The Future of Early Talent Recruitment

Posted by Forage

Many employers invest heavily to attract, hire and train emerging talent but they generally have limited information available when making recruiting decisions. A candidate is distilled down to their resume, academic transcript, interview performance and reference checks. 

But what about how they’ll actually perform in the role? What about how they’ll operate in an employer’s specific workplace? 

It takes a candidate to start with the organisation and actually perform in the role before an employer can really assess whether they were the right hire.

So, here’s a question. Why not flip things around, and train first - then hire?

What if companies opened their doors and enabled candidates to gain skills based on their specific workplace, before they even applied for a role? This not only enables students to gain tangible workplace skills, but it also ensures companies receive applications from preskilled candidates who really want to work there. It’s easy to visualise what a workplace is like based on information gleaned from a website - but to actually experience it and still pursue it is something else entirely. 

What does this look like in practice and how do you deliver pre hire training at scale? Virtual experiences are known to be one of the most effective ways to do this. Employers can distill their workplace into a virtual environment that showcases the company as a whole or a specific division. They do this by creating a series of hypothetical tasks based on real-life work that follows the actual  chronology of events. Students can, in their own time, participate and immerse themselves in these virtual experiences, and gain a clear understanding of the skills required for a particular role (while learning them along the way). 

Accessibility is the most important element of the virtual experience. Making them open-access and free of charge allows anyone, anywhere to gain the preskilling opportunities, while enabling employers to break down the (at times more invisible than we realise) barriers to entry. 

And the importance of this can’t be denied. Our study found that:

  • 98% of students believe they could benefit from more practical training
  • 99% of candidates strongly agree that preskilling made them more confident to apply
  • 97% of candidates are more inclined to work for companies that preskill (1) 

At Forage, we are proud to see companies like CBA, ANZ, Citi, Quantium and John Holland create virtual experience programs that help millions of students prepare for their future careers, while also generating an exceptional pool of talent. 

While virtual experiences have only been around for a few years, they are already making an impact on hiring. By challenging the traditional recruitment processes and using a preskilling model, organisations who partner with Forage for virtual experiences are: 

  • 2x more likely to advance a virtual experience participant;
  • 4x more likely to extend an offer to a virtual experience participant; and
  • Virtual experience participants are 4x more likely to accept an offer

It’s clear that the preskilling model helps organisations inspire, engage and attract high intent talent. It’s hard not to get excited about the potential for this change to drive social mobility, increase career satisfaction, and connect companies to more compatible talent. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the impact of preskilling read our whitepaper here.


(1) Forage Voice of the Student Study 2021; 1700 Global Participants.


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