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Development for the candidate – an ace card for employers?

Stephanie Hopper

There is no doubt that opportunities for personal development and growth are important for the majority of early careers professionals (ECPs) on landing their first permanent role. At Cappfinity, we believe that when companies cement their commitment to development right from the start as part of the candidate experience, they win the best candidates for the role and set up their new starters for success.

Here are five ways to create data-led development for early careers professionals from candidate to new employee:

1. Help candidates to shine

Our social mobility research demonstrates that candidates have varying experience and confidence as they enter the recruitment process. Providing developmental support early on makes the assessment experience positive, memorable and engaging for all – reducing early stage dropouts or no shows. Support could involve a series of short self-led reflective activities, an assessment platform preview to provide clarity to the process, or a ‘Be Your Best Self’ toolkit with micro-learning exercises, for example. This builds employee brand recognition through focusing on individual growth and wellbeing – enabling candidates to learn, perform and grow.

2. Build the foundations – during preboarding

Approximately 83% of graduate employers offer preboarding, but how much of this serves to build a strong foundation to continue developing the candidates before they arrive on day one? Gartner (2020) found that Generation Z value development more than compensation, so engaging ECPs through micro-learning exercises, insights emails or short bespoke challenges that are linked to the induction will strengthen your employee brand proposition and help everyone thrive in their new roles.

3. Self-awareness is KING

Touted as the meta-skill of the 21st Century, developing self-awareness is critical. Professor Eurich found that although 90% of us believe we are self-aware, only 10% of us are. The data collected through the recruitment process can serve as a starting point to provide valuable self-insight and as the basis for a data-led development journey throughout an ECP’s early career. As an example, onboarding reports that highlight the ECP’s strengths identified through the recruitment process can serve to increase their self-awareness, help their mangers get to know them and be used as a prompt to discuss how to leverage these strengths in their new role. Development at work is not about ‘teaching to pass’ but creating a space and opportunity for self-discovery and self-insight.

4. Data-led development

360 feedback is not just the preserve of leadership development. External self-awareness comes through seeing our impact on others – which is hard to develop if we have no mechanism to receive feedback. Continuing to build self-awareness within the organisation and tracking progress against the strengths known to be critical for success within your firm helps to show an individual’s progress and continues to inform the next steps of their data-led journey.

5. Standalone workshops are dead

A data-led development journey needs to be tailored and have a consistent prolonged approach through incremental interventions to support long-term behaviour change. At Cappfinity, our STARS approach (Stir, Think, Act, Reflect, Stretch) ensures workshops are no longer the hero of our development journeys and that thought is given to the activities that can embed the new behaviours both before and after the event.

To see what a data-led development approach linking recruitment to onboarding can look like in the real world, watch our webinar with global engineering and consultancy firm Mott MacDonald.

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