Inspired to Hire

Finding the Right Fit for the Job

Any time you’re hiring, you want to ensure you find the right fit. Hiring youth is no different. You need to be thoughtful about how you attract and meet people who have the right skills and mindset for the job. Strategic partnerships for the recruitment process can help. Look to engage youth-focused organizations, agencies, programs, and institutions to increase your reach.

Consider Why Youth Will Help You Succeed

Before you do anything, spend some time quantifying the costs and benefits of hiring. This will help you decide whether you can hire on a full-time, part-time, or temporary basis, and whether you are ready to hire. To discover the possible benefits and feasibility of hiring youth in your own organization, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Why is hiring required, and why youth specifically?
  • How will hiring youth benefit your organization? This could include social, productivity, legal, and financial benefits.
  • What are the risks if you don’t hire youth with the skills you need?
  • How many people do you need to hire?
  • What hours are required for each person?
  • What are all the costs associated with finding, recruiting, onboarding, training, and employing each person?
  • What is the anticipated increase in productivity and revenue for each position?
  • Can you afford a new hire?
  • Are there programs you could use to offset the costs?

Tear Down the Barriers

Knowing the obstacles ahead of time, will help you avoid them.

Young people may not be aware of your business or industry. Many youth have limited access to information about various jobs and sectors. This, for example, can be true in the non-profit sector, especially if youth believe that the jobs are tied to funding, and there is instability in the sector.

Competition can be a barrier, especially in fields where there is a shortage of skilled, young, labour. What is going to attract youth to your organization over another?

Over-reliance on part-time or short-term jobs can limit your appeal. If you only offer casual, part-time, or shift work, especially at lower wages, youth looking for a career may pass you by. You may experience higher turnover and you may miss out on candidates who have potential to make a significant contribution to your business over the longer term.

Be honest about whether there’s the potential for growth in your business. If you have few opportunities for promotion and limited budgets for training and development, then don’t put it in your messaging. Ambitious youth will not be the right fit if there is no opportunity for growth.

Overstating the job requirements will limit your reach. Think about whether the work really requires the level of education and experience you’ve stated in your ad.

Think About Where and How to Find Youth

Build and connect with your network.

  • Your own network is a great source of information, and can help spread the word and share your job ad.
  • Connect with local, youth-focused organizations in your area. Establish relationships with the people who run them, so that when you need to hire, they can help promote your organization and job posting to their networks.

Be social.

  • Be sure to advertise on social media. More than any other age group, youth use social media sites to find job opportunities.
  • If you already have youth in your network, consider creating a refer-a-friend reward program.

Go online.

  • Building your network is a great way to improve awareness of your business; however, online job boards are also a valuable resource. Youth spend large amounts of time on the web, and will use online means to find jobs.
  • Work with online job and recruitment centres that demonstrate an interest in youth.
  • Don’t forget about your own website. But make sure the tone you present in your ad matches what’s happening on your website.

Measure Your Success

It’s worthwhile to track the success of your recruitment methods. That way, you can adjust your methods to make sure you’re getting the best results. You want to focus your energy on the methods that give you the best outcomes.

Why They’ll Choose You

When you write your job ad, there are several things to consider if you seriously want youth to respond. Simply describing the job and your company, and speaking about the quality of your products or services is going to be less effective with youth.

Here are a few simple things to ask yourself when creating a job posting:

If your company is mostly work with little play, don’t sell yourself as a fun and energetic company. Be truthful about your environment and the expectations around the work being performed.
The tone and imagery of your ad should reflect your organization’s values, because you want to attract candidates who share those values. Be aware of what your brand says about the type of employees you want to attract. Your brand is how people recognize and experience your business. A strong brand tells youth what your organization stands for and makes people want to work for you. Do you want to showcase your track record for success and personal advancement? Or, play up your startup personality? Perhaps you want to highlight your quirky and laid-back company vibe. Whatever brand your company wants to push, it needs to align with the company mission and long-term plans.
Don’t ask for several years of experience, or a high level of education if it’s not really required. Since youth don’t typically have a lot of experience, try writing your requirements with a focus on abilities rather than experience.
Some of the top criteria for youth are meaningful work, training, opportunities for growth, flexibility, a living wage, and a safe environment. Be clear about what you have to offer, like benefits, relaxed environment, telecommuting, or learning opportunities. But also, what’s different about you? What makes your organization special in the eyes of younger workers?
Keep it as simple and short as you can. Make sure that all the information is useful, and avoid using jargon. The clearer you are, the better the responses you’ll receive.

Perks That Attract Talent

Look for simple and inexpensive strategies that can make your organization more appealing to youth. The type of business you run may limit what you can do, but it’s worth exploring the options.

  • Consider implementing a casual dress code, even if it’s only one day a week.
  • Provide bike racks to support wellness for the employee and the environment.
  • Host social events to promote team building.
  • Have a bring your pet to work day. Take into consideration health standards, and employee and client allergies first!
  • Focus on task-based work rather than time-based work. Where feasible, allow employees to put in only as much time as is needed to complete their assigned task.
  • Offer free snacks and drinks. A bowl of fruit, or coffee, tea, and hot chocolate can help keep employees energized.
  • Offer quiet spaces to work, especially in open-concept environments. Open-concept workspaces encourage good working relationships, but studies show they can obstruct performance.
  • Offer flexible hours. Are you able to let workers choose when they arrive and leave at work? Set a core block of hours to allow for communication and meetings among your team.
  • Consider seasonal hours. Offer reduced hours in different seasons. Or let staff work longer hours each day so they can take a day off each week, or every other week.
  • Give extra time off. Give an extra holiday or two throughout the year.
  • Champion telecommuting. Do people really need to be in the workplace all the time? Also, consider offering flexibility during poor weather, or if employees have specific needs.
  • Purchase or provide reimbursement for specialised work clothing or uniforms.
  • Offer continuous informal feedback. Don’t wait for yearly performance reviews. If you recognize employees’ efforts on a weekly basis, it will go a long way in making them feel valued. This can be a simple thank you, or acknowledgement of work well done.
  • Have a professional development mindset, instead of a performance management one. This means that employees are focused on outcomes rather than goals. Outcomes are the collective and individual results of work.
  • Provide training support. Youth are at the beginning of their careers, and want to learn. Give them the opportunity to do so. Also, consider setting up a tuition reimbursement program.
  • Help youth build their networks. This is especially helpful for co-op students or temporary workers. Connect them to people who can help them develop their skills.
  • Offer a reward system. Set up a bonus system that recognizes individual and collective successes.
  • Acknowledge milestones. Celebrate milestones in small ways, be it gift cards, a day off, or a lunch and a cake.
  • Raise money, and collect food or clothing for charity. Match employees’ contributions for fundraising efforts.
  • Participate together at charity events, whether that’s running a marathon, donating blood, or working at a shelter.
  • Providing time for volunteering. Give employees time off to volunteer for a cause that they’re passionate about. This will also demonstrate your organization's values.