Entry-level jobs are jobs filled with tasks. These jobs have a maximum set of expectations to go along with it - most of which any 12-year-old in a first world country can do. They may not have the maturity but they have the physical and mental ability to do it. The person reads, writes at a certain comprehension level. They probably understand some fundamentals about the area of work the job is in and has the ability to think critically about their work. At what point in time did employers decide that college degrees and personal debt is the criteria for such a job?
Entry-Level Job Posts Should Be Simple
It's obvious that some employers got stuck in the 1980’s approach to advertising their jobs. They band a bunch of jobs together in a group of other like-titled roles. Then, they go about writing The Job Description – a thesis-length dissertation of what the job should do or by turns, a romanticized novel of how wonderful the company is combined with a (generally) overly-detailed and confusing word salad of what the job entails. Yep, we know because read a lot of job descriptions. Employers should not be shocked that they have such a difficult time hiring when their own processes are a huge part of the problem. Taking a half-baked job description and slapping it up on a job board with thousands of others just like it isn't going to cut through the clutter.
The modern-day approach to getting entry-level jobs (or really any specialist or generalist role) is by being direct. Stop beating around the bush and tell them what you are really looking for. Stop assuming anything about what seems obvious to you that person should know to do the job. Simplify the job down to the tasks you need completing. Think in terms of what attributes and skills your hire needs to be capable of the actual work. Beyond the job, think about the tools that you are using to promote your employer brand and find your candidates. Is this tool helping you be on trend? Are you using a trusted site to make your job available?
Too many times employers act like they are the only job option and write their public job posts as such. They spend most of the time drafting content that someone will steal from them for their own purposes or that a prospective applicant won't read. When it comes to the Millenials and Gen-Z, they are looking for a job for three reasons: 1.) Cash 2.) Opportunity 3.) Contribution. They don’t want to be sold on your job. They want the facts so they can decide if your job meets those criteria or not and move on.
And, by the way, the phrase "entry-level" doesn’t translate to opportunity and potentially undercuts your would-be hire's skill set. You may find you are missing out on great candidates by tacitly dismissing their valid work experience in their area of interest. Because, in their mind, they have been doing your "entry-level" work since they were 16. Some of them have been doing side-gig work to hone their craft for years and none of that translates in the old-school resume model.
Do The Market Research
Search engines, access to social platforms, and online company reviews have equipped job seekers like never before. As a result, they can be more selective in the job hunt than any other generation. They know how to research your company. When they key in “entry level marketing job” into their search engine, the salary range is what they assume they should be expecting from you. So, you'd better know what that number is and make an attempt to get close to it, or you'll be hearing crickets. Or worse, drowning in resumes for unqualified applicants.
They have also been well trained by their parents and grandparents to watch out unfair labor practices, the right to work, and to negotiate for their pay. And frankly, they aren't falling for this idea that they must have several years' experience to fill your "entry-level" job. They know that's a scam. Millennials and Gen Z live in a world where they've already taken on a mountain of financial debt to get the degree that employers have made mandatory to even put a toe in the working world. And, they aren't going to take anything less than what they feel makes sense for them financially.
Be Real and Remember You Get What You Pay For
So stop it…stop asking the next generation to bend to your will because they won’t and they don’t have to. We live in a global society and your job is just one in an array of options to earn a living. If you want to get these brilliant, optimistic workhorses into your company, approach your entry-level jobs differently. If you're not willing to pay better than Uber or Lyft for your college-educated workers, then don't be surprised no one is banging down your door. In addition, using the phrase "entry-level" on your job description when what you want is an educated, experienced employee is going to drop you in the "I-might-as-well-drive-part-time-because-they're-only-going-to-pay-me-a-quarter-more-than-minimum-wage-and-I-have-a-BA-and-the-student-loans-to-prove-it" pile.
Entry-level jobs should not require any work experience. Period. It should require a match for aptitude and the skills to get the job done. If you are requiring 3-4 years' experience, that is not an entry-level job.