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'Broken' recruitment processes damage the confidence and careers of young people, survey says

Poorly designed recruitment processes are damaging the confidence of young people and doing a disservice to the organisations that use them, a report claims.

Bad experiences in recruitment not only turn young applicants off individual companies - risking loss of a 'major customer base for good' - but can deter them from following a career in that entire sector, stunting their aspirations and development.

Damaged confidence, stunted careers

More than one in five (22 per cent) respondents said that they'd been put off a company, while one in ten had turned against a sector, reassessing their future careers because of bad experiences during recruitment, the survey from City & Guild Group and Business in the Community (BITC) found.

One in three respondents found the job application process difficult. Of those, almost half (44 per cent) ended up losing confidence, and 26 per cent said they were less likely to apply for other jobs.

The report was released alongside the launch of Future Proof, a campaign to help businesses break down the barriers young people face in recruitment.

Businesses need young people

Chris Jones, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group, urged employers not to make the application process too difficult. It may not be appropriate to use it as a 'weeding out' tool, he said, as it could kill the confidence of young people, particularly those who are new to job hunting.

Giving feedback after interviews would be 'a great service for their future careers', and leave young applicants with a much better impression of your organisation, he added. Many are left disheartened when they don't receive any feedback at all, or just a quick courtesy email.

Asking for experience was highlighted as the main recruitment stumbling block. More than half of respondents (57 per cent) said they were caught in a Catch-22 of not getting a job for lack of experience, and not getting experience for lack of a job - meaning that businesses were missing out on a huge talent pool.

The BITC said it was encouraging that 42 per cent of organisations surveyed now allowed candidates to demonstrate transferable skills not necessarily gained through work.

High youth unemployment

'Despite shifts in demographics and policy incentives to employ young people, too many businesses fail to invest in the next generation of workers,' Mr Jones said.

'This is reflected in the stubbornly high youth unemployment rate as compared to the rest of the population.

'As the competition to attract and recruit young people increases, businesses will lose out unless they change their recruitment processes.'

Acas publications and services

Acas has published Managing Future Talent - A guide for employers, which aims to share good practice about how to create a workplace in which young employees can thrive.

The Acas pdf icon Recruiting staff guide [326kb] has all you need to know about recruitment and induction programmes.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and review your existing recruitment and induction procedures. See Recruitment and Retention: how Acas can help for more details.

Acas also offers practical training on Recruitment and induction, based on its own guidance, taking you through the legal and best practice elements of fair and effective recruitment.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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