When it comes to online job applications it is common place for companies to use barriers and filters in an attempt to arrive at ‘the best candidate’. But a business could be losing out and putting their reputation on the line by not being supportive.
In our recent research, we found that 43% of companies had a very poor or no job section at all. Overall, more companies performed poorly when it came to supportive content than any other category we assessed by young people.
“The best companies recognise that inexperienced young people need to be supported to make a good application rather than apply the hurdles and obstacles used to test or filter out experienced candidates.” (Youth employment accessibility research)
As we start to feedback the research results, we have had some comments from employers who were worried that being supportive meant ‘dumbing down’.
This is not the case.
Being supportive means…
Being helpful – customers and employees are looking in. Your actions will support your engagement with existing employees and support your proposition with your customers.
Remember many of your employees may have children, grandchildren, cousins, nephews and nieces.
Avoid confusion – young people don’t understand business speak and business don’t always know when they are using it.
Discerning young people want to work for a business that is supportive and they want to see evidence of this online.
Treating the candidate as a customer will demonstrate that you have taken their circumstances into account.
Your competitors may not be supportive and you can steal a march on them by doing so.
What does being supportive look like?
Here are some top tips to make your online job applications supportive for inexperienced candidates without ‘dumbing it down’.
- No jargon – provide clear job descriptions along with the skills and attributes you are looking for
“Understanding jargon is not a measure of a young person’s potential and it doesn’t mean they are a better candidate for the job.
“Using jargon just disadvantages young people who do not have experience in an industry or access to people who do. It also negatively impacts young people’s confidence, by making them feel they “don’t deserve” a role or are “not good enough” to apply.” (Prince’s Trust)
- No acronyms – give your job advert to a young person to read and check they can understand it
- Explain the process – including the timings and key stages
- Feedback – as a minimum acknowledge receipt of applications or state at which stage feedback is available
“Applying for jobs is a trying process. Many candidates apply to job after job with no inkling of how they did.” (Fight for Feedback – Debut)
- Don’t big a job up unnecessarily – don’t ask for qualifications that are not needed.
“Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.” (Harvard Business Review)
Overall, by providing support it shows that a business or organisation cares.
Consideration costs nothing, but says a lot about your culture and values. So don’t miss this opportunity to stand out from the crowd as only 1% of businesses surveyed provided acceptable support meeting the expectations of young people.
For more information about support, see our youth employment accessibility research report.