Students and grads have a lot of questions for potential employers.

“What is the interview process like?”

“What makes an application stand out?”

“How do you decide who to hire?”

Then there are the questions Gen Y have but don’t ask – questions that, on the surface, aren’t the most appropriate, but touch on broader professional themes that reflect a real concern with finding an employer that fits.

At TalentEgg, we have exclusive access to the secret questions students and grads have for top employers through our Office Hours sessions. Office Hours is a virtual info session platform that provides Gen Y with a safe, anonymous space to submit their career-related questions.

Over the years, we’ve observed 4 recurring themes that can help employers understand the deeper factors motivating Gen Y’s career decisions:

Question 1: “Am I going to be doing real work?” 

Students and grads want to make an impact. They are eager to put their learning to work and are confident that they’ll be able to make significant contributions to your organization.

Entry-level work is often mistaken for “bottom rung” work: Gen Y often think that as entry-level hires, they’ll be tasked with “busywork” and won’t be asked to share their  ideas or get involved in bigger projects. This stereotype is further perpetuated when the details of entry-level opportunities are kept a mystery.

Communicating the scope of the work involved with entry-level opportunities can be a big selling point for many top students and grads. They aren’t afraid of responsibility and want to have a clear understanding of their daily accountabilities.

Optimized job descriptions are key opportunities to outline major responsibilities and define the goals of entry-level work.

Gen Y want to engage in meaningful work – when writing your job descriptions, be sure to draw connections between entry-level opportunities and your organization’s mission by asking yourself how each role moves the company forward.

Question 2: “How will my work be rewarded?”

Gen Y talent need to feel appreciated at work. Accustomed to instantaneous feedback, students and grads are always aware of where they stand.  They are ready to put in the effort but want to ensure your organization appreciates and values great work.

From the video games they grew up playing to the notifications they receive on social media, Gen Y is embedded in a culture of constant reward and recognition. Your formal and informal recognition programs are a great point of engagement and can be used to underscore your organization’s supportive environment.

Whether you host a quarterly awards-program for staff or run a casual contest for top-performers, take to social media to promote these happenings. Gen Y will take notice of the Instagram, Vine or Twitter posts celebrating employee effort on their feeds and know that your organization is genuinely invested in celebrating individual and team-based achievements.

Question 3: “How quickly will I be promoted?”

Students and grads want to hatch rewarding careers with top employers. They’re confident in their potential to succeed long-term and want the opportunity to grow with your organization.

Promotions are the most common “type” of professional growth and advancement opportunity. This unasked Gen Y question indicates an interest in knowing whether:

  • They will be able to advance their careers and gain new experience
  • Other employees stay at your company with a long-term focus

Incorporate growth and advancement into your recruitment messaging by leveraging your online presence to share stories of growth with your network.

Character-driven content is a compelling way to drive interest in your brand and communicate bigger themes in a digestible, native way: profile senior-level staff members who have hatched rewarding careers with your organization after starting out as an entry-level hire. Bell’s recruitment video is a great example of this concept in action, as is this “success story” feature for Target!

Question 4: “Do we get sweet perks at the office?”

Workplace culture is high on Gen Y’s list of office must-haves. They’re attracted to employer brands that foster engaging, dynamic environments and want to be able to show off their “cool” workplace to their friends.

Office perks such as an open workspace, modern technology or an office concierge are standalone benefits that represent broader organizational values ~ they spark immediate interest and can be catalysts for deeper conversations about collaboration and teamwork, innovation and work-life balance.

Virtual Info sessions are a perfect opportunity to direct the conversation to those bigger ticket items – you can mention each “perk” but focus your messaging around the values they represent.

Northern Health uses TalentEgg’s Office Hours platform to do exactly that.

During Office Hours, the Northern Health recruitment team field questions that touch on their unique workplace culture and the perks that come along with working in northern British Columbia. As you can see from the transcripts, the Northern Health recruitment team does a great job of promoting different aspects of their workplace culture while underscoring why these perks matter.

Discussion: Have you ever had question you couldn’t decipher?