new talent pool. The average Gen Zer is bombarded with over 5,000 marketing messages a day with the greatest brand 'stickiness' seen where an emotional connection has been made - something thought-provoking, funny, a cause they believe in for example. They also prefer information to be short and snappy.
2. Consider how you start the conversation
Discovering the best way to start a conversation with someone you don't know is difficult. I've found that a great place to start is to challenge the way that they think about the world, and ask them to share their opinions. It puts the other person at ease, invites an interaction and builds rapport. School leavers considering your programmes, whether these involve university or going straight into the workplace need to trust and understand so that they can be confident the choice they are making is the right one for them.
3. Frame the experience so they can relate to your offering
As I've already eluded to in marketing your opportunities to school leavers you are essentially offering an 'experiential purchase' just like the one when you booked your last holiday for example. Ask yourself these 3 questions as a starting point:
Think about what the role you are offering will allow the 'buyer' to do?
Is there a story you can tell to reassure?
How will they identify with what you are offering?
4. Create engaging content they will want to share and interact with
When I was a teenager my biggest challenge used to be access to information - memories of loading up an Encarta CD-Rom to complete my homework spring to mind. This audience is suffering from information overload! To cut through the noise take time to select what is relevant and insightful to them. Aim to add value to their career search. It's an ongoing process of seeking, sensing and sharing, but like most things if you put the time in, then you'll reap the benefits. Twitter is a great place to be able to monitor response to the content you are producing and you can easily gauge what's working and what's not instantly enabling you to move the goalposts as and when needed.
5. Make it personal, make it purposeful
Above anything else as employers recruiting young people I firmly believe that we have a shared responsibility to ensure that we provide guidance to help this audience make the right choice for them. A hard pill to swallow, but not everyone is going to want to pursue a career in your industry/organisation which introduces a limiting factor to your marketing efforts. To ensure that your brand resonates with the right candidates, make the messages you use personal and purposeful. Gen Z are keen advocates of the actions that improve others lives and that of the world. From the multiple interactions I've had with our trainees over the years seek advice and support from those they aspire to become. Encourage them to share and embrace a bigger cause, for a bigger impact and greater chance of success in attracting them to your organisation.
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