Focus on potential, not experience

A lack of previous experience is the biggest barrier to young people being able to access job opportunities. To make things harder, many employers ask applicants for unnecessary previous experience and qualifications for entry-level roles.

By changing the focus of recruitment processes from previous experience to looking for positive behaviours, attitudes and aspirations, employers can spot young people with the potential to flourish in their company rather than ruling them out automatically due to a lack of experience.

Employers can also take into account other valuable experience that young people have gained outside of education and employment such as volunteering and social action and hidden digital skills. These kinds of experiences demonstrate initiative, a wide range of interpersonal skills and a commitment to making a difference.

What young people have told us:

Not having the correct experience is the biggest barrier to young people who want to apply for a role, with almost 60% being affected. However, nearly 85% of young people felt they were appropriately qualified for their role, suggesting that young people are very well equipped with the skills and confidence needed for their job, even if they don’t have the experience on paper.

Key things to consider:

  • What stages does your current recruitment process involve? Are candidates without previous experience automatically screened out?

  • What key behaviours, attitudes and motivations would your ideal candidates display?

  • What recruitment format would best draw out these behaviours?

  • Are you taking into account other forms of experience, such as any social action and volunteering?

Are you doing this? 


How to guide: Behaviour-based recruitment

This step-by-step guide will help employers to identify the kinds of behaviours and attitudes that show young candidates' potential to excel.


Unlocking the value of social action in recruitment: A checklist for employers

This checklist outlines key actions employers can take to draw out the value of social action experience in their recruitment processes.


Sample questions: Behaviour-based recruitment

Here are some sample questions from CIPD to help you draw our behaviour and attitude, instead of experience.


Uncovering hidden digital skills - sample application and interview questions

Take the first step to Future Proof your business Find out more about Ricoh's youth-friendly assessment centres


Re-inventing the Assessment Centre: Ricoh’s youth friendly approach

January 27 2016

Ricoh UK decided to take action to tackle a skills gap which was beginning to appear within some of their key departments, developing their Future Talent Development Programme to attract more young people.

Ricoh felt it was unfair to expect...