Bringing young workers on board

Hiring a young person can bring real benefits to your business such as fresh ideas and valuable tech knowledge. How you work with young people can also make a real difference in how they develop and ensure they become a real asset.

Here are simple steps to help you to hire younger staff and get them performing well.

Getting the interview right

To find the right young staff, it’s a good idea to adapt your interview style and process. Here are some tips for successful interviews:

  • For young people not used to talking to employers, put them at ease with an information session first, or suggest they bring along a support person, eg a parent.
  • Use text messages to communicate before the interview — many people do not respond to phone calls from an unknown number. Text messages often increase the number of people that respond.
  • To find out about their skills, eg leadership and communication, ask about what they’ve done in sports and for the community. Young people assume that you only want to know about their work experience. However they may be able to demonstrate key skills through their community work or sports teams if prompted. 
  • Give them a specific checklist of things to talk about or include in their cover letter, eg specific experience and skills. 
  • If you don’t hire them, give them clear feedback on their CV and the interview to help them on their job search. 

Employment New Zealand has a guide with tips and practical advice to help you find, hire and develop young staff. It also explains what government support is available. You can find more resources, information and a new youth-focused page on the Employment New Zealand website.

Download the guide(external link) — Employment New Zealand
Hiring young people(external link) — Employment New Zealand

When you start your search for younger staff, look for people interested in your industry.

When you start your search for younger staff, look for people interested in your industry.

Many school students will be looking into career options and how to get a head start on skills businesses need. 

Bringing young staff on board

If you’ve hired a young person, remember it could be their first experience of full-time, part-time or casual work. If they’ve come straight from school, they’ll likely be used to having very structured days and direct instructions. To help them adapt and be productive, be clear about what you expect from them, eg to show initiative and in what areas.

It’s also a good idea to:

  • explain your culture and values when you’re inducting them
  • assign a buddy or mentor to guide them through the settling-in period
  • give them feedback and have regular check-ins
  • ask for honest feedback about things they’re enjoying or not enjoying, and any challenges
  • understand their background — they may have family responsibilities that could impact on work, eg helping relatives in need.
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