Employers have been missing out on recruiting the best talent as a part of the team, for one of the most preliminary reasons – lack of consideration of voluntary experience when they recruit. Employers fail to recognise volunteering and social action experience during the recruitment process and hence end up missing out on candidates with valuable skill sets and talent for the job.
To address this shortage of talent and skill gap, employers should embed social action to include volunteering, campaigning and fund raising activities into their recruitment processes such as to allow talented individuals room to talk about their proficiency, interests, passion for the job and expertise gained outside of education and traditional work experience.
It is a noteworthy fact brought to light that less than one-fifth (16 percent) of employers ask candidates about volunteering on application forms and only a third of it (31 percent) ask details during interviews. According to a recent report published by CIPD titled, ‘Unlock new talent: How can you integrate social action in recruitment?’ reveals 67 percent of employers report that entry-level candidates with social action experience demonstrate more employability skills.
In this survey, respondents cited three main skills on which employers need to assess candidates with improved work life skills on – leadership, communication and team work. “I think especially now in the kind of climate where people are finding it more and more difficult to get jobs, when you see someone who has actually taken it upon themselves to do voluntary work in order to get themselves some experience, I think it’s a credit to them. If I saw [this on] their CV, it would impress me,” said AnnaMarie, Genesis Crafty.
Integrating social action into the recruitment process allows employers to tap into a pool of talented individuals that otherwise might be overlooked, at the same time as demonstrating to young people that social action is worthwhile in terms of helping them to develop key skills that will be of value to employers.
Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD says, “A key challenge for recruiters is that candidates often fail to highlight their social action experience, unless given the opportunity to do so, as many still regard traditional work experience as being more important to employers. With the difficulties that many young people also face in terms of securing good quality work experience, it is clear that social action has a huge role to play in terms of skills development.”
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Cheese further added: “By failing to uncover this experience during the recruitment stage, employers could be missing out on enthusiastic individuals who have precisely the types of employability skills organisations tell us they need and struggle to find.”
As an example demonstrating embedding social action experience into the recruitment process, PwC has taken steps to ensure that candidates are given the opportunity to talk about their social action experience during the recruitment process. PwC have also recently announced plans to drop A-level requirements when recruiting candidates for their graduate programme.
Commenting on this initiative by PwC for recruiting brightest talent demonstrating social action experience and volunteering skills, Richard Irwin, PwC head of student recruitment opines, “Our experience shows that whilst A Level assessment can indicate potential, for far too many students there are other factors that influence capability. Providing opportunities for candidates to demonstrate skills gained outside of academia, including social action, is one way of ensuring we are a progressive employer, which recognises that talent and potential presents itself in different ways and at different stages of people’s lives.”
With organisations extending career opportunity to look for brightest talent and tap potentials in wider pockets of society, companies can only benefit further by engaging top talent and young people participate in social action projects.
The notion of “double benefit” gets re-emphasised in this survey. Youth are more open towards participation in social action projects. This helps them hone skills they need for careful work life balance.
Weaving in social action into the recruitment process can also help organisations attract the best talent. Increasingly, people want to understand what a potential employer is doing to give back to society and the local community. By demonstrating that social action is important and valued by the organisation early on, candidates will be able to see how their values align with those of the organisation, even before they begin the recruitment process.
Showing support for social action at the recruitment stage also helps to lift the reputation of the organisation more widely, as it fits in with a broader corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda. Embedding social action in the recruitment process early on can also help promote diversity at workplaces in several ways.
Also read: Job Forward: Make Social Recruiting Easier
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