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Beating a tough job market is easier if you can get a PhD from within. And the easiest way to have an attractive workforce is to build a pipeline of eager entry-level employees.
Companies that hire from the inside out do better than those that focus on promoting to outsiders. Example: A University of Massachusetts Global Deep Dive shows that internal employees cost about 18% less than their external counterparts. They also require limited purchasing effort, which can lead to more savings. But that doesn’t mean you can just pull out of the basics and fill positions. Being able to hire from within starts with a consistently replenished pipeline of entry-level talent pools. If you’re not strategic about bringing in high-performing entry-level entrants, you won’t be able to reap the benefits of internal recruiting.
A 2021 Job List Survey showed how much benefit it can be to promote current employees where possible. Of the 1,000 employees asked, nearly two-thirds said they would rather be led by someone from within the company. Seven out of ten found the practice important for their employer’s growth potential. More than 55% said it led to higher morale and lower training costs.
LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends for 2020 report reflected similar findings. The report found a 41% increase in how long employees lingered at companies that hired from within. Moreover, it appears that almost three quarters of the recruitment professionals are in favor of internal recruitment.
Related: 7 ways to make sure your employee knows how to get promoted
The message is clear: internal promotions can accelerate employee engagement, shorten onboarding timescales and attack outages. And the easiest way to get internal applicants is to bring in emerging talent. By regularly attracting strong, entry-level employees, you can create a funnel that pushes future leaders up the corporate ladder.
The following strategies can help you attract enthusiastic entry-level applicants to your organization. That way, you can pick the right one to start building an enviable — and internally attractive — workforce.
1. Interview for both hard and soft skills
Most jobs require some sort of basic technical knowledge, even if you’re just comfortable with general word processing or spreadsheets. However, employers are increasingly discovering that it is precisely the soft skills that make certain employees stand out. And a standout employee is someone who might be interested in moving the company.
According to recent data According to a 2022 High Point University survey, companies value soft skills more than hard ones. The poll of 500 leaders of large organizations identified employee motivation and coachability as markers for future success. Three quarters of the survey participants said it was easier to learn technical skills than motivation. Seven in ten thought the same about technical expertise versus the ability to accept constructive feedback.
How do you determine someone’s soft skills based on resumes or initial interviews? One method is to ask candidates to answer situationally, “What would you do if…?” to ask. Another is to get prospective employees to talk about challenges and failures and how they dealt with them. Just make sure you ask the same questions to all applicants. You reduce interview bias and can objectively compare the soft-skill responses of the interviewees.
Related: Why soft skills are more important than hard cash for the long-term growth of your acquisition
2. Make career path part of your onboarding and ongoing training
Career path includes helping your employees create roadmaps to move through your organization. For example, a career path shows the routes an employee can take to get from job A to job B to job C, and so on. Most entry-level workers aren’t in the workforce long enough to understand how to build career paths. You can help them by introducing them to career paths during onboarding and making it part of their employee experience.
Having a group of employees who have developed realistic, achievable career paths can improve your internal recruiting. Deloitte’s Talent 2020 report notes that 42% of employees looking for other jobs leave because they don’t use their talents. 37% said they were not satisfied with their career progression. Dynamic professional development support and career paths can alleviate those challenges.
Remember, you can’t just set up career paths and let them gather dust. Teach supervisors how to encourage their team members to identify areas of training using their career paths as a guide. Make sure you also reserve resources for further training.
Related: 4 reasons why employees see a bleak career path and quit
3. Treat your internship programs as feeder opportunities
Information collected in 2020 by Chegg Stage suggests: that about 70% of all internships are converted into vacancies. Of the interns who are offered a job, 80% agree. This means that for every 10 interns you bring into your organization, you can get about five or six new hires. Those employees would already be familiar with your culture — and empowered by an opportunity to get a job.
Even if you have an internship program, you should take a closer look at it. See how you might make it more of a feeder in a larger succession plan. For example, do you need to broaden your current pipeline and hire interns from more disciplines? Can you use interns in more departments than you normally do? These are all questions worth asking.
Interns who feel their time at your company has been well spent may one day join your C-suite. At the very least, they’re more likely to join your company if you offer a job after they graduate. So look for ways to increase the real and perceived value of your internships. Don’t be afraid to research current and past internships so you can continuously improve your internship experiences.
The Great Resignation has shown how difficult it can be for employers to find candidates. When you can hire from within, you have more choice. You also reduce the downtime associated with empty seats. So start (and keep) bringing entry-level employees into the fold. They become your competitive advantage.