Recruitment "under 25"

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When talking about a recruitment focused on a young generation, it is worth to begin with approach a young person has when starting his/her career. How does it look like in today’s world?

Katarzyna Komorowska: The young generation is much more familiar with digital world, so it’s easier to find themselves in the online world. In current situation, when all recruitment processes are conducted online, it causes much less technical problems during the interview. In addition, I have the impression that the younger generation feels particularly comfortable during the conversation that is conducted remotely. This is mainly due to the freedom to be in a familiar environment. Of course, this applies to all candidates, but the young generation, due to the fact that they are less experienced in job interviews, especially appreciates this possibility. Elements which can cause discomfort such as the office, new surroundings or a more formal type of meeting are eliminated here. Employer branding is an additional element that the younger generation particularly draws attention to. As they are just entering the labour market, the atmosphere in the organization is very important aspect which can encourage them to join the company.At Arla GSS, it’s crucial to show how we work and what aspects of a job are important to our employees. During job interviews, the younger generation often refers to Arla’s employer branding campaigns with cow masks, so it definitely attracts their attention 😉 A key feature for recruiting the younger generation is often their availability to work. However, stages of the recruitment process are the same for every candidate, regardless of age.

So, can we indicate any differences in job advertisements?

Katarzyna Floryn: In today’s society, we are living in information overload and therefore we expect short, content-rich messages. In order to attract the attention of the recipient, content creators more and more often use not only the information listed in the advertisement, but most of all visual elements, such as icons, infographics, charts … We have been observing a tendency to change the form of job advertisements for a long time and it seems that we are slowly moving away from the „written language” in advertisements. The average candidate spends only 47 seconds analyzing the offer, so the time of several-paragraph advertisements is over. We see this trend most clearly in the IT industry. Many websites resigned from placing advertisements in written form in favour of using standardized advertisement templates based mainly on objects – icons illustrating the required technologies and graphs describing required level of skills for a given position. From the infographics, the candidate also learns what benefits and employment conditions are offered by a given employer. This allows to shorten the time needed to get to know the offer and easier comparison of several similar ads. On the other hand, for employers it means that it is not possible to show elements characteristic for a given organization, such as the company’s values or a description of the project the candidate will join, which for some is crucial when choosing a future employer.

What is worth emphasizing in order for a given offer to break through others and attract a young person?

Katarzyna Floryn: In terms of the structure and content of the advertisement, the most important issue is matching the message to the recipient. It is worth adjusting the language so that it is understandable for young people, i.e. avoiding the jargon used in organizations, which is simply incomprehensible to people who are looking for a first job. To encourage people to apply, it is worth paying more attention to the section related to what the employer offers and thus responding to the needs and expectations of young people.

From a job advert to the interview. How is the young generation functioning at this stage? Are they as self-confident as it seems?

Monika Cichosz: I believe that the expectations of young people do not differ from those communicated by candidates with more professional experience. What is important for them is:  good atmosphere, understanding manager and opportunities for professional development. Young people are hungry for knowledge, but when asked about what they would like to learn or what competences they would like to develop, they are often unable to specify their expectations. And here  recruiters can help. In such cases, we often act as a professional advisor and suggest which competencies may be useful and how they can be acquired or developed as part of a given position in our organization. What I often observe in people who are at the beginning of their professional careers is underestimating the experience gained during seasonal work in the catering industry, sales or administration. However, they enable acquiring  universal and desired competences in every industry, i.e. customer service, organization of own work or coping with stressful situations. The young generation is certainly distinguished by greater awareness of corporate social responsibility – they pay attention to initiatives taken by organizations for environmental protection. Arla has a very ambitious plan in this area to gradually reduce CO2 emissions to eliminate it completely, which is not overlooked by our candidates. However sometimes, I am surprised by the lack of understanding of what Arla does as Shared Services Center. In the era of access to countless data sources, obtaining such information is relatively simple. Nevertheless, there are still some candidates who find it difficult to ask about the profile of our business.

The recruitment meeting is over, and what candidate can expect afterwards? What is the impact of the pace of providing feedback in the case of a young person who probably takes part in many recruitment processes?

Katarzyna Floryn: Each of us, regardless of age or professional experience, deserves a response from the employer. Many young people, especially those who have recently entered the labour market and have not fully defined expectations as to the role or company in which they would like to work, apply for many positions at the same time, often in very different areas. Logically, the chance that such a candidate will join other recruitment processes at our competitors is definitely bigger than in case of an experienced person who consciously seeks a change in his area of expertise or an employer with specific values. However, this is a kind of generalization, because analyzing specific cases, we observe a tendency that good specialists who are active on the labour market disappear from it just as quickly ;).

Are there any differences in communication with a young candidate vs. other generations?

Monika Cichosz: Personally, I believe that there are only minor differences in the way of communication with the candidates of the younger generation and the rest of the generations with greater professional experience. Occasionally, there is a need to explain to people starting their professional careers certain dependencies or principles of functioning in a given business model. In addition, we try to avoid placing an excessive amount of industry terminology in the advertisement, as we want to avoid misunderstanding.

However, I see more similarities in the way of communication. For each candidate partnership approach is important, also all candidates need to receive reliable information related to the workplace, including the scope of duties and expectations towards them, the team they will be a part of, development opportunities within a given position, organizational structure and the onboarding process. At Arla GSS, the differences in recruiting are only due to specific requirements for a given area and position.

What changes have recently taken place in the recruitment formula of the younger generation?

Katarzyna Floryn: Technologies are developing rapidly and we as employers must adapt to this pace. More and more often we refer to Social Media (the natural environment of the young generation), using campaigns targeted at specific people (we can narrow the group of people to whom a given post will be displayed). There are also new advertising portals that provide new opportunities for candidates (e.g. the 'apply without a CV’ option). We, as employers, also use modern sourcing tools (searching for passive candidates) and networking. They are based on artificial intelligence to relieve the recruiter in manual searches and at the same time enable quick contact with a wide group of potentially matched candidates. The course of meetings with candidates is also different than a few years ago. The last 6 months have been a test for many employers on how the candidate selection process used so far can be transferred to online. At Arla, we use for example, video interview tools, asynchronous interviews (video on demand) or live coding platforms with IT candidates.

What is worth paying attention to when launching recruitment activities targeted at the young generation? What may surprise a recruiter? Please provide us with a few tips summarizing our conversation.

Monika Cichosz: The recruiter should be prepared for the fact that the candidate may require a bit more care and involvement in getting to know him, help in specifying and managing his expectations regarding the position, as well as transparent, honest and open communication. These factors are necessary to establish a long-term, fruitful and satisfactory cooperation for both parties. Failure in providing the candidate with complete information about the position may lead to his resignation from cooperation at the end of the probationary period, which we certainly want to avoid.

However, a piece of advice that comes to my mind, which may seem controversial, is  constant emphasis in many articles or guides that „you have to sell yourself during an interview”. On the one hand, it is difficult to disagree with it, on the other hand – our goal in recruiting representatives of the young generation is primarily to search for development potential in our organization. It happens that a candidate, after passing the first stage of application selection, needs a moment to find himself in this situation. For some, it is the first recruitment to a large corporation, which is associated with some fears and doubts. Our role is to support him at the initial stage and enable him to present the entire spectrum of his possibilities.

What’s more, regardless of the level of the position for which we are looking for a candidate, remember to obtain reliable and precise information about the role, team and project before starting the recruitment process, which we will be able to convey to the candidate. Also, it’s important to remember about the simplicity of the message both in the advertisement and during interviews as part of the subsequent stages of the recruitment process.